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Berlin, a life-size art gallery

Graffiti or street art: Berlin is home to plenty of it. Street artists use the city as their canvas and give Berlin the edgy look the city is famous for. The remnants of the Berlin Wall are especially popular to exhibit all kinds of creative talent. Whether you are in (the former) East or West Berlin, every neighbourhood is filled with street art. You can also take a special tour dedicated to the art of graffiti!

A political slogan on a bridge elevated to art, or a stage for graffiti artists in an abandoned Cold War monitoring station ─ for more than 4 decades Berlin has been used as an enormous canvas by artists and other creative types. The graffiti scene began in the late 1970s in West Berlin and after the fall of the Wall in 1989, street art quickly gained popularity in the former East Berlin.

Street art in Berlin
Street art in Berlin

Berliini

The East Side Gallery

The best graffiti locations

Berlin boasts a huge diversity of graffiti, ranging from a common name tag to a true piece of art. The world-famous British street artist Bansky creates satirical and political graffiti, and his works decorate some of the walls in Kreuzberg, Friedrichshain and Mitte. One of his more famous pieces in the German capital is an astronaut on the side of a house. Elsewhere in the city you will also find works by other renowned street artists, such as El Bocho, Emess and Alias. And of course there's the 1.3-kilometre-long East Side Gallery: the longest intact piece of the Berlin Wall that has been transformed into a public art gallery.

Street art tours

Berlin’s many graffiti tours are a great introduction to the city’s graffiti art. During a walking tour, you'll learn more about the meaning of street art and you will see local and international artists at work. They are happy to explain the unwritten rules and codes of graffiti, which way the movement is going and what changes will be the result of an increase in digital art.


Many of the tour operators also offer the opportunity to attend a graffiti workshop. In an abandoned industrial area or inside an old factory, you will learn the basics of graffiti spraying. Learn how to work with stencils and adhesives, understand how to recognize pieces and murals and create your own style.

Tacheles art house built in a former squat

Photo credits

  • The East Side Gallery: PHOTOCREO Michal Bednarek, Shutterstock
  • Tacheles art house built in a former squat: Luciano Mortula, Shutterstock