Marrakech

Marrakech beats to the rhythm of the Djemaa el-Fna, the square at the heart of the medina. Here, snake charmers, acrobats, and street food hawkers create a vibrant fusion of sounds, sights, and smells. Life in the old city unfolds before you. Walk in one direction, and you'll reach imperial palaces and the minaret of the Koutoubia Mosque; go another way, and you'll find ancient tombs. Surrounding you are alleys and souks selling almost anything your heart desires. When the sensory overload demands a break, head to the tranquil Jardin Majorelle or a hammam for a steam and a scrub. Finish your day with some fluffy couscous and drinks at a chicΒ riad.

The city first grew rich from camel caravans that brought gold and salt from the Sahara Desert, but today its lifeblood is tourism. Travelers come seeking the street performers in the historic Djemaa el-Fna square, the winding alleys of the centuries-old medina, and the endless array of handicrafts. In between cultural excursions, they recharge in a boutique riad and discover the rich spices of Moroccan cuisine. And the Berber carpet of your dreams is just a haggle and a glass of mint tea away.