Fado in Porto in 2022: Complete Guide and the 5 Best Places

There are many options to see live Fado in Porto. In some places, you’ll enjoy authentic Fado in an intimate atmosphere, but there are also places where you’ll listen to “Fado for tourists” in a noisy atmosphere with bad singers. So, if you are looking for a place to listen to Fado in Porto, this guide may be helpful to you.

This article starts with a list of the five best places. But you will find here much more information, including a list of all the places.

The 5 best places to listen to Fado in Porto

In Porto, 5 places stand out for the quality of the experience offered to their customers:

Ideal Clube de Fado

Fado na Baixa

A Casa do Fado

O Fado

Fado Português

Which place to choose?

1. Ideal Clube de Fado

Fado porto - ideal clube de fado

Experience: Fado Concert

Price: 19€ (online price)

Schedule: Every day at 6:00 pm and 7:30 pm. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday there’s also a concert at 9:00 pm

Duration: 1 hour

Info and Tickets: Click here

Considering the artistic concept, the quality of the space, and their outstanding artists, Ideal Clube de Fado is currently the best place to listen to Fado in Porto without dinner.

It’s a place specialized in the most authentic tradition of classic Fado, where you will be able to listen to some of the most experienced and respected artists of the city.

Here, the emotion of the musicians, the thematic freedom of the poetry sung, the musical improvisation, and the complicity between the audience and the artists are the most important elements of each concert.

The space is very cozy, has fantastic decoration, and gives intimate shows with excellent acoustics for this type of music.

You will also have the opportunity to participate in a talk with the musicians 15 minutes before the concert. It is optional, but I recommend it if you want to know more about Fado.

Get tickets for the Ideal Clube de Fado show

2. Fado na Baixa

fado na baixa - fado porto

Experience: Fado Concert

Price: 19€

Schedule: Everyday at 6:00 PM

Duration: 1 hour

Info and tickets: click here

Fado na Baixa offers a show where live music coexists with an exclusive documentary about Fado (translated into Spanish, French or English).

This show explores the different manifestations that Fado has had throughout its history and is divided into five parts: Traditional Fado, Portuguese Guitar, Coimbra Fado, Amália Rodrigues, and Present. Each one begins with an excerpt from the documentary that explains what the artists will perform.

The show takes place in a building near Ribeira do Porto where the granite walls host a small auditorium.

Get tickets for the Fado na Baixa show

3. A Casa do Fado

A Casa do Fado - fado Porto

Experience: Fado Concert

Price: 17€

Schedule: Every day at 7:00 pm

Duration: 1 hour

More info and tickets: click here

A Casa do Fado proposes a Fado concert in an old stone basement located in the Ribeira do Porto, with tables and chairs that are barrels adapted for the purpose.

I recommend this concert if you want to hear Fado in a stone basement. In the middle of the concert there is a small informative moment about Fado.

Get tickets for A Casa do Fado show

4. O Fado

Casa da Mariquinhas - Fado House Porto

Experience: Fado and dinner at a Fado House

Average price: 40€

Schedule: Every day from 20:30 to 00:00

Duration: 3 hours

Info and reservations: click here

fado porto - o fado

O Fado is one of the most famous and oldest Fado houses in Porto. The management is in charge of the family Almeida that has the greatest care with their establishment.

If you want to go to a Fado House where you can eat traditional Portuguese food prepared at the same level as the best restaurants, do not hesitate to go here.

Book your table for O Fado

5. Fado Português

Experience: Fado and dinner at a Fado House

Price: Tasting menu 45€, or a la carte dinner, with an average price of 25€. From 10:30 pm on, you can go without dinner: it costs 10€ and you get a free drink.

Schedule: Every day from 20:30 to 01:00

Duration: 4 hours

Info and Reservations: click here

Fado Português is a new Fado house located on the other side of the river, in Vila Nova de Gaia. This is one of the places most loved by musicians because the owner is one of the great fado singers of the north, Sandra Correia.

