The Oldest Shops Around The World That People Can Still Visit

It can be tough to keep a shop open for a couple of years, but there are a select few that have managed to stick around for centuries. These range from book stores, restaurants, bike shops, pharmacies, butcher shops, candy stores, and more.

These are some of the most historic places on the planet and they’ve influenced the millions of shops that followed in their footsteps. They have been around through wars, natural disasters, economic downfalls, and more, so find out what makes them stand the test of time.

Colombia Has The Oldest Tamale Shop

the interior of a tamale shop called la puerta falsa
Federico Tovoli/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Federico Tovoli/VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

La Puerta Falsa, translated to “the false door,” has been in operation since 1816. It’s located in Bogotá, Colombia and is the world’s oldest tamale shop. They have stuck to their same menu items the whole time.

Their most popular items besides their signature tamales are their nearly-sacred chucula y almojábanas, which are sweet bread and soft cheese with a cup of hot chocolate. Guests often have to wait a while to get a seat in the small, two-story tamale shop, but they don’t usually mind because they get to look at the classic Candelaria colonial architecture.

Temple Slug Is The Oldest Waterbed Store In The World

the exterior of a brick building that reads established 1970, temple slug, futons
Temple Slug/Facebook
Temple Slug/Facebook

Although it might seem unlikely that someone would want to buy a waterbed at this point in time, they used to be one of the most popular bedroom furniture pieces of the 1970s. Most waterbed stores have gone out of business, but one that manages to stay afloat is Temple Slug in Kansas City, Missouri.

They opened in 1970 and are still in business today. Another waterbed store called Odds ‘N’ Ends in Richmond, California, almost had them beat because they opened in 1969, but they are now an online-only store.

Find Delicious Candy At The World’s Oldest Sweet Shop

the exterior of the oldest sweet shop in england with a pale brick wall
Tom Blackwell/Flickr
Tom Blackwell/Flickr

One of England’s most famous sites is The Oldest Sweet Shop in England. This candy store was founded in 1827 in Pateley Bridge, England and it’s located in a building that dates all the way back to 1661.

Owner Keith Tordoff had a 97-year-old woman come into the store who told him that she hadn’t been there since she was five years old and said the only thing that changed was the position of the cash register. Guests can find vintage candy that isn’t sold anywhere else.

This Cheese Shop Has Been Open For Centuries

camilla, duchess of cornwall eating cheese at paxton & whitfield
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Getty Images
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Getty Images

Winston Churchill once said that “a gentleman only buys his cheese at Paxton & Whitfield.” He was referring to a cheese shop in London, England that was founded in 1797. Before it was a cheese shop, Paxton & Whitfield was market store located around the same area in 1742.

Many members of the royal family love the cheese here, which led to two royal warrants from Prince Charles and Queen Elizabeth II. There’s also evidence of Queen Victoria indulging in their cheese around 1850.

Japan Has One Of The Oldest Businesses Of All Time

the exterior of the nishiyama onsen keiunkan hotel during autumn
Thomas/Pinterest
Thomas/Pinterest

The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan hotel in the Yamanashi Prefecture of Japan is one of the oldest sites on earth. It began in 705 CE and has been operated by the same family for about 52 generations.

It holds the Guinness World Record for being the world’s oldest hotel and is most likely the world’s longest-running company. The site is known for its beautiful and healing hot springs and every room has private, free-flowing hot spring baths.

Of Course Italy Has The Oldest Pizzeria

a cheese pizza from antica pizzeria port'alba
Paulo Henrique Cremoneze/Facebook
Paulo Henrique Cremoneze/Facebook

Pizza was invented in Italy, so it makes sense that the oldest-running pizzeria is there as well. Antica Pizzeria Port’Alba was first established in 1738 as a food stall and later became a fine dining restaurant in 1830.

In their early days, most of their customers were artists, students, and people with very little money, which helped them come up with their simple pizza recipe. The restaurant also set up a payment system called pizza a otto, which allowed consumers up to eight days to pay for their pizza.

