Like most, when I think of Casablanca I think of the 1942 American fictional film that was made inside a Hollywood studio. Unfortunately, the actual city of Casablanca, Morocco is far from being like the film. Casablanca is very unsafe at night, and the beaches are hardly post-worthy.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t visit Casablanca, if you have the opportunity to visit then take advantage of it. I wouldn’t recommend spending more than a day there, though.
Where to stay:
My three friends and I stayed at the Best Western Hotel Toubkal. We stayed two nights and paid a total of 120 euros for one room. We sneaked in and out of the hotel to avoid paying fees for extra patrons since we were technically only allowed two guests. This hotel was pretty standard, nothing really stuck out. It was clean and nice, nothing really to review. If you’ve stayed at a Best Western before then you know how this hotel was.
What to do:
- Hassan II Mosque
- Old Medina of Casablanca
- Royal Palace of Casablanca
- Musee Abderrahman Slaoui
Where to eat:
- Sqala Café Maure
- Casa Jose
- Rick’s Café (Overrated, see below)
I would highly advise against walking around at night. My friends and I were walking in the middle of a busy street during the middle of the day and two teenagers tried to snatch my friend’s purse, luckily she had one that strapped around her neck and shoulders and nothing was stolen. They ran away pretty quickly once they knew they had failed. Looking through other reviews while I was there, many people had similar incidents….Casablanca is very poor and theft is just an easier way for these people to survive. It is easier to get around if you know French or Moroccan-Arabic, English is not very common here.
Rick’s Café is overrated and ridiculous. The owner has an ‘about us’ page on the restaurants website which makes her sound anti-American and to a point bashes the American people. The staff also has a strict dress-code and has been known to kick people out of the restaurant with bodyguards and all. The prices are also overpriced when compared to restaurants of the same quality in the area. Also, be aware that the Rick’s cafe in the film is fictional and was made in a Hollywood studio, this café is just a replica whose name confuses people into thinking it’s the same one from the movie. My friends and I didn’t even bother trying this place out due to the price, dress code and the American sentiment the owner gave off.
Across the street from ‘Avenue des FAR’ which is the main street when you exit the Best Western hotel and make a right, you will find a lot of restaurants. If you keep walking straight for a block or two and walk around that general area you will find many cheap restaurants. We personally ate at one which gave us water, kofta, salad, bread and fries for less than $5 USD.
To reach the airport you can either take the train or a taxi. When you consider the price of a taxi from your hotel to the train station and then the train fare, it is better to just pay a taxi to take you to the airport. Otherwise you would only save 10 dirham. You should pay no more than 250 dirham for a taxi from city center to the airport. You will have to bargain with them to lower the price, they like to increase the fare by 30% if you’re a foreigner. Also, make sure the meter is running!