By Claudia Quesito
Learning or refining a language with native speakers, surrounded by art or nature, having a blast … sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it? After the last two years, traveling and meeting people looks more enticing than ever.
Some restrictions are still in place in certain areas, but with that in mind, it’s time to plan your Summer 2022 Bucket List! Ready for some inspiration? Keep reading!
Summer music events in Europe
If you’re into music, and you happen to be in France practicing your français, you might check out We Love Green.
It’s a two-day event held in a Parisian park. Its 2022 line-up features hip-hop, indie, electro, and pop rock bands. Why “Green”? Because the festival is also a think tank where scientists, activists, and artists can exchange their insights to foster environmental innovation. If you’d prefer to add a pinch of history to your playlist instead, consider the Festival de Nîmes.
Some big music names perform at this festival in the majestic Nîmes Arena, a Roman amphitheater built in 70 CE.
Did the mention of Romans make your I’d-love-to-practice-my-Italian alert go off? Well, Italy also has a rich summer festival program.
Let it bring you to some surprising places, like spectacular Ortigia. This tiny island, which also forms the historical center of Siracusa, in Sicily, hosts the Ortigia Sound System. Or you might consider something more traditional, like Umbria Jazz in Perugia.
Our tour continues with the German-speaking countries, where music festivals are a very summery thing as well. After two years, the twin mega-festivals Rock Am Park & Rock Im Ring will be back.
Each artist will play at the two different locations, the Nürburgring racetrack and the Zeppelinfeld in Nuremberg. And, if large events are your cup of tea, Nova Rock, in the Austrian town of Nickelsdorf, might be worth the ride.
Finally, you probably don’t need any extra reasons to go in Spain in addition to summer itself, but it does just fine with music too. Fancy a pop and indie rock line-up, maybe enjoyed on a sweet slope of Bilbao? BBK Live may be your choice.
A compelling alternative might be the Vida Festival, held in the ancient, woodsy Masia de Can Parellada, just south of Barcelona.
Old-school nature-, art-, or history-filled destinations
As obvious as it sounds, Europe is filled with art, history, and architecture. You’ll find a lovely town, a picturesque piazza, or amazing ruins from the Romans pretty much wherever you go.
For the high-flyers, there’s even a place where you can practice three languages—Italian, French, and German—and experience all of the above. It’s Switzerland! Located in the heart of Europe, this unique country offers a great variety of landscapes: mountains (of course!), lakes, waterfalls, and spectacular hiking trails.
If you’re more of an urban type of traveler, you’ll have an ample choice of cities. Here are a few picks: Visit Geneve to practice French and immerse yourself in the center of worldwide diplomacy.
Stop in Locarno to speak Italian and watch movies at the central Piazza Grande. In Zürich, you can speak Swiss German, stroll around Niederdorf, and enjoy sliced meat Zürich style or Züri-Gschnätzlets.
Off-the-beaten path countries
Finally, you might want to refine your language skills in some unusual, less-visited places. Italian, for instance, is spoken in Istria, a peninsula shared by three countries: Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia, which has the largest portion.
Istria has been deeply influenced by the Italian language and culture because the ancient Repubblica di Venezia conquered some of its towns. In more recent history, the area’s ownership was long disputed during and after WWII.
Eventually, the current borders were established, but the cultural connections with Italy are still strong.
Next, did you know that there’s only one African country where Spanish is an official language? It’s Equatorial Guinea. Located on the west coast of central Africa, the country used to be a Spanish colony, and Spanish is still the most widely spoken language. Equatoguinean Spanish, as this variant is called, is spoken by over 1 million people (out of a population of 1.4 million).
While there, you might want to check out Malabo National Park, or the colonial quarter and the Catedral de Santa Isabel in Malabo, the capital. Or you could watch nesting turtles on one of the remote beaches of the island of Bioko.
As for French, why not head to Madagascar? This former French colony, independent since 1960, has two official languages: French, of course, and Malagasy.
Must-sees include the famous Nosy Be Island, with its giant turtles and magnificent vegetation; Lemur’s Park; and the capital, Antananarivo, with its Rova Palace Complex. There are plenty of options for enjoying this magical country and interacting with locals, plus lots of wildlife.
Finally, sticking to Africa, you can polish your Deutsch in Namibia. In this former German colony, the German influence has left a deep mark, especially in urban areas.
German is one of the official languages, although it is spoken primarily by very few people; the most common language being Oshiwambo.
Many people, however, do speak German—specifically the Namdeutsch variant—as a second or third language. You could take the most amazing selfies at the highest dunes in the world at Sossusvlei. Or you could just be lost for words at the sight of the incredible wildlife in Etosha National Park.
The world is a pretty amazing place, and your favorite language might just be spoken in the most unexpected towns. Go find them, and let us know—or see!
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