Art on the Streets in Lisbon

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.

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Lisbon - street art

Lisbon - street art

Lisbon - street art

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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. 

Linking up with Nancie at Budget Travelers Sandbox for Travel Photo Thursday, and with Sunday Traveler.

Sunday Traveler

23 replies »

  1. I love street art – especially if it as clever as some of these. Thank you for taking us on this tour. We are just starting to have some street art where I live. It really adds something to a city. I have some street art in my post today over on Travel Photo Thursday too – but from the other side of the world in Penang. Happy travels and have a great weekend.

  2. We were in Lisbon in 2012, but I don’t recognize any of this street art. I do love Lisbon with its hills and art and tiles.

  3. Another lovely post Molly! Just earlier this week, I wrote a post on the street art of Buenos Aires and seeing that had really awoken an interest in street art which has made me eager to see more of it across the world – and this post has helped me to see Lisbon’s street art too so thank you 🙂

  4. Wow, Molly! Love it all. Lisbon is high on my travel radar screen, and now another reason to go. It’s interesting comparing this to my Penang street art. I get the European vibe from Lisbon, and the Asian vibe from Penang. Both are fab! Thanks for linking up this week! #TPThursday

    • I loved your shots of Penang – and you’re right, it is very different! It’s made me want to see more now, I’m heading back to Paris next week so I’m hoping to find some there this time. Thanks for reading 🙂

  5. Just incredible. It looks like an open-air gallery painted by people with mad creativity. Definitely makes me want to go to Lisbon. Cheers to sharing, and I think there’s another street art post – about Athens – on the Sunday Traveler linkup, too.

    • Ooh, I’ll have to check that one out! That’s why I love street art – it is exactly like an open air gallery with a crazy streak! Thanks for reading 🙂

  6. Street art AND custard tarts??!! I’m in. I like wandering a town full of street art and seeing what I stumble across. The pieces in Lisbon look so interesting and imaginative. However, I wonder if the people who had their doors spray painted in that photo with the man on the stairs feel that it is artwork or vandalism.

    • It’s a pretty cool part of the city! I’d like to go back for an evening out, it looked as if there were some new clubs and bars down there. Thanks for reading!

    • It was one of my favourite things about Lisbon – and I’ve been seeing some great posts on other blogs about street art in other cities too. It all looks pretty good! Thanks for reading 🙂

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