Casablanca is a city of contrasts, full of history and magnificent architecture, a city that tourists often bypass but which has much to offer when trying to understand Morocco. What is Casablanca best known for? Start your discovery with the second largest mosque in the world, the magnificent Hassan II mosque. Stroll along the Cornishe and watch the ocean, explore the city aboard the tramway, or take in the beauty of stained glass in the Notre Dame de Lourdes Cathedral. Here are the best things to do in Casablanca, Morocco.
1. Ain Diab
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Ain Diab is known as the place ‘where the rich come to swim.” A luxury seaside community only a short distance from downtown Casablanca, Ain Diab is a pleasant spot to spend a weekend or a mini-holiday in one of the many modern, and not so modern, hotels. This large sandy beach gets very crowded during the summer season, but the water is too cold to swim the rest of the year.
Daytime activities are limited to laying in the sun and splashing in the water. The real action starts at night, when all local clubs and discos come alive. Keep in mind that very few serve alcohol. Ain Diab got its 15-minutes of international fame in 1958 when it hosted a round of the Formula One world championship.
2. Casa Tramway
© Casa Tramway
The Casablanca Tramway is a great way to go around the city in air-conditioned splendor. It started operations in 2014 and it has 48 stations, or stops, along its 31-mile-long line. It connects Sidi Moumen on the east side with Ain Diab and the university district.
They are planning to install more lines, but until then, get a map of all stops, and just like locals, have a sit and watch the city pass by. Trams are low, easy to get on and off, and tinted windows and air conditioning make them very comfortable. They usually go linked together to reach a total length of 213 feet. The tickets are cheap, so ask at your hotel where you can buy them and where is the closest stop to you.
3. Casablanca Twin Center
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The best spot from which to see the entire city is a restaurant on the 27th floor of Casablanca Twin Center or La Grande Casa as the locals call it affectionately. They are justifiably proud of the 377 foot tall twin towers located in the heart of the city, in the Maarif district, on the corner of Al Massira Al Khadra Boulevard and Zerktouni Boulevard.
The towers each have 28 floors and are joined on the lower level where a large shopping center attracts thousands of people. The five-star Kenzi Tower Hotel occupies the East Tower and the West Tower is shared by various offices.
Boulevard Zerktouni-Al Massira, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
4. Cathedrale Sacre-Coeur
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The Sacré-Cœur Cathedral is an architectural masterpiece designed by the French architect Paul Tournon and built in 1930 in a Neo-Gothic style with Moroccan Muslim and Art Deco influences. Its two towers in front resemble minarets and the small windows on the upper part of the cathedral look very much like those on a mosque.
The cathedral played an important role in Casablanca during Catholic French rule until Morocco gained its independence in 1956, when it was abandoned. For a while, it was used for a school and a cultural center. Nowadays it hosts exhibitions and fairs. The view from the towers is spectacular.
Angle Rue d'Alger et Blvd Rachdi, Hay Tarik n63 Rue 45 Sidi Bernoussi, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
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5. Hassan II Mosque
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According to in the Qur'an, God's throne was found over the water. This quote from the Qur'an prompted the King Hassan II to demand that the mosque be built on the coast of the ocean, where it stands today battered by the waves, magnificent and imposing. Built in 1993 and designed by French architect Michel Pinseau, at 689 feet tall, Hassan II mosque is the second largest in the world.
It can survive earthquakes and accommodate 25,000 people at prayer inside the mosque and 80,000 people in the courtyard. Its floor is made of glass so worshipers can see the sea, the roof can be opened to see the stars, the doors are electric and the floor is heated. It is one of few mosques where people of all denominations are allowed to enter and admire its majesty.
Blvd Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah, Casablanca, Morocco
6. King's Palace
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According to those who have seen it, King's Palace in Casablanca is an Islamic architectural masterpiece, surrounded by fragrant orange groves and an ornate water feature. Located in New Medina quarter, there is a tall wall around it, guarded by heavily armed guards, and if you are lucky, you might get a glimpse of the inside if the gate opens to let someone in.
Truly royal and lavish, the palace hosts many important receptions and events and serves as the residence of the Moroccan king and his family while in Casablanca. The king has equally luxurious, opulent residences all over the country.
Palais Royal, Casablanca, Morocco
7. La Corniche
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La Corniche is Casablanca's beach neighborhood, stretching for a few miles along the ocean, just west of the Hassan II Mosque. Its heart is Corniche Boulevard, looking very Mediterranean with stately palm trees and the beach on one side and a line of shops, cafes, bars, amusement centers and fast food restaurants on the other.
