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Street art: the most colourful places to visit in Europe

Traveling through the different corners of Europe and strolling through the neighbourhoods and alleys of the main capitals of the old continent is like seeing beyond the famous galleries, dazzling museums, and architectural pieces worthy of admiration. So-called Street Art has achieved its own way of understanding art. These are the some of the most colourful corners in Europe. 

Decades ago, Street Art was considered akin to vandalism in its purest form. It was a way to “stain” the city walls and it even posed a problem for institutions. However, this artistic movement has gained respect and admiration by separating itself from the graffiti without beauty or meaning that still exist today in practically all the cities of the old continent. Street Art is a way of understanding life—it is an art that, instead of being enclosed in buildings, is visible to everyone to be admired and photographed. There are now cities that have made it one of their most important tourist attractions. Do you know the most popular corners for street art in Europe?

Bristol (United Kingdom)

If there is one place that is worth visiting in the United Kingdom to enjoy the most authentic street art, that is Bristol—a benchmark in this type of painting since the late ‘80s. Little by little the streets of Bristol began to be decorated with paintings that were gaining some notoriety, but it was not until the year 2000 when Bansky became famous that it became popular. UpFest, related to this type of art, has been celebrated every year since 2008, and there are even Bristol Street Art Tours, which pass through the most famous urban art areas of the city such as M Shed, Gloucester Road and Stokes Croft, Nelson Street, Bedminster, and Southville.

Ghent (Belgium)

It is possibly one of the cities with the greatest manifestation of street art in recent times. In fact, for centuries Belgium in general has been one of the greatest pioneers in Europe for art and illustration. Artists like Hardnesh, Bisser, Matthew Dawsn, Jolly, Night, and Roa—an eminent figure in street art—have painted in Ghent. The promotion of the different Street Art tours in Belgium has led to the creation of its own website: streetartbelgium.com.

Milan (Italy)

For many people, Milan is unjustly one of the least attractive capitals of monumental Italy, but this Italian city is a benchmark in street art, something that undoubtedly helps its more industrial and less artistic profile. If we have to choose some of the most outstanding artists to highlight: Nemos, Rems182, Nais, Sonda, Telma, Never 2051, Pao, Urbansolid… The first, Nemos, is the most prolific, the SpazioWow museum is covered in Nais’s graffiti, and UrbanSolid’s 3-D work can be seen all over the city.

Valencia (Spain)

One of the latest and newest European cities taking a chance on street art in Europe is Valencia. The Barrio del Carmen, which is its oldest neighbourhood and origin of the city, is where almost all these kinds of works are concentrated with walls painted in their entirety, walls that change paintings completely several times a year… something that has helped make the third largest city of Spain gain some popularity in the field of European street art.

Lisbon (Portugal)

It is considered one of the most famous street art capitals of Europe, if not the most, because Lisbon is for many artists and graffiti artists the paradigm of the best city and the most beautiful in which to perform this type of work. Strolling through its atmospheres and neighbourhoods of a certain melancholic air with traces of Street Art impregnated in its buildings is a gift for the eyes. There is no doubt.

Cologne (Germany)

One of Berlin’s main attractions is street art, but it is undoubtedly beaten by the liberal Cologne, one of the graffiti Meccas of the whole continent. There is also a host of festivals and activities around this art, such as the CityLeaks Festival, that offers several tours around the city and dazzling neighbourhoods with the best works of popular artists like Bocho.

Marseille (France)

If there is one French city that stands out in street art that is, without a doubt, Marseille, especially if we go to the Cours Julien area, full of neighbourhoods, artists, musicians… large and beautiful murals cover entire parts of buildings that stand out as cinematographic and, above all, social references.

Rotterdam (Holland)

In the north of Europe, an important city for street art is the always surprising and magical Rotterdam. It does not have canals like its neighbour Amsterdam, but graffiti and street art (apart from other attractions) that confer it as one of the most beautiful and charming cities in the country. The RUA festival held in 2009 left a great legacy of large murals that can still be seen at www.rua-art.org

And if you are a lover of art, painting, and imagination, the streets of Europe never disappoint. These are just some of the most famous or newest street art capitals on the old continent, but this list is full of charming corners where we can contemplate art while we walk. Are you ready?

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