Many people find Casablanca to be a bit of a culture shock, but isn’t that what travel is all about? Broadening the mind and all that. Well, in Casablanca, your mind isn’t so much broadened as completely blown by the bizarre incongruity that is absolutely everywhere.
One minute you can be at the Shrine of Sidi Abderrahman to learn from the locals, the next you’ll be sending postcards at the Central Post Office with its simply stunning city views. And then the next you can be letting off steam at Yasmina Amusement Park or visiting the largest beach club in Aïn Diab, called the very un-African/Middle Eastern Miami Plage, with its basketball courts, beach umbrellas, swimming pool, restaurant and bar.
But although this incongruity makes it a different city to the one Bogie and Bergman sold you on in the movie, Casablanca is still a sight to behold.
Casablanca’s Top 10
10. Mahakma du Pasha A wood-lovers paradise. And we mean that in the nicest possible way.
5. Ancienne Medina Although largely residential, this is the oldest part of the city and the place to bag a shopping bargain.
9. Villa des Arts Get your fix of contemporary modern Moroccan art and international displays.
4. Parc de la Ligue Arabe The oldies will like a stroll in the beautiful park and the young ones will drag you to the famous amusement park.
8. Twin Center This where Mr. and Mrs. Fancy-Pants head to do their shopping. It oozes fabulous, darling!
3. Quartier Habous This district is full of little streets to explore and stalls to browse. Take your time.
7. Cathédrale du Sacré Coeur You can’t go as it’s being restored. But it’s worth a look and is conveniently close to the main square.
2. Place Mohammed V Do more than just check the time in the ancient square.
6. Blvd de la Corniche Find all the clubs, hotels and restaurants you’ve been looking for, as well as the best beaches.
1. Hassan II Mosque The world’s third largest mosque. Consider taking the world’s third largest prayers with you.
- Old Medina (Ancienne Medina) – This historic walled town is filled with narrow, maze-like streets and vendor stalls.
- New Medina (Quartier Habous) – This district was built in the 1930s by the French and marries French and Moroccan styles.
- Place Mohammed V – This square located in the New Town (Ville Novelle) features Hispano-Mauresque and Art Deco architecture styles.
- Marabout de Sidi Abderrahmane – The burial ground for the founder of Thaalibiya (now Algiers) is found on a small, rocky island off the shores of Casablanca.
- Mahkama du Pacha – A parliamentary building housing Casablanca’s court of justice and reception rooms for state affairs.
Casablanca Art & Culture
- Hassan II Mosque – This glorious mosque is the largest in North Africa, with room for more 100,000 worshippers, and is open to non-Muslims on Fridays.
- Place 16 Novembre – Home to many houses in the art-deco style of architecture.
- Museum of Moroccan Judaism – Features artefacts and exhibits showing the historical Jewish influence on Moroccan society.
- Casablanca Festival – Tens of thousands of global visitors throng to this mid-July festival boasting concerts, films and art exhibits.
- Ancienne Medina Hamman – Turkish baths are popular and numerous in Casablanca.
- Twin Centre – Find global luxury brands in the shopping hub of these tall skyscrapers.
- Rue Prince Moulay Abdellah – This pedestrianized road is lined with shops, cafes and restaurants.
- Derb Ghalef – Haggle for souvenirs in the traditional souk found in this neighbourhood.
- Exposition Nationale d’Artisanat – Featuring three floors filled with local crafts at fixed prices.
- Morocco Mall – Set to open in December 2011, this is expected to be Morocco’s grandest shopping mall.
Casablanca Gay & Lesbian
- Le Village - This disco on the Boulevard de la Corniche is regarded as the most gay-friendly club in Casablanca.
- Ain Diab – A popular place to go for late-night, beachside drinking and dancing.
- Black House – Located in the Hyatt Regency, this club draws an international crowd.
- La Bodega – Enjoy tapas, free-flowing drinks and dancing in this Spanish taverna.
- Rue Allal ben Abdellah – Visitors will find a cluster of bars and restaurants along this city-centre street.