Book your table for Fado Português

Which place should I choose?

Go to all of them if you can! But if you have to choose one try the Virtual Guide or follow these suggestions:

If you want to enjoy an intimate Fado concert without food, the best option is Ideal Clube de Fado.

Would you rather listen to Fado during dinner?

Go to O Fado. The food and the service is great. If you prefer a familiar and simple environment and a place off the tourist circuit, go to Fado Português.

Why listen to live Fado

“And people say: this is the real Fado! (…) But it’s the real Fado, because that, there… I’m close to the public. And the public is complicit.”

Fernando Maurício, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado

I know many people who say they don’t appreciate Fado. But I don’t know anyone who has heard live Fado in a good environment and with good artists who would say the same.

Why does this happen? Because listening is only one part of the Fado experience. True Fado implies sharing and complicity between the artists and the people who are listening.

When there is this synergy between the artists, the audience, and the own spirit of Fado, it is said that “there was Fado” or that “Fado happened”.

Some Fado Houses include messages such as ” House x – where Fado happens” in their pamphlets and posters. With this, they intend to transmit that, besides hearing and seeing fado singers and guitarists, we will experience the synergy between the audience and the artists. As Fernando Maurício said, we will be accomplices, therefore, experience true Fado.

On the other hand, when we are in the presence of good fado singers and guitarists, we are taken by a sound that goes straight to our heart and arouses strong emotions that take us on a journey to a deep mystical Portugal.

The qualities of a good Fado experience

But to have an authentic Fado experience, it is not enough just to listen to live Fado. For Fado to happen there must be:


Good performers

Intimate Space

Good acoustics

Good audience

Genuine Fado

Good Fado experience


Silence is very important not only for those who are performing, but also for those who are listening.

For the artists, the silence of the audience is a demonstration of respect and interest, and this leads them to give their best. On the other hand, the opposite is bothersome and leads to the performance being faked.

“…If they’re making noise, our job is to pour it out. Yes, it’s singing, but not for real…”

Fernando Maurício, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado

For the audience, silence is essential because, besides enjoying a better artistic work, they will feel the emotion of the artists. And this is the only way to experience the real Fado.

This is why there is the famous expression “Silence that Fado will be sung”.

Voice by António Pedro Afonso

Good performers

For Fado to happen, it is fundamental that there is a strong connection between the public and the artists, and for this it is necessary that the artists have a set of qualities, without which Fado cannot be transmitted.

No matter how much you say
Fado is a neighborhood song
It’s not a fadista who wants to be one
But that he was born a fadista

Manuel Almeida

To be a good Fado artist, it is not enough to have a good voice or play well. The singers and guitarists have to master the specific language and aesthetics of this style, which are very different from pop, jazz, or lyrical.

fado singer singing with two guitar players and someone smoking from behind

But as in any musical style, the technical side is also important. The better it is, the more resources the artist has to express and communicate with the public because there is little point in giving 100% to the music if they sing or play badly.

I remember once I was playing at Janelas do Fado, in Matosinhos, when a client asked me to sing. He even seemed to be genuinely giving himself to the music and wanting to communicate, but the result was a room full of people holding back laughter… And this way Fado can’t happen!

But it is also important to realize that a good Fado singer doesn’t need to fit the stereotype of what most people consider a good singer.

Some of the most respected names in the Fado community, such as Beatriz da Conceição, Alfredo Marceneiro, and Rodrigo, among others, have a style and a way of singing that are extremely respected in the Fado circle, but which the general public may not give the proper value.

On the other hand, there are singers like Mariza or Cuca Roseta who have tremendous success with the masses, but who are not especially appreciated among the real Fado experts.

