Street Art – Porto

Of the three cities we visited on our trip to Europe (Paris, Lisbon, and Porto), my favorite by far was Porto. Porto is the second largest city in Portugal, and while it isn’t really all that large, it certainly felt like a real city and its romance and charm more than made up for it not being a huge metropolis. Porto is situated in northern Portugal on the river Douro, with the heart of the old city about two miles from the Atlantic Ocean. With history dating back to 300BC, it really came to be a city in the 14th and 15th centuries, of which several streets from Medieval times remain. 

While the city may be quite old, the street art scene is very recent, with the first piece officially sanctioned by the city happening in 2016. Fortunately, the scene has been flourishing this past few years. One thing you will note is that the majority of the pieces are done on doors or former doorways. This is because much of the older city is a Unesco World Heritage Site and therefore the buildings are protected with serious penalty for tagging or painting them. As such, artists have found that the doors and former doorways (now bricked up) make for perfect canvases and while much of the work is still illegal, using the doorways ensures the historic buildings are not damaged.

Our first few days I managed to capture a good  number of pieces, but towards the end of our stay, we took a tour from a local street art expert who took us deep into the Medieval back streets of the old city where some of the very best street art can be found. The tour was hugely informative about the history of street art in Porto.

I have spent several hours researching who the artists are for the pieces in the photos, unfortunately, there are many I was not able to determine. While researching the artists for the pieces in the gallery, I came across this wonderful article on the brief history of street art in Porto. A very good read.