Casablanca, which means white house in Portuguese, is the largest city in Morocco. It is a very cosmopolitan city located on the coast of the Atlantic (Atlantic) ocean. The name is Spanish, the origin is Roman, the layout is French.
Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city with a population of around 4 million, also has the world’s largest artificial port, but there are no sea voyages from this port.
ACCESSING CASABLANCA: HOW TO GET TO CASABLANCA?
By plane:You can reach Casablanca Mohammed V Airport by direct or connecting flights from Istanbul. Since Casablanca flights are a bit more economical than Marrakech flights of the same date, this airport is generally preferred for travels to Morocco. Non-stop flights take 4.5 hours, but we ventured to arrive in Morocco in almost one day with Air France’s 12-hour flight with a connecting flight to Paris. Because, while we had a Schengen visa ready, we had dreams of breathing the Parisian air we missed during the 12-hour transfer in Paris, wandering aimlessly in the streets of Paris, having breakfast with a croissant, and spending time in a delicious French restaurant in the evening. However, this dream had to turn into a short night tour of Paris for only a few hours when Air France changed this 12-hour pause from 09:00 to 21:00 in the daytime, from 21:00 in the evening to 07:00 the next morning.
By train: You can easily reach Casablanca from other cities of Morocco by ONCF trains.
By bus : CTM buses operate between many cities of Morocco. After getting off at Gare Routière, the main bus station, you can easily reach the city center by taxi.
By car: You can easily reach Casablanca by renting a car, via the Moroccan highway. One important thing to keep in mind is that highways are actually quite expensive compared to Turkey. The roads are very comfortable, the roadside resting facilities are very clean, all the signs can be followed very easily and are easy to understand because they are written in Latin letters. However, you still need to adjust your budget well due to both gasoline and highway prices.
CASABLANCA CITY TRANSPORTATION
We did not use public transportation here as we rented a car and visited the cities of Fes, Marrakech and Essaouira in our Morocco tour that started in Casablanca. But of course, we also researched this subject for you. Namely; After landing at the Casablanca airport, the first thing you need to do is fill in the embarkement cards that are distributed on the plane, but if you haven’t noticed, you can easily find them in the passport control area. After leaving the passport control with this form, the right trains depart as soon as you grab your suitcase. You have to go down to the floor. The offices of car rental companies are also located on this floor. You can reach the city center in half an hour with ONCF trains that depart every hour. Train tickets are 30 MAD (ie 3 USD). Another alternative is CTM .buses. The journey by these buses takes about 1 hour. Of course, there are also taxis, but you definitely have to bargain. There are two main stations in the city centre. One of them is Casa Voyageurs, which is closer to the city center, the other is Casa Port, which is close to the port, and you should prefer Casa Voyageurs, which is closer to the city center.
By the way, if you need internet on your trip, you can get your suitcase after going through passport control, buy free sim cards at the stand that says INWI, and then load 5 GB of internet for 100 MAD, or about 50 TL, on the ground floor. Staff at the INWI office will assist you.
ACCOMMODATION IN CASABLANCA: WHERE TO STAY IN CASABLANCA?
We stayed 2 nights in Fes and 3 nights in Marrakech during our Morocco trip. Casablanca is not a highly recommended city as a tourist attraction. As far as we have read and researched, there is not much to do and not too many historical buildings to see in this city. Therefore, everyone talks about Casablanca as a city you should not choose for accommodation if you don’t have to. We followed these recommendations 🙂 You can still compare accommodation alternatives on booking.com.
ABSOLUTELY TO DO IN CASABLANCA
Although Casablanca is a large city, it is not a very good example of Morocco, historically or culturally. In other words, a person who only spends time in Casablanca may have gone to Morocco, but he would not have seen, lived or experienced Morocco. There really isn’t much to do in Morocco. The most important must-see structures are Muhammed V square and Hassan 2 mosque, which we mentioned in the city tour. After seeing these places for a few hours, unfortunately, you may not find much touristic activity that you can do extra. So we couldn’t find it 🙂
WHAT TO EAT IN KAZ ABLANKA? WHAT TO DRINK?
Seafood and French cuisine are at the forefront in Casablanca.
Mood Cafe in the Quartier Gauthier , perhaps the most popular restaurant in Casablanca, Al-Mounia , Patisserie Bennis Habous are among the recommended ones.
By far the most recommended is Rick’s Cafe . The architecture of this place, which was decorated with inspiration from a scene in the 1942 movie Casablanca, is of course eye-catching.
Since we were going to have a snack on the way and continue directly to Fes, we entered the first restaurant that we came across and looked clean. We did not eat anything very local, we preferred a classic hamburger menu. The taste was good, the presentation was quite modern. The fact that there were more foreigners first on the plane and then in this restaurant gave us the impression that this city is a city where expats settle for work.
Tagine (stew), couscous (couscous); At the beginning of the beverage is mint tea. You can follow our detailed article on this subject on the blog soon.
