Portugal is known for many things, from spectacular landscapes to beautiful beaches, fairytale-like castles, and delicious cuisines. However, there is one experience that many people who visit this magnificent country are yet to discover – street art.
Portugal is like paradise for street art lovers, with several talented street artists donning the streets of various cities and towns with beautiful art pieces that will take your breath away.
If you are considering visiting Portugal, a street art tour is a great way to explore this Mediterranean jewel. There are several street art destinations to explore, which are located across the country. To enjoy the best out of your street art tour, I would recommend exploring these destinations on a campervan tour.
In fact, that is exactly how I managed to afford my latest street art tour of Portugal and is what inspired me to jot down some highlights from the top destinations I visited.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal and the centre of tourism is also not left behind when it comes to street art. The city is home to several street artists, including famous ones such as Bordalo II and Vhils. The city is also full of several art pieces that are displayed on the walls of various buildings. This makes it a great destination to add to your street art tour itinerary.
Lisbon’s captivating urban art pieces are hard to miss while exploring the city, but there are top spots where you are guaranteed to see the best pieces. These include:
• LX Factory – here you can see an urban art masterpiece of a wasp created by Bordallo II. Like all his pieces, the wasp is made from recycled, trash materials
• Museu Berardo in Belem – from here you can see another one of Bordallo II’s masterpiece, the majestic raccoon also created from waste materials
• Mouraria neighbourhood – here you find another urban art masterpiece, the Fado Vadio, a mural that was created by a collective of urban artists, with inspiration from Portugal’s fado music
• Damaia – at Damaia neighbourhood in Lisbon, you will come across the masterpiece painting of Breaking Bad TV show scenes at the train station, painted by sensational street artist, Odeith.
• Sacavem – while exploring Sacavem, you will come across one of the most spectacular urban art piece in Portugal, the Nomen, Vespa PDF Utopia piece. The graffiti piece is displayed on a 4-storey building wall.
Carcavelos is located about 12 kilometres away from Lisbon, in the municipality of Cascais. It was initially famous for winemaking. However, the decline of the industry has left it to use other tourist attractions such as surfing and street art. While it is not as popular as other destinations, Carcavelos holds a high place in the country’s street art history, as it is where graffiti was born in Portugal. It is thus one of the top must-visit places during your street art tour of the country.
From small paintings by a few artists, the graffiti movement in Carcavelos has spread, and now almost every wall is adorned by these captivating street artworks. Some of the top spots where you can view them include:
• Carcavelos High School – the walls of the school are considered the “Hall of Fame” for graffiti in Portugal. Here, you will find several pieces from urban artists, including the initial painting during the birth of graffiti in the country some three decades ago.
• Quinta dos Ingleses – on the path to the beach and train station, there is a wall that displays several paintings, including some from the pioneer era
• Carcavelos beach – at the beach, you will find a breath-taking graffiti painting of Amy Winehouse
While street art is illegal in several places in the world, in Porto it is embraced; although the birth of street art, took some struggle. Nonetheless, street artists have transformed the streets of Porto from their depressing grey colours, to vibrant, lively colours with captivating urban art pieces. There are lots of street art work pieces in the cities, but the best ones can be found in:
• Trindade metro station – at the centre of the city you will find the Mural da Trindade, one of the famous street art pieces, which is a collaboration of two artists – Hazul and Mr. Dheo
• Teatro Carlos Alberto – another sensational urban art piece – Landscape – adorns this local theatre. The painting was created by artist Martinha Maia.
• Rua Nova da Alfândega – at a square along Rua Nova da Alfândega you can find another captivating piece or urban work. The portrait, titled “Mira” meaning look, was painted by street artist Daniel Eime.
Almada is a small city located on the Margin of River Tagus, on the other side of Lisbon. Despite being small and less-than-popular compared to other tourist destinations, the city is making a name for itself thanks to urban art. Almada art scene is quite vibrant, with the city being home to several street artists. The city boasts of a number of graffiti murals, which are displayed on abandoned buildings along the river. The place to see the best artwork along Rua Ginjal where you will find beautiful street murals on an abandoned warehouse facing the waterfront.
Aveiro is one of the hidden gems in Portugal when it comes to tourism. Set on the west coast of the country, the city boasts of a shallow coastal lagoon, which is a paradise for birds and bird watchers. The town also has a spectacular network of canals and bridges, which has earned it the nickname “the Venice of Portugal”. However, it is Aveiro’s art scene that is placing this small but lively town on the world’s map.
The Art Nouveau museum is the perfect place to visit to see some of the best art nouveau pieces. Aveiro is also a gem for street art lovers, and you can come across several urban artworks while exploring the city. You can come across several pieces displayed in the gondolas (boats) operating in the city’s canals.
Street art is proving to be a popular tourist attraction in Portugal. If you are visiting the country, planning a street art tour (or adding street art destinations to your itinerary) can guarantee you an adventurous and unforgettable vacation experience. From major destinations such as Lisbon and Porto to hidden spots such as Aveiro, Almada, Carcavelos, Damaia, Sacavem, and others, you will come across spectacular street art pieces from the best of Portugal’s artists. Let us know how you get on!