Porto is Portugal’s second biggest city and has a growing reputation for being a cool place to be which means the Porto street art scene is always worth checking out.
Of course, what can be seen changes regularly but it’s always worth exploring the city streets to see what’s out there.
Some of the street art in Porto is more on the side of ‘big bubble letters’ and tagging with artists just wanting to get their name more well-known but some shows real artistic skill. Stencil art, the style from artists such as Banksy, can be seen usually in black and often with an underlying message.
Porto is a college town but is a historic area too so the mix of young life and old architecture brings plenty of artistic inspiration.
Where to find Porto street art
In Vila Nova de Gaia, the neighbourhood known for fortified wine, there are great views by the Douro River to inspire further. It’s for sure a spot where you should try to find an apartment for your stay in Porto. That way you would experience the local life and vibe best.
Porto’s stucco facades may be crumbling but street artists are having a lot of fun with the streets as their canvas as graffiti tolerance is very high here and there seems to be little restriction although graffiti is still illegal. Some artists have complained that it’s hard to get a permit to decorate a large wall in the city centre but the fact most buildings have brick walls around them there are plenty of side streets for artists to use.
Bring your camera and just walk the streets as there’s too much Porto street art to just name one area although Lapa Metro Station is a good location to see the latest street art as is Rúa Miguel Bombarda where there are many art galleries too with street art between them all.
As you walk you may start to recognise some of the more popular local Porto street artists’ work such as Hazul who does large-scale two colour (usually black and white) pieces consisting of lots of teardrop and geometrical shapes with more intricate ‘fretwork’ patterns filling the spaces.
While Hazul’s artwork has soft edges and feels rather freeform, another local artist, Mr Dheo, has a much sharper style. He likes colour and crisp lines and often incorporates a face with real character into his spray paint designs. He uses photorealism to challenge himself to be better every time.
Porto street art tour
You’ll find a few great Porto street art tours in the city. We love this private urban tour from Get Your Guide with a local guide. This two-hour tour takes your past the historic and modern architecture while exploring the traditional tiles and new urban street art.
The tour includes walking through Rua da Madeira, a hub for street art with incredible murals along with exploring graffiti gems in the side streets of Rua das Flores. You’ll start the tour at the Municipal Library and end it off strolling through the historic and charming area of Ribeira.
Photography tips for street art
Whether you bring a professional camera equipment or a just a camera phone the streets of Porto offer lots of opportunities for memorable shots. The juxtaposition of the crumbling walls and the vibrant street art make this a perfect place to practice new styles of photography.
Instead of standing try laying on the ground or climbing up high to get a new angle. And be patient so try waiting long enough so you blend into the scene and see who walks by.
Change to a slower shutter speed to blur movement of someone running or riding a bike in front a brightly painted wall. And try and get different shots so don’t aim to capture the whole of wall but move in close to photograph small sections in more detail.
Check out our guide to street photography for more tips.