Listen, for example, to this interpretation by Beatriz da Conceição (born in Porto) of Fado Alfacinha:

And listen to this interpretation of the same Fado, but sung by Mariza:

I believe that most people prefer Mariza’s way of singing, but most of the great Fado lovers take other things into account – originality, complexity, depth, rhythm, intensity of performance, and command of the language – when listening to a fadista. That is why they prefer Beatriz da Conceição.

To conclude this reflection on what it is to be a good Fado singer, I will quote Joel Pina, one of the most important personalities in the history of Fado:

I know I have Fado inside me, I know that. Because there are a lot of people out there who don’t have Fado. They may even have a lot of musical intuition, but they don’t have Fado. Fado… there is a mystery here that… There are several voices about Fado. And some voices are deeper, they come from inside, they communicate with the person who really transmits that message that the person wants to pass on, and passes it on, and the other person feels goose bumps. I think that’s what Fado is.

Joel Pina (transcribed from “Joel Pina: O Professor“)

Intimate Space

As the essence of this music is in the sharing between the artists and the public, the intimate and cozy spaces, which favor proximity and complicity, are the best places to feel the real Fado.

intimate fado session in Porto
Casa da Mariquinhas

In addition, the quality of the listening experience is better if we are close to the voice and the instruments.

On this issue, Raul Nery, said the following:

Fado, to be well sung, needs its own atmosphere. In fact, some people who say they don’t like Fado have never heard it in a proper environment, because it is not in a concert hall that Fado can be better appreciated.

Raul Nery, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado

Good acoustics (and no microphones)

You may even be in front of great artists, in absolute silence and in an intimate space, but if you don’t feel the vibration of the voice and the guitars in your body at the same time you listen, it won’t be the same.

fado porto - a casa do fado
A Casa do Fado

The sound must have intensity, focus, and detail. And this without microphones, because then you will feel more connected to the fadistas and guitarists, and also because the natural vibrations contain more richness and authenticity.

Good audience

In an interview Vicente da Câmara was asked if there was a proper environment for singing, to which he replied:

There is, it’s the people who are there. There are some people who think you have to have low lights and you have to have things hanging, little balloons, posters on the walls and so on. That, to me, never affected me (…) I am concerned, yes, about the people who are. Those are the ones that make the good or bad environment.

Vicente da Câmara, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado

On this matter, Raul Nery also said the following:

The audience listening to Fado must be in total harmony with the fadistas who sing or play it. Only when this harmony is achieved can we say that the necessary conditions for a true Fado atmosphere have been created.

Raul Nery, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado
Ideal Clube de Fado

Among musicians when it is said that “the audience was good,” it means that the harmony Raul Nery talks about happened. When this happens the performers truly connect with the audience and the result is a better performance, which in turn further captures the attention and feeling of the audience.

Argentina Santos on the importance of a good audience said the following:

… that (the will to sing) has to be a drive that gives me and I have to look at the people and I have to see: They like Fado. If they don’t like it, it’s not worth it.

Argentina Santos, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado

So when you go to a Fado concert, be willing to relax and dedicate yourself entirely to the experience. Look at the singers and the guitarists, not at the phone. Listen, feel, and concentrate on the music.

This way you will create the right environment for the artists to give their best and open the door to Fado and to their hearts. And at the end of each song, don’t hesitate to give feedback through warm clapping to let the performers know you’re enjoying it!

Genuine Fado

In the 1970s João Braga asked Alfredo Marceneiro how he saw the future of Fado in Portugal, to which he replied, “The future of Fado is that I hear singing, it’s songs and cançonetas…” And then you can still hear someone saying “some shit!”

And the truth is, they got it right. Nowadays, with the exception of Ideal Clube de Fado whose project is to dedicate itself exclusively to Traditional Fado, in most shows, not only in Oporto but all over the country, you will hear a mix of Fados, “songs and cançonetas” and you can also hear “Marchas” and folklore.

