Travel Guide Africa Morocco Casablanca



Casablanca Mosque Hassan II

Casablanca Mosque Hassan II

© porz

Casablanca is the biggest city in Morocco with over 3 million inhabitants. It is also the commercial and trade centre of the country, and the largest port in the country. Still, it is one of the less endearing of the country's sights. With a small, unassuming medina and a traffic-congested ville nouvelle, travellers arriving via Casablanca may be tempted to find the first train out to nearby Rabat. The awe-inspiring Hassan II Mosque, a happening nightlife and some colonial architecture are worth at least a day of your Moroccan itinerary.



Sights and Activities

Hassan II Mosque

The Hassan II Mosque is one of the biggest mosques in the world, after the ones in Mecca and Medina (Saudi Arabia), which generally are off limits to travellers. This might just be one of the most famous ones amongst travellers anywhere in the world. It is located just next to the Atlantic Ocean, giving it some extra charm. The minaret at 210 metres is actually the highest in the world. The architectural style has Moorish influences and has strong similarities with the Alhambra and Great Mosque, both in Cordoba. It is actually one of a few mosques in Morocco that is actually open for non-muslims, so definaiely worth a visit while you are touring around this Magreb country.

Cathédrale Sacré-Coeur (Catholic Cathedral)

This cathedral has a refreshing design that features many traditional Moroccan styles. In the past it was used as a school and then a culture center. Now however, whilst the exterior holds its visual appeal, the interior has succumbed to entropy.

Rialto Cinema

This beautiful Art Deco cinema palace was constructed in 1930. Catch a movie and enjoy the architecture too.

Villa des Arts

This Art Deco exhibition center houses many lovely contemporary art pieces.



Events and Festivals

  • L'Boulevard Festival of Casablanca - This festival takes part every year in June. It is a urban-music festival which lasts for three days. You can see bands and musicians from Morocco, France and the USA. The music is mainly hip-hip, electro, rock, metal and fusion music.




Casablanca has a typical mediterranean climate, with warm dry summers and mild but wetter winters. Temperatures average between 24 °C and 28 °C between May and September and 17 °C to 20 °C during the other months. Nights are around 20 °C in summer, dropping to 8 °C in January. June to September is almost completely dry, while December is the wettest month with around 75 mm of rain.



Getting There

By Plane

Mohammed V International Airport (IATA: CMN, ICAO: GMMN), located 30 kilometres southeast of Casablanca, is the busiest airport in Morocco. Royal Air Maroc, the flag carrier, is based at this airport and has destinations in major cities of Africa, Europe, Asia and North America. Main cities served are Paris, Algiers, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Cairo, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid, Brussels, Marseille, Frankfurt, Doha, Jeddah, Riyadh, Lisbon, Tunis and Istanbul. Domestic destinations include Al Hoceima, Errachidia, Essaouira, Marrakech, Nador, Oujda, Tangier, Tan Tan, Fez and Ouarzazate.

To/from the airport

  • Car: Mohammed V airport can be reached via the A7 Casa-Berchid motorway via Bouskoura. From Rabat you can use the A3 and then the A5. Rental cars and taxis are both widely available at the airport.
  • Rail: The train station is situated at level -1 in the arrivals area of Terminal 1. Trains depart from the airport to Casablanca every hour.
  • Bus: CTM buses operate services to Casablanca Mohammed V airport from the city centre.

By Train

Casablanca is served by two rail stations run by the national rail service, the ONCF. The main long haul station is Casa-Voyageurs, from which trains run south to Marrakech or El Jadida and north to Rabat, with onward transport to Tangier or Meknes, Fes, Taza and Oujda. An airport shuttle serves Mohammed V International Airport.

The second station, Casa-Port, serves primarily commuter trains running the Casablanca - Kenitra corridor, with connections to the other station, Voyageurs.

By Car

There is a well maintained toll that runs from Tangier to El Jadida, passing through Casablanca and Rabat.

By Bus

CTM coaches (intercity buses) and various private lines run services to main cities and towns within the country as well as several cities in the south and west of Europe.



Getting Around

By Car

Casablanca is home to many car-rental agencies, many with offices around the Ave des FAR, the airport and the Blvd Mohammed V.

  • Avis - Ave des FAR - 022 12424, Mohammed V International Airport - 022 539072
  • Budget - Mohammed V International Airport - 022 339157
  • Hertz - Rue el-Oraibi - 022 484710, Mohammed V International airport - 022 277141

By Public Transport

Casablanca is one of the two Moroccan cities with a tram. The first line opened in late 2012. Service runs from 5:30 through 22:30 with frequent trains (during the day, the interval seems to be shorter than 10 minutes). Beware that most vending machines only take coins. One journey is MAD 6 with a rechargeable card, MAD 7 otherwise. Please note that a fee of MAD 1 will be added for the card when you buy a ticket. Tram stops are announced in Arabic and French. Further information including the network ("réseau") and schedule ("horaires") is available in French and Arabic on the Casa Tramway website.

