The bookstore opened back in 2002, making it its 21-year anniversary. Nowadays, it contains at least 400,000 books.

The books stack so high that at times you can’t even see the walls, especially when combined with the opaqueness of the shelves. In some aisles, they reach up to waist height.

Mr. Compton shared with me the cellar’s founding, stating that the store was started when he moved to Portugal and saw that the prices of books were “€15 or so,” and thought that he could do better. At the Algarve Book Cellar, books can be as cheap as €3, depending on the size.

Every genre you could want is available, from British crime thrillers and magazines to sci-fi comedies. Even non-book products such as birthday cards, board games and DVDs are available to buy.

“An expansion is definitely needed,” Ray admitted to The Portugal News. “I’ve got these two shops, the next step is to buy the one next door and to buy the one downstairs and install a lift here,” he explained, gesturing to a corner occupied by a bathroom whose door has long since been trapped in books.

Clients who come visit are a mix of tourists and locals, both from Portugal and originating from outside.

Being 80 now and having worked up until today, Ray feels as though he deserves a break. For this reason, he’s looking for a successor to carry on running the Algarve Book Cellar.

The children that visit often tend to love the jigsaw puzzles, the DVDs, and books written for the demographic, of which Ray also keeps many. Not only can the bookshop be used as a source of entertainment, but of education too: According to him, reading ends up being “very important” for developing kids’ minds.

Mr. Compton would like his successor at the Cellar to share his passion for literature while not worrying too much for the financial incentive, as well as someone who can follow through with the plans to expand the shop.

If you’d like to take charge of the Algarve Book Cellar, please contact Raymond at (+351) 282 354 310 or

If you’d like to visit the Algarve Book Cellar yourself, you can find it in Shops 1 and 2 of the O Galeão building at the very beginning of Rua dos Pescadores, in Carvoeiro.


Star in the 2015 music video for the hit single “Headlights” by German musician, DJ and record producer Robin Schulz featuring American singer-songwriter Ilsey. Also a journalist.

Jay Bodsworth