Harry Potter saves the Lello de Porto bookstore


Built in 1906, the Lello de Porto bookstore, on the verge of bankruptcy, has found a way to replenish the coffers thanks to the renowned sorcerer Harry Potter.

Harry Potter in Porto: The English sorcerer in a Portuguese bookstore

J.K. Rowling, author of the successful Harry Potter saga drew inspiration from the Lello de Porto bookstore in the early 1990s, in particular to describe the staircase in the Flourish and Blotts store.

Situated in the historical center of Porto, the bookstore has become a veritable tourist attraction for fans of the most famous witch ever, Harry Potter.  Only problem is that most of the visitors, up to 4,000 per day, are not actually customers of the boutique whose business was going from bad to worse, to the point that the store was borderline bankrupt in 2014.  The store managers then had a brilliant idea:  make visitors pay to enter.  And the magic happened, boosting the finances of this veritable institution allowing it to prolong the beautiful tale.

5€, it’s the price of a ticket to visit this unique, historical and magical bookstore.  However, this fee is not necessarily lost as it’s deducted from anything you might buy in the bookstore.  The aim of course is to transform the visit into a purchase and so keep the business going.

A bookstore that inspires

J.K. Rowling is not the only person to have been overwhelmed by the beauty of the shop.  The bookstore has served as the setting for the Brazilian movie O Xangô de Baker Street by Miguel Faria Jr. (2001), an adaptation of the eponymous book by Jô Soares written in 1995.

With its white facade,  enormous shelves of books, the characteristic central staircase and the impressive stained glass, the bookstore is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the world.

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