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Living in Barcelona

Bookstores in Ciutat Vella

bookstore interior
Written by Thompson Crowley

Ciutat Vella is the name of one of the many districts in Barcelona and the original part of the city. It encompasses the neighborhoods of El Raval, La Barceloneta, El Gótic, and Sant Pere.

It is dominated by Las Ramblas (the main high street), which leads up to Plaça Catalunya, one of the most popular meeting points in the whole of Catalonia.

It is an area steeped in history, from the early origins of the city in the Roman era to current times.

Many famous stories have come out of Ciutat Vella over the years; there are many well-known books that are set in these romantic streets. It is the perfect place for a tale, with the rich history of the Gothic quarter, the shady characters of El Raval, the bustle of Las Ramblas, and the varied architecture throughout.

One can’t help but feel part of the stories when walking through this district; it’s so easy to get lost in a tangle of mystery and enchantment! You’ll find yourself intrigued and wanting to learn more.

Fortunately, there are plenty of bookstores in the neighborhood which can help you do so, as ShBarcelona will now show you.

Related article: 4 books which are set in Barcelona

Bookstores to discover in Ciutat Vella


dark street in barcelona

Photo by Dave_B_ via Visual hunt

Altaïr is located on Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, close to Plaça Catalunya.

Although it is officially in Eixample, it is still very close to Ciutat Vella. It is a stylish bookstore, specializing in Spanish travel books, as well as some English titles.

It’s the perfect place to escape the hectic city and get a bit of peace and quiet, whilst learning about different cultures. There is a cafe downstairs, selling a variety of snacks and coffee.


Re-Read is no longer located in Ciutat Vella, but has moved to Passeig de Sant Joan, 152, in the Gracia district.

It is a bargain bookstore with books going for as low as 20 cents. They stock a wide range of titles in Spanish, Catalan, English and French, as well as a few other languages. And they also buy books, if you’d like to exchange some that you already have.

Related article: Bookstores in El Raval

La Central del Raval

large pile of books

Photo by Paul Braverman via Visualhunt

La Central del Raval is located on Carrer d’Elisabets, in the neighborhood of El Raval, and it is close to the museum of contemporary art.

It is a very large store, stocking many different titles on a variety of subjects.

If there’s something you couldn’t find in one of the other bookstores, then this is the place to come. The staff is very helpful and the shelves are vast.

Laie Librería Café

Laie is located on Carrer de Pau Claris, in La Dreta de l’Eixample and close to Passeig de Gracia and Ciutat Vella. It is a small and cozy bookstore, with the added benefit of a cafe/restaurant.

You can grab yourself a book from the shop, then read it whilst eating your lunch upstairs. It is quiet throughout and well-lit, making it easy to focus. Plus they have high-speed wifi available.

Have you been to any of these bookstores?

About the author

Thompson Crowley

Thompson is a musician from the U.K who fell in love with Barcelona. He is constantly discovering new things in the city, which he shares with the readers through his articles.

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