Casablanca Port of Call
Sahara Sand Dune © Jamou
The huge city of Casablanca is a busy, fast-growing port with a European character. The population explosion, brought about chiefly by immigration from the countryside, has brought some social problems like crime and prostitution, and resulted in the proliferation of shantytowns. The gap between the haves and the have-nots in Casablanca may be wide, but the city centre is impressive and modern, with wide avenues and soaring skyscrapers. The people too are modern and there is little sign of traditional dress and modestly scarved women.
Travellers expecting the glamour and mystery of Humphrey Bogart's Casablanca may be disappointed to find a busy, modern port, but the city is a convenient and popular gateway to Morocco for cruise passengers nonetheless. It is the biggest and most important port in Morocco and beneath the industrial surface some interesting history can be found.
Casablanca Tourist Information Centre: 98 Boulevard Mohamed V; +212 22 15 24
Casablanca has recently developed an efficient new tramway network which covers a substantial portion of the city. There is also an extensive bus network; however, many travellers find it difficult to navigate. The most popular form of transport is taxis, as the taxi drivers are extremely knowledgeable. The medina is small enough to explore on foot.
The main attraction in Casablanca is the immense King Hassan II Mosque, which is the iconic landmark of the city and one of the few mosques in Morocco open to non-Muslims. The coastal Shrine of Sidi Abderrahman is off-limits, but walking there along the beach is pleasant and there's a bustling neighbourhood around it to explore. The old town (medina), is small and a good way to experience a more traditional aspect of Morocco, while in the Corniche neighbourhood visitors will find modern nightclubs, hotels and Western restaurants, although parts of the neighbourhood have become a bit seedy in recent years.
Bistrot Burger Restaurant - tasty food in a convenient location.
Taverne du Dauphin - popular seafood restaurant near the medina.
Rick's Cafe - an atmospheric reproduction of the restaurant from Casablanca.
Lamb tagine is Morocco's most classic dish which is fragrant and delicious.
The old city area is small, but like the medina of most Moroccan cities it serves as an atmospheric bazaar. The canny shopkeepers, however, ensure that there are few real bargains to be had here. The famous Marché Central (Central Market) is the best place to go for bargains, and the Derb Ghraleef neighbourhood can be rewarding for the more adventurous.
Moorish silver jewellery, leather goods, hookahs, tagines.
Enjoy beach clubs and swimming pools at Aïn Diab.
Relax at the cafes and amusement parks in Parc des Jeux Yasmina.