How many, many times I am here and, for example, I have to sing because there is someone there who wants to listen. But, suddenly, I hear the Casa Portuguesa,because it has to be, because there are a lot of foreigners singing the Casa Portuguesa, I hear very light things and they say: Eh, fado singer! I don’t sing anymore, because a person who is saying when you sing Casa Portuguesa or when you sing Cheira a Lisboa or when you sing Caracolitos and such things, they are just things to cheer you up and when I hear someone say Eh, Fadista!, I don’t sing because I see that the person doesn’t know anything about Fado.

Aren’t those songs Fado?

They’re not Fado. And if they say: Eh, fadista!, they don’t understand. For what will I sing afterwvards? Then they run with me, if that’s what’s beautiful, if that’s what’s good (I keep saying that’s good and that’s beautiful) but it’s not Fado.

Argentina Santos, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado

There are several reasons why this happens. They are mainly motivated by commercial and tourist reasons. But since this has been happening for a few decades and even Amália Rodrigues herself, who was the most popular figure of Fado in Portugal, promoted this kind of approach in her concerts, a normalization effect happened with some misinformation in between.

In other words, we are so used to the Fadista singing this mix that we don’t even question what is Fado and what is not, because it is assumed that everything the Fadista sings is Fado.

Besides, the music broadcasting media are also oblivious to the fact that Fado singers sing other styles. That is why they label everything they sing as Fado.

This even led to an embarrassing situation when in 2019 Ricardo Ribeiro, one of today’s greatest Fado singers, saw his album nominated for best Fado album and asked to have it removed from the list because he considered it was not a Fado album.

If you are interested in knowing more about this issue, I recommend you to read my article about styles in Fado.

Understanding a Fado Concert

In order to better appreciate a Fado show, it is important to understand some of the elements that are part of it.


It is important to understand that Fado is not, by itself, a sad music. In its most authentic form – “Fado Tradicional” (traditional Fado) – there are many fados to express joyful emotions. The fadista has total freedom to choose the poems and the thematic issues.

Nowadays, in most Fado concerts, except at Ideal Clube de Fado, which is exclusively dedicated to pure Fado, 5 different styles are presented:

  • “Fado Tradicional”;
  • “Fado-canção” (song-styled-Fado);
  • “Marchas”;
  • “Folklore”;
  • Other songs;

Fado Tradicional” is Fado in its purest state, the most authentic tradition of classic Fado. It is a song without a chorus and the same melody can be sung with different poems. It is the style where there is more freedom for improvisation and interpretation.

Examples: Fado Corrido, Fado Menor, Fado Alberto, Fado Bailado.

Fado-canção is a style with a chorus and the melody is created for a specific poem. As the name implies, there is an aesthetic mix between Fado and other songs. The best known Fado melodies are in this style (having a chorus contributes to that)

Examples: Ai Mouraria, Nem às Paredes Confesso, Vielas d’Alfama, Lágrima.

Marcha is not Fado. It is a popular style associated with summer celebrations of popular saints. The song is divided into two parts: the development of the song in minor mode and a chorus in major mode.

Examples: Lisboa Antiga, Marcha d’Alfama, De Rosa ao Peito (popularized by Mariza under the name Rosa ao Branca).

Folkloreis also not Fado and comprehends several traditional styles from Portugal. The songs can be transcriptions, or they can be Folklore-inspired creations. These are festive songs in a major key most of the time.

Examples: Fadinho Serrano, Bailarico Saloio, Fadinho da Ti Maria Benta, Sr. Vinho.

When at a Fado concert you are encouraged to clap your hands to the rhythm of the music, you are probably listening to Marcha or Folklore.

There are also other songs that have gained a lot of popularity in the Fado scene, but in my opinion they don’t fit into the Fado-canção category because they are either too far away from the Fado language or they originated in musical contexts other than Fado.

Examples: Uma Casa Portuguesa*, Abril em Portugal (“Coimbra”), Chuva, Dia de Folga, Meu Amor de Longe, Barco Negro.

