Come with me on the artsy bohemian graffiti trail in Sao Paulo.


Elsie Gabriel


A visit to Sao Paulo’s Vila Madalena district and the colorful Batman Alley will leave you astounded. You will get to see all sorts of informal patterns of street art flourishing artistic expressions written literally on the walls. These street artistic offerings spell freedom, and are present in official public spaces such as walls, subways, playgrounds and soccer fields.

Vila Madalena breathes culture. Vila Madalena streets offer their walls to graffiti as an transforming art, constantly inviting re-painting, from various artists with new messages.

elsie in sao paulo graffitti research

If flying into São Paulo from abroad, you’ll mostly likely land at Guarulhos International Airport, located 40 km from the city centre. Easily accessible by metro and taxis or even the bus. Vila Madalena is an upper middle class neighborhood in the western part of the city of  Sao Paulo, Brazil. The neighborhood is known for its bustling nightlife and its history as a center of São Paulo bohemian culture and art. The neighborhood is filled with dozens of art galleries and studios, an eclectic mix of restaurants and bars and a series of  graffiti covered streets and alleys which attract tourists from all over the world. Take full advantage while walking around, grab the best Brazilian coffee or simply shop at the local prop up markets. I stole a few moments inside a church also to find graffiti there.

grafitti 4 elsie


When in Sao Paulo do not miss the writings on the wall. I believe they keep changing. São Paulo, is probably one of the most underrated cities tourism wise, travelers often give it a miss unknowingly, because it is often overshadowed by other places in the Brazilian sun and beach circuit such as Rio. Always go offbeat, find your story, remember!

grafitti 2 elsie rio

Sao Paulo graffiti have their own poignancy, deeply engraved with loud messages, screaming for attention, wanting to be heard and of course sowing the seeds for social, religious and human change. Brazil’s modern history reserves a special place for graffiti. An art walk through the inner labyrinths of the cities will be sufficient to gauge the popularity of this urban art, which is perhaps just as synonymous with Brazil as football and samba. So, even if you have plans to travel to many other luxurious and exotic destinations in Brazil, try not to miss out on these inscription artistic wall tours. They are every where, at every turn, traffic halt and subway. Vibrant colours. Graphic designs mixed with soft strokes, fused with overlapping messages of peace and love, a cry for change, a cry to be left alone, a cry to develop, a cry to reach out, all resounding at the same time, at different places by global artists putting a voice to their ink.

grafitti one elsie rio

These graffiti messages tell a story. I simply love a story. Simple. They send out direct messages of poverty, global warming, droughts,equal rights, food, culture, love and brotherhood, the rest is for you to decipher. Go there, you will not have to read between the walls. The story telling city.grafitti new

My taxi driver made an informative guide and a good friend, left me feeling safe throughout my trip in Sao Paulo for sure. We talked for miles on the water shortage in some remote parts of Sao Paulo due to excessive heat and climate change,  very insightful. I truly realized how lucky we are back home. We should cherish the life, for sure!  Obrigada!

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