Madrid has inspired many authors and its literary history dates back hundreds of years. For bookworms visiting the city, there are plenty of literary landmarks to enjoy, for instance, specialist bookshops, the National Library of Spain and buildings with deep literary connections in Barrio de las Letras – the city’s Literary Quarter. For visitors who want to see shelves stacked high, here are some of the best bookshops in Madrid to visit.
The 7 Best Bookshops in Madrid
Situated in the heart of Madrid in a beautiful 19th-century building, La Central has a huge depository of books on philosophy, history, social science and literature, as well as a good selection of books in English. The shop runs a great calendar of literary events and also has a café-restaurant (El Bistro) and a cocktail bar (El Garito) in case you get hungry or thirsty browsing the vast array of volumes.
Tipos Infames specialises in independent literary novels with an interesting selection of books on its beautiful shelves. The space is not only a bookshop but a cafe, wine bar and exhibition room too. The books are by independent publishers and authors, and the wines and beers are from artisan producers and the wide range of activities, book presentations, wine tastings, exhibitions, workshops and courses are all equally carefully curated.
3. Panta Rhei
Panta Rhei is a warm, welcoming and beautiful shop selling books and prints and running workshops. Owners, Ingrid and Lilo set up the bookstore-gallery in the heart of Madrid in 2001 and today they fill the shelves with books with a focus on visual culture, creativity and illustration. Workshops are held by creatives and the gallery features lots of illustrations and prints of illustrations that you can buy.
TuuuLibrería is a charming, cosy secondhand bookshop on Calle de Embajadores in central Madrid. The neat feature about this bookshop is that you set the price of the books. Yup, that’s right, you decide how much you want to pay for the book. The owners believe that a society that reads is a happier, more ethical and more productive society, and it doesn’t want cost to be a barrier to reading.
5. La Casquería
La Casquería Libros is located in a stall in the San Fernando Market in Lavapiés. It is a collective project that values recycling and the recirculation of culture. That means, it is an alternative bookstore that sells used books. As part of the Madrid Social Market initiative, the bookstall owners value the principles of the social and solidarity economy. One of the unique features of La Casquería Libros is that it sells books by weight because, according to the owners, it is a good approximation of what it has cost to produce, transport and store the books.
Librería Pérez Galdós is a gem of a bookshop nestled between Madrid’s Chueca and Malasana neighbourhoods. In business since 1942, the shop has five kilometres of shelves which are stacked with titles covering a wide range of genres. For instance, you’ll find books on art, history, philosophy, cinema, poetry, and classic novels. You’ll also find books by Spanish literary masters, for instance, those by Cervantes and Góngora.
Located in the Barrio de las Letras – the Literary Quarter – this breathtaking bookshop specialises in old, rare and out-of-print books. Run by the same family since 1949, this bookshop looks like something straight out of a fantasy novel with its stunning spiral staircase in the middle of the shop. With its old-world library atmosphere, this is a great place to while away the hours and get lost in the vast amount of books on offer.