Fancier hotels are located further along the coast, on the Boulevard de l'Ocean Atlantique. La Corniche is a nice area to stroll along and watch the ocean pounding the sand, have a jog or sit in one of the many outside cafes and watch the world pass by.
Boulevard de la Corniche, Casablanca, Morocco
8. Magic Lamp Tours
© Magic Lamp Tours
Magic Lamp Tours is a tour company run by a group of Berber tourism professionals, who want to share the lesser known areas of Morocco with their guests; the Morocco from the stories they heard from their grandmothers, like the one of the magic lamp that makes wishes come true.
They offer a range of tours, from royal palaces to the vast Moroccan desert. While the tours last about ten days, they also have day-long excursions to the locations near Casablanca, from visits to the small fishing village of Essaouira, to Ourika Valley and river in the mountains. The tours are accompanied with stories, history, culture and anecdotes about the places and people you visit. You will travel by car, bus, plane, camel or horse and will bring home memories you will never forget.
Casablanca 20000, Morocco, Phone: +212-622-712981
9. Marche Central
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Right in the heart of the city is Casablanca's main market, Marche Central. This bustling central market is large, colorful, noisy and a photographers' dream. It is a great place to get a feel for the local culture since locals come to the market to get produce for the next meal, to buy shoes, jewelry and carpets, and to bargain, make deals, eat or just hang around.
Tourists are always looking for bargains or trying local delicacies since everything is fresh and cooked in front of you. You can also see what grows in the area and what swims in the sea, it is all lined up in front of you with thousands of colors, smells and textures.
Blvd Mohammed V, Station Tramway "Marche Central, Casablanca 20200, Morocco
10. Morocco Expert Tours
© Morocco Expert Tours
Morocco Expert Tours is a highly reputed tour company with a range of customizable tours of Morocco's hidden treasures, tailored to different interests and tastes. Whether you want to go exploring the Atlas Mountains, Sahara's vast dunes or ancient imperial cities, they have a tour for you.
They also offer educational tours and specialize in luxury tours of hidden courtyards, old casbahs, and romantic local teas in full comfort and luxury. They will pick you up at your hotel, airport, port or railway station and will even organize your trip down to the fine details. Trust this highly experienced group of Berber guides to make your visit to Morocco memorable.
Rue Ibnou Khaldoun, Casablanca 20250, Morocco, Phone: +212-668-858057
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11. Morocco Premium Tours
© Morocco Premium Tours
Morocco Premium Tours promises to make your trip to Morocco safe, enjoyable and completely safe, whether you are looking for a day excursion from Casablanca, Marrakesh or any other destination in Morocco. This group of experienced tour guides and drivers has been running exciting tours of Morocco's historic sites, royal palaces and natural wonders since 2008.
They offer tours such as One Day Marrakesh, luxury safari, walking tours of Atlas Mountain, imperial cities, Fes Camel Treks and much more. They are passionate about making your trip memorable, combining stories, anecdotes, history and culture of their beautiful country whether you are travelling alone, with your family or with a large group of up to 50 people.
Casablanca, Morocco, Phone: +212-661-681358
12. Musee Abderrahman Slaoui
© Musee Abderrahman Slaoui
Located in a beautiful renovated private home, Musee Abderrahman Slaoui showcases several collections of businessman and art collector Abderrahman Slaoui, presented in an exquisite gallery space, well out of the way of regular tourist lanes. The focus of the collection is on Moroccan antique jewelry, ancient travel posters, superb crystal work and figurative paintings of local artist Mohamed Ben Ali R'bati.
The museum offers an interesting and illuminating glimpse of Moroccan culture and heritage and is a wonderful way of spending some time away from the street noise, smells and frenzy. There is a nice coffee shop on the top floor, with a lovely view, peaceful and relaxing.
Rue Du Parc, Casablanca 20070, Morocco
13. New Medina
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Built in 1923 by the French who were ruling Morocco at the time, the new Medina, or new town, is a lively Casablanca marketplace in a quarter called Habous, in the southeastern part of the city, about four miles from the city center.
As the city center, a natural gathering place in a traditional sense, New Medina is a living museum, a charming center of everything that is happening in the city, full of souks, narrow alleys, arcades, artisanal shops and places selling souvenirs. It is a mecca for tourists who soak up the atmosphere and always look for bargains. One of the most interesting buildings in New Medina is the Mahakma du Pacha, the former Casablanca court of law.
