If you travel so frequently you consider yourself a citizen of the world, Altaïr is the bookshop for you!
Founded in Barcelona over thirty years ago, in 1979, Altaïr presents itself as more than a store, but a cultural space, a meeting point, a place to exchange ideas and bump into other travelers. It is the single most important European travel bookshop.
The bookshop has a cartography section with maps, atlases, and globes; a narrative section where you can find travel stories, pocket books, international intrigue, memoirs, and biographies; an illustrated section, with a variety of books that contain photographs and illustrations; a Nature section that offers guides, maps and animal books; a gastronomy section; a graphic novel/comic section; a Mountain section; and a great variety of travel magazines.
The two-floor bookshop is a pleasant place to visit, with several comfy chairs where you can sit with the books and explore them before deciding which ones to buy.
Related article: Where to buy used books
But Altaïr is not only about books. The store also sells a variety of unique handmade objects created using natural materials, in different civilizations. In this section you can find items like tribal masks, Colombian necklaces, oriental rings, Indian earrings, and Thai woolen hats.
And for the great adventurers, the bookstore offers a collection of useful travel accessories like Camelbak’s water bottles, Google eyewear, Leatherman’s Swiss army knives, Lifesystem’s emergency kits, and Cascade Design’s Seal Line.
Altaïr is so dedicated to the travel lifestyle, it has a large notice board where travelers can look for traveling mates by posting ads or reading the ones already posted.
If you are about to travel but don’t have time to go to the shop, you can visit Altaïr’s website, where you can browse and purchase books and maps online. You can also use the website to find your travel buddy, just as you would by using the notice board in the physical store.
The company also owns an alternative travel agency by the name of Orixa and publishes its own guidebooks and travel magazine.
If you are interested in traveling and getting to know the world’s various cultures, keep your eye on Altaïr’s Agenda/Fórum section on the shop’s website. From time to time, Altaïr organizes activities like “Getting to know Latin America through its communities”.
Altaïr is located at Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, 616.