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Buenos Aires is a wonderland for book lovers. Borges’ hometown has bookshops on practically every street. Best of all, many of them have cafes where you can while away a day surrounded by beautiful books while drinking tea and eating medialunas. Cafes in bookshops are one of my favourite things and Buenos Aires’ bookshop cafes are some of the best I’ve ever been to. For me, these are the best bookshops in Buenos Aires.
Best bookshops with cafes in Buenos Aires
1. El Ateneo Grand Splendid
Av Santa Fe 1860
This aptly named place is Buenos Aires’ most famous bookstore and often named on best bookshop lists. Housed in an old theatre, it’s a spectacular and extensive display of words and pictures. It’s like a temple to literature that book lovers shouldn’t miss. There’s a cafe, but because the bookshop is so huge, and also so popular, it’s much less cosy than the other ones listed here.
2. Eterna Cadencia
Somewhere between a library and a old world coffee house, Eterna Cadencia is full of charm and intrigue. Lit by chandeliers, there a corners to get lost in and ladders to climb. The interior courtyard cafe’s high glass ceiling and marble floor make it a light and airy place to enjoy the day, while the evening becomes a much cosier affair. The sofas at the back are particularly wonderful for getting lost in a book or your laptop. This one wins my prize for the best bookshop in Buenos Aires.
3. Libros del Pasaje
Similar to Seattle bookstores, Libros del Pasaje is warm, cosy, inviting and one of my absolute favourite places to be in Buenos Aires. There are ladders to explore the shelves, and an excellent art section tucked away on the balcony. The low-lit cafe at the back opens out on to the store so you’re happily surrounded by books, cakes and tea. The soundtrack is provided by the shop’s record section that sits inside the cafe – expect to hear plenty of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. There is also a courtyard cafe if you prefer some natural light. As in most places in Palermo, there is free wi-fi so this is a brilliant place to work, as well as read. There is a great selection of English literature. It’s one of the best of Buenos Aires’ bookshops.
4. Crack Up (now closed)
A little more scruffy than Eterna Cadencia and Libros del Pasaje, Crack Up attracts a young, studenty crowd. The small Buenos Aires bookshop is fronted by a cafe with tables that spill onto the streets of Palermo Soho. With free wi-fi, it’s another great place to sit with your laptop.
This place mixes two of Buenos Aires great strengths – literature and wine. It’s half wine shop and half bookstore. The helpful staff will gladly help you choose the best of both. There’s no cafe but there’s wine, and it’s a great place to browse.
Where to find bookshops in Buenos Aires
These are my favourite bookshops in Buenos Aires, but the book market on Avenida Santa Fe, close to Plaza Italia, is also worth a visit. There are around twenty stalls, all manned by different book sellers, mostly selling second hand stock. If you can’t see what you’re looking for, just ask as not everything is on display. If not on their stall, the seller may also be able to tell you which stall might have what you’re after. Avenida Corrientes is another haven for book worms, where nearly every other shop sells books.
Enjoy the pretty photos from Buenos Aires bookshops
I could live in some of these! They must be some of the cosiest bookshops in the world!
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