The Casablanca experience is a unique one above all things. It’s a breath of fresh air in an environment many consider merely desert. It’s a place where you find serenity even amidst significant raucousness. And it is, without a doubt, a city with numerous attractions to offer.
Right from when you get off the plane, you feel the palpable sense of newness; the simultaneous warmth and unyielding seriousness of people you come across. You might even get into a few haggling contests with your driver, just to warm up. Yes, you will be doing a lot of haggling on this trip. That’s one of the things that make it even more fun.
Haggling, you’ll soon find, is only a tip of the iceberg of the numerous adventure that await you in Casablanca. First of all, the people themselves are definitely one of the greatest appeals of the city. They’re no stranger to foreigners, and their warmth and charm make for an immense height of hospitality that you really don’t come across everyday.
And then of course there’s the hustle and bustle of the streets. The constant hawkers calling to you; the unfettered comings and goings of traders and merchants; street music and artists doing their thing, making their tangible contributions to the ecstasy and exuberance of the streets.
Architectural magnificence is another feature in remarkable abundance in the city of Casablanca. From ancient structures to French colonial buildings, and even more modern ones, there is definitely no shortage of architectural aesthetics for building-loving tourists to bask in.
And then there’s the town of Old Medina – a true tourists favorite. A town replete with culture and traditional magnificence. This is where you find the true heart of Morocco lingering right in the air, waiting to for you to walk through, take a deep breath, and share in some of this essence for yourself. There is no more brilliant feeling, I can assure you.
Then you have the food. Oh, the food. Are you a food conservative, virtually resistant to any dish you aren’t familiar with? Well, don’t you fret, there’s always something from all over the world, so you’ll definitely be well taken care of here. And just in case you’re an avid foodie looking for strictly new experiences, well you might as well throw a party now because in Casablanca you’re in food heaven.
From exotic cocktails embellished with live performances and traditional dishes made by experienced local chef, it is safe to say you’re in for the time of your life. Are you excited yet? Of course, you are. But wait, don’t go ecstatic just yet, because, well, there’s more!
Apart from the people and the architecture and the music and the food and the tradition, there’s more. There’s the ancient mosque, as large as an ancient palace, and an ancient palace as sacrosanct as a mosque. And then you have your cities on a rooftop, luxurious hotels where “the rich come to swim,” and so, so much more.
A commercial and tourist town, Old Medina is undoubtedly one of the jewels of Casablanca, and Morocco as a whole. Located between downtown and Hassan II Mosque, it is practically an avalanche of traditional-style shops, squares, and cafes.
Here you can find a whole range of goods to purchase from leather bags and clothes to jewellery, food, and spices, or even get some henna art done.
Hassan II Mosque is the second largest mosque in the whole world and one of the foremost jewels of Casablanca. It is wonderfully and intricately designed, and its interiors are open to tourists and visitors from all over the world.
It may be obvious by now but it’s still worth mentioning that you should never visit Casablanca without paying a visit to the Hasan II Mosque and the Old Medina. These are the places you go to to get a genuine feel of that Moroccan ambience.
You should also make it a categorical imperative to visit some of the rooftop restaurants and get yourself some traditional dishes.
I know I’ve also mentioned this before but a good rule of thumb to have is to never pay the first price given to you in Casablanca. You can be sure this price has been marked up really high, and it is not just important that you mark it down as much as possible, it is an obligation expected of you, even by the sellers themselves.
Safety is not an issue in Casablanca and foreigners are treated with great respect. Still, you should ensure to keep a good eye on your wallet, purses and belongings as the quite a handful of pickpockets lurking here and there along the city, as there are in pretty much any country.
Africa is an amazing place — so big that it’s hard to say you’ve seen it if you only visit one area. But here we make the case for Casablanca — as we believe that Muslim northern Africa is among the most amazing places on earth. The Atlast Mountains tower in the distance, nightclubs line the city, beach clubs never far away (this is Morocco, after all). Art deco doesn’t even begin to describe the work of the colonial-era French architects.
You’ll visit a hammam and see souks, dream of Habous, and stroll by at least one Royal Palace, and Arab historical sites. Drink mint tea at any city center or central market, either before or after a day of sightseeing. We recommend taking at least one guided tour while in Casablanca. If you have time, make it over to Marrakesh and Fez, as well as other Moroccan cities — each is rich in culture even for non-muslims.
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