Ah, Morocco – a beautiful country filled with incredible architecture, food, and adventures! Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city, is also home to the busiest airport in Morocco. If you’re like me and search for the cheapest flights possible, it is likely that you will land in Casablanca. The city tends to be more of a transit city, and I wouldn’t suggest spending more than a day in the city before jumping on a train to Marrakech or Tangier. It is definitely doable to explore the city highlights in a day, reaching the beautiful Hassan II Mosque on the water, visiting local markets, and trying out some local cuisine.
Here’s how I explored the city of Casablanca in actually less than 24 hours!
Hassan II Mosque
To start my day, I ate breakfast at the hotel and headed to the beautiful Hassan II Mosque. Luckily, my hotel was walking distance so I didn’t have to barter with taxi drivers right when I woke up! This mosque is situated right on the Atlantic Ocean, and is definitely my favourite mosque in Morocco.
Built in 1993, the mosque is the largest in Africa, and the third largest in the world. It is so beautifully designed, with blue tones and intrinsic designs all over the building. There are many picturesque spots near here – by the water and all through the grounds. I would spend quite some time breathing in the ocean air and admiring the beauty of the architecture.
If you’re interested, there are also tours that go through the mosque. This is one of the few mosques I encountered in Morocco that allowed tourists to go inside. Of course, be respectful and cover your shoulders and legs if you are going to enter the mosque.
Mohammed V Square
Next, hop in a taxi (be sure they use the meter!) and head to the beautiful Mohammed V Square – the municipal administrative centre. The many buildings in this area have elegant Hispanic-Muslin architecture, and are surrounded by tropical gardens.
This square is actually nicknamed Pidgeon Square by locals. Did you know the spelling “Pidgeon” is an archaic spelling of Pigeon? So yes, in fact, they nicknamed the square after how many pigeons are flying around there!
Place des Nations Unies
A quick walk from Mohammed V Square is a the Place des Nations Unies (United Nations Square) – a larger square surrounded by many shops and restaurants. Here, you can spend some time shopping, admiring the art pieces, and trying out local foods.
Cathédrale Sacré Coeur (Casablanca Cathedral)
Another short walk away, there is the Cathédrale Sacré Coeur. This Catholic cathedral is absolutely stunning with it’s neo-Gothic style architecture, and the perfect white exterior. It is also called the “Church of the Sacred Heart” in English, and was constructed in 1930.
When I was here, there was a lot of construction in this area so I was only able to see the top of the cathedral. But, it was still really stunning!
A few blocks away is an interesting local market to check out and grab some lunch. I’ve heard that the fish is good there, and you can buy it fresh from the restaurant and they will cook it for you. Check out the small shops and buy some items, as this will likely be the cheapest place you’ll visit in Morocco!
Royal Palace Area
Next, jump in a taxi and head to the Royal Palace. The Royal Palace is one of the four Royal Palaces in Morocco, and the King uses this palace when there is State business or ceremonies here. It is definitely beautiful to look at, but the inside is not open to the public. The walls boast intrinsic designs and the typical Moroccan architecture.
Nearby, there is Moulay Youssef Mosque and Muhammadi Mosque, another two beautiful mosques to stop by and admire. In between the mosques, there is the Bazar Riad Habous, which is quite an interesting market to walk through. It is truly a local market and is neat to walk through and experience local shops.
As you search for things to do in Casablanca, you will likely come up quite light, which is why I suggest only spending a day here before moving on to other cities. But, I definitely recommend stopping by at LEAST to see the stunning Hassan II Mosque!
Have you visited Casablanca? What was your top highlight? Let me know in the comments!