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Relaxing Riads
Relaxing Riads

Relaxing Riads

For some local flavor, stay at a riad. This traditional Moroccan house house has an interior courtyard or garden, and is often decorated with intricate tile work. Many riads also have rooftop patios where you can relax. 960 1280

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Medina

Medina

Marrakech’s old medina is the ancient walled section of town with narrow streets that are often reserved for pedestrians, donkeys, horses, and the occasional motorcycle or taxi whizzing by. Within the medina, you’ll find historic buildings with antique doors and windows alongside more modern buildings. 960 1280

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Djemaa el-Fna

Djemaa el-Fna

During the day Marrakech’s iconic square, Djemaa el-Fna, is a mix of vendors, performers with monkeys, henna tattoo artists, fruit sellers and locals going about their daily lives. Once night falls, Djemaa el-Fna, which is also a UNESCO Heritage Site, turns into one of the largest street food markets in the world. 960 1280

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Snake Charmers

Snake Charmers

While it’s best to avoid them when you’re in Djemaa el-Fna, Marrakech’s snake charmers are as legendary as the city itself. They reel you in by placing a snake around your neck … whether you’re ready or not! Be careful -- avoid sneaking in photos of snake charmers or you’ll have to pay up. 960 1280

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Colorful Souks

Colorful Souks

No trip to Marrakech is complete without wandering through the maze-like alleyways of stalls and shops that make up its vibrant Berber markets known as souks. With so much to choose from -- from leather bags, colorful slippers and stained glass lamps, to clothes, scarves and jewelry -- get ready to put your bargaining skills to practice. 960 1280

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Dried Fruit and Nuts

Dried Fruit and Nuts

Within Marrakech’s souks are dozens, probably hundreds, of vendors selling dried fruit and nuts like dates, figs, apricots, almonds and peanuts, which are often used in traditional Moroccan cooking. Buy bags of dried fruit and nuts as snacks, or sample a Moroccan tajine, which is a heavy meat or chicken stew cooked in a dome-shaped clay pot of the same name. 960 1280

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Berber Carpets

Berber Carpets

Dozens of carpet dealers in Marrakech sell beautifully hand-woven carpets that are often popular souvenirs to bring home. If your budget can handle it, spend some time looking through rolls of brightly colored wool carpets and bring home a piece of local culture. 960 1280

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Winding Alleyways

Winding Alleyways

If you visit one of Marrakech’s souks for the first time, you will get lost -- guaranteed. Networks of winding narrow lanes with vendors all selling similar items can easily confuse even the most intrepid travelers. Relax and have fun exploring these narrow alleyways; you never know what gems you’ll find along the way. 960 1280

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Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ben Youssef Madrasa was once an Islamic college (madrasa); today this historic site is the largest madrasa in the entire country. Open for tours, the site has gorgeous earth-toned tiled clay and stucco walls around a large central courtyard with a small pool. Its walls also have geometric patterns and inscriptions, and it has about 130 small rooms that used to be classrooms. 960 1280

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Lamps

Lamps

From hanging lamps with round metal frames to shades made of patterned cloth, you’ll find thousands of signature lampshades at Marrakech’s souks. The lights from the lamps also add ambiance to the souks and are great to photograph. 960 1280

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Diversity

Diversity

While Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country, it’s also contemporary in many ways; you’ll find women in hijabs (headscarves) and abayas (long flowing cloaks) alongside women in jeans. In Morocco, there’s freedom to practice one’s own religion, whatever it may be. 960 1280

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Horse-Drawn Carriages

Horse-Drawn Carriages

For a quick and intimate way of exploring Marrakech, take a horse-drawn carriage ride through its narrow streets and alleys. You can ride alongside the city’s ancient walls and explore gardens within its medina. 960 1280

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Al Fassia

Al Fassia

Run entirely by women (female chefs and waitresses), Al Fassia serves up some of the very best traditional Moroccan cuisine in Marrakech. You can enjoy lamb tajine with dates and fresh vegetables served with fluffy couscous. 960 1280

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Ancient Walls

Ancient Walls

More than 800 years old, Marrakech’s medina is surrounded by a 12-mile-long protective wall and ramparts. In addition, 22 impressive gates provide various entry and exit points in and out of the medina. The clay wall’s signature orange-red hue gives Marrakech its nickname “The Red City.” 960 1280

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Thailand is home to many affordable attractions, including jungle treks, ancient temples, flour-soft beaches and an entire island of ravers. While 2010 saw civil unrest in Bangkok, the effect on tourists was minimal, if not advantageous, as businesses tried to woo tourists with discounts. New direct flights into the Trat Islands near Cambodia, and several new resort developments, opened up this once inaccessible area. 960 1280

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In the last few years, Marrakech has seen an explosion of small Riads or boutique hotels around the ancient city, catering to niche markets, including luxe, gay and family travelers. In November La Mamounia, the grand dame of Marrakech hotels, reopened after a five-year, $176-million redesign by Parisian designer Jacques Garcia. 960 1280

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South Africa took advantage of the 2010 World Cup to build new stadiums, hotels and safari lodges. Cape Town, already famous for spectacular beaches, upscale nightlife and food, added several new hotels, including the Taj Cape Town. Luxe travelers can splurge on a safari trip to Richard Branson's Cliff Lodge, a new luxury hotel at Ulusaba, the billionaire's private game reserve. 960 1280

  

Vancouver was host to many winter-sports enthusiasts during February's Olympic festivities. The city and surrounding areas had a ton to offer fans of the Winter Games as well as regular travelers. There's world-class skiing at Whistler-Blackcomb, one of the best destination ski resorts in the world. At nearby Ucluetet on Nanaimo Island, the new Wild Pacific Trail follows a rugged shoreline. Kayakers love the area for beauty and a chance to spot gray whales during their annual migration. 960 1280

  

Los Angeles is a hot spot for art and museum hounds. The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) celebrated its 30th birthday in 2010 with special exhibitions. The Los Angeles County Museum of Art unveiled a Renzo Piano-designed addition to its campus. Several prominent galleries have opened outposts in LA. 960 1280

  

The dramatic collapse of Iceland's economy over the last couple of years has been a boon for budget travelers in 2010. The value of the kroner plunged against numerous currencies, and the once expensive destination became much more affordable. 960 1280

  

Once a shunned country for travelers, Colombia is Latin America's affordable, new hot spot. The capital of Bogota has been slowly transforming since the late 1990s, adding bike paths, a new bus system and sidewalk cafes. The coastal city of Caragena experienced a renaissance, sprouting stylish new boutique hotels and spas. JetBlue's new nonstop daily service to Bogota from Orlando made a trip here even more affordable. 960 1280

  

Bike paths line Copenhagen's streets where locals and tourists ride the free bikes available around the city center. The Danish capital also boasts new cultural buildings ' an opera house, library and concert hall ' as well as a booming arts district. A public bath is the newest addition to the harbor district, the city's burgeoning summertime center. 960 1280

  

Las Vegas was hit hard by US economic woes as business travel and group bookings evaporated, so hotels went into overdrive to attract budget-conscious travelers with discounts and deals galore. On the other end of the spectrum, several developers amped up the luxury despite the downturn, including MGM's massive resort complex, CityCenter. 960 1280

  

Savvy travelers knew that 2010 was the year to see the town's once-every-decade performance of the Passion Play. More than 2,000 actors, singers, instrumentalists and technicians, all residents of the village, brought the story of Jesus of Nazareth to life in an extraordinary community event. The Oberammergau Passion Play was first performed in 1634. 960 1280

  

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