Casablanca, Morocco cruises

The mere mention of Casablanca can conjure the hazy romance of the movie, but there is much more to this bustling port. Get swept up in this vibrant and timeless city and discover its unique charm.

Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city and one of Africa’s top financial centres. Anfa Boulevard is a highlight – a history-rich street accepted widely as the centre of the ‘original’ Casablanca.

It is the contrast between new and old that makes Casablanca such a special place. For lovers of both ancient and modern architecture there is such an incredible array of colours and textures that somehow blend together. The old town is set within the city walls and is known as the ‘medina’.

Throughout Casablanca’s history the city has been ruled by a succession of different nations and cultures, giving rise to the diversity it exudes to this day. This makes it a destination for serious historians as well as lovers of nostalgia.

Located on the northwest shores, the port of Casablanca is a rapidly growing seaport and since 2004 has been the primary base of the Royal Moroccan Navy. The area has a strong fishing industry and the local waters have a rich supply of fish. Fishing excursions are available for any fishing enthusiasts visiting Casablanca.

When you cruise to Casablanca there is plenty to see and do around the port. A small, restored fortress named the Skala has been converted into a restaurant serving local cuisine in a unique setting. Next door you will find the oldest mosque in the medina. It may not be possible to enter the mosque without an official guide and it is expected that visitors will be fully dressed from head to toe out of respect to religious customs.

Enthusiastic shoppers will enjoy browsing the malls and markets. Like many North African destinations, Casablanca has a number of street markets or ‘souks’ to explore, offering an extensive range of locally-sourced goods. It is worth bearing in mind that the prices are anything but fixed, so be prepared to practice your skills of negotiation. They are a great place to pick up souvenirs and memories from your trip.

The medina is a thrilling place for shopping, browsing and people-watching. Enter the medina via the clock tower as this can act as a landmark if you become disorientated and lose your bearings. The medina is not huge and the clock tower is tall, so as long as you keep it in view it is unlikely that you will get lost.

Another sight that should undoubtedly be on everyone’s list of things to see in Casablanca is the Hassan II Mosque, located near the port. Its enormous size makes it the largest mosque in Morocco and one of the largest in the world.

After any sightseeing or shopping, the nearby beaches and seafront make for the perfect place to relax thanks to the warm temperatures, golden sand and the sea which is perfect for swimming and water sports.

North Africa is famous for its delicious tagine, a traditional aromatic dish which takes its name from the clay pot in which the deliciously slow-cooked mixture of meat, fruit and vegetables is served. Fragrant couscous is normally served as an accompaniment. The delicious sweet and savoury pastries and stuffed doughnuts are also well worth sampling.