from our taxi ride departing the barcelona airport into the city, spain has offered up a smorgasboard of street art. over the span of the four cities we visited, i’ve grown fonder and fonder of spain. each of the cities have their own charm and the streets are the best way to see it up close and personal.
graffiti lined the abandoned buildings along the highway and as we explored the city in the following days, we found little nuggets of gold in the form of tags, stencils and murals placed all over the city. for a city with such age and history, i didn’t expect to see much in the way of spraypaint but i was pleasantly surprised that with more hunting came more finds. many of these shots were taken in the raval and gracia neighbourhoods.
being the larger city, i expected more out of madrid and the city did not disappoint. the contrast between the grand monuments and colourful walls was a change from barcelona’s more aged barrios. many of the store’s steel shutters were painted with images that were specific to the store.
good neighbourhoods: realejo, centro
by the time we landed in granada, very little googling returned a plethora of results about how granada is a hotspot, possibly even the best place to find street art throughout the city. i was at a loss for words. how could a city known for the historical alhambra, one that (i assumed) would attract busloads of older people who were not into graffiti, be a breeding ground for street art? well it turns out i had granada all wrong, on every account. this city blew both haha and myself away with literally everything: food, sights, crowds, neighbourhoods and last but not least, the art. our first day was spent at the alhambra and i was told to walk the realejo hood to find some random pieces. well, we did just that and here are a few tidbits of granada’s gold. for those looking to explore the city, albaicin used to have a lot of street art but by the time i walked through it (may 2016), much of it was painted over you could still see the old murals through the layer of white paint… my guess is that this was done to ‘clean’ up the city’s image. sigh… also, most of the paintings within the city were more art-like and the areas between centro & albaicin tended to have more tags. as for the biggest collection, realejo is where it’s at. every turn leads to a better mural and with the area being so small, you can cover a lot of ground very quickly. this is the hood of granada’s most famous painter, el nino de las pinturas.
once again, shutters were painted to match their industry. the biggest collection would be alongside the guadalquivir river. we did not take a river cruise as i’ve read that that will give you the best access without having to walk/bike up both sides. i’m not sure how long the cruise is but i believe that the waterfront is something like 4km and much of it is filled with art. we started our walk at the plaza de armas bus station (next to the skatepark) and walked south on the opposite side of the river. the bus station features a massive mural by granada’s el nino de la pinturas and i was surprised to learn that since that piece was commissioned by the city, it is considered protected; meaning nobody is to tag/paint over it. civilized graffiti… gotta love it.