As Hermione Granger would tell you, any library that is filled with books is magical. Some libraries, however, can transport visitors to a different world before they crack open even a single volume.
Fans of the beloved Harry Potter series don’t have to seek out filming locations (though there are a few, like Christ Church at Oxford, that we particularly love) or even the dedicated theme parks to feel transported to the Wizarding World.
Libraries like the Biblioteca Palafoxiana in Mexico, with its gilt alter and antique, carved-cedar, pine, and coloyote wood bookshelves are nothing short of enchanting. Even if students from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry don’t study at The Morgan Library and Museum in New York City, its easy to imagine them preparing for their History of Magic exams amongst the medieval manuscripts, including bejeweled gospels from the ninth-century and Old Babylonian seals.
And in the Strahov Monastery Library, on a hill overlooking Prague, is a Cabinet of Curiosities (something you would think was imagined by J.K. Rowling). Its unusual contents include an electrostatic device from the 18th-century and, inexplicably, cases of wax fruit.
It should come as no surprise that some of the most charming libraries on this list are also the world’s most beautiful. Like the Long Room at Trinity College Old Library in Dublin, with its barrel-vaulted ceiling arches and marble busts, you don’t have to be a bookworm to be transfixed.
We’ve scoured the globe for truly spellbinding libraries—all of which promise to make visitors feel as though they’ve stepped foot into the Harry Potter books (or films). Spires, arches, and priceless collections of volumes and artifacts are just enough real-life sorcery to convince visitors of bubbling cauldrons and incantations. Just be sure not to gasp too loudly inside these hallowed halls, or Madam Pince might shush you.