Street art is a powerful and often controversial form of expression that gives a voice to anyone who has something to say (sometimes also to the ones who have nothing to say...). Its main purpose has mainly been to create cultural consciousness and social awareness. And Germany is surely one of the most prominent countries where street art is now established as a very powerful subculture.
Spring is coming and what's better than a spontaneous road trip? I personally love road trips, the freedom to move from place to place, the ever changing plans and the ability to reach even less-known places. So pack your bags, a few friends, refill your (rented) car and embark on an incredible road trip around Germany.
Choose among the below, mix and match or do just one, long, big trip, the choice is yours and I am sure I've left some important art and artists out, but I couldn't fit everything in one little article!
ROAD TRIP 1
➡️ Berlin ➡️ Dresden ➡️ Liepzig ➡️ Hamburg ➡️ Berlin
If you live in Berlin, you are probably already used to seeing and breathing street art all around since the city is also known as the global capital of all street art.
Probably the East Side Gallery in Berlin is like what MOMA in New York is for modern art. So, while you are exploring Berlin, make sure to reserve some time to explore the edgy neighbourhood of Kreuzberg is where street artists have been gathering for decades. Victor Ash’s ‘Astronaut/Cosmonaut’ might be one of the most recognized works of graffiti art in the world and it tells the story of a spaceman suspended in both atmosphere and time.
East Side Gallery by Luc Van Loon on Unsplash
In Berlin, you can't miss a visit the abandoned former spy station and US listening post, "Teufelsberg", Devil's mountain in German, with its incredible collection of street art.
Teufelsberg by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash
Berlin is the graffiti mecca of the urban art world EMILIE TRICE
Surely Berlin is renowed in the world for its famous street art, but picturesque Dresden also has great murals along with a lively street art scene, including some saucy political graffiti. One of the most famous street art spots in Dresden Neustadt is Kunsthofpassage where local artists used buildings as their huge canvas.
Dresden, Photo by Dmitri Popov
You will be taking loads of pictures in Dresden, but unlike other cities and street artists, the art here is quite cryptic and you'll find yourself wanting to learn more at every step.
Once you've absorbed all the colours and art in Dresden, get in your car and head to Liepzig. The street art scene here is a very thought provoking mix of industrial architecture, urban landscapes and pre-Banksy street art.
A very interesting place to see is the Spinnerei – a former cotton factory turned into an art community that hosts more than a hundred artists.
Photo by Hugues De Buyer on Unsplash
If you love Banksy don’t forget to check out the work of Blek le Rat at Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 7. He is widely known as a main exponent of stencil graffiti and his “Pour Sybille” was even nominated as a public monument by the local authorities.
Hamburg has one of the most active street art scenes in Germany. It has many interesting pieces: lots of sticker art, some beautiful stencil art and unusual pieces like Push's styrocuts.
Photo by Tanja Heffner on Unsplash
ROAD TRIP 2
➡️ Frankfurt ➡️ Mainz ➡️ Cologne ➡️ Hannover ➡️ Frankfurt
Frankfurt is not just about the money and banks, it is filled with local street artists' work. The Hall of Fame on Ratswegkreisel is the perfect place to see a lot of street art if you’re in a hurry and there is more around the city centre and the train station.
On your way to Cologne, stop in Mainz to see more street art. Here, most of the pieces are simple tags or political messages, but there are some pieces that stand out as great street art like the melancholy Die Frau in the picture below.
Die Frau, Photo by mcmlxxx.de on Flickr
When you visit Cologne, you have to visit the city's amazing Ehrenfeld neighbourhood since it's packed with tons of cool street art. Christian Boehmer's Sleeping Amour is the perfect example of the vibrant urban art in Cologne. There are also many artworks by Roa, Herakut, Borderline, Tika or El Bocho.
If you have the time, make sure to visit the Belgisches Viertel, northern borough of Nippes or Mülheim.
Herakut, Photo by Bart Van Kersavond on Flickr
Not only street art, but 3D street art! Yes, you read that right, in fact in certain streets in Hannover you will feel like you are walking straight into one of those 3D movies.
Hannover Streetart, Photo by Jan Willem Huntebrinker
ROAD TRIP 3
➡️ Munich ➡️ Stuttgard ➡️ Nuremberg ➡️ Munich
Start your road trip from Munich where you will be surprisingly amazed by the fact that it's not just a city about beer and bretzl. The capital of Oktoberfest has a very rich street art scene featuring prominent street artists like Noname & Shepard FaireyEscif, Ericailcane and Blu.
Munich, Photo by Samuel Zeller
Head to the Hall of Fame, a place for established artists as well as a practice ground for upcoming artists. Don't miss Nordbahnhofstraße, right by the train station and if you wish to know more about the local street art scene visit Sarah Haberkern’s art gallery.
Stuttgart, Photo by LightSniper
Probably not a capital for street art, but Nuremberg still features a few well-hidden graffiti works which are worth stopping here for, including this super realistic underwater giant piece by Sfir.
Photo by @GoogleStreetArt on Twitter
EXTRA STOP for ROAD TRIP No.2 or No.3
A UNESCO World Heritage site, since 2013 Volkinger has been hosting the Urban Art Biennale- the biggest, most important street art show in Europe. If you can't make it to the next biennale, they have a permanent exhibition of some key figures like MiChat, Aerosol, Vihls and Ammar Abo Bakr.
Read more about Germany:
Do you know of any other street art pieces in Germany that we've missed?
And would you like to read other road trip ideas around Europe?
Let us know in the comments below!