It's colourful, friendly and exotic with a fascinating mix of Arab, Islamic, Berber, African and European influences. Spectacular landscapes range from miles of unspoilt beaches to magnificent snow-capped mountains, from lush river valleys to vast tracts of desert, as well as labyrinthine walled medieval cities and Berber fortresses. A wealth of beautiful handicrafts that can be picked up for a song – and a ritual bout of haggling – in the heaving city souks. Traditional townhouses (known as riads) and kasbahs beautifully restored to create hidden guesthouses, varying from luxurious to comfortably basic. Delicious home-cooked tagines and couscous. The promise of year-round sunshine and warmth and all within 4 hours flying time from northern Europe.