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



Latest articles

We will keep marching for the UK’s future in the EU

Why Saturday’s protest needs to be a display of unity for all our sakes

Just how reliant is our economy on workers born overseas?

It is not just construction, technology and retail that relies heavily on overseas workers. Brexit could impact industries across the economy.

Never has the truth about Brexit been more needed

George Osborne is not the only big newspaper appointment to make waves. Our editor-at-large Alastair Campbell explains why he’s joined The New European

Nicola Sturgeon on Scottish independence: If not now, when?

Theresa May is right that now is not the time for a referendum on Scottish independence. But if she disagrees with our timeframe, she must set out her own alternative

London attacks: how do you protect people from terrorism through urban design?

Westminster attack raises spectre of new ‘rings of steel’ to boost security in urban centres

Alastair Campbell joins The New European as editor-at-large

The New European has announced that Alastair Campbell is joining its editorial board as Editor-at-Large.

Bonnie Greer: With Brexit we have turned our back on the world – and our values

Not everyone who voted leave is a racist or a xenophobe but the campaign and its aftermath has attracted some dubious supporters

Brexit timeline: What happens next once Article 50 is triggered?

When Article 50 is triggered on March 29 there is a two-year deadline for Britain and the EU to complete the hugely complex negotiations

Downing Street tussles with Brussels over £50bn divorce bill as PM names date for Article 50

Article 50: The Government and Brussels have squared up after the PM signalled a date to trigger the formal process to quit the EU

Tory MP’s Hard Brexit warning

Tory MP issues a warning to party colleagues of the dangers of Hard Brexit, as he launches a new initiative to build bridges with Europe

Don’t send Ireland back to division

A family story of the close family bonds between Ireland and the UK, and what Brexit might mean for Ireland.

Dear Mr Gove, we appreciate how our values could be deeply irritating to you

For the avoidance of doubt, Michael, we hold you in contempt.

Indy Ref 2 is coming: the UK is no longer fit for purpose

Scottish nationalist Hardeep Singh Kohli is feeling confident about the prospect of independence for his beloved country

Jack Monroe on trolls, mental breakdown and that libel victory over Katie Hopkins

EXCLUSIVE: A libel victory over Katie Hopkins, a suicide attempt and the hope that we might all finally learn to be a little kinder to one another online

No green Brexit: why the implications look sinister for wildlife

The sinister implications of Brexit for wildlife have rather gone under the radar thus far. But it is likely that we will all see the impact soon enough

How spa culture is taking over Europe (and the 5 best places to join in)

There are few ways to relax that are more European than a trip to a spa. But there are also few things more fraught with potential embarrassment. Here, we provide a guide to the etiquette expected

Why we need a second Brexit vote: First law of politics is people can change their minds

People can, and regularly do, change their minds. The public should be given that option once the Brexit deal is done.

Higher education reforms and Brexit have become inextricably linked

The Brexit Bill is not the only one to have suffered a rough ride in the Lords in recent months.

Trending

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter