Ain Diab & Anfa
These affluent suburbs on the Atlantic beachfront are lined with beach clubs, upmarket hotels, restaurants, bars and clubs. Long the city's entertainment hub, the area is now equally popular for its shopping, courtesy of the Morocco Mall and Anfa Place.
The sandy beach at Ain Diab is popular with young locals but isn't clean, so those who can afford to do so tend to pay for day entry to one of the beach clubs. Two of the better ones, Miami Fitness Club & Spa and Tahiti Beach Club, offer swimming pools, chaises, umbrellas and other facilities.
The Casablanca tramway goes to Ain Diab, where it terminates. The ride from Place Mohammed V takes approximately 35 minutes. A taxi from the centre should cost around Dh35 (Dh70 at night).
It is often said that Casablanca has no sights apart from the Hassan II Mosque, but the French-built city centre is packed with grand colonial-era buildings, some of which are being restored. The best way to take it all in is by strolling through the area around the Marché Central.
Quartier Habous (Nouvelle Medina)
The Quartier Habous, or Nouvelle (New) Medina, is Morocco lite – an idealised version of a traditional medina with clean streets, attractive Moorish buildings and arcades, neat rows of shop stalls and even a small park. Built by the French in the 1930s, it was a unique experiment: a medina built to Western standards to accommodate the first rural exodus in the 1920s. Though undeniably ersatz, it blends Moroccan architecture with French ideals very successfully, and its souq offers excellent opportunities to source souvenirs.
The Royal Palace (closed to the public) is to the north of the district, while to the south is the old Mahakma du Pasha, which has more than 60 rooms decorated with sculpted wooden ceilings, stuccowork, wrought-iron railings and earthenware floors. This is not always open to visitors.
The Quartier is located about 2.5km southeast of Place Mohammed V.
Practical Tip: Street Names
Casablanca’s French street names are slowly being replaced with Moroccan names. Our maps and directions use the names that were on street signs at the time of research, but these may change. It is also worth noting that many locals, including taxi drivers, have yet to make the transition.