Casablanca, commonly called Casa, is the largest city in Morocco. Located on the Atlantic coast about 80 km south of Rabat,
it is the economic capital of the country. This modern but authentic city attracts fewer tourists than cities like Fez or Marrakech. However, it is full of incredible riches which it would be a shame to deprive yourself of.
The Hassan II Mosque is one of the monuments to visit absolutely in Casablanca: the largest mosque in Africa, the third largest mosque in the world and thehe tallest minaret in the world (201 m high). Consider yourself lucky because it is the only mosque in Morocco to be open to tourists. It has underfloor heating, electric doors and a sliding roof, and can accommodate a large number of worshipers (25,000 inside and 80,000 on its esplanades). So do not hesitate to register for one of the guided tours, to discover its prayer room and immerse yourself in the place.
Impossible to stay in Casablanca without going through the Habous district (also called the “New Medina”). This district combines tradition of Muslim architecture and rules of modern town planning. In this neighbourhood, cafes, bookstores and even souks meet there in the purest Moroccan craft tradition. The opportunity to fall under the spell of oriental rugsof slippers or discover various spices. But beware of scams! Tourists often get tricked, especially when negotiating prices. To avoid any scams and haggle well, go to the souks with a native Moroccan who knows the local language and practices well.
“Bab Marrakesh” (literally, door of Marrakech) is one of the oldest districts of Casablanca. This old medina of Casablanca contrasts with the rest of the city, which is rather modern and western. Its ramparts, its small streets, its arches, give us the impression of going back a few centuries. There too, we are faced with souks, traditional shops where you can find everything: scrap metal dealers, jewellers, booksellers, flea markets…. in a popular, good-natured atmosphere. A real architectural heritage, with old houses still solid, sometimes overcrowded. It is the only authentic part of the city, the rest came later, with the protectorate. Towards the end of the day, take a walk towards the corniche of casablanca which offers, over several kilometres, a beautiful panorama of the atlantic ocean and has several cafes, ideal for having a snack at any time of the day.
Evening, head for one of the most beautiful rooftops in townlocated on the 28th floor of the “Kenzi Tower”, and enjoy the breathtaking view of all of Casablanca. For the more party-oriented, head to “Skybar” located in the “Villa Blanca” complex, not far from the Corniche. A trendy establishment where the wealthiest inhabitants go to enjoy a drink with friends or dance until the end of the night.
Essential places to see in Casablanca
This list of places to see in Casablanca will help you discover the magic of a city, where tradition is mixed with modernity, making it a unique place.
Located on the Atlantic coast and a former French protectorate, Casablanca has become the economic engine of the country and is perfect for spending a day or two during which you can enjoy its Arab and colonial heritage, its most charming neighborhoods and its delicious gastronomy with traditional dishes such as tajine or couscous, which we are sure will leave a great taste in your mouth.
In case you have more days, we recommend you take a route by train or car through other places in Morocco such as the imperial cities of Fez, Meknes and Marrakech and at the end spend an unforgettable night sleeping in a tent in the middle of the Sahara desert.
Hassan II Mosque
Entering the great Hassan II Mosque, the second largest in the world after Mecca, is one of the best things to do in Casablanca .
Built by King Hassan II on an artificial peninsula, following a verse from the Koran that says “Allah’s throne was erected on the waters” , this mosque impresses from the outside due to its enormous dimensions and its 200-meter-high minaret, decorated with green tiles and the one that at night projects a laser that points to Mecca.
During a guided tour inside, you will be able to see its prayer room with capacity for more than 25,000 faithful and a folding roof, the ablutions area with 41 marble fountains and stucco walls, as well as other unique places. Remember that to access you must dress respectfully and remove your shoes at the entrance.
Boulevard de la Corniche
Leaving the mosque you can take a pleasant walk along the Atlantic coast until you reach the Boulevard de la Corniche, located in the Ain Diab neighborhood and one of the most exclusive areas to see in Casablanca .
Some of the best hotels, nightclubs such as Maison B and Le Cabestan, international restaurants and shopping centers such as Anfaplace, as well as incredible views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Hassan II Mosque, are concentrated on this promenade of almost 3 kilometers.
At the end of the Corniche you will arrive at the Morocco Mall, the largest shopping center in all of Africa that houses more than 350 stores of major brands from all over the world and the Souk, an area where you can buy typical gift items such as slippers, tea sets, djellabas, spices, etc.
We recommend arriving early if you want to take a bath in one of its beaches without too many people and heat, and come at night to enjoy its lively nightlife.
Old Medina, one of the places to see in Casablanca
Between the port and the imposing Hassan II mosque is the old medina, another of the most beautiful places to visit in Casablanca .
Built during the 19th century, this small historic center is far from the beauty of the great medieval medinas in Morocco such as Fez or Marrakech, although it is worth walking through its narrow and winding alleys until you find its many souks where you can haggle for items. all types.
Near the old medina is the famous Rick’s Café, an exact copy of the cabaret that appears in the movie Casablanca starring the legends Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman.
Although the film was shot entirely in a Hollywood studio, the insistence of tourists to find it in the city led to the transformation of an old colonial-style mansion into this mythical cafe.
As well as seeing a copy of the famous piano from the “Play it again Sam” scene , although in this case the pianist is called Issam, you can have a drink or try some good Moroccan food from him.
Other recommended restaurants to try the local food are Le Riad Restaurant, L’Etoile Centrale and Le Cuistot Traditionnel.
At the entrance to the medina, right in the lively Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, is the Clock Tower, another of the places to see in Casablanca .
This photogenic tower, 20 meters high and with 4 spheres, one on each side, was built in 1911 by the French captain Dessigny, although it later fell into disrepair and had to be rebuilt again, completing its work in 1993.
After enjoying the atmosphere of tourists and locals in the Plaza de las Naciones Unidas, you can go to the Central Market, a space surrounded by colonial buildings and full of fresh vegetable, meat, fish and seafood stalls. If you feel like eating any of these products you can buy them and take them to one of the restaurants around the market so that they can cook them for you, in exchange for a small amount of money.
What to eat in Casablanca?
We see you coming: Couscous, tajines… Certainly, it is unimaginable to visit Casa without tasting the famous tajines or a couscous. So to calm your ardor, nothing better than going to a greasy spoon on the Place des Nations-Unies, preferably on Friday lunchtime (couscous day), and a glass of quail milk to accompany your meal.
But Moroccan gastronomy is not just about these two dishes. If you find yourself in the New Medina, make a detour via the “Bennis Habous” pastry to enjoy tasty Moroccan sweets (gazelle horns, almond rusks, etc.) or even a very good chicken pastilla.
See you at “Al Mounia”a typical Moroccan restaurant where waiters in traditional clothes will make you discover the local cuisine, fine, in a pleasant setting, a haven of serenity in this hectic city. Finally, if you want to taste fish and shellfish, push the door of “The Dolphin Tavern”near the cornice to taste fresh products in a very lively room, casually.
Getting around Casablanca
Casablanca is a fairly large city. And even if it is easy to find your way around, getting around on foot is not an easy task. For this, taxis remain the most used means of transport. The “Little Taxi” (Red-colored taxis) swarm the streets. It is not difficult to find one and allow you to go almost everywhere in Casablanca, for a fair amount (about 2 or 3 euros). The tram, is another way to get around. It is very practical and modern and will take you to the most desirable places in the city.
- Walk along the cornice
- The Hassan II Mosque
- The Habous district
- Bab Marrakesh