Blvd Victor Hugo, Casablanca, Morocco
14. Notre Dame de Lourdes
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Built in 1956, Notre Dame de Lourdes Cathedral is not a very old church, nor is it very attractive. Modern, and made of concrete, it serves the needs of about 20,000 Catholics living in Casablanca. While imposing, with clear European, modern architectural influence, the cathedral is a fairly incongruous sight surrounded by small traditional dwellings.
Its true beauty is on the inside, where its large, open, spacious interior offers a sense of peace, and the entire space is lit up by the beams of light filtering through enormous stained glass windows that cover the two side walls. The stained glass has a vivid red and blue background, and the floor is covered in the finest Moroccan carpets, while portraits of the Virgin Mary hang in different settings.
15. Sahara Gate Tours
© Sahara Gate Tours
Whether you want to see the famous Sahara Erg Chebbi dunes, Ouzoud waterfalls, Ait Bendaddou or do a Berber cultural tour, Sahara Gate Tours has a trip for you. From private day tours from any big city in Morocco to organized vacations and tours of the entirety of Morocco, they can make your trip safe, fascinating and memorable. Camel rides are included in all their desert excursions.
They have trips for all budgets, from shared travels to luxury private trips. Check their website for the existing trips and if you cannot see a trip that you want, let them know and they will design one for you. All passengers are picked up at their hotel, airport or train station.
Casablanca 20000, Morocco, Phone: +212-662-803914
16. The Old Medina
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Until the French took over Casablanca in 1907, the entire city was contained within this small area, surrounded by defense walls and dominated by the Portuguese Borj Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdallah fort. The modern Casablanca has grown in all directions, leaving the walled historic quarter hidden in the city bustle with its 18th century fort, the maze of dark narrow alleyways, sprawling souks and dilapidated buildings.
Strolling through the Old Medina is like going back in time, where customers are rummaging through piles of goods in the stalls haggling for bargains, or sipping mint tea in front of the shop and watching the world go by.
North West corner of Place des Nations Unies, Casablanca, Morocco
17. Villa des Arts
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Located close to the Parc de la Ligue Arabe, Villa des Arts is a beautiful converted 1930s Art Deco home that today holds a gallery known for its exhibitions of modern Moroccan and international art. The gallery is part of the ONA foundation, which promotes culture and creativity in Morocco. The Foundation's goal is to promote modern art while staying true to Moroccan heritage and culture.
The gallery's permanent collection is comprised of over 800 artworks. Art exhibits organized by the gallery show works of such distinguished Moroccan artists as Ahmed Cherkaoui and Jilali Gharbaoui. There is a beautiful formal garden around the villa.
30 boulevard Brahim Roudani Rue Abou El Kacem Chabi, Casablanca 20000, Morocco
18. Around Morocco Tours
© Around Morocco Tours
Watch the sunrise from the top of an ancient sand dune, sleep under the millions of stars in the Sahara or hike the less-travelled trails of Atlas Mountains with Around Morocco Tours, a small, family-owned local company based in South East Morocco. The experienced guides and drivers specialize in cultural tours of Morocco, trying to share with visitors the romance, history and unique culture of their country.
Some of their most popular tours include: The Imperial Cities and the Kasbah Trail Tour; The South and the Amazigh Culture Tour; and The Morocco Grand Tour. They have comfortable and safe air-conditioned 4x4 vehicles and mini-buses. They can create a unique, private tour for you whether you are single, a couple, a family or a small group.
Casablanca 20000, Morocco, Phone: +212661094795
19. Magnificent Morocco
© Magnificent Morocco
Discovering Morocco is like travelling into the past, through vast desert, mountain and coastal areas rich in history, full of stories and amazing people. To see the best the country has to offer, to visit undiscovered spots and to have an experience that will last you a lifetime, you need an experienced guide and well-organized tour.
Magnificent Morocco will ensure your safety, comfort and provide the pure pleasure of discovery, but they will also show you how to explore Morocco without having too big of an impact on the country's fragile environment. They support local small businesses, educate tourists on how to stay on the path to avoid damaging endangered plants and make you a part of their effort to develop their country sustainably. Let them show you all the hidden nooks of Marrakesh, take you along the Atlantic coast on a camel or show you the romantic side of Morocco for a romantic weekend break.
Angle Rue Tarik Ibn Ziad & Ibn Aicha Résidence Excel Sior, Phone: +212-524-433513
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