Are you an art lover looking for places to visit other than the standard touristy suggestions? We offer up five unusual spots to find wonderful works of art in Lisbon, all without wandering too far from the beaten track.
The artistic charms of Lisbon are now a very badly kept secret and if you are a resident or even a frequent visitor with a love of art you may already have exhausted the usual list of places to visit for your art fix. Berardo Collection? Been there. Street Art tour? Done that. Ancient Art Museum? Old News. What else is left? We suggest five unexpected places to find art in the Portuguese capital.
- Art right under your feet
If you been here for a while or are a frequent visitor, you may have already forgotten to look down at the wonderful works of art beneath the soles of your shoes. Lisbon’s traditional pavements, or calçada, are extraordinary works of art in themselves. If you want to remind yourself of the effort and skill that goes into making these mosaic beauties try a walk down Avenida da Liberdade, Rossio the birthplace of calçada in the 1840s, and Largo do Chiado, to stare down at the complex black and white patterns.
- André Saraiva's massive tile mural in São Vicente de Fora
This is the largest piece of street art in Lisbon. Finished in 2016, it’s a full 188 metres of tiled mural including a massive total of 52,738 hand-painted tiles by Swedish-born artist of Portuguese extraction André Saraiva. The colourful expanse of mural depicting Portuguese and international landmarks took two years to put together and was commissioned by MUDE, Lisbon’s Museum of Design and Fashion.
- Ritz Four Seasons art collection
Checking in to one of Lisbon’s most luxurious hotels is not a requirement to enjoy its gorgeous art collection. In fact, all you need to do is download the Ritz Four Season’s Art Collection app and have a wander around to get the low down on all the art pieces in the place. This landmark hotel was built in the 1950s to showcase the cosmopolitan side of the Portuguese capital and a host of Portuguese contemporary artists, including Almada Negreiros, Pedro Leitão and Estrela Faria, were commissioned to fill it with sumptuous art.
- The Lisbon Metro art tour
Lisbon’s underground system has its fair share of uninspiring stations, but a few of its gems, and especially some of the more modern stations make up for it in spades. A great place to start, for a modern take on what a metro station can inspire, is the Red Line. Stop at Olaias, designed by architect Tomás Taveira and decorated by several leading artists. Next stop is Bela Vista with its tiles designed by Querubim Lapa, then Chelas with its walls by ceramicist Jorge Martins, and finally Aeroporto to look at the cheeky work of cartoonist António Antunes adorning the walls. Another station that you shouldn’t miss is Parque on the blue line whose serene blue interior is reminiscent of the bottom of the sea and was designed by artist Maria Keil.
- Bordalo Pinheiro Garden
The Bordalo Pinheiro Garden is in fact the garden of the Museum of the City of Lisbon. Amongst its manicured hedges hide a menagerie of over 1,200 sculptures of animals, and some vegetables, recast from original molds by Portuguese 19th century majolica magician Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro. It’s a wonderfully kitsch and surprising place with giant lobsters, lizards, monkeys, snails and all manner of other creatures lurking around every corner.