From humble beginnings, this festival (Click here), held every June, has become a major player on the world-music festival scene. It’s easy to understand why – the organizers work hard to bring in big names, and the city buzzes with visitors, and spin-off events and happenings. Many of the highlights are the unexpected – free public concerts and musical gatherings of Sufi brotherhoods that take you deep into the night
The long grasp of Roman North Africa stretches back to grab you at Volubilis (Click here), with its triumphal arches and dazzling array of mosaics. The setting, in the rolling countryside just north of the Middle Atlas, is superb. History continues to play out in the landscape here as well – turn your head from the Roman olive press to nearby Moulay Idriss, where presses still continue to produce some of the finest olive oil in the country.
Tear yourself away from the laid-back joints on the square to explore one of the best little medinas in Morocco. Climb up cobbled streets to discover tiny bluewashed lanes, massive studded doors, and all the trappings of medina life: women in Riffian pompom hats selling vegetables on street corners; the hammam; the communal oven; and the mosque. Emerge at the top at Ras el-Maa to watch the sunset over the medina from a cafe. Best of all, this medina is small enough that you won’t get horribly lost.