Updated July 2022
Finding books in English in Lisbon isn’t too difficult, and the number of stores selling English-language books keeps growing.
Bivar Books (Rua de Ponta Delgada 34A) is an all-English secondhand bookstore in Estefânia with a penchant for Penguin editions and a bend toward science fiction titles, which are otherwise very hard to find in English in this town. It used to be run by the affable Leena Marjola, but since 2019 is helmed by the woman many around town would like to call “Mom,” Eduarda.
Ler Devagar (1300, R. Rodrigues de Faria 103) in LX Factory in Alcântara is one of the most gorgeous bookstores around, with a cafe where you can drink wine and smoke cigarettes while you look all smarty-pants. The English selection (all new books) skews toward Portuguese authors and Portugal travel and history books, but there are occasionally titles by contemporary American and British masters and more mainstream books too.
Palavra de Viajante (R. de São Bento 34) is a paradise for book-loving travelers, real and arm-chair, with a wonderfully curated selection of guidebooks, travel journals, expensive photo books, and more. If you have a favorite travel writer, in our experience, they’ll stock them in Portuguese and English. The same goes for travel-inspired writing in general, including fiction and even poetry. This bookstore doesn’t sell online, but its website has a blog about books and an events calendar for talks held at the shop.
Bertrand Livreiros (Rua Garrett 73) in Chiado is the oldest bookstore in the world still in operation, but it keeps up with the times no problem. Bertrand has a rotating selection of English-language books, including a solid variety of travel guides, but also books by Portuguese authors in English and New York Times bestsellers. It’s got an online store too. Another location in Picoas Plaza (Rua Tomás Ribeiro and Rua Viriato) also offers a small but well-curated selection of English-language books, including major prize winners and best-sellers.
With locations all over Portugal, including several in Lisbon, FNAC may seem like it’s a chain electronics store, but most, if not all, of its locations stock a respectable selection of classic literature and new releases, both mainstream and of the more literary variety — including in English and French. The selection is similar to Bertrand, although FNAC is more likely to stock far more copies of the hottest new releases. The online store works well, and deliveries are fast. Tip: to make sure you find the English version of the book, try searching with the term “ingles” added to the tile or author name, and then look for this in the description of the item: “Edição em Inglês.”
Livraria Britânica (Rua Luis Fernandes, 14), in Principe Real, is geared toward English language learners and teachers, its tag line being “Serving the English Language Teaching in Portugal [sic] Since 1981.” As such, it has a peculiar selection: they don’t have books by Hemingway, just about Hemingway, for example, but they did have a Martin Amis novel recently. Nonetheless, you’ll find your Harry Potter here, and it’s perfect for children’s books and classics like Charles Dickens and D.H. Lawrence. You can order online, too.
Lisbon markets are also great for finding good deals on English-language book, as well as books in French and German. Feira da Ladra (Campo de Santa Clara, Tuesdays and Saturdays) in Alfama has a ton of used book sellers. Some of them know what they have, others just found it on the street somewhere, so there are bargains galore. Belém Flea Market (Jardim Vasco de Gama, Rua Vieira, first and third Sunday of the month) also usually has English-language books.
Finally, if you find yourself in Cascais, there’s an excellent and extensive collection of English-language classics and mainstream pulp, most of them for under 4€, as well as books in French and German and, of course, Portuguese, at Livraria Galileu (Av. Valbom 24-A).
Know of any other stores or markets that carry English-language books in Lisbon? Let us know.