The Essential Guide to Street Art in San Sebastian

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.

Discovering the colorful graffiti and street art in San Sebastian is one of our favorite things to do when we want to get off the beaten path in this gorgeous city! Here's where you'll find the most unique paintings. #SanSebastian #BasqueCountry #streetart #murals #graffiti #travel

Photo credit: Joakim Lilljegren, Text Overlay: Devour San Sebastian Food Tours

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.

Much of the street art in San Sebastian features political undertones, like this piece expressing frustration at the mass tourism problem.
This piece on Calle Juan de Bilbao reflects the frustration some locals feel regarding mass tourism. Photo credit: Joakim Lilljegren

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.

There is plenty of colorful street art in San Sebastian, like this piece near the Añorga train station.
A mural by Dominican airbrush artist Eme in Añorga, depicting women from around the world joining together in solidarity. Photo credit: Joakim Lilljegren

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.

2 Comment

  1. Shahar says
    August 10, 2019 at 9:01 am

    Unlike other places in Spain and Portugal street art in Basque County tends to be nationalistic and even annoying sometimes. Seems they forgot that it can be fun…

    1. Devour Tours says
      August 12, 2019 at 10:08 am

      Street art, like all kinds of art, is often political. Here’s a post on street art in Madrid and some of its themes (violence against women, systemic discrimination against racial minorities, gentrification).

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