Lisbon has to have some of the best street art that I’ve seen. I take a lot of guided graffiti tours, from Brazil to Palestine to Perth to Germany, and the one I took in Lisbon was one of the best I’ve been on.
There was so much of it that in the 1+ hour car tour of the city, we only got to see a small percent of it, but what I did get to see was world class.
My guide in Lisbon knew exactly where to take me for the greatest pieces, including a city wall, a health clinic wall, giant murals covering whole buildings, and many other hidden treasures. Here are the highlights of one of the best graffiti/street art tours in Europe.
After you’re done exploring Lisbon, go check out the wine country and visit Porto in the north!
These buildings were completely covered with HUGE pieces. I had to cross the street to get the whole thing in the photo.
Apparently the city figured it was cheaper to hire famous graffiti artists from Brazil to cover these old ugly buildings, then it would be to tear them down and build something nicer. So they did, making them less of an eye sore.
Now thats something you don’t hear governments doing very often… paying graffiti artists to do their work on their city.
This whole underground station was covered almost completely. It was cool to see how local and famous artists coordinate on where they would do their art, and never cover, ruin or touch any one else’s.
My guide explained how artists will get together and decide on where each person got to do their work, and if a section or piece was really old or really bad, and artist unknown, they would decide if it was ok to cover.
Anyways, All these places were done legally, and apparently its allowed because the city of Lisbon agrees with me that these graffiti murals make the city and dull places look awesome!
If you look closely you’ll see that the head of this one is done with a chipping technique where they chipped away the paint and plaster to make the face. I saw this unique and awesome technique all over the city and loved it.
In this one above, the story goes that the artist was chipping away secretly on this piece when the owner arrived. A fight ensued as the owner of the building was rightly angry about the defacing of the building.
The artist had the guy step back and look at the piece, and the guy was so shocked and impressed that he let him finished and paid him to do more of his buildings!
This blue wall above circles a big mental hospital. Artists got together and gave each other sections of the wall to do projects on, and the hospital painted it all blue to be based on.
I have no idea how long it took, but each and every section is unique and a masterpiece. Some are very intriguing and detailed with the help of many a stencil, others masters of free hand and minute detail.
It took me a long time to get through all these, and it gave me a really good feeling for Lisbon for sponsoring such big and wonderful project like these!
So if you wonder what to do in Lisbon, find the nearest graffiti tour and make sure your camera has plenty of battery!
3 thoughts on “Street Art of Lisbon, Portugal”
This is a guest post for our site Christine. Justin maybe have visited the place a couple of years back and most like wrote about it on his site at the time. He reached out to us to wrote about it on our site as he loves the place. Have you been to Lisbon?
Really enjoyed this post Justin, we love street art, it makes me want to go back to Lisbon & discover further.
Particularly liked the point on the chipping technique.
Janis & Gary
Thanks for your comment Janis & Gary. After reading this awesome article by Justin, it makes us want to return also. 🙂