Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, is an important place for both the country and Africa due to its location being on the western side of the continent. Casablanca’s history dates back to the 7th century BC when the city was used as a port for the Phoenicians and later followed by Romans. However, much of the influence you see today is a mix of Portuguese, Spanish and French.
Now, Casablanca has become a tourist destination for everyone throughout the world who have put Morocco on their list of countries to visit. Known for its eclectic mix of architecture, rich culture, and restaurants that will make your mouth-water, Casablanca is full of gems that are a must-see—here are our top five we know you’ll love:
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First on our list is Ain Diab, where the 1958 world championships were held for Formula One. But its racing circuit is not the only feature this area has to offer. Due to its Oceanside location, you can spend the day here hanging out on the beach or eating at an excellent restaurant such as Basmane, or at Le Pilotis (a Tahiti Beach Club).
If you’re one to enjoy dancing or just a night out by the water, Ain Diab offers a ton of bars and clubs that will keep you entertained. Plus, you can find many cart merchants here selling food and random items to take home as souvenirs.
Phare d’el Hank
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To get the best view, head over to Phare d’el Hank, a lighthouse that’s over 100 years old (built in 1914). Make sure you have the strength to climb 256 steps and are ok with a small, spiral staircase. And although your legs may shake once you get to the top, the view is breathtaking and worthwhile. Make sure to bring your best camera!
Hassan II Mosque
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It’s hard to miss out on Hassan II Mosque, one of the world’s largest mosques, which took seven years to build by 35,000 workers and 10,000 designers. Completed in 1993, the mosque was constructed partly on land and partly on the water—a request made by the late King Hassan II. The exterior is beautifully designed with tiles the colors of the sea, while the interior is intricately constructed with scripts from the Quran and Islamic decor and only accessible via a private tour.
If you do decide to go on a tour of the inside, make sure to check out the retractable roof where you can get a glimpse of the gorgeous sky, and if you keep on walking, you will notice the mosque is high-tech, featuring electric doors and a heated floor.
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Another gem in Casablanca is Old Medina, the city’s older area featuring European architecture from the early 1900s when it was occupied by the French for several decades. You’ll notice that some of the exteriors are chipping away with age, adding on to the Old Medina’s unique charm.
For the most part, Old Medina is a large marketplace where you can haggle vendors selling eclectic items such as oils, leather goods, spices, materials and more. There are also a ton of small cafes and eateries that offer some of the best homemade Moroccan dishes in the city.
(Image source: Made in Casablanca)
Once you’re ready to wind down, make your way to Riad 21, a Moroccan restaurant inside a home. The interior showcases a beautiful ambiance for anyone who steps inside, and is a comfortable place serving exquisite, traditional meals, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner. From B’ssara and couscous to makouda and zaalouk, this restaurant is a diamond in the rough. Plus, you can enjoy Arab music while dining—a true Moroccan experience.
Casablanca is a destination that can’t be avoided when visiting Morocco. Its deep history and a mix of age-old cultures make it a real gem for culture lovers.
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