Atlantis Books: The Amazing Santorini Bookshop of Your Dreams
I've been to a lot of bookstores. I mean a lot. I actively search out bookstores in every city that I'm in because, as everyone is well aware, they're a dying breed. You can find an enormous big box sort of bookstore with little to no character, but the small, independent bookstores are going the way of the dinosaurs. Sad, isn't it?
Perhaps that's what made coming across Atlantis Books such a magical experience. I'm not holding back, this is the coolest bookstore on earth. Feel free to refute me, but this is my tightly held opinion on the subject thus far.
Atlantis Books also gives me hope that perhaps small independent bookstores can make it under the right circumstances. I know that Type Books in Toronto has found a niche for itself by functioning as a community centre of sorts. They also gained some notoriety with a marvellous video they produced not long ago.
Back to the matter at hand. Atlantis Books is the Santorini Bookshop of your dreams, assuming you dream of such things. I honestly feel it's one of the top things to do in Santorini.
For starters, you can enter through the front door, or the roof.
The Story of the Atlantis Books in Oia, Santorini, Greece
As it turns out, they might be able to tell their story better than me.
It seems that the story all came to life about twelve years ago when the founders felt the emptiness one feels when a town or city doesn't have a bookstore. They decided to fill the void, and, if you've watched the video just above, you'll note that it wasn't easy. Though, you'll probably also note that this store was destined to be opened (and, hopefully, it will stay open.) If you're actually inside the bookstore, then you'll find a timeline of events described in the video clearly and colourfully upon the wall.
It's not a large bookstore (thank god), but it packs more into a little space than I've ever seen before. It's full of randomness - of quirky, bizarre, delightful brilliance. Also, being in the basement of a Greek cave house also doesn't hurt.
This Santorini bookshop came from humble beginnings, but it has a bright, bright future all things considered. As I mentioned prior, it's one of the top things to do in Santorini for the right person.
Walking Through This Santorini Bookshop, One of the Top Things to do in Santorini
I suppose my favourite part of the whole experience is what you could find if you had your eyes open. Quotes adorn the walls that are worth pondering over, and specific books are places in specific places to force you to stop for a moment and consider why that would be. In my humble opinion, it's the top EU bookshop around.
It's a place that was clearly crafted with intention, but also allowed to blossom with a spectacular, random, reckless abandon. You get the sense that the people who run Atlantis Books are creative.
I'm not sure if I mentioned this clearly enough before, but what makes this the quintessential bookstore visit anywhere in Greece is the fact that, like the books they sell, they offer an adventure in store. You quite literally climb up a rickety set of wooden stairs to get onto a wooden plank with books right on your right hand side. Straight onwards you find a gaping hole in the clay wall, which, baffling enough, leads right onto the "roof," which actually just brings you street level once again in Santorini.
This makes also this Santorini Bookshop the most family friendly option around, as kids will love it too, and I know from personal experience that with technology and the like these days, we can use any and all advantage to get gets interested in reading. How about a little live adventure, right?!
I ended up leaving the store with Zen & The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, though you could argue that I left with a whole lot more.
The idea that a group of friends could just decide to open up a bookstore and dare to dream in that fashion is nothing short of inspirational. As one of the founders, Oliver, mentions in his Ted Talk, they essentially make enough to get by and keep the dream alive. In a day and age where what we should and shouldn't be are well defined, this form of pleasant rebellion is worth noting.
I'm taken by it, truly. Though taking 15 minutes to watch a video is something of an eternity these days, I would recommend watching the aforementioned Ted Talk - to listen to their story about selling and telling stories.
It also personally resonates with me as this is a time of great transition for me, what with me taking on the travel blogging and travel writing thing full time, and I can deeply appreciate someone chasing after their dreams with conviction, as I aim to do both now and the future. Can I mention again that it deserves to find itself on the list of "top things to do in Santorini?"
What I Loved about Atlantis Books
I loved the fact that it was just the right amount of chaos.
I love the quotes - here and there, and everywhere.
I loved the murals, which couldn't have been more unique if they tried.
I loved the guitar, placed with purpose.
I loved the antlers, and the book right behind it.
I loved the philosophy tower.
I loved the quirky ornaments to be found anywhere and everywhere.
For me, a bookstore is an unconscious walk down memory lane. It's what I know, what I don't know, and what I want to know. It's where I go when I want to feel grounded, and it's where I go when I want to feel inspired. I walked into this place, and I felt everything, and, to me, that's worth something.
Thanks a lot for tuning into this post. Have you been to a bookstore recently that's got you particularly excited? Is this a bookstore that you would like to visit? As always, please leave your thoughts and feeling below and I'll be sure to get back to you. Each and every comment is one I respond to, my friends.
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