Casablanca Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Casablanca

Planning a short break to Casablanca? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Casablanca. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Casablanca. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

Mosque of Hassan 11

The second largest holy building in the world - after the mosque in Mecca. Built by 35 000 craftsmen and decorated with intricate zellij tilework, marble arches and cedarwood panels this is a magnificent monument to Islam.

The minaret is exceptional as it towers at 200m high and has a laser beam that can be seen from 20 miles away. The prayer hall is enormous, designed to hold 25 000 worshipers and has a roof that opens up to the sky. The whole complex stretches out on pillar support into the sea and makes for a stunning walk at the waterfront.

The mosque can only be reached by car or bus trip via the port, which is in the southern part of Casablanca. Buses can be caught at the bus station situated at Place Zellaga.

Old Medina

This is the old part of Casablanca, originally surrounded by stone walls with four gates, of which one is still there today. A lively market exists along the wall boundary and this is where the colourful spice and food stalls can be seen. Practise your bartering skills at one of the stalls and don't be put off by the tactics of the sellers- this is all part of the fun and they would feel cheated if you didn't haggle over the prices. Visit the fishing harbour and the nearby shrine of Casablanca's patron saint, Sidi Allal el- Kairouani. When wandering through the narrow alleyways here it is easy to imagine yourself transported back hundreds of years in time.

Old Medina is situated in the northern area, between Boulevard des Almohades and Place des Nations Unies and is best explored on foot.

Quartier Habous

The "new medina" , mostly built in the 1920's is situated southeast of the city centre and is an interesting place to wander through with its traditional Arabian style arcade streets, courtyards and marketplaces. Very picturesque and offering numerous wares such as carpets and copper or brass wares at the markets, curioshops and the best pastry shop in the country- Chez Bennis, for a lunch on the go.

The Royal Palace, built in 1920 and surrounded by gorgeous Mediterranean gardens can be seen between Boulevard Victor Hugo and Rue Ahmed el - Figuigui. Typical Arabian architecture is reflected in the nearby Mahakma du Pacha building with its carved stucco and tilework, wrought iron decorations and cedarwood panels. Take one of the many buses headed out to Victor Hugo Boulevard to explore this area.

Port of Casablanca

Head out for a lovely day in the sun while exploring the long piers and leisure facilities of this modern port. There are some really good seafood restaurants on the seafront perfect for a leisurly lunch. The nearby Casa Port railway station forms part of this area, as does the Centre 2000, which offers luxury shopping and good restaurants as well.

The port can be accessed via the fishing harbour which is situated east of the old medina.

Parc de la Lique Arabe

This is a beautifully laid out garden designed by A Laprade in 1919 and is south of Place Mohammed V. Take time out with a stroll down tree lined avenues amongst the fomal flowerbeds. The roads fringing the park have houses built in the Art Deco and Art Nouveau styles. The white concreted Art Deco Eglise du Sacre- Coeur, built in 1930, can be seen in northwest of the park and in the southeast is the Eglise Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes with its especially fine stained glass windows.

Corniche d'Ain Diab

This upmarket district just outside of the city stretches along the coast from the west of Mosque of Hassan 11. Start out in the east with a visit to the El-Hank Lighthouse that was built in 1916. The area is a hive of activity and has numerous hotels, swimming pools and other tourist establishments aimed at wealthy tourist clientele. There are many restaurants, some dating back to the 1930's. One of these is the well known La Reserve built on pillars in the sand and offering picture perfect views over the sea. Further on to the west you will find the Palais Ibn Seoud that houses one of the finest libraries in Africa. At the furthest end is the Marabout (which means "religious tomb" or "religious brotherhood") of Sidi Abderrahman. Muslim pilgrims gather here as it is believed to be a place of healing.

Kasbah Boulaouane

Take a drive to see the ruins of this kasbah (Moroccon equivalent of a castle) situated in a bend of the Wadi Oum er- Rbia river. Built in 1710 by Moulay Ismail in an attempt to provide peace and stability to the area, the fortress houses the sultans palace in the central courtyard which is decorated with mosaic tiles. A good view of the area is to be had from the ten metre high tower within the fortress. A local saint, Sidi Mancar is also entombed here.

The kasbah is located south of Casablanca and can be reached by road P7 via Settat and then turning off onto the S105.

Azemmour

This is an ancient town located on the coast south of Casablanca used to be a trading partner with Malaga, Spain and fell under the control of Portugal in 1513 for a short while. There are still many reminders of the Portuguese influence such as the embroidery and architecture. A picturesque town, especially in the early morning light when the ochre walls and white houses reflected in the river, the buildings brightened by bougainvillea and areas dotted with olive and pomegranate trees. Get a good view of the Portugese fort from the Sidi Boubeker lighthouse or visit the Haouzia beach that streches for 15km from the river estuary.

Take a drive south down the coastal S130 road to Azemmour.

Le Port de Peche

A truly super restaurant situated right in the port next to the customs house. No better place to eat seafood than right at the source, supplying the right vibe for a really good seafood meal which you are always sure to get here. Guaranteed to be a real treat and always busy, it is advisable to reserve in advance as this is a very popular place to eat. Luckily they are well priced so the meal will not break the bank.

Le Royal Mansour Meridien

Book in for a night to remember at Casablancas most exclusive hotel. Surround yourself with magnificent Moorish architecture and luxurious decor in this oasis of calm in the busy city centre.

Sumptious meals and extra special pampering in an elegant setting in keeping with the romance of a city that featured in the Humphrey Bogary and Ingrid Bergman classic film Casablanca.

Bring a heavily padded wallet though because this is certainly going to cost you plenty. But it might be worth living off bread and water for a few years if you can build up some unforgettable memories!

The hotel is situated at 27 Avenue des F.A.R

website at www.lemeridien-casablanca.com

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