Four reasons why Lisbon’s street art scene is one of the coolest in Europe

Jonas Romero Sanchez
Published in
3 min readApr 7, 2021

You may wonder why so many young Europeans choose Lisbon to live. It can be the sun, the beautiful view from the hills, or the dozens of terraces where you can drink imperiais and leave your worries behind. But others would argue that Lisbon’s street art scene is one of the coolest and most vibrant in Europe. Here are some examples that combine Portugal’s history, music and colorful landscapes.

Collaboration between the Portuguese artist Vhils and Obey the Giant, in the Graça neighborhood.
  1. Lisbon it’s a musical city, so are their walls.

If you have already passed through the Alfama neighborhood, you probably have noticed some strange, sad, but beautiful sound, coming out of the windows or local restaurants. That music is Fado, and is known as the unofficial Portuguese anthem. The themes of fado are inspired by the loss of something that was loved, as so many sailors left Lisbon throughout history. But in modern times, it can be played at a party or other happy occasions.

Fado Vadio. Credit: Pinterest.

In Lisbon you will find many murals inspired by the fadistas, the most famous of which is located on the Escadinhas de São Cristóvão, in the city center. This pice, called “Fado Vadio”, means “bohemian fado” and tells the story of some of the best musicians in Lisbon.

2. Lisbon street art honors Portugal’s Revolução dos Cravos.

Obey the giant, in the Graça neighborhood. Credit:

On April 25, 1974, a part of the Portuguese military rose against their superiors, in an attempt to overthrow a dictatorship that had lasted 48 years. That day, waitress Celeste Caeiro was passing by with tons of carnation flowers, and started handing them over to rising soldiers. This gesture became a symbolic way of showing that the movement did not wanted to shoot, they just wanted to conquer democracy.

In Lisbon, you will find a lot of street art referring to the Revolução dos Cravos. One of the most famous is that of Frank Shepard, a.k.a. Obey the Giant, located at Rua Natalia Correa, in the Graça neighborhood.

3. The mixture of interesting techniques

Fox made out of garbage near Cais do Sodré, made for Bordalo II. Credit: Revista Sptotssen.

In the main picture of this post you can see the joint work of two artists: the aforementioned Frank Shepard and a Portuguese star: Vhils (you can check his Instagram here). Vhil’s main technique is to sculpt into huge walls to create detailed human faces. You can find some of his work all over Lisbon and Europe.

If you like this kind of experimentation, you should know the work of Bordalo II, a young Portuguese artist who builds huge paints from garbage. You can find some of their animals all over Lisbon.

4. Within walking distance of you!

Although Lisbon is a hilly city, it is still possible to walk almost everywhere. This means that the entire beautiful street art scene in Lisbon is only minutes away from OnJ S. Lázaro hotel!

The Graça neighborhood is just a 10-minute walk from our hotel. There you will find almost all the arts listed in this post and much, much more. Take a look at this amazing video made by !