- Playas Ain Diab y La Corniche – Several beaches and beach clubs line the seafront road for swimming and sunbathing.
- Parc de la Ligue Arabe – Casablanca’s largest public park and a good spot for picnics.
- Yasmina Amusement Park – The small-scale rides will do little to scare but make for an enjoyable afternoon.
- Boulevard Mohammed V – Loads of intricate facades and arresting Mauresque architecture can be seen on this street.
- Sacre-Coeur Cathedral – Climbing to the top of the towers affords nice city views.
- Golf at the serene and well-maintained Royal Golf Anfa.
- Ski or mountaineer in the Middle Atlas Mountains.
- Watch the popular Casablanca football team Wydad Athletic Club play at the Mohamed V Stadium.
- See the other major Casablanca football team Raja Club Athletic compete.
- Catch a tennis tournament on the clay courts of Complexe Al Amal.
Casablanca kicks off the year with the Independence Celebration in January, followed by the Tafraoute Festival in February to bring an end to the winter rains.
The Islamic New Year (Fatih Mouharam) arrives around the middle of March, although due to the Islamic calendar, the date changes each year.
May brings the Mousseum of Sidi Mohammed Ma al-Ainin,where tribes of nomads who wander the Sahara come together to sell traditional clothing. Fascinating.
The Festival of Fantasia gallops into September, with the country’s leading horsemen showing off their phenomenal skills.
When To Go
Summer is hot. Really hot. From July to September, temperatures routinely top 40°C (104°F). Being on the edge of a desert means it is a dry heat, and the nights are quite comfortable and cool.
The coolest and wettest months are December, January and February. However, even during this time, it will only rain once or twice in a week.
The driest months are June, July and August. This is also the peak tourist season.
Taxis in are great value. The minimum fare is US$0.80, but you’ll probably pay around US$1.20 once you’re in the city centre.
The buses seem to come and go at random. Likewise, the routes are a little unclear. And by a little, we mean they possibly don’t exist! Walking is a great option if you have the time and inclination.
Casablanca is a popular getaway vacation in Morocco for local and foreign tourists. HotelClub has 27 cheap accommodation options available for booking in Casablanca. Recommended hotels in Casablanca include [top3hotels], all of which are highly rated by reviewers for their [top2overallrating].
27 hotels in Casablanca, MA
Located in the heart of the business district in the city center, the 24-floor Sofitel Casablanca hotel towers above the white city. Opposite the Hassan II mosque, the hotel has 141 rooms and 30... More
Golden Tulip farah Casablanca is located in the heart of the lively commercial district at only a walking distance from the old medina the Place Mohamed V the modern shopping centers and the Arab... More
Offering a welcoming atmosphere, the Riad Jnane Sherazade Hotel in Casablanca, provides all that you desire to give you complete satisfaction, thus bringing the hotel's name every time you think of... More
Chic and sophisticated, Novotel Casablanca City Center delivers comfortable accommodations and attentive service in a central location. Travellers staying at this stylish Casablanca hotel can... More
Offering a warm atmosphere, the Kenzi Basma is a perfect place for you to stay, whether you are in Casablanca for business or pleasure. GeneralGuests travelling on official matters can make use... More
Kenzi Tower Hotel Casablanca offers comfortable accommodation and convenient facilities. This property's location offers views of the surrounding areas and ocean. GeneralThe Kenzi Tower Hotel... More
Sheraton Casablanca Hotel & Towers is conveniently located in the heart of the city. We are surrounded by the citys major sights, amazing beachfront, palm-lined boulevards, and the shopping and... More
A 17-minute walk from Bab Marrakesh souks, this hotel proposes a piano bar, 2 restaurants and an Oriental cabaret. It offers air-conditioned accommodation with free WI-Fi a 14-minute walk from Casa... More
Offering the modern conveniences along with comfortable accommodation, Barcelo Casablanca Hotel is an ideal option both for your working meetings and for your pleasure trips. GeneralWith an... More