Read my article on styles in Fado if you are interested in going deeper into this topic.

*It is not a mistake. This song, despite being sung in almost all Fado shows (effect of uncritical normalization) is a satire of a poor and oppressed Portugal, was written in Africa, in a cosmopolitan hotel in Mozambique, and was born from a picaresque episode. Click here to read more about it.

Instruments and musical dynamics

Fado usually has three players: the fadista (voice), the guitarist (Portuguese guitar), and the classical guitar player. Sometimes a bass player is also included.

In this ensemble there is an instrument with a distinctive sound that is called the Portuguese guitar. It has 12 double strings (6 orders) of steel and is descended from the European zither and the English guitar.

The fadista’s job is to sing the poems in such a way that the melody and the musical dynamics he imprints reflect the message he is transmitting.

The guitarist has the role of playing the initial melodies, of supporting the classical guitar, of creating a musical dialog with the voice, and also of creating musical textures and colors.

The classical guitar player sets the rhythm, makes the basses, and also defines the harmonic path, in a specific Fado groove. It is the foundation of all music.

When there is a bass player, he shares the responsibility of the basse notes with the classical guitar player

Fado lives mainly from improvisation and interpretation. There is no official score that one has to follow. A good interpretation respects the identity of a fado, but at the same time includes original interpretive elements.

The musical structure of a fado usually has two parts (A and B). It usually starts with a short instrumental introduction related to part B. Since it is the guitarist who plays the melody, it is up to him to define what he wants to do. The introduction can either be a mere way to help the fadista get into the music, or it can be an inspiring musical moment for everyone.

Since it is not usual to have group rehearsals, the dynamics created among the musicians are spontaneously carried out on the spot. And in Fado there is a constant musical game between everyone.

dialogue in fado

The most remarkable is the melodic dialog between the voice and the Portuguese guitar. But the viola also enters this interaction in a more discrete way with the basses and harmonic textures.

Then a series of musical dynamics happen at the intensity level (crescendo, diminuendo, forte, piano, etc.) that everyone can bring. However, it is usually the fadista that has the most influence.

There is also the suspension, which consists of a moment, usually preceded by a rallentado, in which the accompaniment stops and the fadista creates an expressive moment in which he sings freely.

Sometimes in the middle of Fado there is a Portuguese guitar solo. The guitarist is free to recreate the voice melody or to improvise a different melody.

There is also the custom of playing instrumental pieces in Fado shows. They are compositions for Portuguese guitar, without voice, and don’t need to fit into the Fado style.

Etiquette at a Fado Show

Since one of the characteristics of a quality Fado experience is a good audience, I will help you understand how your posture at a Fado concert can contribute to a good show.


Fado, despite being a popular song, should be listened in silence. It is not a music to make ambience or to cheer up a meeting among friends.

It should be kept in mind that the performers are making music in real time (they are not reproducing something they have rehearsed countless times) and are entirely focused on communicating with the audience. If people are talking, besides being a strong deconcentration factor, the performers think that the audience doesn’t want to listen, which will decrease the quality of the performance.

On the other hand, being an auditive experience, it loses quality if there are other sounds besides the music. And if you are talking while listening you will not be in a state of sharing and complicity with the artists, which is the main thing in Fado, and will also disturb those who want to listen in silence

Cell phone use

In order to have silence, it is necessary to turn off the cell phone or remove the sound and vibration from it. Using your cell phone to take pictures or to film is, generally well accepted, as long as the lights and flash are inactive.

Using a cell phone, even if silently, to send messages, access social networks, emails, etc, also shows disrespect to the performers, which causes some deconcentration and, consequently, interferes with performance.


Clapping after each song is allowed and appreciated by the performers. It is one of the best ways to show that you are enjoying the performance and giving that feedback is important for performers.

