Lisbon is a relatively small capital city, but it packs a pretty big artistic punch. With at least four major galleries – the Museu Calouste Gulbenkian, the Berardo Collection, the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga and the Centro de Arte Moderna – plus countless other smaller ones, it’s an unexpected paradise for gallery ghosts. You could spend days viewing everything from Renaissance portraits to pop art, from medieval icons to modern sculpture. But for some of the most vibrant, colourful, and possibly controversial art, you just need to walk the streets and look around you.
Street art is everywhere in Lisbon. It ranges from bad graffiti to spray-painted masterpieces, from tiny motifs to entire mural walls, and brings a vivid splash of modernity to crumbling façades and old streets. To me, it was part of what made Lisbon so entrancing. I never expected to see it, and yet almost every time I turned a corner, there was something there to see and admire (or not!). And the best bit? You can take your time, wandering around with the sun hot on your back (and if you’re like me, with a custard tart in hand) – and you never quite know what you’ll come across next.
Most of these photos were taken in the Alfama district (the oldest in Lisbon), and in an area down by the river called Alcântara, where old industrial warehouses and units are starting to be “done up” into cafés, nightclubs, and art spaces.