If you’re a bookworm who can’t resist stopping in front of tables spilling over with paperbacks and hardcovers, you don’t want to miss Lisbon’s annual Feira do Livro in Parque Eduardo VII.
The Book Fair is the biggest showcase of books in Portugal, with close to a hundred thousand titles spread across more than two hundred pavilions from various Portuguese and foreign publishers, bookstores, and booksellers.
Treasures are hiding among the thousands of bindings while farturas and leitão are sold by the basket-full. Browse with a glass of wine or a coffee if you like — it’s all outdoors, and there’s no charge for admission.
For the past 85 years, large and small-scale companies have come together to offer great deals on their stock. Some of the books are obviously overstock items, but if you dig, you can find some really great titles for adults, students, and children in a wide range of genres. If you have the patience to scan through everything, you’ll be sure to come away with a gem — some of them are even signed.
The fair continues until the 14th of June. If you’re interested in Jose Saramago, you can expect to find all the new editions of his works here, certainly in Portuguese and occasionally in English and French. Atlas recommends Cain, Death with Interruptions, and Blindness.
Taschen art books are on sale at a mild discount as well. Want to study a language? There are dictionaries and language workbooks from Porto Editura and Editorial Presença in a multitude of languages on sale, but don’t expect a big discount with these.
Coming with your miudos (kids)? There are lots of infantil playgrounds, coloring and drawing areas, and events for them too. Check the calendar of events for more info.
Want to find out what all the fuss is about concerning Our Lady of Fátima and Saint António? Paulus Publishing is represented there with lots of religious and philosophical titles. Gradiva Publicações is also at the fair, peddling a selection of books of fiction, history, and social sciences and featuring the complete works of authors António José Saraiva and Eduardo Lourenço.
If you’re looking for something a little more related to Portugal (and why wouldn’t you be?), Atlas recommends checking out the ultimate guides to the country (there are eight volumes). These books cover the regions in groups, and include eloquent descriptions in Portuguese of well and lesser-known villages by some of Portugal’s best writers and poets, including Pessoa, as well as historical information and detailed fold-out maps. They’re gorgeous. The guides are sold at the Feira do Livro- worth every centimo. You can also find them year-round at the Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian as well as A Vida Portuguesa.
Besides buying books, there’s plenty to do. Food trucks are packed in together around bandstands with live music and there are always several authors doing readings and signings.
The entertainment schedule is organized by the hour, so no matter when you go, there’s something for everyone. Sit back and relax in the shade with a good book, a glass of vinho and some good old-fashioned free entertainment. And don’t forget to try the leitão.