What is Fado? It’s, as a matter of fact, a traditional Portuguese melancholic folklore style that was born in 19th century. The name of the style comes from the Latin word “fatum”, which means “destiny”. The homeland of this folklore style is the region of Alfama in Lisbon. It’s where Fado Meuseum is located, too, in order to appear as the storyteller of this unique art.
The museum opened its doors for the first time on 25th of September, 1988 year. Here you can see more than 14 000 artifacts that trace Fado traditions among which we meet the following intriguing spheres: musical instruments, paintings, photographs, records, clothes and magazines. The museum investigates the role of Fado folklore in Portuguese culture through a whole series of paintings made by artists like Jose Malhoa, Constantino Fernandes and Joao Vieira. The museum is one of the most emblematic symbols of Portuguese capital, Lisbon. In Fado Museum exhibitions, workshops and presentations take place regularly. In addition to these, there’s a musical school that works on Fado principles, while the visitors of the museums can also enjoy restaurants, cafes and shops.
What to see?
The exhibition traces the background history of Fado from its beginning in 19th century till these days. This traditional folklore trend impacts on the national theatre, radio, movie and TV. You will be able to meet the creative works made by lots of artists, who have devoted their lives to Fado. You will also see the various prototypes of the traditional Portuguese guitar (it’s with six pairs of cords) which is the common musical instrument in this specific folklore style.
The museum school mainly focuses on the study, popularization and incidence of Fado style. It was established back in 2002 year with a general purpose to encourage the cultivation and the spreading this musical tradition. The school program includes Portuguese guitar playing courses, literature seminars, poetry classes and many more. Twice per year there’s an audition for candidates. These sessions are opened for visits, too.
It’s a hall with a capacity for 90 people. It’s usually a host of many conferences, workshops, performances and concerts. Keep an eye on the museum program regularly to get in an interesting event.
The museum provides rehearsal rooms for singers and Fado musicians. They can be used only with a reservation made in advance.
Restaurants and shops
- Museum shop – it’s where you can find CDs, books, postcards, musical instruments and many other products that relate to Fado and Lisbon’s history
- A Travessa do Fado – it’s the museum restaurant. Here, you can enjoy local Mediterranean, typical European and authentic Portuguese cuisine. It’s suitable for vegetarians, too. The lunch price varies between 20 and 35 EUR.
- On the territory of the museum there are a couple of cafes where you can grab a cup of coffee or something for a bite
What should I know before a visit of Fado Museum?
- In difference to the other attractions in Lisbon, the queues at the museum entrance are very rare
- The busses that can take you to Fado museum are the following: 728, 735, 794, 745, 759, 790. You can also use the subway. In this case, get off Santa Apolonia station.
- If you carry a big knapsack or bag, you will be politely asked to leave it at the cloakroom. Before doing so, though, take all your valuable personal belongings as it’s better to get them with you.
- The museum isn’t that large, so you will be able to go over it in an hour.
- If you are in a group of at least 5 people and you decide to visit Sao Jorge Castle, you can get two tickets for free for Fado Museum. On mandatory, get aware of these dependences of both attractions in advance and of course, use them!
- If you want to experience the authentic spirit of Fado, right after the museum, visit any traditional amenity where you can listen to this music stile live.
The ticket for Fado Museum is standard – it costs nearly 5 EUR.
There are discounts for:
- Kids and youths from 13 to 25 years old
- People over 65 years
- Visitors with disabilities and one companion per such a visitor
- Lisbon Card owners
Special tip: The Lisbon Card provides you discounts on many other attractions in the city and it’s a very affordable alternative to get along Lisbon with its public transportation.
If you want to, you can also book a guide for the museum. He or she can tell you in details about Fado background history, meaning and messages, as well as its progress within the time. Note that you can get audio guide for free at several languages, including English.
Free visits for Fado Museum receive:
- Kids under 12 years old
- Lisbon citizens – 13-18-years old, as well as people over 65-years old each Sunday and in all holidays till 14:00 o’clock
- Accredited tourism specialist
- Accredited researchers and scientists
- All visitors who come to Fado Museum on the International Museum Day (18th of May)
Please, note that Fado Museum is accessible to people with disabilities and their companions.