Get A Whiff Of The Scents At The World’s Oldest Candle Shop

multicolored candels in a shop called caza das vellas loreto
Lisboetas/Tumblr
Lisboetas/Tumblr

Walking through Caza das Vellas Loreto in Lisbon, Portugal is like going back in time. The vintage architecture dates back to July 14, 1789, and is something not often seen every day. This candle shop opened the same day the French Revolution started and is still up and running.

It has remained in the same family for over seven generations and is still popular with the locals who frequently come to get candles for various celebrations.

Find The Perfect Bike At This Historic Shop

the exterior of pearson cycling store with bicycles out front
Ottawa DeafGirl Design/Pinterest
Ottawa DeafGirl Design/Pinterest

There’s only one shop that holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest bike shop in the world and that is London, England’s Pearson Cycles. They were established in 1860 and have been with the Pearson family for over five generations.

The original owner worked as a blacksmith but decided that selling bicycles would turn a better profit. Over 150 years after the store opened they launched a second location in west London that focuses on precision fitting, sports therapy, and even has an in-house coffee shop.

Indulge In Some Sweet Treats At The World’s Oldest Chocolate Shop

the outside of a chocolate store called À la Mère de Famille
Sokleine/Flickr
Sokleine/Flickr

There’s something very unique about À la Mère de Famille in Paris, France. Not only is it the oldest chocolate shop in the world, opening in 1761, but it also had some iconic guests.

Many famous artists did residencies at the shop including Degas, Toulouse, Monet, and Renoir. The storefront seen in the photo is also listed as a historical monument. Although the prices of the sweets inside are on the expensive side, a trip to see the antique shop will make it all worth it.

Grab A Cup Of Joe At Queen’s Lane

the outdoor area of a coffee shop called queen's lane
CeruleanHMC/Pinterest
CeruleanHMC/Pinterest

Coffee has been around for centuries and the very first place to sell it was Queen’s Lane Coffee House in Oxford, England. They claim to be the oldest continually serving coffee house in the world after opening in 1654.

They serve a wide range of English, Turkish, and Mediterranean dishes as well such as fish and chips, sausages, pies, and moussaka. Since it’s in the Oxford area, it’s quite popular with those who attend the nearby university.

Go To Japan For Some Great Tea

a traditional japanese woman handing tea to another woman at tsuen tea
TSUEN TEA : Japanese Tea from Kyoto/Facebook
TSUEN TEA : Japanese Tea from Kyoto/Facebook

One of the oldest businesses in the world is a tea shop called Tsuen Tea in Uji, Japan. Their company was founded in 1160 and the current location of their tea shop has been around since 1672.

Visitors can find it on the east side of the Uji Bridge and it’s been operated by members of the Tsuen family for over 24 generations. Tea lovers can find a wide variety at the shop including matcha, sencha, and genmaicha.

China Has The World’s Oldest Pickle Shop

women packing food at the lubiju pickle and sauce shop in china
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Alamy Stock Photo
Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Alamy Stock Photo

China is home to the world’s oldest pickle shop. The history of Lubiju Pickle and Sauce Shop dates back to 1530 in Bejing, China where customers can find non-brined pickles cured with various seasonings.

They are also well-known for their classic sauce mixture of yellow soybean paste and sweet soy sauce. The shop was founded by three brothers from Linfen city in the Shanxi province of North China. They ran a small shop of daily necessities of only seven things; wood, rice, oil, salt, sauce, vinegar, and tea.

The Oldest Bakery Dates Back To The 12th Century

a statue outside at the Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter bakery
World Traveler PR/YouTube
World Traveler PR/YouTube

People who visit Stiftsbäckerei St. Peter in Salzburg, Austria will get an up-close look at how to bake the old fashioned way. They have likely been open since the 12th century and are known for their wood-fire black bread with natural sourdough.

