How to Spend 24 Hours in Casablanca
When I was planning my trip to Morocco, a number of different cities kept coming up as the top places to go: Marrakech, Fez, Essaouira, Chefchaouen, and even trips to the Sahara Desert.
But hardly anyone ever recommended visiting Casablanca. In fact, when I asked people who had traveled to Morocco, if they’d been to Casablanca and what to do there, I pretty much got the same responses: Don’t bother going.
But WHY? Why not go to Casablanca?
I heard from others that it was dirty, overpopulated, scary, run down, and that there wasn’t much to do.
Turns out I had already booked a flight from Casablanca to Lisbon, so I heard all of these things after it was confirmed that I would definitely be going there. I wasn’t getting out of it.
And I’m so glad it happened that way.
Because if I had listened to everyone I spoke to, I probably wouldn’t have gone. I’d have let the fears and nerves of the stories that other people told me get to my head.
But I actually loved Casablanca! Granted, I was only there for just under 24 hours. So did I really get to experience the city completely? Probably not.
But in my opinion, 24 hours is a perfect amount of time to see the notable things in Casablanca! And it was no less scary, dirty, or crowded than my own New York City.
With a quick turnaround time, here’s how we spent our short hours in Casablanca:
9:00am to roughly 1:00pm: Transportation
We were traveling from Marrakech and hopped on the public train to get there, which was a beautiful scenic trip through the country of Morocco. From goats and sheep in fields to orange-colored sand mountains, the train travel was comfortable and convenient.
Pro tip: The train stop for Casablanca is not actually “Casablanca” but Casa Voyagers. Make sure to pay attention to the stops when on board!
1:30pm: Check in to Hotel Sofitel Casablanca
Check in to Hotel Sofitel Casablanca Tour Blanche, a 5-star hotel in Morocco’s business capital with beautiful views of the city, mosques and the sea out yander.
The rooms are SPECTACULAR. Maybe it was the stark difference from the riad in Marrakech’s old medina, but Hotel Sofitel Casablanca blew us away. It was pure luxury, and reasonably affordable!
Get settled in, shower, maybe even have a glass of champagne. After four hours on a train, you need a minute to collect yourself.
But only a minute.
Curious what to pack for Casablanca? Check out my Morocco Packing Checklist.
3:00pm: Visit Hassan II Mosque
The Hassan II Mosque or Grande Mosquée Hassan II is the largest mosque in Morocco, and the second largest in Africa. It’s simply gorgeous, built partly on the sea and includes a prayer room, ablution room, baths, a Koranic school, a library and a museum.
It’s also one of the only mosques that non-Muslims can enter, so take advantage and go inside. The architecture, history and culture are worth exploring and appreciating.
It also photographs beautifully.
5:30pm: Cocktails at Rick’s Cafe
If you’ve seen the movie Casablanca (which hopefully you have prior to arriving), you’ll know all about Rick’s Cafe.
Although the spot in Casablanca is actually a replica from the movie, it’s still quite nostalgic. From the piano to the bar and the meticulous decoration, you’ll feel just like Ingrid Bergman in the 1940’s.
Grab a classy cocktail and relish in the cinematic ambiance.
6:30pm: Dinner at La Sqala Cafe Maure
Sit down to a traditional Moroccan dinner at La Sqala: Cafe Maure, a colorful restaurant located in a converted fort.
Enjoy delicious, authentic food from tajine entrees to sweet desserts (and plenty of vegetarian options) in a relaxed setting with fountains and beautiful tiled tables.
8:00pm: Scenic views at SKY28
End your night at this fancy lounge atop the Kenzi Tower Hotel, offering perfect views of Casablanca from above.
Grab a fresh Casablanca beer or a crafty cocktail, and cheers to your experiences in Morocco, then return to your hotel at your leisure.
Alternative Option: If you’re a New Yorker, or you’ve ever been to NYC, check out Brooklyn Bar Casablanca, a lively nightlife bar with street art and other Brooklyn-esque decor.
10:00am: Breakfast & Bid Adieu
Have a final meal in Casablanca at one of the city’s cool coffee shops, like the beachfront Boca Chica (don’t skip out on the smoothies!) or Cafe Bianca, the tea room that serves exceptional brunch and gourmet coffee.
Sofitel Casablanca also provides a fabulous buffet breakfast if you prefer to dine at the hotel, or if you’re on a tight schedule and need time to get to the airport.
Now tell me, would you consider visiting Casablanca?