One of the highlights of our cruise on board MSC’s Armonia was visiting the port of Casablanca, the largest city of Morocco.

This was my first every foray into Africa (my fifth continent!) and I couldn’t wait to explore.

One of the main attractions of the city is the imposing Hassan II Mosque, the biggest in the country, which sits right on a promontory overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
WHAT TO DO IN CASABLANCA, MOROCCO, HASSAN II MOSQUE
We decided to walk there from where our ship was docked rather than taking one of the many taxi drivers up on their persistent offers to drive us. It was about a 45 minute walk over flat ground and was pleasant in February, but I imagine in the summer months it would be a rather sweaty treck.

Hassan II Mosque has the world’s tallest minaret standing at 210 metres and can hold an impressive 105,000 people. The building is incredibly impressive and has intricate mosaic detail covering many of the doors, walls and other decorations on the exterior.
WHAT TO DO IN CASABLANCA, MOROCCO
When you arrive you descent down the stairs on the right hand side (it’s not signposted at all – we asked a guard) and purchase your tickets there. From there we ascended back to street level and entered the mosque, removing our shoes and placing them in the plastic bags we’d been provided with.

 The mosque’s interior is striking and beautiful and you can even have a little look down through the glass tiles in the floor to where the worshipers wash their feet in stunning fountains before going to pray.

After exploring Hassan II Mosque we knew we wanted to visit the Old Medina of the city. We had decided to walk but as MSC Cruises don’t provide a map of ports of call  (unlike every other cruise company I’ve sailed with…) we got ourselves quite lost and wandered down quite a few side streets before we eventually found the right way.

It’s within comfortable walking distance from where the ships dock however we’d come via the mosque and had no idea which way was the right way.

Wandering through the side streets gave us a wonderful glimpse into the lives of the people who call Casablanca home. We passed a school at lunchtime where the children were spilling out excitedly onto the pavements and heading off in search of lunch from some tiny nearby cafes and holes in the walls.

We also discovered some truly impressive street art while heading in what was inevitably the wrong direction. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Morocco before my visit but stunning, striking street art certainly wasn’t it.
WHAT TO DO IN CASABLANCA, MOROCCO

WHAT TO DO IN CASABLANCA, MOROCCO

Fellow passengers on board asked us that night if we had felt safe walking down side streets of the city and I have to say that I honestly did. I didn’t feel unsafe or threatened during my time in Morocco at all. Sure, the taxi drivers are incredibly persistent and a tad annoying but they were no worse than taxi drivers and street vendors I’ve experienced in other parts of the world. I was also dressed respectfully during my time in Morocco, a religious and conservative country.
WHAT TO WEAR IN MOROCCO

When we finally found ourselves in the Medina we found a labyrinthine maze of streets and arches and doorways all stuffed with the different wares people were attempting to sell. Sure there were a few places with tacky, touristy gear but on the whole Casablanca isn’t all that well visited by tourists, who instead prefer to visit Marrakech. By and large the products on sale at the Old Medina were aimed at local people and, to me, this is far more interesting.

I also adored the entrance-ways to the Old Medina, of which there are many. I particularly liked the one under this beautiful clock tower.

WHAT TO DO IN CASABLANCA, MOROCCO, OLD MEDINA

There is also a new Medina in the city that you may like to visit, as well as a modern shopping centre if that’s what you’re looking for. This is located a taxi ride away from where the ships dock.