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Livraria Lello – a bookshop that inspired J.K. Rowling

November 12, 2014


Livraria Lello in Porto (Portugal) is considered by some as the most beautiful bookshop in the world. The neogothic shop with swirling stairs, stained glass ceiling and intricate wood carvings are a must-see in Porto. It’s also rumoured this bookshop inspired J.K. Rowling in creation of the grand staircase at Hogwarts, as the author lived in Porto and worked as an English teacher.

Lello is a regular bookshop, with a variety of books, albums, travel guides and maps. Because of the growing popularity the library’s been expanding its offer to books in English, as well as various souvenirs from Portugal.

As Lello’s became one of Porto’s must-sees, you have to pay 3 euro to enter, though they change the rate quite often and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was 5 euros now. You have to buy your ticket in a booth opposite the entrance. Lello’s been also changing its photo policy, each time I’ve visited they had different rules (no photos, photos ok, you have to pay for the photos…), so please pay attention to that and respect their current regulations :)

bookshop-porto lello-bookshop-porto lello-porto lello livraria_lello livraria porto-lello porto-bookshop-harrypotter posto-lello

All photos in this post are my own, please link to this website if you wish to share them. And here’s Livraria Lello on a map:


10 reasons to visit Porto

November 10, 2014

porto ribeiraPorto in Portugal is one of the most surprisingly beautiful cities I’ve visited. Spending 4 days there was a great adventure so here are my 10 reasons to visit Porto!

10 Douro River and Dom Luis bridge

porto douro dom Luis
Douro is one of the longest rivers in the Iberian Peninsula – and also the heart of Porto, as city’s historic centre lies on the bank of this river. The most distinctive bridge across Douro is Dom Luis, constructed by Eiffel’s partner. Its upper deck is used by pedestrians and trams, while motor traffic occupies the lower deck.

9 Ribeira

porto ribeira
The poor port district on the right bank of Douro river. Though it’s loved by tourists for the expensive restaurants and souvenir shops, it hides a darker side. Ribeira is still a poor part of the city, with ruins, slums and stray cats ruling the streets.

8 Azulejos

azuleos church
Ceramic tiles, painted blue and used to decorate, surprisingly, the exteriors of many buildings around Porto.

7 Wine

porto wine

Rabelos boats that were used to transport port wine from upper Douro river

Porto is the home of port wine – a very sweet and strong drink. You can try Porto’s most tasty alcohol in one of the cellars of Villa Nove de Gaia, opposite side of Douro river. English tradesmen, who exported port to Great Britain, lived there and that’s why a lot of port wine’s names are English (like Sandeman or Offley).

6 Fado

You know what comes best with wine tasting? Sentimental fado songs. Telling stories about poverty, loss or life on the sea, they capture the melancholic Portuguese nature perfectly.
I was lucky enough to listen to live fado concert during wine tasting in Quevedo winery.

5 Clerigos Church tower views

clerigos views
I love enjoying cityscapes from above – that’s why I’m always on lookout for viewpoints! Clerigos Church tower was a perfect one – not only the whole (quite big!) city is visible, but also the ocean and Douro river. Awesome!

4 Francesinha

Imagine meat… on meat, on another meat and another. Between two slices of bread. On top of that an egg and melted cheese. Then put this thing on french fries and pour some beer sauce on it. That’s how you get the manliest sandwich on Earth – francesinha.
Yes, it has four kinds of meat and it was invented for the sailors. It’s probably not the most healthy food – but it’s delicious, so who cares!

3 Surfing

matisinhos beach

Matosinhos beach, the best place to rent a surfboard in Porto.

This one’s special for me, as it was my first time surfing and I totally loved it. Portugal is a great place to surf anyway – especially if you’re really good at it. Nazare is the best place to surf record-breaking waves – like Garrett McNamara did in 2011.

2 Restaurant Street

seafood porto
Food might be my favourite part of traveling… Which is why I was thrilled to discover that Herois da Franca Street in Matosinhos was full of tasty restaurants with freshly grilled seafood. Seriously, it’s a whole street of restaurants, you have to go there.

1 Sunsets

sunsets porto
I’ve never seen such amazing sunsets like the ones in Porto… Are they like, saturating the sky to make it look better? Yes, probably!

All photos in this post by me, Aleksandra Boguslawska