Exploring Street Art in Valencia, Spain

Planning a trip to Valencia, Spain soon? Don't miss out on the street art in Valencia tour with Valencia Urban Adventures! | http://passportandplates.com

Disclosure: I was given a complimentary tour of the street art in Valencia in exchange for this review but as always, all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. 

What first comes to mind when you think of Valencia, Spain? Perhaps it’s the fiery Las Fallas festival, the impressive City of Arts and Sciences or the delicious paella. But what most people don’t know is that the street art in Valencia is actually one of its most famous attractions.

Street art  in Valencia has been popular since the early 90s amongst both local and international artists alike. Now the city boasts many local street art festivals that attract collaborations amongst some of the best street artists in the world.

Although I enjoy seeing art in museums, there’s something exhilarating about street art. It’s relevant. It’s bold. It’s educational. Street art provides you with an insider’s look at culture and is arguably the best way to understand the values and struggles of the locals by the locals.

Last week, I had the pleasure of getting up close and personal with the works of street artists on the Urban Adventures Street Art in Old Valencia tour. Although I had done my fair share of street art exploring while wandering through the cobblestoned streets of the Valencia old town, I knew almost nothing about the arts scene.

That’s where my tour guide, Lenny, came in. She’s a street art enthusiast to the max and incredibly knowledgeable about the arts scene and the street art in Valencia. Not only does she go hunting for new art in her spare time, but she’s also met a lot of these artists personally. How’s that for some serious street cred?

The best part of this tour was that it didn’t feel like a tour. In fact, I felt like Lenny was an old friend who just happened to know a ton about street art in Valencia. Those of you who know me personally know I’m terrible with names, but somehow, I’ve managed to remember the names of over a dozen of these street artists because the tour was that good.

I’ll give you some more details about the tour itself later in this post, but first, let’s take a selfie meet some of the prominent artists that dot the streets of Valencia!

 

The artists:

Glub:

One of the pioneers of the Spanish graffiti scene. He has so much respect that nobody will paint over his work!

Planning a trip to Valencia, Spain soon? Don't miss out on the street art in Valencia tour with Valencia Urban Adventures! | http://passportandplates.com

 

David de Limón:

His iconic not-quite-ninjas-but-look-like-ninjas can literally be found all over the street art in Valencia in various forms. They are often times incorporated into other artists’ work. Scavenger hunt, anyone?

 

La Nena:

La Nena is one of the most popular female street artists in Valencia, and her stencil of the woman pictured on the right can be found on various buildings throughout the city.

 

Escif:

I found Escif’s work to be particularly mind blowing. Not only is it distinct in style, but that style seems nearly impossible to create with a spray can. So impressive.

 

Felipe Pantone:

Check out those crazy optical illusions and colors! I could stare at his work for days.

 

MRBT62:

Just like David de Limon’s non-ninjas, you can find these photographer figures all over Valencia – in both spray paint and sticker form.

 

Disneylexya:

Disneylexya is from Mexico, which is obvious from the vivid colors and indigenous inspired designs.

 

Blu:

Fun fact – this Moses wall is the most Instagrammed wall in Valencia. Pretty easy to see why, huh?

Planning a trip to Valencia, Spain soon? Don't miss out on the street art in Valencia tour with Valencia Urban Adventures! | http://passportandplates.com

 

Deih:

Deih has tons and tons of pieces scattered throughout Valencia. By the end of the tour, I was getting really good at spotting his swirly and futuristic murals among the rest of the street art in Valencia.

 

Mucho Queso:

I kid you not, this graffiti artist paints cheese cubes all over the city. I feel like we’d get along. #CheeseLoversUnite

 

Dyboski:

Although this isn’t a piece my amateur and untrained eye would have considered street art, it totally is. These self-portraits are quite easy to spot with their distinct style.

Planning a trip to Valencia, Spain soon? Don't miss out on the street art in Valencia tour with Valencia Urban Adventures! | http://passportandplates.com

 

Julieta:

Unlike many of the other artists that depict satire or politics, Julieta’s cartoon-like pieces are happy and bright and meant to be enjoyed by all.

