One of my priorities in Lisbon was to explore its street art scene. I’ve been hearing so much about how amazing and exceptional it is and I’ve been more than ready to see if this is true. After all when I was thinking about the street art cities Lisbon never came to my mind as the one worth checking, I more tied it in with fado music or charming yet crumbly architecture of Alfama.
When it turned out the hostel I was staying at – Lisbon Destination Hostel – organizes street art tours I was really eager to join! After going for the street art tour in Buenos Aires I figured this is the best way to learn about the local scene, not only to look at amazing works but also to hear stories behind them. And I wasn’t disappointed! The Lisbon street art tour was pretty great, we’ve managed to see works I’d probably never have found by myself and altogether I had a wonderful time among other street art fans. There were only 5 of us plus two guides – young guys who really knew a lot about the street art and could answer just about every question related to it (and even more!)
We hanged out mostly in the spots outside of the downtown Lisbon. There was an underway passage next to the train stop, the newest hip and creative spaces of Lisbon, the first legal street art wall in the city or the area around the mental care hospital. Every and each of these places had some exceptional street art works, created both by local and international artists with the use of some incredible techniques. I can easily say that some of the murals I’ve seen on that day were among the best I’ve ever encountered. To my great surprise I also found Mr. Chat – crazy grinning cat that I’ve seen before in Sarajevo or Pristina, Kosovo!
One of the reason why I enjoy street art so much is its creative way of talking about important things. And Lisbon didn’t disappoint me here. The city is full of murals with political of social meaning, bringing people’s attention to issues that need to be talked about. That’s what made Lisbon quite an unique destination for me and I enjoyed every piece there so much!
I was also impressed by the way some of the works were made in. It was the first time I’ve seen the street art being sculpted on the wall, creating incredible faces of people. The Portuguese artist Vhils is behind it and seeing his work left me speechless each time. It was probably the most creative technique I’ve ever encountered.
What I also really liked about street art in Lisbon was how the work used some of the local patterns like azulejos (blue tiles that can be found all over the country and are probably the most Portuguese thing you can think of). We’ve seen pretty many of these and what’s even funnier some of the stencils were not done properly. I’d never have noticed that by myself!
The tour lasted almost 4 hours and I honestly don’t know how the time has passed so quickly. We covered a really big area of the city and I really felt like I learnt a lot about the Lisbon street art scene. The tour was definitely a highlight of my stay in the city and a wonderful way to explore its alternative side. I can totally recommend it to everyone who want to experience something more than just a beautiful sights of Lisbon! And yes, the rumours were true, the capital of Portugal really is one of the best street art cities in the world that can easily compete with Berlin, Athens or Rio de Janeiro.
Have you ever been on a street art tour? What are your favourite street art cities?
Note: The street art tour by Lisbon Destination Tours starts from the Rossio Train Station at 10am on Tuesdays and Sundays. It costs 18.75€/person. I was their guest at the tour however all opinion remain my own, as always.
If you think of visiting Portugal or just want to read more about the country take a look what else I wrote about it!
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