By now, most travelers may have heard about Portugal‘s picture-perfect capital full of medieval infrastructure sandwiched between 19th-century and contemporary buildings. Despite the many steep hills throughout the city, walking is the best way to experience Lisbon (the tram may be the second best way), and each side street and corner have different treasures to discover. One, possibly unexpected, example is Lisbon’s street art.
These days, cities are covered in good graffiti and bad graffiti, and Lisbon is one that has more than its fair share of the good variety. The themes are multifaceted, covering the country’s history, pop culture, and imaginative abstracts.
In Mouraria, for example, a few walls are dedicated to fado, a musical style that developed in this part of the city. The Escadinhas de São Cristovão is lined in a mural that was created by different artists.
The more professional displays of street art have been created to beautify run-down, vacant buildings and add extra brightness to Lisbon’s trendy neighborhoods. One group of artists, in particular, is Cargo Collective, who are responsible for amazing displays of street art between Alcântara, Avenida Almirante Reis (a long street that runs from Martim Moniz to the airport), and fashion-focused Avenida da Liberdade. The whole city, however, has become a canvas, especially the following areas.
Without a doubt, Bairro Alto is one of Lisbon’s most colorful neighborhoods in every way. It’s chock-full of bars, clubs, small restaurants and tascas, tattoo parlors, and…street art. A couple of areas where you will find a few amazing examples include Travessa dos Fiéis de Deus, Rua da Vinha, and Rua de São Boaventura.
The Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara is one of the best places near Bairro Alto for a view, and the elevator tram (pictured below) is covered in colorful displays.
Alfama, São Vicente, Graça
On the other side of Lisbon’s downtown, Alfama, São Vicente and Graça are full of narrower roads that are lined in eclectic artwork. While riding on the tram 28 through Graça, you may see this next picture, which was created by artist João Maurício.
Not all of the art is based in paints. Quite a few are masterpieces by street artist Alexandre Manuel Dias Farto (aka. Vhils), whose artwork is the product of drilling and carving.
From the buildings off the highways to the narrow streets and quiet neighborhoods, Alcântara is another great place to view these truly spectacular images.
In Alcântara in particular is the LX Factory, a hotspot for entrepreneurs, freelancers, and artists. This neighborhood of restaurants, bars, stores, and offices was converted from old factory buildings that had been abandoned for decades. The artwork certainly adds a bit of color to this social hub near the center of Lisbon.
Last but not least, the Lisbon metro stops, like the Picoas metro stop, are unexpected locations where street art (including azulejo tiles) adorn the walls. Keep your eyes peeled the next time you’re hopping on and off the trains throughout the city.