Struggling to choose between Morocco or Turkey for your next vacation? While there are some similarities, these are two very different countries. The 3,892 kilometers that separate these two countries give room for distinct culture and individual customs to both Morocco and Turkey. However, both of these Islamic nations offer a feast of activities and adventures for any type of traveler.
From the exotic food and aromatic flavors to the diverse landscapes and unique ecosystems, these countries have contrasts. One thing we can guarantee, whether you choose to visit Morocco or Turkey, both are fantastic destinations and promise a great trip.
To help you decide between Turkey and Morocco, we’ve compared the two in key areas, giving you all the facts to make an informed decision. So get your bags packed and dig out your sandals! Here is all you need to know about the ‘Morocco or Turkey’ question.
Morocco vs Turkey: Overall vibe
Both Morocco and Turkey are gateways of the world. Morocco is a stone’s throw of the Spanish shores, connecting the West to North Africa. Turkey is on the other side and is the link between Europe and Asia. So it’s no surprise that these two countries have been popular destinations for traders and travelers for centuries.
The locals and tourism industry in both Morocco and Turkey are welcoming and friendly, however, Morocco possibly more so. It’s important to remember though, these countries are both conservative Islamic nations. While visiting either, it’s best to remain compliant and respectful of local customs and etiquette.
Moroccan customs to know about before you visit:
- Dress modestly, especially if you are visiting rural parts of Morocco.
- Keep public display of affection to a minimum.
- Be prepared to haggle as this is a way of life.
- Remove shoes before entering a Turkish home and remember to bring a gift.
Turkish customs to know about before you visit:
- Greet people by kissing both cheeks while hugs are reserved for close friends and family.
- Tea is used as a sign of hospitality and shouldn’t be refused.
- Always cover up while visiting a mosque and dress modestly.
- Remove shoes before entering a Turkish home and remember to bring a gift.
Overall, Morocco and Turkey are both conservative countries where respect and social etiquette are paramount. Keep this in mind while you visit either and you will have a great time.
Morocco vs Turkey: Food
Halal, vegan, traditional, and utterly delicious. Both Moroccan and Turkish food culture is full of aromatic spices and incredible flavors that will take your tastebuds on an adventure. In fact, both are so good you may struggle to choose a favorite.
Morocco draws a lot of influence from Mediterranean cuisine, cultivating fresh ingredients and time-old spices into a distinct taste. Moroccans are proud of their cuisine, and quite rightly so. For the best tagines, couscous, and fresh seafood, head to the more rural parts of Morocco to get the most authentic flavors.
Turkish cuisine has been enriched by a variety of cultures and nations, in particular, Central Asia and Eastern Europe with a flair from the Middle East. Each corner of Turkey has its own individual dishes and influences, making traveling the country interesting and exciting. Turkey’s main dishes are kebabs and mezes along with world-famous deserts, baklava and Turkish delight.
While both are amazing cuisines, Turkey just has that something extra to their local food dishes. The diverse mix of flavors simply offers more variety.
Morocco vs Turkey: Markets
Shopping in the markets of Turkey or Morocco is something everyone must experience when in these two very different countries. Actually, the shopping experience is quite similar and requires negotiation skills to barter. The art of haggling is a huge part of Moroccan and Turkish culture and is used when buying anything from food to carpets. The general rule is to not pay more than 70% of the original asking price, offer half first then see where you end up – it’s all part of the fun of shopping in these ancient markets!
Morocco’s vibrant souks are world-famous. Marrakech and Fes are the two oldest market towns in Morocco and offer an absolute feast for the senses. Spice and perfume blend together while colors flow across tapestries and fabric. It’s hard to resist loading up on souvenirs in these enchanting places.
Istanbul and Ankara are Turkey’s ancient souk cities that are also a sensory wonderland and are very similar to Morocco’s. Street food stalls with local delicacies are a main highlight of the Turkish markets. There is also a section of Istanbul’s market selling books, which is a remarkable sight for many travelers.
