Located on Morocco’s Atlantic coast, Casablanca is not just the largest city in Morocco and enjoys the title of the country’s major port. Packed with over 3.5 million population in just 149 sq. ft., Casablanca is home to Morocco’s primary international airport and often the main gateway into the country for many tourists.
Casablanca is often bypassed by tourists in favor of the imperial cities of Fez, Rabat, and Marrakesh or the adventure of the Sahara and the Atlas Mountains. However, one should add Casablanca to their Morocco itinerary and spend a day or two here before hopping on a connecting flight or train to their preplanned destinations.
Casablanca modern identity is more of Morocco’s commercial center with an authentic big city vibe, but still full of history and glorious architectures with a European touch. Don’t just treat it as a transit hub; it has a lot of places to visit which can make your stay worthwhile.
Top Tourist Attraction in Casablanca
Hassan II Mosque
While very few Moroccan mosques are off-limits to non-Muslims, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is still an exception, if you have dressed respectfully. The towering minaret of this magnificent mosque is the city’s most recognizable landmark, while the masterful interiors consists of sculpted plaster moldings, intricate and colorful mosaics, and beautifully painted wooden ceilings. Commissioned by King Hassan II, this colossal mosque was completed in 1993 and can hold 105,000 worshipers inside and out. Did you know it is the second largest mosque in the world?
Made popular by the movie Casablanca, this city has recreated the same Rick’s Café, which was once just the figment of a writer’s imagination. A US ex-diplomat then decided to actually build it inside a former mansion in the city of Casablanca. This tribute bar, restaurant and café has loads of atmosphere and serves the best of Moroccan and international food. Even though you aren’t a big fan of the movie, isn’t it just cool to say you’ve been there?
The Old Medina
If you are in Casablanca, you don’t want to miss out the medina of Casablanca—the oldest surviving part of the city, dating back to the French protectorate. Although it may lack the medieval magic that characterizes medinas like those of Fez and Marrakesh, Casablanca’s old city district with maze-like tumble of dark narrow alleyways and dilapidated building still hides so much to see and discover. You can walk down the labyrinthine streets to see stalls piled high with fruits and vegetables, tiny storefronts selling spices and handmade crafts, with children running in the narrow streets and men smoking in cafes, all creating a feel like you are going back in time.
La Corniche (The Corniche)
La Corniche is Casablanca’s beach front district, located in the same region as Hassan II Mosque. The shoreline stretches for a few miles along the ocean and offers an area full of entertainment with a line of luxury hotels, restaurants, nightclubs and theaters. It has become a scenic spot for swimmers, sunbathers, and surfers, especially on those sunny weekends. When looking to go a nice stroll along the shoreline or simply sit in one of the many outside cafes and relax, La Corniche is the place to be!
Other Tourist Attractions Include…
Travelers can add other Casablanca attractions to their Morocco itinerary too, which may include splendid museums like the Moroccan Jewish Museum (the only Jewish museum in the Arab world) and Abderrahman Slaoui Foundation Museum, and churches like Church of St John the Evangelist, Cathédrale du Sacré Coeur, and Church of Notre-Dame de Lourdes. Apart from this, the uniqueness of Casablanca is beautifully portrayed in the Quartier Habous, the postcard-perfect “new medina” built by the French in the 1930s. Located near the new medina is the grand King’s Palace in Casablanca, however, it can just be seen from the outside and be admired for its rich taste is architecture.
Where to Stay in Casablanca
The city center is one of the most convenient locations to stay in the city of Casablanca. This place enjoys great transport connectivity with frequent trams, taxis, and buses in addition to shuttle buses to reach the airport. The iconic Hassan II Mosque can be reached by means of a short bus, tram or taxi trip or simply an entertaining walk.
You will not find those authentic riads or atmospheric boutiques characteristic of places like Essaouira, Marrakesh or Fez in Morocco. Instead, Casablanca caters to the luxury traveler with a range of luxury five-star and mid-range hotels, although you can find budget hotels too.
Four Seasons Hotel
The Four Seasons Hotel in Casablanca enjoys dreamy sea views and a prestigious location in the Anfa Place Living Resort area. Located on the Boulevard de la Corniche, it features three indoor-outdoor restaurants with ocean views, Le Spa for Moroccan treatments, and an outdoor pool.
Hotel Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche
Located in the city center location in the Sidi Belyout business hub, this 5-star hotel in Casablanca lands just opposite the Hassan II Mosque and close to the medina. This luxury hotel in Casablanca looks out over the rooftops for picture-perfect views of Morocco’s business capital.
This 5-star luxury hotel near Old Medina and the Habous Quarter brings you a unique stay in Morocco. You can have dramatic views of the Atlantic Ocean and Hassan II Mosque on one side and Art Deco district on the other.
This 3-star hotel is affordable, locally run alternative to the top brands. It has 55 bedrooms and five suites – all air conditioned, adjoining bathroom, and free Wi-Fi.
A 3-star hotel, located in the city center right beside the Port of Casablanca, is designed in an Italian style. Casa Port train station is located a 5-minute walk away. The nearest airport is Anfa, which is about 10 km from the hotel.
Grand Mogador City Center
This 5-star hotel is a great choice for business travelers located in a quiet, suburban location with facilities like an on-site restaurant, café, and health club. It is a wallet-friendly choice offered in exchange of affordable luxury.