Casablanca was discovered by Berber fishermen around the 10th century BC and has now developed into one of the largest and busiest cities in Morocco after centuries of occupation by the Portuguese and French. There is a great deal for tourists to do in this beautiful city including visiting malls, restaurants, cafes, designer stores and there is something for everyone regardless of budget. However, there are also things to interest those who are looking for a more cultural experience as Casablanca is rich in historical and cultural activities for every traveler. Here’s a list of some things you can do in this intoxicating little city.
Take A Walk Along The Beach
Round out your shopping trip with a walk along Ain Diab onwards towards the beach. The opportunity to relax at the beach is what sets Casablanca apart from the rest of the cities in Morocco. One caveat though: no matter how many locals you see swimming in the water, avoid the beach in the summer months as the sea tends to get a bit rough. You would be well-advised to stick to your hotel’s swimming pools, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself once you get there. You can spend your time admiring the beautiful stretches of sand or relaxing under the warm sun. You can even pamper yourself at one of the numerous hammams in the area. You might not feel comfortable around the traditional hammams though, which can be quite rough, but you can enjoy yourself at one of the spas which are famous across the world for the experience they offer.
Revel In The Sunset
Casablanca is gorgeous at any time of the year, but sunset is the time when it really shines and it feels as if the entire city is glowing. Try to ensure that you are outside around sunset so that you can see it for yourself. Of note is the King Hassan II Mosque whose outlines become even more pronounced at the time, and watching the sun set behind this mosque almost transports you to a mythical world. Stop at one of the several ocean-view restaurants around the Corniche and watch the sky turn different hues of pink, purple, and orange. This is one memory that will stay with you for the rest of your life.
Take A Trip To King Hassan II Mosque
No tour of Casablanca can be complete without a visit to this famous mosque. Unlike the rest of the attractions in Morocco, this mosque is a relatively recent development. It’s among the largest mosques in the world and unlike most mosques in the rest of the Islamic world, it allows non-Muslims to take a tour. The mosque is famous for having the tallest minaret. It’s large enough to accommodate more than 100,000 worshippers – and provides for a great photographic opportunity due to its overlooking view of the ocean. However, the exterior isn’t the only part of the mosque that will blow your mind away. The details of the construction of the doors, the decorated floors, the water fountains, retractable roof and the marble walls are all designed to take your breath away. It’s also in close proximity to a madrassa (Islamic school), hammams, and a library. Islamic tradition is very strict on modesty and we therefore recommend that you fully cover yourself before visiting.
Photograph The Post Office
You might find it strange that a post office makes it to the “things to do” list in a particular city, but then again, the Casablanca post office is not just “any old post office.” The facade of this building is lined with ornamental mosaics that are almost 100 years old, and is often mistaken for a cultural monument. You can spend hours just exploring the mosaics on the building itself, or step inside and send a postcard back home. This is one post office you have just got to see for yourself.
Visit The Corniche
If you want to put your finger on the pulse of Casablanca, the Corniche is the place to be. It is peppered with resorts, hotels, restaurants, and cinemas and provides a fascinating view of the Atlantic Ocean. This is where the locals tend to spend their evenings and enjoy themselves as it has something to offer everyone. It would not be wrong to say that Corniche never sleeps. With its glitz and glamour, it’s a welcome change from the palm tree lined avenues that characterize the rest of Morocco. The Corniche is lined with all sorts of modern amenities such as hotels, resorts, and skyscrapers which will make you think that you are in New York or somewhere in Europe instead of in Morocco. Plan a trip to the Corniche when you’ve had your fill of alleyways and are feeling homesick.
In most of Morocco, you will only be able to buy limited traditional handicrafts, but Casablanca is completely different. There is a huge variety so everything from traditional goodies to designer shoes and Western-style outfits are very easily available in Casablanca. You can shop your heart out at Morocco Mall, which is one of the largest of its kind in all of Africa. You can even visit Anfa Place Mall for a similar experience. If you don’t want to go for a mall, make a beeline for the Maarif neighborhood, where many international brands have their outlets. Derb Ghalef neighborhood is the place to go if you prefer designer knockoffs of watches, clothes, shoes, and sunglasses. A great deal of traditional items are also available if you make a trip down to Medina where you can easily find Moroccan carpets and other traditional items at very reasonable rates amidst several colorful stalls that will steal your heart.
Take A Trip Down To Medina
A visit to any Moroccan city is never complete unless you visit its Medina. This is a teeming bazaar that is full to the brim with dyers, potters, carpet sellers, and other traditional items. This is where you can see the real spirit of Morocco, as you watch kids squabble, housewives haggling with the vendors and the vendors trying to steal one another’s customers away. However, you would be well-advised to beware of pickpocketers and don’t forget to bargain! Do also remember that you will get better deals in Fes, so if you plan to visit Fes after Casablanca, it’s advisable to hold on to your money.