Street art in Europe: 5 European cities with awesome graffiti

PUBLISHED: 07:05 01 March 2017 | UPDATED: 09:16 01 March 2017

A piece of street art by artist Bambi depicting Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump dancing Picture: Yui Mok/PA Images

A piece of street art by artist Bambi depicting Prime Minister Theresa May and US President Donald Trump dancing Picture: Yui Mok/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Art no longer has to be hung in stuffy galleries and gazed upon in silence – the streets rule now. Here is The New European’s guide to Europe’s street art hotspots

Graffiti was once the scourge of council’s clean up teams who would be dispatched post-haste to scrub the wall that had been defaced.

But today a refined form of graffiti is more likely to garner reflective contemplation than angry tuts from passersby.

From its origins in New York City, street art has grown across Europe to become one of art’s most loved and admired genres. Here are the five best European street art cities:

London – If street art was born in the Bronx then it came of age in London – and no-one has done more to gentrify the medium than Banksy.

The story goes that he was hiding from police under a rubbish bin lorry when he noticed a stencilled serial number on the vehicle and realised it would be a quicker method to make his mark and thus avoid being arrested.

Already common around his hometown of Bristol, Banksy’s works in London began to gain national and international recognition in the early 2000s.

These days art lovers target London touring the capital’s boroughs in search of their favourite Banksy – but they discover much more along the way. Camden Town, Shoreditch, Brixton and Islington are just a few hotspot but the scene – and the art – is shifting all the time.

One excellent recent example which caught the current political mood is Bambi’s Lie Lie Land (pictured) in Islington.

Berlin – There is hardly a street in the Germany capital without art.

Berlin has the largest concentration of street art in Europe without doubt – and probably the world. Outdoor art became commonplace in West Germany with the Wall providing the perfect canvas. And once it fell in 1989 the artists crossed into the East to liven up the once drab, grey buildings of Communism.

Check out the East Side Gallery and Alternative Cultural Centre Raw-Tempel for more of Berlin’s street art history.

Barcelona – Back when most of the world’s cities still believed street art to be vandalism Barcelona embraced it.

With this acceptance came visits by some of the world’s best-known street artists including Banksy, Space Invaders and London Police. And because Barcelona is one of the world’s skateboarding capitals – street art is closely linked to the pastime – it has remained a favourite.

Today there are designated free walls (often used by beginners) and new pieces pop up at regular intervals from old names and new ones.

Rome – The Eternal City – worried about what the tourists might think – has long fought a losing battle with graffiti. But now, as part of a wider project of inner city renewal, street art is being used to engage young people and brighten up neglected neighbourhoods.

In recent years areas including Magliana, Portuense, Pigneto and San Lorenzo have seen an upsurge in creativity and some truly excellent artistic expression.

Lisbon – It’s no surprise that Portugal’s capital has become something of a 
mecca for street art – the local government has its own urban and street art department.

This cooperation, support and even encouragement means the next generation of globally-renowned street artists are emerging in Lisbon – and the city is a perfect canvas for their work.

Support The New European's vital role as a voice for the 48%

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

  • Become a Friend of The New European for a contribution of £48. You will qualify for a mention in our newspaper (should you wish).
  • Become a Patron of The New European for a contribution of £480. You or your company will be mentioned in the newspaper each week (should you wish) and you and a guest will be invited to join the editor at a special lunch in London this June to discuss the anniversary of Brexit.

Supporter Options

Mention Me in The New European

Latest articles

The choice is simple – vote down extremists, dreamers and chancers

Is it time for toughness to discourage further defections or for accommodation to a changing public mood across the Union?

Question Time Live: Political debate from Oxford ahead of the election

All the action from Question Time as Britain gears up for the Brexit Election.

Britain on collision course with Europe over Brexit bill

Angela Merkel has said the UK has “illusions” about the realities of Brexit and insisted talks on the UK’s divorce bill from the EU must be dealt with before trade negotiations can begin.

Election Live: Boris clatters into campaign mode and Labour on housing

All the news, updates and reactino on April 27.

Election Live: Final PMQs and parties square up over NHS

All the news, reaction and updates on April 26.

Here’s how the Remain cause has ceased to be the establishment

When you think about it, Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election should come as no surprise.

Fear is mounting that Brexit’s impact will spill across the Irish Sea

With the clock ticking not only on Article 50, but also a UK general election, is Ireland the part of Europe with most to fear from Brexit’s fallout?

Danger ahead: Could Mrs May’s Brexit Election come back to bite her?

The Prime Minister believes she holds all the cards as the country embarks on a General Election. But Labour could still spring a surprise at the ballot box

Is Tim Farron the man with the most to gain from this election?

The Liberal Democrat leader is the one Number 10 increasingly fears

Starmer vows MPs could veto Brexit under Labour

MPs would be given the chance to halt a Brexit deal secured by a Labour government, Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer has said.

Election Live: Starmer spells out Labour’s Brexit strategy

All the election news, reaction and updates on April 25.

France and the long shadow of Putin

One of France’s most powerful political figures wasn’t on the ballot paper – he was more than 1,500 miles away, at home in the Kremlin

ELECTION LIVE: Tories attack Corbyn on defence, Lib Dem members boost

All the updates, reaction and analysis on Monday April 24.

Labour needs a Brexit strategy, not just ideology

Labour could still shock Theresa May at the ballot box. But Corbyn needs to up his game on Brexit

FRENCH ELECTION: Far-right candidate Le Pen makes it in to final two

Pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron will face far-right Marine Le Pen in a head-to-head battle for the French presidency.

Turkey, Brexit and the danger of referendums: A recipe for division

Brexit raises more and more questions for its backers. Yet they still have no answers

ELECTION LIVE: Corbyn’s new bank holidays and Farron gay row grows

Follow all the developments and reactions on Sunday April 23.

Here’s why May’s election won’t pan out according to plan...

... they never do, says The New European’s election editor

ELECTION LIVE: Candidates hit the streets as ground war kicks off

Live election coverage including news, reaction and analysis on Saturday April 22.


Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter