Casablanca travel guide

Casablanca Tourism | Casablanca Guide

You're Going to Love Casablanca

Casablanca is a wonderful place to spend a Moroccan vacation. The city may be famous for the 1942 film, but don't expect dive bars and shoot-outs in modern Casablanca, although there's plenty of glamor to be found in its restaurants, clubs, and cultural venues.

Today's Casablanca is Morocco's largest city and a thriving industrial area. However, although it's dazzlingly modern, there are plenty of ancient mosques and bazaars to explore as well. It's the kind of city where you can laze around on Plage Ain Diab, visit one of the world's largest mosques, before dining in style on the Corniche, watching the Atlantic waves crash into the rocks.

Casablanca is a beautiful city, a beach destination, and a cultural hotspot all rolled into one.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Casablanca

1. It's a City That Blends Beaches and Urban Attractions

Casablanca sits on the Atlantic Coast and has a warm, sunny climate that makes locals and tourists alike gravitate towards beaches like Ain Diab. You can swim, or even surf along the strand, which doubles up as Casablanca's most vibrant nightlife area when the sun goes down. If you want concerts, museums, galleries, and shopping, the rest of the city is happy to oblige.

2. Historical Sights That Will Enchant Visitors

Casablanca has been around for 3,000 years, and it has the historical monuments to prove it. Visitors can tour the Old Medina, see the Shrine of Sidi Abderrahman, and admire the Spanish-Moorish fusion of the Mahkama du Pacha. Although it's tough to walk in the footsteps of Bogart and Bergman, you can visit Rick's Bar, a lovingly recreated version of the movie's iconic set.

3. A Beguiling Mixture of Moroccan and European Cuisines

Food is a big deal in Casablanca, even more than in most Moroccan cities. From fried fish and eggplant sandwich vendors in the Medina and almond pastries from places like Patisserie Bennis Habous to traditional restaurants like Al-Mounia and European eateries like Taverne du Dauphin, foodies will be in their element.

4. It's a Great Base to Visit Other Moroccan Highlights

You don't have to stay in Casablanca every day during your stay. In fact, the city is ideally located for day trips to Rabat (just an hour away by train), the historic port town of El Jadida, and even camel treks and mountain hikes in Bedouin country.

5. Annual Music Festivals Showcasing Moroccan and International Acts

Jazzablanca in April attracts jazz artists from around the world, L'Boulevard Festival turns city center locations into circus venues and concert halls, while the Anfa Festival converts the main beach into a party venue (and features a spectacular horse riding show as well).

What to do in Casablanca

1. Hassan II Mosque: Morocco's Marvel

One of the largest mosques ever built, this incredible monument also boasts the tallest minaret in the world. It is open to both worshippers and non-Muslim visitors alike, and is an essential stop for its beauty and cultural significance. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the sacred building is based on traditional Islamic styles, but fundamentally modern, with a laser beacon shining in the direction of Mecca from its highest point. At night, it is lit up spectacularly.

2. Old Medina: Everything and More

Predating the French influence over Casablanca, the center of the city is a maze-like ensemble of alleyways and hidden treasures. Visitors can still experience the day to day life of locals in an area that has gone largely untouched for hundreds of years, while the rest of the city has skyrocketed into modernity. This oasis of culture is speckled with fruit vendors and traditional shops, and a bazaar that will have you wanting for a last souvenir.

3. La Corniche: Atlantic Vistas

Not far from the Hassan II Mosque, tourists will find the Corniche district, dotted with pools, beaches and restaurants. The strong influence of western culture in this recreation area is uncanny, yet it still attracts locals and tourists alike for its views over the ocean. Not far, the modern life of Casablanca continues at the Morocco Mall, a haven for even more shopping opportunities.

4. Place Mohammed V: Cultural Crossroads

Not far from the port as well as the the ancient Medina, this central square is surrounded by monuments alternating Moorish and French influences amidst flocks of pigeons fed by locals. Find your spot for some people-watching, and don't mind the construction if it's still going on - a new Opera House is set to complete the picture in late 2017.

