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Although Casablanca isn’t one of Morocco’s main tourist magnets, there’s still plenty to see and do. Despite Casablanca being a large city, with the main attractions fairly spread out, it’s still possible to hit many of the highlights on a one-day visit.
After a filling breakfast at your hotel or in one of the many bakeries, start your day at Place Mohammed V, the main square in Casablanca. Although you won’t need to spend too long here, it’s a great photo stop. The elegant square is surrounded by beautiful architecture, including an ornate court, public buildings, and the old post office. Take a peek inside the post office building and you’ll see the original Art Deco fixtures and fittings.
A 10-minute walk will take you to the large Sacre Coeur Cathedral. Not in use today, the elegant white building still stands proudly, a reminder of times gone by.
The lesser-visited Musee Abderrahman Slaoui is just a five-minute stroll from Sacre Coeur Cathedral. One of Casablanca’s key alternative attractions, it’s a top spot for lovers of art. It won’t take too long to admire the various pieces of art that hang from the walls; plan to spend around 40 minutes here.
Head to the nearby Marche Central (approximately a 10-minute walk from the art museum) and see how locals shop. The old colonial market is known for its stalls of fresh fish, colourful fruits and vegetables, and various meats. The restaurants may be starting to fill up for lunch. Don’t be tempted though; there’s a bigger treat waiting for you at lunchtime! 30 minutes or so is probably ample to soak up the area’s ambiance.
It’s time to make your way up to the coast for lunch. On the 20-minute walk, pause for quick photos of San Buenaventura Church and Rabbi Ettedgui Synagogue; close to each other, they’re also on your route. There are two options for lunch, with both restaurants located just off the major Boulevard des Almohades that runs near to the coast.
La Sqala is an elegant restaurant situated in the remains of the old Portuguese fortress. The menu features fresh seafood and typical Moroccan fare. Relax in the breezy garden and savour your meal. Alternatively, the nearby Rick’s Café is a themed eatery that seeks to replicate the aura of the famous black and white movie set in the city, Casablanca. Sophisticated décor, soothing music, and a mixture of Moroccan and international dishes, it’s a popular spot for tourists.
Whichever restaurant you opt for, you’re sure to love it. Both are among the best restaurants in the entire city. It’s well worth taking a quick peek at the one you didn’t choose, though. Plus, they’re just a couple of minutes’ stroll from each other.
After lunch, enjoy a leisurely walk around the old medina. Casablanca’s medina is small compared to Morocco’s other famous medinas, and it lacks the atmosphere of the medinas of, for example, Marrakech and Fes. Half an hour is probably enough to see the local way of life and traditional buildings in the narrow streets. Although it couldn’t be called a highlight of a trip to Morocco, it adds diversity to your day in Casablanca.
Plan to arrive at your next destination no later than 3pm.
Join a tour of Casablanca’s most famous sight: the opulent Hassan II Mosque. Located next to the coast, the architectural gem boasts fine craftsmanship and exquisite details. Although a sacred place of Islamic worship, non-Muslims are permitted to admire the interiors as part of a guided tour. Tours only take place at set times of the day; if you miss the 3pm tour you will need to wait until 4pm for the final tour of the day. Tours take around 40 minutes. It will take 20 minutes to walk to the mosque from the old medina. Alternatively, to save time and make the most of your day, it’s recommended to take a five-minute cab ride between the two destinations.
If you’re craving the feel of sand between your toes, head to the Corniche. Located in the Ain Diab area of the city, it’s five kilometres away from the dazzling mosque. A cab is your best way of reaching the beach. While you probably won’t want to swim, take a stroll along the promenade and sands and enjoy the ocean views. Miami Plage and Tahiti Beach Club are both great choices for a quick pit stop.
After relaxing on the beach for a while, the huge Morocco Mall is your next stop. It’s open until 10pm so don’t worry if you want to linger for longer on the sandy shores. While walking and catching a bus will take roughly the same time (around 25 minutes), you’ll probably appreciate the time to rest your feet and gaze out of the window as the bus travels along the coast road. Bus numbers 144 and 009 operate from the main road alongside the beach to Morocco Mall.
Even if you don’t want to buy anything, the Morocco Mall is a fascinating insight into Morocco’s development. One of the largest malls in Africa, it has a huge fountain outside as well as a big indoor aquarium. Ride the glass elevator through the double-level aquarium for a unique experience. There are numerous eateries in the mall too where you can grab a drink and a snack.
If you want a quick and convenient dinner, choose from one of the diverse restaurants in Morocco Mall. If, however, you fancy a change of scenery, catch a taxi to the towering Twin Centre. Don’t go inside just yet though; there are many restaurants in the area where you can enjoy dinner. Moroccan dishes and global meals are available, perfect to satisfy any tastebuds. Casdal, Twinface, Bombay Palace, Tacos de Lyon, Restaurant Da Gino, Blend Gourmet Burger, and Restaurant Al Bahja are just a few ideas.
Jump a cab to the Twin Centre after dinner (if you ate at Morocco Mall), or return to the Twin Centre on foot if you had dinner nearby. As the tallest buildings in Casablanca, they stand 28 floors over the city streets. Sky 28, located at the top of one of the towers, is a terrific place to end your exciting day in Casablanca. Indeed, it’s often said to be one of the best bars in Casablanca. Ride the elevator up to the bar and admire the twinkling city lights as you unwind with a cocktail, beer, glass of wine, or another drink of choice in a chic and swanky setting.