Many bus companies run through the city, the bus routes are the same for a given number, although the route remains completely unclear (Google maps has some bus stops for Casa though). Going by bus is the cheapest way to get around (4 Dh) but some companies such as Hana Bus have vehicles in a disastrous state. It could be worth taking the chance given the cost-saving and experience of what many locals experience, but watch out for pickpockets.

All taxis red in color, drivers know how to get to every single place in every single guide book, even if you tell them just "the restaurant on Blvd. Hassan II." Be sure to check the meter is running to avoid being overcharged at the end of the trip. Don't be surprised if the taxi stops to pick someone else up. The minimum fare is 7 MAD. White "grand taxi" are another local alternative. They have a defined itinerary so you should know in which station you should take it depending on your destination (ask locals, they will inform you easily). It only leaves when it is full, which means two people on the passenger seat and four people in the back, so expect to be packed likes sardines. However, it is cheaper than the red taxi, especially for longer distances.




  • Rik's cafe - Expensive but worth the experience if you are a fan of Casablanca (the movie that is).
  • Scala - If you're looking for the ultimate Moroccan food experience this place is great for brunch. You can have Moroccan "mezze"-different small dishes and traditional Moroccan sweets. They don't serve alcohol but it is recommended to try the fresh juices (ambassador is one of the favourites). Great outdoor space, the setting is gorgeous, prices reasonable and the service excellent.
  • For good seafood at a reasonable price you can try the fish restaurant inside the port of Casablanca. The decor is a bit outdated but it's definitely a must-try.
  • If you are a fan of ice cream you have to try the best italian ice cream ever at Oliveri.




Nightlife in Casablanca has mixed reviews. Women might feel a bit uncomfortable with the mostly male crowds in many bars and nightclubs. But if you dig a bit, you'll find some excellent spots to drink, dance and people watch. Certain clubs are flooded with prostitutes at night. It is not advised to bring a girl back to a hotel.

If you want a drink in your hotel room, supermarkets like Acima and Marjane carry a wide variety of liquor and wine, though the beer selection is fairly stunted. The best places to drink are either European-style restaurants, which usually have a decent selection, or hotel bars, which are inevitably safer and more relaxed. Many western-style nightclubs exist in the Maarif and Gironde neighbourhoods.





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Keep Connected


There are plenty of Cybercafes in cities and small towns and accessing the Internet won't be a problem. The price is around 4 to 10DH/ hour. If you have a laptop while traveling then you can buy a USB key for wireless connection from one of the 3 main telecommunication companies (Maroc Telecom, Meditel, and Inwi). Credits are available starting from 10DH/24 hours (starting from the time you use it, if you start at 2:00am then next day at 2:00am you will have to recharge it again). Wifi is getting more and more common in places like hotels, shopping malls and in restaurants and coffee places in larger cities. The wireless connection in some areas might be slow, that depends on the signal as not the whole of Morocco has 3G coverage.


See also: International Telephone Calls

Morocco's country code is +212, International Call Prefix is 00. The telephone numbering scheme is changed starting March 2009. All fixed telephone numbers have a 5 inserted after the 0, and all mobile telephone numbers have a 6 inserted after the 0. All numbers are now ten-digit long, counting the initial 0. Useful numbers are Police: 19; Fire Service: 15; Highway Emergency Service: 177; Information: 160.

Public telephones can be found in city centres, but private telephone offices (also known as teleboutiques or telekiosques) are also commonly used.
The GSM mobile telephone network in Morocco can be accessed via one of two major operators: Meditel or Maroc Telecom. Prepaid cards are available. It is very easy and cheap to buy a local GSM prepaid card in one of the numberous phone shops showing a Maroc Telecom sign.


Post Maroc is the national postal service of Morocco and has details on their website (French) regarding the sending of letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically and internationally. The postal service in Morocco is very efficient and the post offices are generally open Monday through Friday, from 8:30am to 12 noon and 2:30pm to 6:30pm. On Saturdays it is open from 8:30am to 2:00pm. Some might keep longer hours though, especially in larger tourist cities and central areas. You can post your mail at one of the post offices or otherwise in the yellow post boxes you'll find throughout the country. For packages, you can also use international courier companies like TNT, DHL or UPS. They offer quick, reliable services and competitive rates.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 33.5889
  • Longitude: -7.6089

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