SPAIN AND MOROCCO
Despite being on different continents (to be fair, they’re only nine miles apart at the Strait of Gibraltar), Spain and Morocco are a perfect pairing. Start in Madrid—the flight is shorter and the culture shock gentler—and check into the Hotel Ritz. Decked out in regal threads (literally: the hotel still sources its fabrics from the Royal Tapestry Factory) it’s right next to the Prado and surrounded by bustling tapas bars. An hour’s flight away, Marrakesh is a brilliantly, charmingly chaotic, particularly in the souks and the buzzing main square, Jemaa el-Fna. Overlooking the swirl of activity is La Mamounia Hotel, whose Moorish-inspired majesty—ornate tiling, gilt-lined pools, acres of gardens—rivals that of the Ritz.
SAME BUT DIFFERENT: Both countries are culturally rich—food, the arts, literature—and it’s easy to see the influence they’ve had on one another over the centuries. Take, for instance, the Moorish-style architecture of Madrid’s Plaza Mayor and Las Ventas bullring, or the broad boulevards and cafés of Marrakesh’s Guéliz area.