5. Museum of Moroccan Judaism: A Unique History

A one-of-a-kind institution in the Arab world, this museum serves as a reminder that Morocco was once home to hundreds of thousands of Jews. The galleries are filled with historical treasures, from Altars to age-old Torahs, the exhibition of which keeps the history of Judaism in the city alive.

1. Hassan II Mosque: Morocco's Marvel

One of the largest mosques ever built, this incredible monument also boasts the tallest minaret in the world. It is open to both worshippers and non-Muslim visitors alike, and is an essential stop for its beauty and cultural significance. Overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, the sacred building is based on traditional Islamic styles, but fundamentally modern, with a laser beacon shining in the direction of Mecca from its highest point. At night, it is lit up spectacularly.

2. Old Medina: Everything and More

Predating the French influence over Casablanca, the center of the city is a maze-like ensemble of alleyways and hidden treasures. Visitors can still experience the day to day life of locals in an area that has gone largely untouched for hundreds of years, while the rest of the city has skyrocketed into modernity. This oasis of culture is speckled with fruit vendors and traditional shops, and a bazaar that will have you wanting for a last souvenir.

3. La Corniche: Atlantic Vistas

Not far from the Hassan II Mosque, tourists will find the Corniche district, dotted with pools, beaches and restaurants. The strong influence of western culture in this recreation area is uncanny, yet it still attracts locals and tourists alike for its views over the ocean. Not far, the modern life of Casablanca continues at the Morocco Mall, a haven for even more shopping opportunities.

4. Place Mohammed V: Cultural Crossroads

Not far from the port as well as the the ancient Medina, this central square is surrounded by monuments alternating Moorish and French influences amidst flocks of pigeons fed by locals. Find your spot for some people-watching, and don't mind the construction if it's still going on - a new Opera House is set to complete the picture in late 2017.

5. Museum of Moroccan Judaism: A Unique History

A one-of-a-kind institution in the Arab world, this museum serves as a reminder that Morocco was once home to hundreds of thousands of Jews. The galleries are filled with historical treasures, from Altars to age-old Torahs, the exhibition of which keeps the history of Judaism in the city alive.

Where to Eat in Casablanca

The choice of restaurants in Casablanca is dizzying, with a vast selection of different styles of food on offer. The first place to head is certainly Al-Mounia, with its beautifully tiled walls and selection of Moroccan favorites like tajine and couscous. Then, give La Bazenne a try, a slick modern French bistro. The stalls within the Marché Central are a great place to try small snacks and find a local dish that you adore. Expect restaurant meals to cost around DH50 or less.

When to visit Casablanca

Casablanca in June
Estimated hotel price
$63
1 night at 3-star hotel
Casablanca in June
Estimated hotel price
$63
1 night at 3-star hotel

Temperatures in Casablanca tend to hit 70 degrees some time in early April, then stay warm until November, so any time in those months is ideal for beach lovers. However, mid-summer sees Ain Diab really filling up. Try April, when Jazzablanca lights up the cultural calendar and room rates should be comparatively low.

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Average
Celcius (°C)
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How to Get to Casablanca

Plane

Flying into Mohammed V International Airport (CMN) is the easiest way to reach Casablanca from North America. To get into town, you could catch the train to Casa Voyageurs near downtown Casablanca (which costs DH40), but you'll be left around 20 minutes' walk from the center. A better alternative is to arrange a taxi (at a cost of about DH300) or to rent a car from branches of Sixt or Europcar.

Train

Morocco has a good rail network that connects all of the country's major cities, so it's a handy way to travel if you are arriving from Marrakech or Rabat. All trains get into Casa Voyageurs station, which is a short bus ride from the center of town.

