10 Of The World’s Best Book Towns

Waquar Habib

Hay-on-Wye, Wales

Hay-on-Wye is a charming town in Mid Wales with a population of approximately 1,900. It is home to over twenty bookshops, a popular destination for book lovers. It is frequently called the "town of books" and is recognised as the National Book Town of Wales.

A bookstore in Hay-on-Wye | Shutterstock

College Street, Kolkata

Kolkata has a rich printing heritage that the East India Company nurtured. This heritage gave birth to the renowned International Kolkata Book Fair. College Street, known as Boi Para, is a bustling hub with the world's largest secondhand book market. It lies amid the lively chaos and historic establishments, such as the Indian Coffee House.

College Street | Shutterstock

Urueña, Spain

Urueña, a quaint medieval town in Castilla y Leon, thrives as Spain's inaugural "Villa del Libro" with 12 antique bookstores. E-LEA Center, a highlight, offers a 1,200 square-meter area dedicated to reading and writing, while El 7 bookshop is renowned for its extensive collection on bullfighting.

Urueña | bdkone/instagram

Fontenoy-la-Joûte, France

Fontenoy-la-Joûte was once a place that had no connection to the literary world, but now it has become a vibrant book town. There are now ten long-standing bookshops in the village, including the renowned L’encre et l’Image studio. The village hosts cultural events like Apprentiss’ART and an annual writing contest.

Bookstore in Fontenoy-la-Joûte | helenepeterphoto/instagram

Jinbōchō, Japan

Jinbōchō is a vibrant hub of over 170 bookstores, second-hand shops, and publishing houses nestled in the heart of Tokyo's Chiyoda ward. Some notable bookstores in the area include At Wonder, Bunken Shoin, and Yaguchi Bookstore.

Jinbōchō | Wikimedia Commons

Lilleputthammer, Norway

Nestled within a family-centred adventure park, Lilleputthammer is a unique children's book town that offers a charming miniature replica of Lillehammer's 1930s Storgata. The Children's City of Books, with over 15,000 children's books categorised by age and themes such as fairytales, nature, and mysteries, features six specialised houses.

Lilleputthammer | Wikimedia Commons

Montereggio, Italy

Montereggio has a rich bookselling heritage which dates back to the 15th century. It honours its itinerant booksellers, including families like Bertoni and Tarantola, who once carried books in baskets across Italy. Visitors can explore various bookshops and charming honesty shops decorated with books arranged on tables.

Montereggio | visittuscany/instagram

Saint-Pierre-de-Clages, Switzerland

Nestled in the Swiss Alps, Saint-Pierre-de-Clages is known as "the Swiss Book Village." It's famous for its vibrant book festival, which was launched in 1993 and now draws 100 exhibitors and 15,000 bibliophiles every year.

Bookstore in Saint-Pierre-de-Clages | Wikimedia Commons

Bredevoort, Netherlands

Bredevoort, a border town between the Netherlands and Germany, became a book town in 2003. It is now home to 15 specialised bookstores catering to various interests, from history to science.

Bredevoort | Wikimedia Commons

Redu, Belgium

Redu is famous for being the first book village on the European continent. The town was established in 1984 and now boasts 24 diverse bookshops that showcase used, antique, and comic books. Visitors can also enjoy the cosy cafes, restaurants, and artisans in the village.

Bookshop at Redu | Wikimedia Commons

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