Or, better, I should say as seen on the streets of the Northern Quarter, as almost all murals can be spotted in this neighbourhood. Once the centre of the cotton industry, nowadays Manchester’s Northern Quarter is the hipster heaven of the city, and the best place to find some great street art. The most spectacular large-scale murals in the area were painted during Cities of Hope, a street art festival highlighting social injustices while raising money for Manchester charities.
Street Art Guide
They say street art in Barcelona was a big thing until 10 to 15 years ago. That was before the city council began to ‘clean up’ the city by tightening graffiti laws, imposing big fines and white-washing the most colourful areas in town. Later on, a few street art festivals such as ‘The Influencers’ and ‘OpenWall Conference’ claimed some legal walls around the city, while spontaneous street art is essentially reduced to stencil art and pastel art (as in these cases the fine is lower if you are caught).
If you are not into street art, don’t bother going as far as Lagos, in the Algarve, the southernmost region of Portugal. The town is very touristy, restaurants aren’t inspiring and, besides a few charming houses in the city centre, the town is made up of ugly concrete buildings and huge hotels.
But if you are into street art, Lagos is the place to go! Especially if, after a graffiti hunt, you fancy a rest at one of the many beautiful beaches not so far from the city centre.
It goes without saying that I picked Lisbon as my summer destination for its street art scene. Lisbon City Council has pioneered an active role for public art in its drive for urban renewal, so it’s no wonder that the Portuguese capital is more colorful and artsy than other European towns. As usual, graffiti hunting allowed me to discover some of the most creative outskirts in Lisbon and get to know the town beyond its touristy city center, confirming that ‘street art tourism’ might be the best way to explore a destination, or at least it works for me.
Athens, seen from above, is a white ocean of roofs meeting the Mediterranean sea somewhere at the horizon.