TRAFFIC IN CASABLANCA
Traffic is complete chaos throughout Morocco. On our E5 type roads, which are called highway (A) or national (N), everyone obeys the speed and traffic rules perfectly, but as we get closer to the city, a traffic monster enters these polite and modern people. We couldn’t figure out what kind of rule exists at wide roundabouts in the city. Normally, the first person to enter the intersection gives way, but this rule does not apply here. They turn from a place of no return, they become aggressive at intersections and usurp your right of way. The main streets in the city are quite wide. For this reason, drivers are violating lanes, passing from one lane to another without signaling. We advise you to be very careful and cautious. In fact, we recommend that you do not drive in the city if possible 🙂 Although we are people who have been actively driving for 10 years in the chaotic traffic structure of Istanbul, our brains were burned 🙂
SHOPPING IN CASABLANCA
Here are the main souvenirs you can buy for yourself or your loved ones; ceramics, rugs, mint tea or spices. There are many souvenir shops in the narrow streets of the Medina, the old city area. If you are planning not only to stay in Casablanca but also to visit other cities, we say, take a postcard or magnet from the airport and save your shopping rights for other cities. As we mentioned, since this is not a very touristic city, the original souvenir alternatives are less compared to Fes or Marrakech.
Morocco Mall , located a little outside the city center, will come to the rescue of those looking for a mall.
CASABLANCA CITY TOUR
If you are only going to take a day tour, we suggest that after arriving at Casa Port station from the airport, you can first take a half-hour walk to the old city center Medina and then to the famous Hasan II Mosque.
If you walk over Boulevard Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah, you can also take a short break at the famous Rick’s Cafe.
If you have rented a car, you can diversify the route a little more and visit the regions where other structures such as the cathedral and palace are located.
- Mohammed V Square: A large and busy square, which is the administrative center of the city, with official buildings and new hotels. This square, which proves that they tried to modernize the city when Morocco was under French colony, is again the work of a French architect. We can also define this place as a gateway to the new city area.
- Hassan II Mosque : The largest mosque in Morocco and the 7th largest in the world. The interior architecture of this mosque, which is located right on the edge of the port and took 7 years to build, is also quite impressive.
- Ain Diab : You can do many sports activities on this luxurious beach where you can swim. In addition, Ain Diab is not only an important place with its beautiful beach, but also historically. Because a 500-year-old skull, which can be considered as one of the oldest remains, was found here. This is also known as the Corniche , which we can translate as the promenade, and is one of the most lively squares of the city. It is an area famous for night clubs, restaurants and beaches.
- Casablanca Cathedral (Casablanca Cathédral): Designed by the French architect Paul Tournon in 1930, when Casablanca was under the administration of France, it was considered the most spectacular work of 20th century Africa. After Morocco gained its independence, this cathedral was first transformed into a school and then into a cultural center. Today, it poses for photos of tourists as an abandoned building closed to worship.
- Notre Dame de Lourdes: A European looking church with impressive architecture.
- Îlot de Sidi Abderrahman: When you walk along the Corniche, this is a sacred place among religious and local people, which will attract your attention with its white buildings on an islet. When the tides and the waters recede, you can walk over the rocks to this islet. This structure, which also includes the tomb of a Sufi from Baghdad, the founder of Algeria named Sidi Abderrhamane Thaalibi, has turned into a holy place visited by those seeking a cure. Non-Muslims may not be allowed to enter.
Other places to see in Casablanca are;
- Jewish Museum
- Royal Palace
ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHTLIFE IN CASABLANCA
Alcoholic drinks are served in the bars along La Corniche on the waterfront. Morocco is a Muslim country, but selling alcohol to foreigners is legal. But keep in mind that alcohol is very expensive in Morocco.
OTHER PLACES TO VISIT CLOSE TO CASABLANCA: ALTERNATIVE TOURS
Boulaouane Kasbah , located a little outside the city, is the most recommended place to see. Kasbah means castle in Moroccan. This is an old castle that is idle. It was built in 1710 by Moulay Ismail. You can go up to the 10 meter high tower of this castle and watch the view.
Casablanca is a city where you can go and finish more than one day, on foot, comfortably. However, for us, this city is the first step of Morocco. The main important and must-see cities you can go from here are; Fez , Chefchaouen , Rabat, Marrakech , Essaouira.
CASABLANCA TRAVEL NOTES
- Don’t go with too much expectation because of Casablanca’s magical name from the movie, and then you might be disappointed.
- We recommend that you take dirhams (as MAD or DH) with you. Many places do not accept credit cards and if you want to exchange currency, they do so at low rates.
- The city is finished in half a day, we strongly recommend you to move to other cities without wasting much time and accommodation.
- Do not think that you are in France because you see French words everywhere and are spoken in French.
- Casablanca is a very cosmopolitan city. Many of the people you meet may be foreigners, do not be surprised.
- Count when you get the money, you can “accidentally” get the missing money!
- If you are going to drive in the city, keep your eyes peeled. Because the traffic rules you know here will not be of use to you. You will have to adapt to the unique rules of the city in its own dynamic.
- Note that in general, mosques in Morocco are only open during prayer times.