As the city’s former mayor once succinctly put it, Berlin is ‘poor and sexy.’ This latter appeal can be attributed – at least in part – to the street art and graffiti that has blossomed across its façades ever since the dismantling of the wall. Berlin is a true canvas and its inhabitants are the artists, contributing to a picture that is never quite complete. The street art-scene is a highlight of the city; as such Culture Trip has put together here a few ways to make the most out of exploring them.
Street art is a vital part of Berlin’s underground scene, contributing to the uniqueness and creativity that defines the capital. The often politically motivated pieces can only be fully appreciated when their motivations and context is understood. We recommend joining a tour with a professional guide – they’re often artists and graffiti taggers themselves – in order to fully comprehend the city’s artistic phenomenon.
Alternative Street Art Tours is a popular option. They offer tours every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday that start at midday. The tour lasts for about five hours, and gives a mind-blowing introduction to Berlin’s street art, ending in a typical Berlin factory where you get to become the artist as guides introduce you to the basic techniques of tagging.
Berlin Street Art Tours is another company offering reliable, firsthand information about all artworks across Berlin. The meeting point for the tours is at Open Walls Gallery and you can book online. It’s best to learn the secrets from those in the know – the walls are constantly changing and you might even catch an artist in the act!
If you’ve got holes in your pockets, rest assured that you can find traces of of street art almost anywhere in Berlin; be it on walls or garbage bins, on bridges or doors and in tunnels. The city spends millions of euros each year removing graffti, which seems a futile fight in a city where street art has become a primary form of expression.
Take a stroll or navigate by bike through any of these favourite graffiti-rich areas. A good place to begin is at the East Side Gallery, where artists have covered the remnants of the Berlin Wall with murals.
The streets of Kreuzberg also reflect the diverse mix of people and alternative atmosphere of the neighbourhood. There are some well-known murals here that often depict strong political messages.
Dircksenstrasse in Mitte is one of the best places to find street art in Berlin. The street runs along the railway tracks and is crammed with art and wheat-pastes.
Friedrichshain still have a very active anti-authoritarian scene despite the rapid changes the area is facing. Cruise through Revaler Strasse or Boxhagener Strasse and look out for murals and stencils from famous Berlin street artists like Alias, Xooox and Mein Lieber Prost.
Alternative Street Art Tours, Danzigerstr. 61, Berlin, Germany +49 162 81 98 264