A view of Marrakech and its traditional scenery.

30 July 2019

How Marrakech Differs from Other Popular Moroccan Cities

Marrakech is a city that is both world-renowned yet curiously obscure.

It is a popular destination for travellers worldwide and is very well-known. However, it also contains hidden gems and overlooked beauty filled with surprises.

Being a cultural centre in Morocco, Marrakech offers a unique experience that may not be found in other Moroccan cities and certainly has some unique aspects that separate it from other locales. 

Marrakech vs. Casablanca

Comparing these two cities can be distilled into this key point: One city is more about historic preservation and cultural authenticity (Marrakech) while the other is the business hub of Morocco (Casablanca).

Marrakech is where you’ll want to go to see French colonial and traditional Moroccan architecture. It’s also where you’ll want to go to see bazaars and street festivals where singers, dancers, snake charmers, acting troupes, and fire-swallowers take centre stage.

Casablanca does have its fair share of Morocco’s attractions, but it is undoubtedly the commercial centre.

If you’re looking for a culturally steeped experience, accommodations in Marrakech will offer better options. In Marrakech, you will find a host of riads, which differ significantly from hotels while still offering the amenities of mainstream resorts. You will be exposed to a more traditional home setting without sacrificing the comforts you love.

Marrakech vs. Fes

Fes is 386 km (240 miles) from Marrakech. They are both imperial cities that share quite a few similarities to each other in terms of sightseeing, attractions, and culture.

In Marrakech, you will find popular attractions such as the El Badii Palace Gardens, Bahia Palace and the Ben Youssef Madrasa. In Fes, you’ll see similar attractions since the city is full of madrasas and mosques. You can also expect to see tanneries where skins and hides are processed.

For foodies, Marrakech and Fes are brimming with local spots serving traditional favourites such as lamb tagine and meshoui. You can find these meals at the Le Trou Au Mur restaurant.

One of the main differences between the two cities, however, is popularity. Marrakech brings significantly more traffic than Fes. It is tourist-heavy, with visitors packing open-air markets, restaurants, and of course, its luxurious riads.

Fes, on the other hand, has been noted for its medieval cobblestoned areas, which serves as a window into its past. The city offers more of a “slice-of-life” portrait of daily Moroccan life with its artisans, deli displays, donkeys loaded with trade goods, and more.

Fes is a city for those who want to completely lose themselves in the Moroccan experience. Marrakech, however, is a city for those who want to feel and breathe Moroccan culture yet easily retreat to their comfort zone when needed be.

Marrakech vs. Rabat

Rabat is yet another imperial city much like Marrakech. However, Rabat serves Morocco’s political and administrative capital. It has been described as being at an intersection of traditionalism and modernity, with individuals of various nationalities coming to Rabat to work, study, and live.

Nevertheless, Rabat is filled with historic sites, ranging from medieval constructions, such as the Chella Necropolis and greenery of the Andalusian Gardens. You could also find similar cultural staples in Rabat as you would in Marrakech, such as bazaars, traditional cafes, and meandering alleyways. 

One aspect where Rabat differs from Marrakech is in its location and therefore, its natural scenery. Rabat is a coastal city with sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean and plenty of beaches, whereas Marrakech is an inland city surrounded by the majestic Atlas Mountains.

Both cities are beautiful in their own right. Those who want to be by the beach will prefer Rabat whereas the more adventurous type might have a better sojourn in Marrakech.

Marrakech: A Perfect Starting Point

You can have great experiences and memories no matter where in Morocco you visit. However, in Marrakech, you will get a true feel for Moroccan culture and what life is like for the locals. Whether it is the food, the shops, or the experiences, Marrakech will leave an indelible impression on you for years to come.

Visit Marrakech and stay at our welcoming and luxurious boutique hotel, Le Farnatchi. Book now!

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How Marrakech Differs from Other Popular Moroccan Cities