I’m no expert when it comes to street art but I do have one thing going for me. I’m from Bristol; the official home of Banksy and some of the most celebrated street art in Europe. Everywhere I go, I’m surrounded by colourful graffiti and sky-high murals. So it’s no wonder that I felt right at home in Lisbon; a city that has embraced cutting-edge street art for decades and has successfully transformed entire abandoned neighbourhoods into mesmerising works of art, in their own right.
There are a number of organised street art tours around Lisbon but you don’t have to go out of your way to discover the urban art scene. It’s everywhere you look and you can get a pretty good taste, just by walking to some of the city’s main attractions. But it helps if you know some of the hot-spots, so here’s my top tips for where to spot street art in Lisbon.
Read more: A weekend in Lisbon: Top Things to See and Do
Where to spot street art in Lisbon:
The ancient neighbourhood of Alfama was our ‘home away from home’ for 3 blissful days and we came face to face with some of the city’s most vibrant street art, within steps of our quaint Airbnb apartment.
A casual walk to some of the neighbourhood’s key tourist attractions, such as Castelo de Sao Jorge and Miradouro das Portas do Sol, will guarantee you plenty of opportunities to spot colourful wall art and quirky street exhibitions. One of my favourite finds was this fascinating street exhibition by a local artist who turns recycled garbage into unique pieces of art!
Bordering Alfama is one of the city’s best kept secrets – the downtown district of Mouraria. This multicultural hub of local life has retained all its old-world charm and authenticity and makes for a fascinating afternoon wander.
An excellent way to explore the art in this area is to join the Taste of Lisboa food tour. A knowledgeable local guide will take you through the maze of cobbled streets, stopping for delicious local dishes and shots of ginjinhua as you go!
Many of the streets here are dedicated to Fado – a traditional and melancholy musical genre, which still pulses through the veins of the city today. Local photographer Camilla Watson has paid tribute to the stars of Fado with an almost haunting photographic display that lines the alleyways.
‘The Tribute’ exhibition is just as moving, capturing the stories of local elderly people who have spent their whole lives within the walls of this neighbourhood.
Most visitors to Lisbon whizz straight past Alcântara on their way to Belem, missing out on one of the city’s most exciting and up-and-coming areas.
LX Factory – an abandoned factory turned creative arts district – is a great place to spot some of the city’s most imaginative and lively visual art.
The area is an eclectic hub of independent stores, galleries and cafes with art coming right out of the walls (literally). There’s plenty to see just by wandering up and down the main cobblestone streets but there are also some great bars and coffee shops if you fancy a break. We stopped at WISH coffee house and were served up one of the best brews of our trip!
This area is also a great place to get up close and personal with the iconic 25 de Abril Bridge. With the red pillars of the bridge in your midst, the smell of fresh coffee and funky liberal arts vibe, you could easily get lost and think you’re in San Francisco!
Looking for other things to do in Lisbon? Check out my ultimate weekend guide to Lisbon, including top tips on where to stay and what to see and do in Portugal’s most popular city.
Or if it’s street art you’re interested in, take a look at my article on spotting street art in Stokes Croft, Bristol.