The Best Day Trips to Take From Casablanca

Colourful doorways and bicycles in Casablanca | © Hans Pohl / Flickr
Colourful doorways and bicycles in Casablanca | © Hans Pohl / Flickr
While it is possible to hit the major highlights of Casablanca in a day, spending longer in Morocco’s largest city lets you take in all of Casablanca’s attractions. Once you’ve checked the must-see and must-do things off your Casablanca bucket list, why not explore farther afield with one of these day trips?

El Jadida: A Coastal Town With Portuguese Heritage

El Jadida is located 110 kilometres south of Casablanca along the Atlantic Coast. The drive takes around 40 minutes one way. Mazagan Fortress stands in elegant ruin overlooking the sea. Built by the Portuguese, it is today a UNESCO-listed site. Rusty cannons point out over the water and the high walls are a great vantage point for looking out over both the ocean and the surrounding streets. Descend underground into the old water cisterns and wander through the medina, with its European-like architecture. The sandy beaches are popular with locals during the summer months.

Looking out over town from the fortress walls in El Jadida © xiquinhosilva / Flickr

Azemmour: A Small Historic Town With a Local Vibe

Azemmour also sits along the Atlantic coast, around 95 kilometres south of the country’s financial centre of Casablanca. Wandering through the town lets you experience local life, and the walls of the old medina are covered with interesting street art and graffiti. The medina’s Portuguese-era walls are attractive from the outside, belying the gracefully shabby streets inside.

Street art in Azemmour’s medina © Wikimedia Commons

Oualidia: A Popular Holiday Getaway for Moroccans

Oualidia is 188 kilometres from Casablanca; the one-way journey takes around two and a half hours. Chill out on the golden beaches and soak up the pretty views of the arched lagoon. Colourful boats bob on the waves. The wetlands are a haven for bird life and if you visit in spring or autumn you can admire the flock of pink flamingoes that takes up residence there.

Fishing boat in Oualidia, Morocco © laura0509 / Flickr

Rabat: The Nation’s Modern Capital City

Rabat is just 87 kilometres from Casablanca. The two cities are connected by a well-maintained highway, and the journey should take around an hour and ten minutes. Marvel at the exquisite details of the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, soldiers standing smartly to attention outside, and see the nearby Hassan Tower. Take a stroll through the atmospheric Kasbah of the Oudayas. Admire the pretty gardens and old architecture of Chellah. The beaches are ideal for relaxing, and some spots attract keen surf enthusiasts.

Guards outside the Mausoleum of Mohammed V © Mark Fischer / Flickr

Sale: A Non-Touristy Riverside Town

Sale sits next to Rabat, on the opposite side of the Bou Regreg River. Seeing few international visitors, Sale is a great place to absorb the local way of life. Unhurried and relaxed, children play in the streets, men chat over coffee in one of the chilled-out cafes, and fishing boats sail along the river. There are several interesting woodworking factories, and other highlights include the Great Mosque of Sale and the monumental gate of Bab el-Mrisa. The town is just over 90 kilometres from Casablanca; the journey takes around and hour and a quarter.

View across the river to Sale, Morocco © Wikimedia Commons | © Adam Jones / Wikimedia Commons

Volubilis: A Ruined Site From Roman Times

The UNESCO-listed Volubilis is widely believed to have once been the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Mauretania. The large site is famous for its Roman ruins, with mosaics, foundations, pillars, walls, carvings, arches, and more. It is a little over 260 kilometres from Casablanca. The drive takes around three hours, though the stunning site makes the long journey worthwhile.

Roman ruins of Volubilis © xiquinhosilva / Flickr

Meknes: One of Morocco’s Beautiful Imperial Cities

Meknes is almost 240 kilometres from Casablanca. The drive to the former imperial capital will take around two hours and forty minutes. Although Fes is generally a better base for exploring Meknes and surrounding areas, if time is short and you’re spending most of your time in Casablanca, a day trip is long enough to enjoy the highlights. Snap a photo of the beautiful gate of Bab el-Mansour. Wander through the old medina. Admire the details in the Museum of Moroccan Art, housed within Dar Jamai. Soak up the splendour of the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail and Bou Inania Madrasa.

Ornamental gate in Meknes © Wikimedia Commons

Marrakech: Morocco’s Famous Red City

Marrakech is also located around 240 kilometres from Casablanca. The one-way trip takes approximately two hours and forty minutes. While Marrakech boasts numerous attractions that can keep visitors busy for a few days, day-trippers can still leave satisfied after just a day in the previous imperial city. The city is especially known for its sprawling medina and vibrant souks that sell a wide array of traditional items. There are several excellent museums and art galleries, and historic sites include Koutoubia Mosque, the Saadian Tombs, and two old palaces.

Wide array of goods in a Marrakech souk © Nouaman Bentaj / Flickr

Day trips from Casablanca add variety and spice to your Moroccan adventure, letting you easily see more of the fascinating North African country.