Morocco had topped my list of countries to visit ever since I had seen the Departures episode where they travel from Spain across the channel to Morocco. Our trip would be the opposite. From Morocco, crossing the channel to Spain.
Our plan was to hit five cities in Morocco in seven days. The first on that list was Casablanca, Morocco.
Before leaving for Casablanca, we were told not to spend too much time there. Mostly being told that it was known for the movie of the same name and that there was not a significant amount of things to occupy yourself with while here. However, with these low expectations, we were actually pleasantly surprised.
We did not plan our Casablanca itinerary, nor did we know what to do in Casablanca in one day prior to our arrival. However, with the help of our host, we were able to quickly plan our 24 hours in the city. This is what to see in Casablanca in one day.
24 Hours in Casablanca:
- Settled in to our Air BnB, met our host, and got a pastry.
- Took a street car to Mohammed V Square and Place des Nations-Unies.
- Walked through the Medina to La Sqala / Cafe Maure.
- Walked to Hassan II Mosque.
- Took a taxi to the port and past the Casablanca Cathedral and back home.
What to See in Casablanca in One Day
What We Did
Mohammed V Square and Place des Nations-Unies
Hassan II Mosque
- Casablanca Cathedral
These squares are lovely places where locals gather, shop, and eat. Though it was close to dinner time when we arrived off of the street car, there were still a lot of people enjoying the festivities that the squares have to offer. They are in a great location in the city center and close to the Medina.
When in any Moroccan city, you need to visit the Medina. These old quarters of the city show off the culture of everyday life among the locals. Small shops that sell food, drink, and everyday necessities are squeezed into tight quarters and zig-zagging streets. Though not the most overwhelming of Medinas that we visited while in Morocco (just wait until we post about Fez’s Medina) it definitely was a good place to get our feet wet.
A massive Mosque on the oceanfront, it is the largest in Africa and fifth largest in the world with its minaret being the tallest in the world. It would be a shame to come to Casablanca and miss walking the grounds of this place to marvel and the architecture. It is a wonderful place for a stroll, especially since it is situated right on the ocean.
The Casablanca Cathedral is a nice for a drive by or to walk to if you are in the area. Currently closed with no known open date, the cathedral is an interesting thing to see is an area and country dominated by mosques. Do not think that you missed out if you did not get a chance to see this place.
What We Missed
Plage Aïn Diab
Not exactly what we look for when visiting a new country, but this is within a short driving distance from the Hassan II Mosque. It is an amusement park and zoo, if this is what interests you and your family when traveling.
Always lovely to see the decorations and architecture of these Royal Palaces, this one would have been nice to see. Unfortunately, it never actually came up in conversation with our Air BnB host when discussing what we should do while in Casablanca so we opted out of it due to time constraints. Luckily, we got to see the Royal Palace during our visit to Fez.
Would it have been beach-going weather, and if we had the time to spend relaxing on a beach, we would have gone to this area of Casablanca to take in the beach, restaurants, and night-life.
What We Did
You can really find a pastry shop on any walk throughout the city. A great place to see what is available to local Moroccans. And going somewhere with a local is always the best thing to do. Our host took us to his favorite place and grabbed us his favorite pastry to try.
Recommended by our host, La Sqala / Cafe Maure was our first experience of Moroccan food which of course included tajine. Tajine is a mix of meat, vegetables, and spices, housed in a clay tower-like dish to cook. It is a delicious combination of food and spices that simmers together beautifully. It seems this was the great start to our cuisine tour of Morocco, and we missed out on mint tea while we were there!
Though a bit on the pricey side, the restaurant is situated right near the waterfront close to the Hassan II Mosque. It is what appears to be an old castle-like structure with canons out front pointed toward the ocean and gardens on the inside. This makes for a wonderful environment to enjoy your food in.
What We Missed
There are only so many restaurants you can visit when you only have 24 hours, and it seems we were recommended a good one by our host. The next one that we see interests us is the top reviewed restaurant for Moroccan food on Trip Advisor. This would have been the next one we visited if we were there for another day.
The Medina is always the place to go for some shopping as a local. And you always want to check out the places where the locals go. Casablanca’s Medina does not hold against the Medinas of other major cities like Fes and Rabat, but it was a great introduction to what to expect of our walk through them.
We visited the Tachfine Center on our way back to our Air BnB after our tour of the city. We came here to check out some shops, grab a small bite to eat, and get some snacks for our train rides. The center is nothing special and offers everything you would expect a shopping mall to, but it served its purpose to us.
Once you arrive in Morocco, you can get a free SIM card for your phone. There is a kiosk inside the airport after your get your luggage where they will ask for some of your information and in return you will receive a SIM card with some data that will last you a little while.
Renting a car is always our ideal choice when travelling. Being able to come and go as we please and to get anywhere and maximize our time is the most important thing to us.
However, some countries we try to avoid it. Morocco was one such country where we chose to not rent a car. And when we arrived to see the crowded and chaotic streets, we were pleased with this choice.
Some places just invoke a sense of anxiety when behind a wheel. Though Morocco is not the worst we have seen in our experiences travelling, it is far from the best when in bigger cities. To this degree, we would sway you to stay away from renting a car as a method of transportation. Especially since their trains and public transportation methods are inexpensive.
We used one taxi to get from Hassan II Mosque to a shopping mall near our Air BnB. The taxi was relatively inexpensive and the driver was open to negotiating the rate. Taxis are easy to come by in the city. Though they can be small and not the most comfortable drive, they are a reliable way to navigate the city.
We used trains to get from city to city, as well as one bus while in Morocco. The trains in Morocco are inexpensive and the conditions are good. There is a way to book your trains in advance online, but after a lot of tries to book our trains through this system with no success we went with booking our tickets upon arrival. Our only concern with this method is that trains would be booked up, but we had no problem with this.
The other method of transit we used while in Casablanca was a street car. Our host was kind enough to show us how to buy a pass at the stop and board the street car. This was extremely helpful, and for anyone trying to figure out the same it would be beneficial to have someone explain to you how to do this when you are there.
Our Air BnB host was a gentleman. It was a private room rental. He only spoke French and would type, very slowly, on his computer into Google translate to be able to let us know what we could do while in Casablanca. He told us he was from Quebec and lived in Morocco half the time.
He was kind enough to have picked us up at the train from the airport, take us to his house, and then buy us a pastry and take us to the nearest tram to take us to the Hassan II Mosque.
This is a great place to stay if you are looking for an inexpensive place to stay, are content with a private room, and want to be close to the train that arrives from the airport and the same train that will take you around the country.
24 Hours in Casablanca, Morocco
Our 24 hours in Casablanca, Morocco was pleasant, especially since we arrived not knowing what to do in a day. Though it was the most underwhelming of cities we visited in Morocco, we did not expect much from the city after talking to a few people who had been there, so unfortunately our expectations were low. With only one day in Casablanca, our expectations of what we were to get done were even lower. But after meeting a lovely host, having a delicious dinner, and seeing a few sites that the city had to offer, we were already in love with Morocco. We did not know how much better it would get. But 1 day in Casablanca was a great start.
According to what we found and what we feel we missed out on, these are the things to do in a day in Casablanca, Morocco. We would love to hear what you felt about this list and what you would add. Please leave a comment below!
We would love to hear about your experience while in Casablanca or to answer any questions you may have about your future trip. Leave a comment below!
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