Four Amazing Countries Every Music Lover Should Visit
Plato once said, “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” And with that in mind, it’s no wonder that music lovers around the world take to the skies to reach new destinations where they can explore new depths of music. Some people traveling to music-inspired destinations are growing musicians, teaching themselves how to produce music with online education platforms like Audible Genius or instrument-specific video lessons from YouTube. Or perhaps you’re just a traveler looking to marry your passion for exploration with your passion for sound. Whatever the case, the following five countries will fuel your passion and keep you inspired, no matter what your personal goals and interests are.
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Cartagena, Colombia – Salsa, Champeta
Cartagena is a port city along the Caribbean coast, and it’s special for several reasons. This is a colorful coastal city teeming with life, and music remains a part of its core. What makes the music scene especially unique is the combination of classic Latin American salsa sounds and its Caribbean influence.
Step into the Walled City and you’ll quickly see why many people consider it one of the most beautiful in South America—increased levels or tourism mean that more people are discovering what it has to offer. There are plenty of live music venues where you can hear local genres like champeta and cumbia. Cafe Havana and Bazurto Social Club are among the more notable options.
Lisbon, Portugal – Fado
If you haven’t heard of Fado yet, now is a great time to take a visit to the beautiful coastal-rimmed country of Portugal. Head to its capital for an introduction to Fado, a romantic type of music is shrouded in mystery and passion. Fado is many things at once: sad, nostalgic, hopeful, and soulful.
One of the best ways to experience the local Fado tradition (which is so integral to Portuguese culture that UNESCO considers it part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity) is by reserving a seat at a Fado restaurant.
These restaurants offer some of the best local cuisine, alongside live performances of fado, at no extra cost (though tipping the artists is encouraged). Check out this list of some of the best places to listen to fado—but even if you don’t catch a restaurant performance, chances are you’ll hear the soulful sounds echoing through Lisbon’s labyrinth of stone streets during the evening.
Vienna, Austria – Classical
You’d be hard-pressed to find a music destination list that doesn’t include Vienna, the capital of classical music. Vienna was home to Mozart, where tourists can visit several of the residences he lived in. Vienna was also the focal point for Beethoven for more than three decades. He arrived in Vienna at the age of 17 to study under Mozart’s guide. You can visit memorials and homes dedicated to him, as well as the Beethoven museum.
Beethoven was also a student of Joseph Haydn, another famous composer who played a major role in the development of chamber music. In addition to being able to pay homage to many of the classical greats, you’ll also find beautiful opera houses and orchestras to satiate your musical appetite.
Berlin, Germany – Electronic
It’s safe to say that Berlin takes the crown when it comes to electronic music. This artsy music-lover’s paradise is the home of the dance floor, where many infamous nightclubs pump dance tunes until sunrise. As the epicenter of the techno dance scene, it’s no wonder that some of the biggest DJs and electronic artists in the world have come here to perform.
The history of techno spans back to the fall of the Berlin Wall, which left many warehouses, bunkers, and large buildings abandoned with little to no regulation. These vast spaces opened up opportunity for temporary clubs and experimental music. Freedom was celebrated with immense underground parties, which ultimately paved the way for its modern dance culture.
You’ll find plenty of venue options in this city, and among the more well-known include Berlin’s Berghain, a massive nightclub open 24 hours during the weekend. But the real challenge is getting inside: its door policy is infamous; bouncers choose who enters with a simple yes or no nod, with no explanation offered to those who don’t make the cut. On weekends, expect the line to run a few blocks, and waiting times to span a couple hours.