The mystery, intrigue and romance of this city are so legendary they made a Hollywood blockbuster out of it...
Casablanca conjures up thoughts of the great film starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman and its famous “Play it again, Sam” reference, but this city has a long and exciting history dating back to the Berbers in the 7th century BC.
Flights to Casablanca take around three hours from the UK, landing at Mohammed V International Airport (CMN). Casablanca flights go direct from London and from a number of other European airports. Set 19 miles north-west of the city, the airport has trains, buses, taxis and hire cars all available for the journey into Casablanca.
The city has had a chequered history, having been under occupation at various times by the Romans, Phoenicians, Portuguese and the French. The old walled medina at the heart of the city contrasts with the more modern buildings that have sprung up along the shoreline. An unmistakeable sight against the skyline is the twin tower complex of two skyscrapers offering hotel accommodation, shopping centres and offices.
One building that must be visited is the Hassan II Mosque, built on the seafront and one of the largest mosques in the world. Although completed less than 20 years ago, the mosque is built according to well-established traditions and features incredible mosaic work, calligraphy and massive titanium doors. By contrast, the Sacré-Coeur Cathedral built by the Catholic French early in the 20th century fell into disuse after occupation and its neo-Gothic architecture plays host to exhibitions and fairs.
The Museum of Moroccan Judaism is worth a visit for its insights into the blending of Jewish and Moroccan culture in the period before the world wars and is one of only two museums of its kind in the Arab world.
Boulaouane Kasbah, just south of the city, is an 18th-century fortress that boasts a tower offering spectacular views across the surrounding countryside and is a cool haven away from the heat of the city.
Casablanca has limited flights from the UK with only Royal Air Maroc making the journey from London...
However, there are plenty of alternative, one-stop routes on offer, such as with British Airways or Iberia via Madrid from their London bases or with carriers including Air France via Paris from a range of UK airports including Birmingham, Manchester and Edinburgh.
You can also fly via Frankfurt with Lufthansa from several departure points in the UK and with TAP through Lisbon from London and Manchester. Connecting flights take around five hours-plus.
The ultra-modern Mohammed V Airport is located under a 30-minute drive from the centre of Casablanca...
Handling more than 7m passengers a year, Mohammed V is by far Morocco’s busiest airport. This up-to-date transport hub runs like clockwork, allowing easy passage in and out of the iconic North African city.
After your flight to Casablanca, you’ll find onward transport options in Terminal 2. Trains, taxis and hire cars are on hand to get you into Casablanca or beyond.
A reliable rail service operates regular services into the city centre and port of Casablanca. A one-way ticket will cost about 40 dirham (£2.80), and the journey takes about 45 minutes. From the main station in Casablanca you’ll find connections to destinations further afield in Morocco.
Taxis operate from the airport 24 hours a day. A typical fare into town will set you back around 200DH.
Hiring a car could be a great option, particularly if you want the freedom to fully explore Casablanca and this part of Morocco. You’ll find several car rental companies operating from the airport. You can pre-book a vehicle by using TravelSupermarket, then collect either at the airport or a convenient downtown location.
After any flight, most visitors are keen to get to their accommodation. Luckily, the city has plenty of places to stay...
If there’s one thing Casablanca isn’t short of, it’s hotels. You’ll find a massive selection in the mid-range to high luxury. Most hotels are reasonably inexpensive.
Accommodation is widespread, but the most popular hotels tend to huddle together. Several well-known chains can be found close to Place Mohammed V, near the city centre. Place Mohammed V was at the centre of the French project to regenerate the city between the wars and is the administrative centre of Casablanca. The French also built a new medina, known as the Quartier Habous, which is a blend of French and Moroccan styling and is a popular centre for tourists in search of craftwork from the region.
A healthy selection of resort hotels can be found near the sea, where the buildings take on a distinct French flair. French architecture is much in evidence in Casablanca along with some street names. The Boulevard de la Corniche is a promenade along the seafront dotted with leisure facilities, clubs, resorts, restaurants, hotels and plenty of cafe culture for those who prefer to watch the world pass by. The beaches provide golden sand and safe waters for swimming and snorkelling. This area is famous for its art deco architecture, which helps to give the city its cosmopolitan feel.
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