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Porto’s street art: An open-air gallery

If you are one of those people who walks around with a camera on, to record art wherever you see it, get ready: Porto is in a prominent place in the European street art circuit and your smartphone’s image gallery will be very lively. And your Instagram feed too, of course.

Porto’s vibrant historic centre is now a fascinating destination for urban art, with many of its colourful streets lined with graffiti and murals by national and foreign artists.

The amount of artwork has increased significantly in recent years, with the city following the emerging movement that has sprung up all over the world. With luck, you can even come across an artist painting a new mural in the streets, live.

Much of the artwork exhibited in open air throughout the city represent aspects of Portuguese culture and heritage while others aim to convey social and political messages.
Facades of historic buildings, houses, palaces, electricity boxes, subway passages and much more are now art manifestos and coexist, in silence, with the hustle and bustle of the city. The amazing thing is you don’t even have to pay to see them. But beware: you need to be attentive, keep your eyes wide open, to spot the well-hidden artwork.

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The amazing thing is you don't even have to pay to see them. But beware: you need to be attentive, keep your eyes wide open, to spot the well-hidden artwork.

Ready to start the tour? Here are some tips:

“Mural da Trindade”, Rua do Alferes Malheiro. Mural on a wall of 250 m2 next to the Trindade car park, painted by Hazul Luzah and Mr. Dheo, who portrayed his own father with Porto in his hand.

“Don Quixote & Sancho Panza”, Rua Miguel Bombarda/Rua de Diogo Brandão
Mural that brought together the artists Mesk, Fedor and Mots by immortalizing on one side of a building the characters of Cervantes – Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.

“Look at Porto”, Rua de Ancira 6-8
The first public work of Vhils in Porto, in a historical façade of the fourteenth century, which invites you to ‘look’ at the city.

Mira, Largo de Artur Arcos (Miragaia)
Painting by Daniel Eime that depicts the aging population that usually lives in this area of the city.

“Quem és Porto?”, Rua da Madeira (next to São Bento Station)
Urban art action that brought together dozens of participants, professionals and amateurs. It is a mural with 135 sq metres composed of three thousand tiles.

“Half Rabbit”, Rua Guilherme Gomes Fernandes, 42 (Cais de Gaia)
The artist Bordalo II collected garbage from the surroundings and carved a rabbit, half colourful and half greyish, to alert to issues such as sustainability, consumerism and pollution.

“An.Fi.Tri.Ão”, Entrance of the D. Luís Bridge (upper deck)
Mural by Frederico Draw that portrays the welcoming personality of the people of Porto in relation to the tourists who visit the city.

“Perspéntico”, Rua de Afonso Martins Alho
In the smallest street of Porto we find a huge blue cat created by the Galician artist LIQEN, with the aim of portraying a city always in motion.

“VSP Group Exhibition”, Rua da Fábrica Social
A giant face drawn in a vacant building of the José Rodrigues Sculptor Foundation that dates back to the first interventions of Vhils.

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But there are more—many more—artistic interventions scattered across street corners and buildings. The urban art map is always growing and Porto is increasingly a colourful and dynamic city that you want to discover and photograph.