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Stuart Messham
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It may not have the tourist appeal of Marrakech or Fes, but there’s plenty of star quality in Casablanca…
Hassan II Mosque: an unforgettable architectural masterpiece, open to all

There's a gorgeous white swathe of incredible buildings to admire in Casablanca, but none are quite as spectacular as the Hassan II Mosque (left) built on a promontory overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s the second largest functioning mosque in Africa – and the 7th largest in the world – accommodating 105,000 worshippers in total: 25,000 inside and a further 80,000 in the courtyard. Those who want to pray can do so on its pristine glass floors and the 60-storey-high minaret has a laser at the top which points directly to Mecca itself.

Should you neither be a Muslim nor religious, it’s also fine to drop in: you can do so via selected guided tours that last around an hour and really are worth the effort.

Once you're done ogling the splendid religious structures and art deco buildings of the city, you'll certainly build an appetite and should make a reservation at Rick's Cafe, which opened in 2004 and is based on the fictional location from the film.

There’s a baby grand piano, ostentatious chandeliers, palm trees and well-dressed guests drinking and schmoozing their way back to 1942: it's not so much a café as a time machine and long, slow lunches really are the order of the day.

If you want to admire the elegant African flora or visit the stunning Cathédrale de Sacré Coeur make sure you also visit the Parc de la Ligue Arabe. It's Casablanca's biggest open space, lined with palm trees and is a wonderful place for a romantic stroll and daydreaming the afternoon away.


You can experience the transportive wonders of Casablanca via Heathrow by booking with Royal Air Maroc or British Airways.