Listen to fado in Porto

If you come to Porto, it's almost impossible not to hear about fado, that famous melancholy Portuguese music accompanied by a guitar that resembles a cistre or a violão (Portuguese classical guitar). Although fado originated in Lisbon in the early 19th century, it has spread throughout the country, and since 2011 has been listed as an intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO.

There are plenty of things to do during your holiday in Porto, and attending a Fado concert is one of the must-dos if you really want to immerse yourself in Portuguese popular culture. It is quite rare to be able to listen to Fado in the streets of Porto. You'll have to choose between a concert ticket only, a dinner with a fado menu that includes a minimum consumption charge, or simply enjoying a glass of port while listening to the songs. Prepare to get goose bumps during this unforgettable experience.

Fado, a song from the soul.

- © Sopotnicki / Shutterstock

What is Fado and where does it come from?

Fado isn't something you sing, it's something you experience. Fado is more than just a musical genre. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is part of Portuguese culture and sings of pain, loss, injustice, jealousy and grief, all of which can be summed up in a single Portuguese word: saudade. Its origins are not certain: it is thought to have appeared in the early 17th century, sung by sailors transporting slaves to Brazil. It then developed in Lisbon, followed by Coimbra and Porto in the early 19th century.

The first famous female fado singer was Maria Severa, who died at the beginning of the 19th century at the tender age of 26. She nevertheless made the music known throughout the country, but it was Amàlia Rodrigues, a 20th-century singer, who made modern fado known throughout the world. Today, fado is often accompanied by the violin and cello in addition to the traditional guitar.

Fado singer

- © Sopotnicki / Shutterstock

What is a Fado House in Porto?

A Fado House is a typical restaurant where you can dine while listening to music. These establishments are defined in Portuguese legislation. However, you can also listen to Fado in bars or music clubs without dining.

The best places to listen to Fado in Porto?

O Fado

With a name like that, it's impossible to come here without listening to some fado. You can listen to traditional fado every night from 8.30pm to 1am, except Sundays. You'll have an exceptional evening, with a great show and delicious typical Portuguese food.

Address: Rua de São João Novo 16, 4050-431 Porto

Telephone: +351 919 710 157

Website

Casa das Mariquinhas

This is one of the oldest fado houses in Porto, named after the fado song "Little Mary's House". On the menu, traditional gastronomy for a minimum of €37, with a fado concert from Wednesday to Saturday from 9pm in a very intimate atmosphere. It's an establishment that's as popular with locals as it is with tourists.

Address: Rua de São Sebastião, nº 25, 4050-568 Porto

Telephone: +351 915 613 877

Website

Fado na Baixa

This establishment is unique in that it is equipped with translation technology in several languages, enabling visitors to understand the words of the songs. You can enjoy a 1-hour show and a glass of Tawny Port for €19. The show takes place every day at 6pm, and reservations are essential as the venue only seats 30.

Address: Rua de São João 99, 4050-553 Porto, Portugal

Telephone number: +351 22 317 0470

Website

Ideal Clube de Fado

This establishment opened in 2019 and aims to offer concerts with the most authentic version of fado. You will have the opportunity to chat with the artists for 15 to 20 minutes before the concert. There are two concerts a day, and three at weekends at 6pm, 7.30pm and 9pm. Expect to pay €20 for the show and a glass of port.

Address: Rua do Ateneu Comercial do Porto 32

Telephone: +351 915 681 676

Website

Cálem Cellars

Located in Vila Nova de Gaia, opposite Porto, this wine cellar is one of the most famous along the Douro. For €23, you can visit the cellar, taste several Port wines and listen to a fado concert.

Address: Avenida de Diogo Leite, 344, Vila Nova de Gaia

Telephone: +351 223 746 660

Website

Casa Da Guitarra

This time, in a shop selling traditional musical instruments, you can enjoy a fado concert every day except public holidays, from 6pm to 7pm. The fado player and his two guitarists offer a traditional fado with a glass of port during the interval. Expect to pay €16

Address: Av. Vimara Peres 49, 4000-545 Porto

Telephone: +351 22 201 0033

Website

⭐ Where to stay in Porto near a fado concert?

Porta Nobre - Exclusive Living Hotel Porto

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