This photo is of the entrance, where they have an old water mill next to St. Peter Monastery. The best time to come to the bakery is right when they open to get all the appetizing sights and smells.

Find Everything You Need At The World’s Oldest Pharmacy

the painted murals on the walls and ceilings of the santa maria novella pharmacy
Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images
Gabriel Bouys/AFP via Getty Images

Dominican monks founded the world’s oldest pharmacy in 1221. The Santa Maria Novella Pharmacy is located in Florence, Italy, and has mainly sold soap, medicine, and cologne since they first opened.

They are still in their original building, so a lot of the artwork has remained including the painted ceilings. During the days of the Bubonic Plague, they used to sell a smelling salt that grave robbers would use to prevent themselves from contracting the plague.

Pick Up Some Meat At The World’s Oldest Butcher Shop

people holding raw meat and a tropy outside of r.j. balson & son
R.J. Balson & Son USA/Facebook
R.J. Balson & Son USA/Facebook

There were quite a few butcher shops that came close to being the longest to operate, but the winner was R.J. Balson & Son in Bridport, England. The Balson family has been in the meat business since 1515 and opened their first store in 1880.

According to the Institute of Family Business, R.J. Balson & Son is also the oldest continually-trading family business in the United Kingdom. Founder Robert Balson used to rent a market stall and sell his meat on Bridport Shambles.

Read A Book At This Pennsylvania Shop

a sign for the moravian book shop outside a red brick building
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

The oldest bookshop in the world can be found in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Moravian Bookshop was founded in 1745 by the Moravian Church and originated as a place to print and purchase religious texts. It’s currently owned by Moravian College with daily operations handled by Barnes & Noble.

Moravian Bookshop is also apparently haunted. One of the longtime employees has frequently seen a dark figure in the back hallway who will turn on the kitchen stove and the fan.

St. Peter’s Stiftskeller May Be The Oldest Restaurant Ever

a platter of meat, olives, and sauces with some bread
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

St. Peter Skiftskulinarium, also known as Stiftskeller St. Peter, is located in St. Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg, Austria. It is the oldest inn and restaurant in Central Europe and most likely the world, after being mentioned in an anthology from 803 AD.

Numerous historic and famous figures have dined at the restaurant such as Christopher Columbus, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Clint Eastwood, and Johann Georg Faust. The inn also hosted French troops during the Napoleonic wars.

Lock & Co. Hatters Has Some Famous Clients

the exterior of lock & co. hatters in old english-style buildings
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Many notable famous figures including Oscar Wilde, Theodore Roosevelt, Jackie Kennedy, and Charlie Chaplin have been clients of London England’s Lock & Co. Hatters. The shop was founded in 1676, making it the oldest hat shop of all time.

James Lock designed hats for English aristocracy and military leaders and even created the very first bowler hat design. The shop is still open to the public, but people need to make a private appointment to secure one of the iconic hats.

General Stores Still Exist

the outside of gray's general store with an old house and an american flag
Karen Britt/Pinterest
Karen Britt/Pinterest

General stores may seem like a thing of the past, but there are a few of them still operating across the U.S. Gray’s General Store happens to be the oldest-running general store in the world.

It can be found in Adamsville, Rhode Island, and has been in business for 232 years after opening in 1788. Inside, there’s an old-fashioned marble soda fountain, antique household items, and Rhode Island johnnycakes (cornmeal flatbread). Also, it’s been owned by seven generations of the same family since 1879.

New Zealand Has The World’s Oldest Trading Post

the exterior of an old building called the stone store
Tony Foster/Flickr
Tony Foster/Flickr

Those who ever find themselves in Kerikeri, New Zealand should head over to The Stone Store. It’s the oldest surviving stone building in the country and longest-running trading post in the world.

The Stone Store was originally part of the Church Missionary Society station in New Zealand and the building was designed by John Hobbs to replace a wooden storehouse. The building has been used for many other endeavors such as a library, barracks, a boys’ school, and a museum.