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The romance, the spices, the souks – a flight to Casablanca with Qatar Airways transports you to one of the most exotic locations on the planet. Immortalised in film and literature, this remarkable place has managed to retain its character, despite the thousands of tourists who flock to the city every year. Fly to Casablanca and discover its romance, exoticism and charm for yourself.
The commercial and economic heart of Morocco, a trip to Casablanca also reveals a city that juxtaposes the ancient and modern perfectly. One of the most popular places to experience the spirit of Casablanca is the Old Medina (Bab Marrakesh), a small, traditional walled town in the north of the city.
The Mahkama du Pacha is a Hispanic-Moorish building that houses more than 60 ornately decorated rooms that perfectly display the finest in Moorish artwork. Delicately carved wooden ceilings, stuccoes and intricate wrought-iron railings are complemented by dazzling tiled floors, making this an essential addition to any itinerary. The King Hassan II Mosque, while relatively recent, is nevertheless an imposing and impressive structure. It’s reported to be the third largest mosque in the world, and has the tallest minaret in the world too.
To see just how influential the French were in Casablanca, head to The Quartier Habous, also known as the nouvelle medina. Constructed in the 1930s to tackle a serious housing shortage, it combines two cultures in one: French and Moroccan. There is a reasonable selection of bazaars, bakeries, cafés and boutiques, and although it’s perhaps a more sanitised version of the real Casablanca, it’s still worth a visit.
A trip to Casablanca also uncovers a rich variety of early 20th Century architecture, primarily designed by Albert Laprade. He created the great central park in Casablanca, a tranquil open space that’s well worth a visit. One of his finest additions to the city is the Phare d'el Hank lighthouse. Views from the top of the tower are spectacular, and well worth the climb!
A trip to Casablanca doesn’t begin and end with the city – it is a perfect base from which to discover the attractions of North Morocco. Plenty of excursions to destinations such as Fez and the Atlas Mountains, or trips out to the desert give visitors a true sense of the scale of the country. If you prefer to stay in the city then a stroll around the souks and markets are a must.
During the winter the skiing in the mountains is particularly good. Check out details at La Fédération Royale Marocaine de Ski et Montagne, who have offices and information centres in the city. For a day at the beach, head to Aïn Diab Plage, which can be accessed via the Casa Tramway terminus.
The city is a cultural melting pot, so the cuisine has plenty of influences, from French and Spanish through to traditional Moroccan dishes. Head for the Medina to experience the best in Moroccan food, including fried eggplant and a variety of vegetable and meat dishes and soupe Marocaine.
On the Blvd. Des Almohades, you’ll find authentic Moroccan restaurants built within the remains of the old fortress, serving traditional Moroccan dishes fused with contemporary elements. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan dishes on offer, most of which are based around that Moroccan staple – cous cous. Also check out Tajine dishes (that can range from lamb and chicken to purely vegetarian options), Tanjia and Harira. You can even walk in the footsteps of Humphrey Bogart at a themed bar where they take the film theme so seriously that the pianist plays ‘As Time Goes By’ every night!
Travel to Casablanca and you need to make sure you pack your haggling tactics. For an authentic experience head to the souk at nouvelle medina (Quartier Habous), which has plenty of local crafts on offer. If you don’t fancy haggling at all then it would be better to stick to the more sedate surroundings of Morocco Mall next to the beach in the Ain Diab district, which is said to be the second largest shopping mall in Africa. For traditional Moroccan goods such as tagines and leather goods, head for the area surrounding the Old Medina. For high-end brands, the Maarif district houses shops containing western labels and luxury goods.
Flights to Casablanca arrive at Mohammed V International Airport.
Visa restrictions for entry into the country will depend on your country of origin, length of stay and whether your trip is for business or pleasure. So before you fly to Casablanca please check the visa and passport requirements.
Currency: Moroccan Dirham (MAD)
Voltage: 127 / 220 V 50 Hz
Plugs: Type C / E
Language: Arabic / Berber / French
International dialing code: +212