El Ateneo Grand Splendid interior

The World’s Top Bookshops Will Make You Want to Drop Everything and Read10 of 12

With its crimson theater curtains and shimmering gold boxes, El Ateneo Grand Splendid must be one of the most spectacular bookstores in the world. Visitors browse through the large selection of titles to the strains of soft piano music: a pianist plays live, in an echo of the magnificent hall’s previous life.