Fado literally means “fate” and is an expression of longing and sorrow. The neighborhood of Alfama is considered the birthplace of this very Portuguese combination of voice and guitar and Mouraria, one of Lisbon’s oldest districts, it is also associated with fado, as its mournful strains have echoed through the streets here for more than a century.
The country’s melancholic music was born in Lisbon’s old quarters where there are several taverns and fine dining restaurants known as “Fado Houses” with both amateur and professional performers.
No taste of nightlife in Lisbon would be complete without a visit to a fado house. Most of the larger ‘genuine’ fado houses are located in the Alfama and Lapa districts and of course there are also scattered throughout the Bairro Alto.
Although many of these places are packaged specifically for tourists, there are plenty of smaller ones hidden off the beaten track just waiting to be discovered, as well as some of the biggest names in fado such as Senhor Vinho.
Portugal’s unique musical style is also suitably honored at the Fado Museum by way of a permanent exhibition that traces the origins of fado music and the Portuguese guitar since the 19th century.