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After Wednesday’s match, we can relate. But in the travel sweepstakes, they’re both such strong contenders that we decided now was the time to shine a light on what makes these two very different countries equally compelling off the pitch.
Morocco or Iceland?
Essentially, the only mutual aspect of Moroccan and Icelandic landscapes is that they’re both stunning.
Morocco’s colour scheme is warm, with hues of dusky pink, burnt orange, softer reds. The beautiful Atlas Mountains are rarely done justice in photographs, the warm pink and orange triangles of these peaks best experienced flaring into life at first light or basking in the embers of the sunset.
The valleys are greener than many visitors expect, but the sweeping emptiness of the desert dunes has a charm all its own.
Iceland is characterised by green and black: green rolling summer hills and idyllic hot spring spots, black for stark volcanic scenes, black sand beaches and towering basalt columns.
This is a land defined by its volcanic heritage, nowhere more so than the deep rift in Thingvellir National Park; an impressive inland cliff marking the place where two tectonic plates meet, dramatic rocky sides and a stark reminder of the power of nature.
Winter Sun or Winter Wonderland?
Iceland is the fantastical winter wonderland that children dream about. But it is not just vast white snowdrifts and iced-over waterfalls to enjoy: the Icelandic winter brings with it something extra special. For it is here that the Northern Lights illuminate the long dark nights with spectacular, natural firework displays to fill you with awe and wonder.
Warm up cosy against the chill and head out into the night in the hope of catching one of nature’s greatest phenomenon.
In Morocco, you can escape the cold altogether with a winter sun break. Moroccan temperatures are also cooler than the summer, but still comfortably within the low- to mid-twenties and perfect for catching the sunshine hit during the cooler months. If you’re looking to escape winter hibernation, then hiking and cycling in the Atlas Mountains is ideal.
Morocco’s higher population density means that it outstrips Iceland on cityscapes. But Reykjavik holds its own nonetheless – it may not be the cheapest place to have a beer, but this surprising foodie capital is a delight, from the architectural accomplishments of the cathedral to the artistic sculptures beside the water.
Morocco cities are undoubtedly busier, and more numerous. The port towns of Casablanca and Essaouira ooze effortless cool, whereas the labyrinthine souks of Marrakech and Fez draw you in, demanding further exploration.
All Moroccan cities are architectural masterpieces: intricate Islamic tiles with geometric designs adorn the mosques and stucco and wood carvings in palaces. Here you can lose yourself in the winding market streets.
Browse trips to Iceland and Morocco and Iceland below and make your own mind up which is the winner.