Casablanca, Morocco – The Ultimate Travel Guide
Casablanca is the largest city in Morocco and a common entry point into The country. The city, which is commonly called ‘Casa’, sits in the Northwestern corner of Africa – roughly one-hour south of Rabat and 3-hours from Fes. The city is most remembered as the feature of the 1942 film Casablanca which starred Humphrey Bogart. Visitors will appreciate the delicate blending of old and new architecture in the city. Although the city appears no different than any other megacity (take Los Angeles for example), a closer look will reveal leftover remnants of the French Colonization of Morocco. I highly recommend paying a visit (at least a day!) to this historic yet decidedly modern city.
The weather in Casablanca Morocco is fairly pleasant year-round. There aren’t any weather-related issues to look out for other than in the Summer when temperatures will occasionally rise into the 90s.
Spring and Fall: Temperatures in the spring and fall are quite agreeable. This makes a great time to visit, especially considering the low humidity experienced in Casablanca.
Summer: Casablanca experiences the hottest weather in Summer and early Fall, where temperatures can reach as high as 90°F (32°C). However, don’t let this turn you off to a summer visit. The weather in Casablanca is dry and the city typically sits in the low 80s and is quite comfortable. Summer nights are also quite cool and pleasant, thanks to the arid environment of the region.
Winter: December through February will offer visitors the coolest weather. Highs during these months are 65°F on average, with lows around 40°F (5°C). Although it won’t be much, do expect to see some rain during these months.
Things to do in Casablanca
Casablanca may not have the glamorous nightlife of neighboring Rabat, but that doesn’t mean that your stay will be boring! In fact, there are countless ways to spend your time here. Let’s take a look at a few of the top choices that will help you get a feel for the area.
1 – Quartier Habous Market (and Royal Palace)
This neighborhood in Casablanca is one of the most interesting. Located in the streets around the Royal Palace are areas where vendors congregate to sell their wares. This Souk, or market, is one of the largest in Casablanca and you will find plenty of souvenirs. Further, it makes for a great day of exploration, even if you are not interested in shopping. But remember bargaining is a way of life in Morocco, so you will need to partake in the habit if you want to score a reasonable deal. If you only have a day in Casablanca try to visit the Quartier Habous Market.
2 – Hassan II Mosque
This is one of the only Mosques that allow foreign visitors. It is also the largest in Morocco – 7th largest in the world, topping out at an imposing 210m. The intricate and opulent design makes a visit well worth it. Guided tours are provided in English from Sunday – Thursday at a cost of roughly $13.
3 – Ain Diab Beach
This beautiful beach is located directly south of the popular Corniche Boulevard. It is an excellent place to soak in the Moroccan sun as a number of beach chairs are provided for your comfort. Numerous shops located along the beach offer great food and snacks that can be enjoyed along with the view.
Casablanca’s public transportation system is one of the finest in Africa, with several affordable choices. Trains in Casablanca Morocco are top-notch, both clean and comfortable. Many visitors hop on the train as soon as they arrive in Casablanca as many visitors are drawn to other destinations around Morocco.
Trains in Morocco are also top-notch, both clean and comfortable. Many visitors hop on the train as soon as they arrive in Casablanca as many visitors are drawn to other destinations around Morocco. The routes cover the ground between Casablanca and various other destinations around the country. Seats can be purchased in either 1st or 2nd class. First-class passengers are guaranteed a seat, while second-class is boarded on a first come first serve basis. The official website is in French but can be translated if you want more information.
The Casablanca Tramway is a newly finished addition to the city’s public transportation network. The tramway consists of a single 48-station line (more lines currently in planning). The tram has a flat fare of 6 Dirham ($0.60) for a journey of any length. A weekly pass can be purchased for roughly $6.
The bus system in Casablanca covers the city extensively. Numerous companies operate a multitude of bus routes in the city. If you can make sense of the somewhat complicated system then this will be the cheapest and most convenient option.
Taxis here come in two forms. The grand taxi which you find at the airport will transport you to the city center, or other destinations around Morocco. They are larger and more comfortable. The petit taxi can be found around the city and, as the name suggests, are compact cars. Taking a petit taxi around the city is fairly inexpensive and they are easy to find – just make sure the meter is turned on to avoid being cheated. Also, note that taxis in Casablanca will often pick up other passengers along the way. Be ready to scoot over and make way for another passenger!
Where to stay in Casablanca
Casablanca has a wide range of accommodations from shared hostels to 5-star hotels. Your budget will dictate the type of hotel you go for. On the low end, expect to find hostels for around $10 – $15. Mid-range hotels typically sit around $40-50, but it depends on the season. If you are traveling in style 5* hotels such as the Hyatt Regency Casablanca can push towards the $300 range!
The Booking.com menu above will help you locate the best hotel in your budget.
Where To Eat In Casablanca
Pâtisserie Bennis – There is no better place to go if you’re looking for authentic Moroccan pastries. It is located on a side-street of the Habous Market – perfect if you already plan on visiting the market. The pastries are equally delicious and inexpensive, and make for excellent gifts for yourself or friends! The shop has been family owned for 3 generations and the owners take a lot of pride in their work. The dedication certainly shows through in the taste! It is considered to be one of the best bakeries in all of Morocco.
Address: 2, Rue Fkih El Gabbas, Casablanca 20100, Morocco
L’espace du Professeur – This cozy restaurant makes a great stop for lunch or dinner. It is located in a courtyard with outdoor seating and great views. If you want to relax with some fresh air and nearby sights, then this is the place for you. The food is delicious and reasonably priced. Expect traditional Moroccan meals with a smattering of international dishes mixed in. Great if you want to experience the local atmosphere, but aren’t yet willing to brave the market stalls.
Cost of Travel in Casablanca Morocco
Casablanca on a Budget
If you are on a backpacker’s budget in Casablanca, you could get by on as little as $25 a day.
Hostel – The largest part of your budget will be spent on accommodation. Expect to pay $10+ for a bed in a hostel, although, if you stay longer you could negotiate a lower rate with your hostel.
Food – With a tight budget you will need to stay away from western restaurants. This is fine as Morocco has cheap and tasty local food. The majority of your remaining money will be spent on food and water. $10 per day will be enough to eat well in local shops.
Transportation – The train and tram systems are quite convenient and easy to navigate with a map. They are also pretty affordable. If possible I prefer to stick to these options. Busses are also an option but can be confusing to navigate.
If you’re looking to enjoy yourself in Casablanca you have a number of ways to use your travel money.
Hotel – Casablanca has all the major hotel chains that you would expect in a major city, Hyatt, Sofitel, Westin, etc. If you are looking for more of a boutique hotel with excellent service you should check out the Art Palace Suites & Spa. This fabulous hotel is in the heart of Casablanca and each suite is uniquely decorated for a one-of-a-kind experience.
Food – Rick’s Cafe is a dining experience worth having while you’re in Casablanca. Also, Casablanca has a wealth of fine French food to check out. A number of restaurants like Brasserie La Tour combine French and Moroccan cuisine in the most appetizing of ways! At $35 the Brasserie La Tour won’t exactly break the bank either!
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