However, it is not recommended to clap your hands to accompany the fados because clapping gets in the way of the person doing the rhythm and makes it difficult for the musicians to hear each other. This applies to Fado, but if they are playing Marchas or Folklore it is normal to ask for your cooperation.

Singing with the fado singer

Unless you are asked, which can happen with Marchas, Folklore and some of the more popular Fado-canção themes, you should not sing with the fadista, because it interferes with his interpretation.

Types of Fado experiences in Porto

Currently we can consider that there are four types of Fado experiences in Porto:

Fado concerts

Fado with dinner

Combo Experiences

Fado Vadio

1. Fado concerts

If you want to hear Fado in Porto in the late afternoon, without food in the mix, to enjoy the show without interference, and meet some of the best singers and guitarists in town, this is the experience recommended for you.

fado porto
Ideal Clube de Fado

These concerts start between 6:00 and 7:00 pm and are 1 hour long on average. Unlike a Fado dinner where the show is divided into several small parts throughout the evening, in these places you watch a show without interruption or with a small break in the middle.

The price is fixed because access is via the purchase of a ticket. It ranges from 15€ to 19€ and it includes a glass of port wine. You can buy at the venue, but I advise you to purchase your tickets online to secure your seat, as this type of experience is very popular.

In terms of space, atmosphere, and concert concept, each place is unique. So it is worthwhile to understand what each of them has to offer.

There are four places with this kind of experience:

  1. Ideal Clube de Fado;
  2. Fado na Baixa;
  3. Casa da Guitarra;
  4. A Casa do Fado.

Click here to buy your tickets for the Fado concerts in Porto.

2. Fado and dinner

In Porto there are several restaurants that regularly offer live Fado during dinner. However, it is important to distinguish between specialized Fado restaurants, known as Casas de Fado, and conventional restaurants that with some regularity offer Fado dinners.

Fado Português

Fado Houses

Fado House is not, contrary to popular belief, the name given to any place with live Fado. It is a typical restaurant that specializes in Fado dinners.

It is different from a regular restaurant because all the space and decoration are dedicated to this thematic. They always have Fado singers and guitarists during their opening hours.

This type of experience is perfect for those who want to dine and listen to Fado throughout the evening and spend a longer moment with family and friends in a convivial atmosphere with Fado and food.

The show is split into small sets and is usually alternated with the various dinner moments (starter, main course, dessert, coffees, and digestifs). Each part lasts approximately 20 minutes.

It is common in Fado Houses for at least two fadistas to perform each night: a female voice and a male voice.

There are six Fado Houses in Porto:

  1. Casa da Mariquinhas;
  2. Taberna Real do Fado;
  3. Mal Cozinhado;
  4. O Fado;
  5. Arcadas de S. Jorge;
  6. Fado Português.

Click here to guarantee your place in one of the Fado Houses in Porto.

Restaurants with Fado

There may be some advantages in choosing this type of establishment. The price is usually more affordable, the menu can be more varied and more varied, and the atmosphere more relaxed.

But usually the quality of the Fado experience is not as good as in a Fado House, since the focus of the business is the food and not the Fado.

The most popular are:

  1. Restaurante RC;
  2. Taberna do Cais das Pedras;
  3. Restaurante Luso-Brasileiro;

3. Combo Experiences

In Porto, there are some places that offer a Fado show in a package with other experiences.

Fado, Port wine cellar tour and tasting

port wine cellars

Visits to port wine cellars are one of the main attractions of the region. Nowadays there are two places that offer this experience in conjunction with a Fado show:

  1. Caves Calém;
  2. Caves Rozès.

Caves Calém offers a package tour aimed at the masses where the quality of the experience is not the best. Most of the repertoire performed is “fado for tourists” and the space is not favorable for the sharing between the artists and the public.

The Caves Rozès offer private tours with several tasting options. This is a premium, personalized experience with a good, intimate Fado show at the end. Therefore it is the only one I can recommend.