Morocco vs Turkey: Architecture and landmarks
Morocco’s historical sights range from the Grand Mosques in Tangier and Casablanca to the world’s oldest university, Al-Qarouine. The City of Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site offering an insight into ancient Moroccan culture and life. Moroccan architecture is often intricate with colorful details, creating a sense of enchantment as you explore the various destinations.
However, Turkey really is something else. There are thousands of historically significant landmarks dotted across the country due to sitting on the edge of ancient Mesopotamia – often referred to as the birthplace of civilization. As the gateway between the East and the West, Turkey has been shaped by the empires of the past. Istanbul alone offers some of those rare sights that just take your breath away – wait until you see the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia.
While both are mesmerizing in architecture, with streets weaving through major cities that take you to a different time, it is Turkey that offers more history in landmarks and unique sights. This interesting country is arguably home to some of the most incredible and significant landmarks in the world.
Morocco vs Turkey: Landscape and nature
Snow-capped mountains, sandy shores, deserts, and white terraces of calcium pools, what more can you ask for? Between Turkey and Morocco, these two countries have a tremendously diverse landscape that is home to equally diverse wildlife. Venturing off the beaten path and discovering the beauty in each country is an absolute must regardless of which you choose.
Turkey offers a tremendous mix of terrain, providing a home to a range of flora and fauna. The Turkish coast is a popular destination for tourists seeking sun and sandy beaches, in particular Maramis and Bodrum. Head inland and you’ll discover mountain ranges and forested valleys. One of the most fascinating places in Turkey is the hot springs at Pamukkale, enormous white terraces of calcium pools dominate the landscape and are a unique sight.
Morocco is also blessed with an incredibly diverse landscape. Ranging from a rocky coastline to peaks in the high Atlas Mountains, beautiful sandy beaches to the expansive sands of the Sahara Desert – Morocco has everything Turkey has and more. Trek through some of the world’s highest peaks and then sleep under the stars in the world’s largest desert. Morocco is simply magical.
The ocean in Turkey is typically warm, unlike the cold waters of the Atlantic rolling onto the Moroccan coastline. However, Morocco’s lengthy coastline is more interesting with thousands of stunning small towns and cities to explore. At the end of it, while Turkey is a beautiful country, the size and scale of Morocco’s diverse landscape make it just that little bit more special.
Morocco vs Turkey: Accommodation
Accommodation in Morocco and Turkey are similar in value and quality. There is a significantly larger range of places to stay in Turkey as this is traditionally a more popular tourist destination. However, that does not mean that Morocco doesn’t also have options.
If you choose Morocco for your next vacation, perhaps consider staying in a Riad – a house built around a normally stunning patio garden. This provides a more intimate experience of the country, giving you the chance to have an insight into authentic Moroccan life. You can expect to share food, tea, and stories with the hosts. Riads are found across the whole country. Morocco offers another unique experience of camping in the Sahara Desert.
Turkey also has unique forms of accommodation such as trekkers’ lodges found in the foothills of the Kaçkar mountains, often dormitory-style rooms. Camping in “treehouses” in the south is another fun place to stay. However, Turkey is known and loved for its luxurious resorts in warm cities on the coast. Morocco also does luxury with the same intricate details.
Morocco vs Turkey: Prices
Both Turkey and Morocco are cheap destinations for a vacation. However, overall Turkey is the cheaper place for food, accommodation, and alcohol in hotels/restaurants. Here is a quick breakdown of the average costs in these two countries.
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Morocco vs Turkey: The verdict
As expected, putting these two countries up against each other is like comparing apples to oranges. From Turkey’s delicious food and awe-inspiring historical sights to Morocco’s incredible landscapes and old city explorations, these two countries come up in an equal draw in our comparison guide.
However, if we had to pick a favorite, Morocco is our winner. Sure, it’s ever so slightly more expensive, but, the eclectic markets and diverse terrain make it the best country for us. The chaotic cities paired with dramatic coastlines promise visitors a fantastic adventure.
Ultimately though, it comes down to what kind of traveler you are. You may prefer Turkey with the abundance of historical architecture weaving through every corner. Regardless of whether you choose Morocco or Turkey, both countries offer an exotic experience that will transport you to a different world.