Often overlooked by travellers who head off to Fes or Marrakech, Casablanca, the country’s commercial centre boasts some of the most stunning beaches, beautiful mosques, and enthralling Art Deco architecture. The French colonial heritage mixed with the Arab culture renders the country into a true melting pot. So whether it is for the art scene, diverse cuisine or vibrant clubs, we have compiled a Casablanca list of what to do and what to see during your visit.
The Royal Palace
Surrounded by orange groves and water features, you will find King Mohammed VI Royal Palace. The Casablanca castle is the king’s principal residence in the city, where he hosts numerous royal receptions throughout the year. This architectural wonder is located in the Habous Quarter of the New Medina, where all can enjoy the grand exterior and breathtaking facade. It is a true masterpiece of Islamic architecture and is a must-visit when in the city.
Hassan II Mosque
Completed in 1993, this reasonably new Mosque is set in quite an unusual location. Mounted on a platform overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, Hassan II Mosque is the second-largest mosque in Africa and the 7th largest in the world. What’s more, the mosque floors are made out of glass, giving the unique feeling of praying directly over the sea, a feature you don’t see very often! Overmore, non-Muslims are allowed to visit the mosque through an hour-long guided tour, and visitors from around the world are welcome to admire the unique building at any time from a spacious courtyard that can hold up to 80,000 people.
If you’re a movie fan, then you need to add Rick’s Café to your to-do list. The piano bar is inspired by the Humphrey Bogart 1942 movie “Casablanca” and developed by Kathy Kriger, a former American diplomat in Morocco. The restaurant is set in a traditional 1930 Morrocan grand mansion with a central courtyard. The piano bar is filled with architectural and decorative details reminiscent of the film: decorated with palm trees, balconies and balustrades, plants that cast luminous shadows on white walls, a grand 1930s piano and brass chandeliers. Today Rick’s Café is a true Casablanca landmark and an ode to the legendary film’s “Gin Joint”.
Set on the Atlantic ocean, Casablanca is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in Nothern Africa and a true surfers paradise. The best of the many beaches around the city centre is Ain Diab. Located on the edge of the metropolitan and vibrant suburb of Anfa, the beach is lined with clubs, cafes and praised by trendsetters and local celebrities. However, if you wish to enjoy the clear crystal waters in a calmer environment, you can try out Mriziga beach, found right next to the famous Hassan II Mosque; the rocky beach forms natural pools at low tides. So enjoy a relaxing swim on the African coast, or a cocktail by the sea, after touring around Casablanca city.
Feast on Succulent International Cuisine
Casablanca is a modern city with a true cultural fusion; it is no wonder that you can strongly feel this through its diverse cuisine. There is a wide selection to choose from, whether you are up for a traditional Moroccan dish, a hip Australian cafe, or even a Parisian restaurant; Casablanca is unequivocally an excellent destination for the foodies out there. You will find food from Spain, Italy, China, Lebanon and Japan – and fresh seafood in abundance! So why not come and eat your way through the city?
Stroll Around the Streets of Casablanca
There is just so much to see and do around Casablanca; getting yourself a tour guide or just simply walking around town is a great way to explore the treasures scattered around the city. You can find some of the most astounding and diverse architecture, influenced by French and Arab culture. You can take a stroll down the busy ‘Corniche’, a popular area for locals and tourists alike and once the most glamourous part of Casablanca. Or, head off and experience the city’s booming art scene. Museums and art galleries are constantly growing as more and more artists create spaces to show off their work. Some of the best spots for contemporary art fans is the Villa des Arts, or L’Atelier 21.
Whether you want to wander around the vibrant city, dine on delicious international cuisine, swim in the crystal Atlantic waters, or visit some of the most impressive buildings in the world, there is so much to see and do whilst in Casablanca.