Despite its location in the very Arab state with Muslim traditions, today Casablanca is a business center with skyscrapers, the economic capital of Morocco. This is a city of avant-garde and new technologies, similar in lifestyle and appearance to southern European cities: people hurrying about their business, women with open faces, miniskirts, high heels, sunglasses.
In addition, Casablanca has the largest international airport named after Mohammed V in Morocco. Both businessmen on business, and tourists who want to “excursion”, and just lovers of sunbathing and swimming come here.
You can swim on the city beach of Casablanca, but Agadir is better suited for a beach holiday. See citypopulationreview.com for weather information.
As in all of Morocco, French is more widely spoken in Casablanca than English. Of course, there is a chance to “stumble” on an English speaker, but it is better to prepare a couple of introductory phrases in French.
How to get there
Flights arrive at Mohammed V Int’l Airport from major cities in Europe, the USA and Africa. From the airport to the city center can be reached by taxi, bus or train to Casa Voyageurs station. More details – here.
In addition, there are trains to Casablanca from Marrakech, Fez, Tangier and Meknes, while trains from Rabat arrive at Casa Port station. Buses also run between cities, they are slightly cheaper than trains.
As for intracity transport, Casablanca has a fairly developed network of buses and taxis. The same law applies here as throughout the world: the farther from the main highways and attractions, the lower the cost of a taxi. In some places, the difference between quarters can be twofold.
Not so long ago, a network of trams was also opened in the city – a very convenient and inexpensive way to travel around the center.
4 things to do in Casablanca
- Watch “like a huge ball of fire” descend into the Atlantic Ocean from the Corniche.
- Kiss in the popular Casablanca bar – alas, not with Humphrey Bogart…
- Admire the splendor of the huge mosque of Hassan II – however, only from the outside.
- Get lost in the Old Town of Casablanca and sit down to relax in a traditional coffee shop.
- Center Casablanca
Hyatt, Novotel and Sheraton chain establishments are deservedly considered the best hotels in Casablanca. A more economical option is Ibis Moussafir Casablanca. When choosing a hotel, pay attention to its beach, more precisely, to what entrance it has into the water. Just in case, give preference to those hotels that have a heated pool.
In Casablanca, you can find all the usual range of Moroccan markets, but the prices here are more inflated than in other tourist cities in the country. When planning to move around the country, it is better to postpone the purchase of souvenirs in another city; if you are going to spend all your time in Casablanca, there is only one piece of advice – to bargain aggressively.
Entertainment and attractions of Casablanca
The most interesting place in Casablanca for tourists focused on the excursion program is the Old Town, the so-called. Medina. The medina is remarkable primarily for its atmospheric integrity and color: eastern – crooked and narrow – streets, the absence of any transport except donkeys, souvenir shops located on the sides of the road, old white stone buildings (translated from Spanish “Casablanca” means “City of White Houses”).
The majestic building of Mahacma do Pax once served as the residence of the pasha of Casablanca, but now it houses the administration of one of the seven prefectures of the city. The palace was built in the Spanish-Moorish style, more than 60 halls and courtyards are richly decorated with carvings. Entrance to the palace is free, but it is difficult to call it “free” – you need to agree with one of the locals about escort.
The medina is remarkable primarily for its atmospheric integrity and color: eastern – crooked and narrow – streets, the absence of any transport except donkeys, souvenir shops located on the sides of the road, old white stone buildings…
Hassan II Mosque
One of the main attractions of Casablanca is the second largest mosque in the Islamic world after the Meccan mosque – the mosque of Hassan II. The project of the French architect Michel Pinsot and the technologies of the late 20th century made it possible to create an engineering miracle – a mosque with a retractable roof that can turn the prayer hall into an open terrace for several minutes, and the highest minaret in the world – about 200 m. Richly decorated in all techniques, what Moroccan masters own – this is mosaic, and stucco, and painting, and woodcarving – the main hall of the mosque can accommodate 25,000 believers, and another 80,000 can be accommodated in adjacent areas. The mosque is not only a religious, but also a cultural center: the building houses a madrasah, a library and a national museum.
Casablanca at the movies
Casablanca is the setting for the famous black-and-white film of the same name directed by Michael Curtitz. It is interesting that initially the main role in it should not be played by Humphrey Bogart, but by the young actor Ronald Reagan – you know about his future career. The popular Casablanca bar, located in one of the city’s chic hotels, recreates the spirit of this cult movie of the 40s.
The center of Casablanca’s nightlife is the Corniche area. Here you can leisurely stroll along the sea, sit in open restaurants, visit bars, nightclubs and discos.
Especially for those who like to bargain in the eastern market, a whole quarter is set aside – Khabbus. The narrow streets flow into each other olive market, confectionery and pottery with traditional Moroccan ceramics – tajine.