Royal Portuguese Reading Room

The interior of the historic Royal Portuguese Reading Room is nothing short of awe inspiring

Real Gabinete Português de Leitura
Real Gabinete Português de Leitura cc licensed photo by Os Rúpias

Located in downtown Rio, amidst the hustle and bustle of the city, lies the Real Gabinete Portugues da Leitura or Royal Portuguese Reading Room in English. The Real Gabinete Portugues da Leitura or is a beautiful library built in the Portuguese manueline style back in 1837.

It is said that books fill the walls from top to bottom in precious and beautiful carved wood bookshelves. There are those who make comparisons with Hogsworth college (those of you who have watched the Harry Potter series would know exactly what they are talking about). For those who have not seen any shots of the inside of Hogsworth, let's just say that the place is absolutely magical.

The library houses over 350,000 works, many of those works dating from the 16th, 17th and 18th century. These works contain an incredible amount of Portuguese history and culture. The Real Gabinete Prtugues da Lietura also features a variety of small collections of paintings, sculptures and ancient coins.

It is recommended when visiting the library you make certain that you go with a group of people or at least one other person as the library is situated in an older part of downtown of Rio de Janiero and like many large cities, you will find a number of beggars and vendors who can sometimes be on the aggressive side. See the video at the bottom of our Transit Tips page for some great advice on being safe while exploring Rio.

The other attractions in the area are the National LIbrary of Brazil and the Municipal Theatre. Both are definitely worth a visit.

For an afternoon of wonder in a world of literature and amazing architecture, visit the Real Gabinete Portugues da Leitura. Don't forget to bring your identity document along to ensure access!

Facts For Your Visit

Fee: No

Currently Closed

Hours This Week:
  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: Closed
  • Sunday: Closed

Address: R. Luís de Camões, 30 - Centro, Rio de Janeiro - RJ, 20051-020, Brazil

Phone: (21) 2221-3138

Official Website: Royal Portuguese Reading Room

Map of nearby accommodations:


Metro Line Nearest Station Walking Time
Line 1 - Orange or LIne2 - GreenUruguaiana

How to get to Royal Portuguese Reading Room by Metro

Exit Uruguaiana Station onto Rua Uruguaiana and go right. Go right again onto Rua do Ouvidor and follow it to the plaza. Continue west along Rua Luis de Camoes, the road that borders the right side of the plaza and watch for the Real Gabinete Português de Leitura on your right.

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Rated 4.7 out of 5Royal Portuguese Reading Room Star Rating

5 Star Rating I think words are not enough to describe how I was feeling in that place, but I will try. This place is historical and it's part of the city's and country's formation. Through its architecture we see the royal priorities about expending resources. Also, it's a good practice note the details in that architecture, for they are a lot. When we go inside and see those book walls it's a unique feeling, but look to the top of the room is so beautiful (I uploaded a pic of it below) that I can't explain. Thus, that's a singular place that you really should go if you're in Rio de Janeiro.

Lauro Barreto Braz - 24 days ago

5 Star Rating What an oasis hidden in an urban jungle of homeless people lying on the streets. It literally smells of feces around the place and it looks like the area has not been maintained for centuries. UNTIL you step into the library, which is extremely rich of beautiful decorations of old wood and pretty glass, smells of old books and has an incredible collection of historical books. It really makes you wonder how such different worlds can co-exist right next to each other. Therefore (and for many other reasons) totally worth a visit!!!

Rob Brinkerink - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Amazing place. I was so impressed! Entrance is free you just need to write your name in a book. You can spend there how much time you want. Very peaceful and dizzy place.

Lida Petrova - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating This is most definitely a top highlight of our trip to Rio. Not many people know about it, locals and foreigners alike. Time magazine has named it one of the most beautiful libraries in the world in 2013 and they were not kidding. We’ve visited several over the years on our worldly travels, but this one is truly breathtaking. The woodwork is exquisite and one feels the weight of the room upon first entering. There is plenty of natural light pouring through the stained glass ceiling highlighting all of the historical copies of Portuguese literature. A must visit in Rio!

Karol Gawrych - 1 month ago

5 Star Rating Wow wow wow wow! One of the best places that I’ve ever visited and also off of the tourist map so expect the place to yourself! Such a regal and beautiful library with stunning architecture and walls lined with the most elegant leather bound books. Make sure you make a stop here

David Maddison - 6 months ago


Slideshow showcasing the exterior and interior of the Royal Portuguese Reading Room

Photo Gallery

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