Casablanca is Morocco’s biggest city and is located on the Atlantic coast, not far from the capital city, Rabat. It has a very different feel to Rabat, it is lots bigger and busier (although we didn’t find it overly hectic at all). We felt that this big, major Moroccan city was definitely worth a visit to see the main sights.
We decided to use Rabat as a base and visited Casablanca as a day trip from there, mainly due to the high cost of accommodation in Casablanca, plus it is only 1 hour away on the train. It is definitely easy and cheap to do as a day trip, plus if you get up early enough it is possible to see all the main attractions in 1 day.
At the time of writing, 10 Moroccan Dirhams (Dh) is equal to approx $1/ £0.80
How to get to and from Casablanca
Our plan of visiting Casablanca as a day trip from Rabat worked very well. Trains run regularly all day from Rabat-Ville train station to either of Casablanca’s train stations, until about 10PM at night.
Top Tip: Get up early and stop off for a coffee and croissant for breakfast at Patissere Majestic on your way to Rabat- Ville train station. You won’t regret it!
Casablanca has 2 train stations and we went to the one called ‘Casa Port’, the journey takes 1 hour and cost us 35 Dh per person. Accommodation in Casablanca seemed so expensive from our research, so even with this train cost we decided a day trip was still the most cost- effective way, and it was then only an hour to get back to our nice hotel, Hotel Lutuce in Rabat afterwards.
Once in Casablanca, the efficient tram system will transport you around the city for just 8 Dh per journey, but most of the main attractions were in walking distance from Casa Port train station anyway.
Things to do in Casablanca
Visit the Hassan II Mosque
This massive mosque is probably the main thing to come to Casablanca to see, it is huge and certainly impressive and sits dramatically on the edge of the sea. Non- Muslims need to pay for one of the organised tours to visit the mosque, this costs 120 Dh per person. Expensive, but worth it.
The tours of the mosque are only certain times of each day depending on prayer times, so check this in advance!
Walk around the small Medina
Casablanca’s medina was tiny in comparison to the one of Marrakech and Rabat but still nice to have a walk through. We arrived just as the Friday lunch time call to prayer was sounding and the entrance to the medina was packed full of people spilling outside of the mosque. Once the prayers were finished, we were able to enter the medina and go for a wander through. There is a small selection of stalls selling all the usual items from trainers to tourist souvenirs. I much preferred the Medina in Rabat, but it was still worth a visit.
Visit the Central Market
We always love visiting local markets when we travel so we couldn’t miss a stop in Casablanca’s central market. Unfortunately we didn’t time it right and a lot of the stalls were closed, I think we arrived too late! It was still a cool place to see though.
Go for a stroll along Plage Ain Diab
Take the tram all the way to the end of the tram line to the affluent area of Ain Diab, there is a promenade along the beach which is nice for a stroll along (Unfortunately it wasn’t warm enough for a sunbathe or swim in March!). I can imagine this area gets a lot busier with a lot more happening in the summer months, as we noticed lots of closed beach clubs as we walked by.
Visit Africa’s largest shopping mall, Morocco Mall
At the end of the beach promenade of Aib Diab, we came across Morocco Mall, the largest shopping mall in Africa, complete with an aquarium! If shopping is your thing, this mall is okay to spend a few hours, with a big food court and a range of shops from H&M to Prada. Although for us it didn’t quite live up to the mega malls of Asia, it was definitely interesting to visit the biggest mall in Africa!
After this, just walk back along the promenade and get the tram back to central Casablanca before getting the train back to Rabat. Just make sure you leave enough time to get the last train back, which is about 10pm.
And that is how you can easily visit Casablanca as a day trip from Rabat! We were definitely glad we went and although I’m sure there is enough to see and do there to stay entertained for a few days, I think it’s a really good and cost effective decision to visit as a day trip from the smaller, more relaxing city of Rabat.