Casablanca’s top things to do
Casablanca may not be Morocco’s capital, but it is its most populous and economically dynamic city. It’s a must-see destination if you’re on vacation or road Morocco Tours. Both modern and traditional, this large city on the Atlantic coast is a tourist destination that leaves no traveler indifferent. Whether in the modern city or in its medinas, your stay in Casablanca is bound to be rich in discoveries. And if you’d like a sneak preview, you’ve come to the right place! Let’s take a look at the best things to do in Casablanca…
Hassan II Mosque
This mosque, located right on the waterfront, is one of the largest in the world. Just behind the Mecca Mosque, the Hassan II Mosque is the world’s tallest religious building, with its minaret rising 210 meters above sea level.
Built two-thirds above the water between 1986 and 1993, the mosque is today the true symbol of Casablanca. It covers an area of over 9 hectares and can accommodate over 100,000 worshippers. It is so imposing that it can be seen from a distance of 50 km. It took 6 years to build, using uniquely Moroccan materials, including 250,000 m² of granite marble.
A true architectural masterpiece, this mosque is as beautiful on the outside as it is on the inside. The prayer hall alone extends over 2 hectares and 2 levels, and features an incredible opening roof weighing over 1,000 tons. The ceiling is covered with carved cedar, and on either side of the nave are granite columns covered with inscriptions in gold lettering.
The mosque site also houses a superb hammam, as well as a medersa (a Koranic school), a library and a museum.
The Hassan II Mosque is one of the few religious monuments open to all, even non-Muslims. If you’d like to find out all about it, you can join an expert on a guided tour.
La Corniche is the name of a very upmarket district on the seafront, also known as Aïn Diab. This charming district, bordered on one side by the ocean and on the other by restaurants, cafés, shopping centers and luxury hotels, is undoubtedly one of the most pleasant in Casablanca.
This large, landscaped jetty begins in the city center and continues all the way to Aïn Diab beach. It’s the ideal place to relax, take a stroll and enjoy the sea air. Away from the center, you’ll find private clubs with deckchairs and beautiful seawater pools, so you can enjoy a little sun and ocean without breaking the bank.
The Corniche is also the perfect place to discover Casablanca’s nightlife, with its high concentration of trendy clubs and nightclubs.
Most guided tours of the city include a stop here. This is particularly the case if you opt for a half-day private tour of Casablanca. You’ll start by discovering the medina and its emblematic sites (such as the Hassan II mosque). The tour ends on the magnificent Corniche promenade. To find out more about the guided tour, follow this link.
The Habous district
One of Casablanca’s special features is that it has two medinas. The Habous district is the new medina, built from 1918 onwards to accommodate people moving to Casablanca from all over Morocco. French architects designed the district, using modern urban planning techniques while trying to respect Moroccan traditions as much as possible.
Today, the Habous district is a large bazaar and one of Casablanca’s most popular tourist attractions. Here, you’ll find many small artisan stalls selling leather goods, carpets, jewelry and traditional clothing. You can discover the Habous district on a 4-hour guided tour of Casablanca with a local guide, so you’ll know all about its most important sites.
It’s also in this district that you can discover the former Royal Palace of Casablanca. This grand Arab-Muslim edifice, built in the 1920s, is an absolute must-see, and boasts superb gardens.
Right next door is the former Mahkama of the Pasha, also known as the “Palais du Méchouar”, an administrative building also well worth a visit. A few steps away is the Parc Isesco (or Parc Murdokh), one of Casablanca’s most beautiful parks.
The old medina
Casablanca’s old medina is one of the city’s historic districts, although it is in fact less old than those of other imperial cities, having been completely rebuilt after its destruction in an earthquake in 1755. As a result, its buildings and monuments are a blend of Arab-Muslim and colonial styles.
Some of Casablanca’s most beautiful historical monuments can be found here. These include the Sacré-Coeur Church and the Ould el-Hamra Mosque.
The old medina is now one of Casablanca’s busiest shopping areas. In particular, you’ll find many stalls selling leather goods and clothing. The old medina is also home to Little Dakar, a market selling typical products from sub-Saharan Africa.
Sacred Heart Church, Casablanca
This imposing white church, built in 1930, immediately stands out for its unique style, a blend of Gothic and Art Deco influences. It was designed by architect Paul Tournon during the French protectorate.
After Moroccan independence in 1956, the Church of the Sacred Heart of Casablanca served first as a school, then as a cultural center and museum. Today, although the church has not been well maintained, it is still one of the monuments to be discovered during a stay in Casablanca. It can be visited, and from its towers you can enjoy beautiful views over the city and the ocean.
The Villa des Arts in Casablanca
This large Art Deco villa is Casablanca’s most important cultural center. It’s a must-see for all art lovers. Built in 1934, the Villa des Arts de Casablanca is today the city’s first private museum. It is dedicated to promoting Moroccan artists, through exhibitions, shows and conferences.
Place Mohamed V
This square in the heart of Casablanca is a good example of the modern side of Casablanca. Here, you’ll find all the Western influence brought by the French protectorate in the 1920s.
Place Mohamed V is the main square and one of the liveliest spots in the White City. Around it, you’ll find many large administrative buildings in Art Deco architectural style or with Arab-Andalusian influences, such as the Maréchal Lyautey buildings, which house the French Consulate, the Palais de Justice and the Prefecture.
Nearby is the Arab League Park, Casablanca’s largest green space.
Arab League Park
The Parc de la Ligue arabe is a large 30-hectare park, which was created in 1916 under the French protectorate had been left a little abandoned, but it was completely renovated in 2018. This true haven of peace is located in the Sidi Belyout district, right in the heart of the metropolis, close to Place Mohamed V and the Sacré-Coeur de Casablanca church.
This landscaped park is the ideal place to take a pleasant break while exploring downtown Casablanca on foot, and enjoy a little coolness in the shade of the trees. You can rent a bike, rollerblades or scooter for a stroll along the park’s paths. There are also several areas with games for children, merry-go-rounds, a fitness trail and cafés.
Morocco Mall is the largest shopping mall in the Maghreb, and the second largest in Africa. Opened in 2011, it is the pride of Moroccans and a major contributor to Casablanca’s economic dynamism.
If you feel like doing a bit of shopping during your stay in Casablanca, you can of course go to the medinas or the central market to find authentic products. But if you want to find the stores of all the big international names, Morocco Mall is the place to go. In addition to all these modern brands, a whole section of this shopping center is also home to souks. A guided tour of Casablanca can take you to Morocco Mall!
Morocco Mall is also a major entertainment hub, home to many restaurants of all kinds, as well as several cinemas. It’s a must for any family trip to Casablanca, with attractions including :
Adventureland, an amusement park featuring state-of-the-art attractions and simulations
Aquadream, a cylindrical aquarium with a capacity of one million liters of water, offering a 360-degree view.
A 1,100 m² ice rink, open all year round
Universe 6D, for a unique interactive 3D cinema experience, where water, wind, mist and scents enhance immersion.
Don’t forget that Casablanca is only 1 hour 10 minutes’ drive from Rabat, a city that’s also well worth a visit! Why not find out what to do in Rabat and where to stay? You’ll find the answers to these questions in our pinned articles