For cutting-edge street art, head to the Portuguese capital, Lisbon. From derelict buildings to art galleries, new graffiti is appearing every day
See a gallery of Lisbon’s fantastic street art
Lisbon is an elegant city of pastel buildings with terracotta roofs, jumbled together on steep cobbled streets. So it was a shock to see a 40-foot burglar bursting out one of them.
I had just arrived and was taking a taxi to the city’s enticing Bairro Alto. Looming out of the dark on Av Fontes Pereira de Melo was an enormous building. Where the windows should have been, there was nothing but starry night sky, and an immense black figure making his escape. I got such a fleeting glance as we sped past that I wondered if I had imagined it. Retracing my steps the next morning, I found a cluster of formerly grand, now derelict, buildings. Artists had been let loose on their crumbling walls and boarded-up windows. As well as the six-storey-high “burglar”, there was a figure drinking from planet Earth with a straw, a giant crocodile, and some sinister birdlike creatures. The scale was breathtaking, and the gaudy colours incongruous but brilliant in the busy street.