 

Collaborations:

Arguably some of the coolest murals to see are the collaboration pieces between the different artists. Once I’d learned more about them and their distinct styles, it was fun trying to figure out who contributed which part to each piece.

 

More cool pieces:

 

The “others”:

Apparently, street art includes a variety of mediums, not just graffiti and murals. The more you know!

Cross stitch yarn bombing: I know, I know – what a name! If you look closely, this building is actually covered with wire, which provides the canvas for where artist Raquel Rodrigo stitched this design. I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life.

Planning a trip to Valencia, Spain soon? Don't miss out on the street art in Valencia tour with Valencia Urban Adventures! | http://passportandplates.com

 

Vinyl photographs: I had no idea that vinyl photographs could be considered street art, but they are. I can’t remember the name of the artist who took these, but he photographed a bunch of interesting characters from the eclectic El Carmen neighborhood and posted these photos throughout town. Cool, huh?

Planning a trip to Valencia, Spain soon? Don't miss out on the street art in Valencia tour with Valencia Urban Adventures! | http://passportandplates.com

 

Obviously, my descriptions are much more succinct than Lenny’s. She answered all 1,000,000 of my questions and even showed me photos of older pieces of art that have since been painted over. However, I did manage to impress my local Valencian friend with my newfound knowledge when I spotted a David de Limón piece. I clearly learned a lot!

Other stuff you should know:

  • The 3-hour tour starts at 4:30 pm in front of the Mercado Central. People are still waking up from their siestas at this point, so it’s the best time to get photos and avoid the crowds.
  • The tour starts in the Old Town (Ciutat Vella), but mostly takes place in the eclectic / hipster El Carmen neighborhood.
  • During the tour, you’re also treated to a traditional Valencian horchata (not the same as a Mexican horchata) and a farton from the historic Horchateria Santa Catalina.
  • The final stop is at a local Valencian brewery for all the beer lovers out there. Or in my case – a refreshing Fanta ;).

 

Planning a trip to Valencia, Spain soon? Don't miss out on the street art in Valencia tour with Valencia Urban Adventures! | http://passportandplates.com

Horchata + Farton!

 

This was my first time doing an official street art tour and I’m confident it won’t be my last. If you’re planning on visiting Valencia and want to see more than the churches, museums and the beach (not that there’s anything wrong with those), I highly recommend you do the Street Art in Old Valencia tour.What better way to educate yourself about local culture than through the eyes of the artists themselves? Besides, because street art is so fluid, the content of this tour changes from time to time; Lenny reminded me to take plenty of photos because we would frequently stumble upon freshly painted pieces. It’s pretty cool to think I could do this tour again the next time I’m in Valencia and see completely different murals than the ones I’ve posted here.

Note: If you’re not planning on going to Valencia anytime soon, but want to take a guaranteed awesome tour in another city, check out Urban Adventures. They offer a huge variety of tours and all of them are capped at 12 people. Plus, all the tours focus on responsible travel and supporting local businesses, two philosophies that I firmly believe in. Although I’m someone who tends to shy away from tours because they often feel too touristy, my experience with Urban Adventures wasn’t like that all, which is why I wholeheartedly recommend them. Be sure to check them out when planning your next trip!

 

Tell me: Did you know about street art in Valencia? Do you ever search for local art while traveling? Which city do you admire the most for its art? Share in the comments below!

 

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  • I actually did this tour when I was in Valencia a few weeks ago! Lenny is the nicest person and she helped me have a great time in the city. I remember a lot of those works–who can forget Mucho Queso? I’ve only had good experiences with Urban Adventures tours, I have to say.

    • Oh how funny! We just missed each other then. And yes Lenny definitely went above and beyond as a tour guide and as a local sharing her knowledge! SO friendly and helpful. This was my first time with Urban Adventures and it definitely won’t be my last!

  • Chantell Collins

    Wow i feel like I have just had a lesson in street art. I am not the most knowledgeable person on art in general but I had never even year of cross stitch yarn bombing! So many great pieces that I really loved. The tour sounds like a lot of fun too! I will definitely consider Urban Adventure tours in the future 🙂

    • Yessss that’s exactly how I felt! I’ve always admired street art but knew almost nothing about it until this tour. The cross stitch yarn bombing was one of the coolest parts :). And yes, Urban Adventures has tours in most major cities so you should definitely check them out! If they’re anything like this one then you’ll be seriously impressed!

