The Most Breathtaking Libraries

Book lovers know that there are plenty of amazing things about libraries! You can get lost in beautiful stories, relax in the wonderful silence, or just enjoy that old book smell.

For all of you bibliophiles out there, here is a list of the most breathtaking libraries in the world!

Library of Escorial

Location: Madrid, Spain

If you like Renaissance architecture, paintings, and sculptures, then this is the library for you! Decorated by notable artists of the 16th and 17th-centuries, a walk through the Library of Escorial will feel like taking a stroll back in time. The beautifully carved wooden shelves hold more than 40,000 volumes, some of which are manuscripts dating back to 5 AD.

The stunning frescos on the ceiling were painted by Pellegrino Tibaldi, whose vibrant artwork makes the room feel illuminated and luxurious. With all this beauty and history within its walls, its no wonder the Library of Escorial is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Mafra National Palace Library

Location: Lisbon, Portugal

Built in the 18th-century, this lavish library has colorful marble floors and endless rows of wooden shelves. The large windows flood the building with natural light and the elegant white ceilings make for a truly picturesque scene!

Most Portuguese locals will recommend you not stay after hours. While this library is a book lover’s dream in the day, it transforms into something out of a horror story at night. This is because in order to keep all of their 35,000 books safe from damaging insects, the library releases bats.

Yes, you read that right. BATS! Upwards of 500 of these creepy little critters are released every night and roam freely throughout the library. That’s one way to get rid of silverfish!

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George Peabody Library

Location: Baltimore, Maryland

This visually stunning library is centered around a graceful five-story atrium that is often described as a “cathedral of books.” The frosted glass ceiling allows natural light to flow into the building and illuminate the wrought-iron balconies and elegant marble floors.

The George Peabody Library is often used as a wedding venue because of its picturesque and Instagram-ready appearance. The 300,000 volumes from the 18th and 19th-centuries that the building holds are located on the balconies so that they are protected from the damaging sunlight that hits the center of the atrium.

Andrea Izzotti / Shutterstock

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