Click here to book a private tour to Caves Rozès with several tasting options and an intimate Fado concert.

Fado and Folklore

folklore group

Since 2012, Herança Magna offers a show featuring the two most important musical manifestations of traditional Portuguese music – Fado and folklore. Before the show, there is a dinner with traditional food to enjoy a musical and gastronomic experience.

If you are looking for an intimate Fado experience, this experience may not be the right one.

Click here to book a Fado and Folklore show with or without dinner.

4. Fado Vadio

fado vadio porto

O Fado Vadio, mais do que um concerto, é um encontro entre pessoas que partilham uma paixão pelo fado. It works like karaoke but with guitarists instead of recorded music.

Most of the people who sing in Fado Vadio are amateurs. So if you are looking to hear good artists you should go to a Fado concert or dine in a Casa de Fado.

This experience is recommended for those who want to sing Fado, even if they are amateurs. But you can also participate as a listener.

Places with Fado Vadio:

  1. Grupo Dramático Monte Aventino;
  2. Taberna Alecrim;
  3. Restaurante Guitarra;
  4. Restaurante O Bronco;
  5. Petiscaria Boca Aberta;
  6. Casa Balsas;
  7. A Viela;

Misunderstandings about Fado in Porto

Fado in Porto has received some unfair considerations. Therefore, it is essential to demystify some misconceptions that were created about the reality of Fado in this city.

In Porto there is very few live Fado

In Porto there are dozens of events with live Fado every week. To get a more exact idea, check the Fado in Porto agenda.

Fado in Porto is touristy and in Lisbon is authentic

If you think that being “touristy” means having lots of tourists at events or depending on them, Lisbon and Porto are in the same position.

Take a look at this old postcard from A Parreirinha de Alfama, one of Lisbon’s most important Fado houses, where the Portuguese, English, and French languages coexist.

“Parreirinha is a smaller, more typical, more Portuguese house, I mean, with more Portuguese people. It doesn’t have as much tourism as Pacheco. It has a big house. It would be bad for him if he only worked with Portuguese people. Even Dona Argentina has many foreigners. She has groups every day. If it wasn’t like this, nobody would survive. Unfortunately the Portuguese don’t go to Fado. They can go to Fado on the weekend and the houses can’t… We work every day.”

Alcindo Carvalho, Fado Falado – Um Século de Fado

In 1989, at a time when Fado Houses in Oporto were in crisis with many of them closing down (there were few tourists to Oporto Fado), Alcindo Carvalho talks about the great affluence of foreigners in Lisbon’s Fado Houses and highlights the importance they have for the preservation of these places.

Nowadays, both in Porto and Lisbon, Fado venues are mostly frequented by tourists. But in Lisbon, where there has always been more tourism than in Porto, Fado has long been one of the main tourist attractions. And in the last decades the abundance of tourists not only contributed to the maintenance of Lisbon’s Fado Houses, but was also the main factor for the birth of many more.

From my point of view, more than looking at the number of tourists, because most of the clients of the professional Fado places in Porto and Lisbon are foreigners, other aspects are more important:

– Do the artists sing real Fado or do they adapt the repertoire to the less experienced ears of foreigners and interpret “lighter things” that are not Fado?

– Is the quality of the performers good? Are they giving their best during their performance?

– Are customers treated in a warm manner or with indifference?

I think that considering these issues is much more important when determining a good place to hear Fado than counting the number of foreigners vs locals.

Amateur Fado places offer a more authentic experience

Some tour guides think that Fado Vadio places, because they have fewer foreigners, are more genuine. But, as I was able to explain, this argument is poorly founded and there are other more important things to take in consideration.

Besides, the conditions are not better in these places, and listening to amateur artists will not give you a better notion of what real Fado is.


If you have read the whole article, you are now in a position to choose the best Fado experience in Porto for you.

Whether you are passing through Porto, our country, or live here, be sure to see a live show that is this country’s most important musical expression.