  • I love this post soo much! I would love to go see all of these in Valencia! I love how you showcase each artist! I think my favorite are Blu & La Nena! Thanks for sharing! This definitely has inspired what I would like to do when we go to Spain!

    • Thanks! I really hope you get a chance to go to Valencia when you go to Spain. It’s a gorgeous city and has something for everyone. And DEFINITELY do this tour. The tour guide, Lenny, went above and beyond in making sure I had a good time!

  • Luxury Travel Diva

    I would love to visit Valencia, one bit of Spain I seem to have missed somehow. I loved the rabbit and the chicken, brilliant!

    • I know what you mean! It took me 3 visits until I finally made it to Valencia, but now it’s one of my favorites! It’s the perfect city – beach, old town, modern architecture, etc. Plus, it’s small enough where you can walk everywhere but there’s still plenty to do here. Definitely visit if you get chance!

  • When I visited Valencia I had a day to spend there, had no idea street art tours exist. I would definitely go for this kind of tour next time.

    • Oh yeah, next time you should definitely go! It’s a great way to learn more about the city :). Urban Adventures also offers tours all over the world, so you should see what sort of offerings they have wherever you travel next!

  • Live Learn Venture

    Ahh this is awesome. I love street art — so fun! I hope to visit Spain very soon — all I hear are good things. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Spain is the besttttt. Seriously, one of my fave countries to travel in. Don’t miss out on Valencia when you go either – it’s a very underrated city.

  • Lately, I’ve been obsessing over street art as well. Not in the cultural or historical sense but to be honest, because they look so cool. I love going out of my way, exploring and finding interesting street art because it takes you places you wouldn’t go normally. I’m in process of doing a street art guide (where to find them) in Bangkok.

    I’d love to visit these exhibitions cuz they look so cool.

    • That’s awesome! I agree wholeheartedly with you on that front…I always try to find street art when I travel because it looks cool and because you find interesting neighborhoods. But it was amazing to be able to do this tour and learn more about the pieces and the artists as well.
      I can’t wait to see your Bangkok guide though! I’ll be there for a few days in September exploring so I’d love to check it out. And you should definitely do this tour whenever you visit Valencia. It makes you appreciate the art so much more when you know more about the artists.

  • Street art adds so much character, charm and intrigue to any city! I love how people embraced it instead of rejecting it and painting it over because it’s “graffiti” – some cities around here could use some street art…

    • Totally! I love learning the meanings behind the different pieces as well. In Valencia, it’s technically illegal but they clearly turn a blind eye because it can be found all over the place! I think all cities should have street art to be honest, especially pieces by the more well-known artists!

  • Oh this is amazing. I love street art and this post is great, so detailed!

  • Paige Brown

    What a cool tour! I’ve never done a street art tour, but it sounds like great fun, especially in such an art-filled city! My favorites are the girl catching birds in the boat and the cross-stitch! The cross stitching is so unique! I love it!

    • I highly recommend it if you get a chance! I can totally vouch for the amazingness that was this tour in particular. I learned SO much about the different artists and their styles and it made me appreciate the art even more. Yessss the cross stitch really blew my mind. I’ve never seen anything like it elsewhere.

  • This blog entry was so much fun to read! Your photography is amazing and I love seeing Valencia’s street art through your lens. I always thought I want to see more of London’s street art. Having a guide with you must have been fantastic – I have just come back from a trip to Jerusalem, that I discovered with a guide, which was so much fun and it does feel like wandering through the streets with a friend.

    • Thank you, Miriam 🙂
      I agree with you wholeheartedly! I can definitely appreciate street art on its own but it’s 10x better with a guide who can provide context about the artists and meanings. Glad to hear you had a good guide in Jerusalem. Sometimes they’re very hit and miss!

      As for London, I’ve heard great things about the Shoreditch Street Art tour. I’ve never done it but know a few people who rave about it :). You should check that out. And if you ever find you ever find yourself in Valencia, definitely do this tour!

  • yvonne

    I can’t wait to try authentic Horchata