Street Art in Europe: The Best Places to Go
Europe is known for its stunning formal galleries. In fact, it’s hard to go to any city on the continent and not be tempted to fork up €10 to visit the local art museum. But over the years, European artists have been taking their crafts to the street. With a bit of research, you can find inspirational street art in Europe. Although it’s hiding around the corners, it won’t cost you a cent, and many of these are an easy stroll away from the local train station.
Street art in Europe
Barcelona has an established art scene. It’s hard not to fall victim to the Gaudi works waiting for you in almost every neighbourhood of this vibrant city. But away from the organized galleries, exhibitions and world-famous architecture, it also has a slightly gritty underbelly that showcases some of the continent’s best street art.
Where to look: You’ll find a range of street art, including large murals and smaller paintings, throughout the city. But it tends to be focused around the El Gotíc, El Raval, and El Poblenou areas.
How to get there by train: It’s easy to reach Barcelona by train from throughout Spain. There are also several daily connections to bigger international cities including Paris.
It will come as no surprise that the German capital is one of the epicenters for street art in Europe. In fact, the city appears to have embraced it as yet another one of her quirky charms. You’ll find it in both formal and informal settings, and the standard is exceptionally high. Unfortunately, as the city gentrifies, so some of the most popular and iconic pieces are torn down. So act quickly on this one!
Where to look: Dramatic street art is everywhere you look in Berlin (this guide by Bruised Passports is particularly thorough). But the most iconic and arguably socially important street art landmark is still the East Side Gallery.
How to get there by train: Berlin is a popular rail hub fielding trains from throughout the country. You can also take long-distance and overnight trains from across the continent.
Greece has seen some tough times of late. Many of the country’s most creative minds are finding escapism in the form of street art. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the capital Athens. Although it’s still illegal in the city, many residents and indeed officials seem to be embracing it as a valid and thought provoking form of expression.
Where to look: Most neighborhoods in Athens have interesting murals and works of art. You’ll find them in their highest concentration around downtown Athens, Psiri, and Monastiraki.
How to get there by train: You can reach Athens by rail from north and south of the country. You can also get there on trains from Belgrade, Skopje and Sofia.
The buzzing, creative city of Porto is home to some of the continent’s most famous street artists. If you’re prepared to put in some miles up and down the steep river banks, you’ll find some true gems hiding in the most unexpected places. This includes works by the talented Hazul Luzah. Luzah has a few dozen works throughout the city. You’ll also find his art decorating his official street art map, hostels and wine labels.
Where to look: There are stunning murals and smaller works located throughout Porto. Your best bet is to simply walk the bigger streets and quieter alleyways (or pop in to DaVinci art gallery to see if they have any Hazul street art maps left).
How to get there by train: There are regular high-speed trains between Lisbon and Porto, as well as from the north of Spain.
The small Slovenian capital has seen a steady rise in street art in recent years. Chances are, you’ll notice it the moment you step on or off the train – your carriage will probably be decorated with an artwork of some kind. There’s also street art of varying quality dotted throughout the picturesque city, some of which is located at dizzying heights or in obscure locations. There’s something young and fresh about the art scene in Ljubljana. It makes discovering a new mural that much more exciting.
Where to look: Head to the popular Metelkova district to see the highest concentration of street art.
How to get there by train: Ljubljana is the main rail hub in Slovenia, and there are trains to the city from throughout the country, as well as from several international destinations such as Vienna, Zagreb and further afield.
While street art in Europe may once have been divisive, these days it’s a celebrated medium that draws favor from even the harshest critics. This is far from an exhaustive list, but the internet is crawling with good resources on where to find the best street art in your next city. Tracking down famous works is a fun activity to include when taking trains throughout the continent with a Eurail Pass.
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