All throughout the world, street art is becoming an ubiquitous part of local culture.
Once considered to be a universal symbol denoting no-go areas in cities across the globe, graffiti has taken on a new meaning in the past several years. Today, colorful works of street art and intricate murals, often by locally renowned artists, brighten up exterior walls and even bring new waves of curious travelers into the city. If you’re one of those travelers who enjoys wandering around and finding cool and unique graffiti as you get lost, we have good news: there’s plenty of great street art in San Sebastian just waiting to be discovered.
A new Basque tradition
For centuries, the Basque people have held steadfast to their unique culture and traditions. One way to express their pride has been through elaborate murals that decorate walls in cities and small towns all over the region. As a result, much of the street art in San Sebastian and the surrounding area reflects a strong spirit of Basque identity, with strong political undertones and text largely written in the local language.
Graffiti and street art in San Sebastian
Surprisingly, despite being one of the largest and most important cities in the region, the amount of street art in San Sebastian itself is quite small compared to other surrounding towns. However, the up-and-coming artistic movement is still visible throughout the city.
The most famous collection of street art in San Sebastian graces the walls of Calle Juan de Bilbao in the Old Town. Tucked away in the narrow backstreets of the city’s most famous neighborhood, the street is home to many left-wing establishments and politically charged works of art.
In addition to murals advocating Basque identity and independence, some of the artwork lashes out against mass tourism that some say is negatively affecting the city.
More street art in San Sebastian can be found in the hipster neighborhood of Egia, just south of Gros. Additionally, more colorful graffiti decorates the area surrounding the Añorga train station south of the city. This map highlights the exact locations of much of the street art in San Sebastian.
Street art in Zarautz
There is absolutely plenty of unique and colorful street art in San Sebastian itself (even if the most iconic artistic treasure, an authentic Banksy, was painted and removed a short time later in 2010). However, graffiti lovers visiting the region absolutely can’t miss the chance to visit nearby Zarautz. The coastal town is much smaller than San Sebastian, but has become an unofficial Basque street art hub in the past couple of years.
Here, a large cluster of streets in the town center is filled with colorful bursts of street art. Even as you travel further out from the center, you’ll be able to find plenty of intricate murals and vibrant graffiti as well. As a result, small but lively Zarautz has made a name for itself as a must-visit destination for street art lovers here in the Basque Country.
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Life is too short to speak one language and stay in one place. In 2015, this philosophy took her from familiar Ohio to sunny southern Spain. Usually drinking tinto de verano, reading Lorca, or attempting to dance flamenco (not all at once). Follow her blog, Viatic Couture, for more.