Car

If you are driving into Casablanca from Fes or Rabat, take the A2, while anyone driving from Marrakech will need to take the A7, and the A5 runs from El Jadida. Driving from Mohammed V Airport is fairly simple as well. Just take the A7 straight into town.

Bus

Regional CTM buses run into Casablanca's Gare Routière from all major Moroccan cities and are an affordable and (generally) comfortable way to get around. From the bus station, the best way to get into town is to take a taxi, which costs around DH12.

Airports near Casablanca

Airlines serving Casablanca

United Airlines
Good (2,602 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (1,686 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,035 reviews)
KLM
Good (312 reviews)
Air France
Good (353 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,151 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (2,792 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,093 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,014 reviews)
Iberia
Good (756 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (915 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (734 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (439 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (229 reviews)
Ryanair
Good (1,335 reviews)
ITA Airways
Good (60 reviews)
Malaysia Airlines
Good (36 reviews)
Pegasus Airlines
Good (191 reviews)
Eurowings
Good (70 reviews)
Korean Air
Excellent (167 reviews)
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Where to stay in Casablanca

Ain Diab - Casablanca's seafront neighborhood, Ain Diab stretches for miles along the Atlantic Coast. It's the place to swim, play sports, snorkel, sunbathe, and surf, as well as a lively party destination, with many of the city's best bars and clubs dotted along the Corniche. It's also home to the Hassan II Mosque, one of the largest in the world.

Popular Neighborhoods in Casablanca

The Old Medina - the heart of ancient and medieval Casablanca, the Old Medina is an area that is full of history. Inside the still extant city walls, you'll discover craft markets, souvenir stores, street vendors selling delicious fried fish sandwiches, and much more.

Racine - slightly south of the Corniche and the Medina, you'll find Racine, probably Casablanca's most upmarket neighborhood. This is where wealthy Moroccans come to see the latest creations at galleries like BURST, Galerie H, and So Art, and it's also studded with luxury boutiques and restaurants.

Where to stay in popular areas of Casablanca

Most booked hotels in Casablanca

Idou Anfa Hotel
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
$156+
Melliber Appart Hotel
Excellent (8.2, Excellent reviews)
$113+
Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche
Good (7.4, Good reviews)
$233+
Atlas Almohades Casablanca City Center
Poor (0, Poor reviews)
$1,479+
Ibis Casablanca City Center
Good (6.9, Good reviews)
$89+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Casablanca

Public Transportation

Casablanca has a network of trams and buses that are handy for more adventurous tourists, and affordable too. Basic fares on trams start at DH7, while bus journeys are just DH4. However, petty crime, unreliable services, and run-down vehicles may count against public transportation during your stay.

Taxi

There's no need to rely on Casablanca's buses or trams when taxis are so cheap. Go for red taxis (the white ones will tend to squeeze extra riders in to maximize efficiency). Fares start at DH7.50, and most journeys will work out at under DH30.

Car

When you rent your own vehicle, it's much easier to drive up and down the Corniche or schedule day trips to El Jadida, Rabat, or even Marrakech. Driving in town can be a little stressful, but outside the city there shouldn't be any problems. Rental companies present in Casablanca include Europcar, Sixt, Jazz Car, and Aido, and rates can be as low as DH130 per day.

The Cost of Living in Casablanca

Shopping Streets

Casablanca has a great blend of glitzy boutiques and street markets, and it's an excellent place for bargain hunters to visit. The best place to head for standard chain stores is definitely the Morocco Mall, Africa's largest shopping center. However it's more fun to explore the Medina, where you can pick up locally made leather accessories, works of art, hookahs, and much more. Be sure to haggle, as it's the customary practice in Morocco.

Groceries and Other

The best places to shop for groceries in Casablanca are supermarkets like Marjane and Acima. Expect to pay around DH30 for a gallon of milk and DH6 for a pound of apples.

Cheap meal
$5.14
A pair of jeans
$82.12
Single public transport ticket
$0.95
Cappuccino
$2.30
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