Africa,  Cruises

Best of Casablanca & Rabat in One Day: From Cruise Port

Are you stopping in Casablanca on your Mediterranean cruise and wondering what to do in one day in Casablanca? Then you are in the right spot.

My husband and I just returned from our cruise stop in Casablanca. From all the ports of call, this was by far the hardest to plan. Morocco is a bit of a mess (especially on the streets), so we did not feel comfortable exploring by ourselves.

We decided to visit Casablanca and Rabat since Marrakech is too far away. It was a busy day, but we saw a lot and we loved it!

To make the planning a bit easier for you, I will share all of my experience and insider tips on how to spend a day in Morocco from the Casablanca cruise port.

Let’s get to it.

stunning mosque from the inside in casablanca with amazing wood carvings

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One Day in Casablanca – at a Glance

You’ll have a couple of options for things to do from the Casablanca Cruise Port.

Here is a bit of an overview, before I’ll dive a bit deeper into the option we chose below in this post.

  • Casablanca/Rabat: you can see both cities in one day (recommended)
  • Casablanca: spend the day in the city and see the sights
  • Marrakech: you can go on a day trip to Marrakech, but you’ll spend about 6 hours on the road

My take on it: I have been to Morocco multiple times, and Marrakech is my favorite spot. However, it is super far away from the cruise port, so I suggest checking out Casablanca and Rabat instead. If you don’t want to travel at all, you can stay in Casablanca. It is my least favorite city in Morocco, so I definitely recommend to also go to Rabat.

The Casablanca Cruise Port

aereal picture of the casablanca cruise port and some information
Casablanca Cruise Port Map

After you pick your preferred destination for the day trip, you need to plan on how to get there. The Casablanca Cruise Port is not the most developed in the world.

There are no shops, rental car stations, or amenities directly at the docks. This means you’ll need to pre-plan your excursion.

There are always many taxis waiting outside the terminal, so that is always an option. Taxis are cheap in Morocco, so you can just hire a taxi driver to bring you to your destinations all day.

The city center is about 1,5 kilometers away from the cruise port, but it is not a nice and scenic walk. The cruise port is in the middle of an industrial zone, so I would not recommend walking.

The best way to get around from Casablanca cruise port is by pre-booking a private day tour or driver. It is super cheap, so you can make your own itinerary and don’t have to rely on a big group.

casablanca cruise port picture taken from the cruise ship

How to Spend One Day in Casablanca and Rabat

If you want to follow our example and see Casablanca and Rabat, you can have three options regarding transportation:

  • hailing a cab at the cruise port
  • booking a private driver to follow this itinerary
  • booking an organized day trip from Casablanca Cruise Port

It will take you about 4-5 hours to see the highlights of Casablanca. After lunch, you’ll still have time to make the drive to Rabat and explore the capital city for about 2-3 hours.

In my opinion, a private tour is the best option. You can customize your itinerary and have full control of your day. Private tours are very cheap in Morocco, especially if you travel with a small group.

Morning: Casablanca

one day in casablanca itinerary
Casablanca Itinerary Map

1. Rick’s Cafe

Rick’s Café in Casablanca is a famous restaurant and bar from the classic movie “Casablanca.”

It’s known for its cute atmosphere, live jazz music, and vintage decor. We only drove by, but it was super cool to see.

If you’re a fan of the film or have it on your bucket list, Rick’s Cafe is a must-visit when you’re in Casablanca!

stunning rick's cafe in casablanca that is super famous from old movies, picture taken from the road

2. Hassan II Mosque

The Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca is super cool and worth a visit.

It’s one of the largest mosques in the world and I was so impressed by it. The mosque is located right by the sea, and part of it actually extends over the water. That is pretty unique.

Inside the mosque, there are super impressive marble features, wood carvings, and other decorative elements. They were all hand-made, from natural ingredients.

We toured the mosque with a guide, which I definitely recommend. They just know a lot more background info.

Touring the mosque takes about an hour. There is also a small museum, but that was not as interesting.

3. Church of Notre Dame of Lourdes

The Church of Notre Dame of Lourdes in Casablanca is a lovely place to visit next.

It’s a Catholic church, and even though Morocco is predominantly Muslim, it’s a great historic spot to visit.

The architecture is pretty, with a mix of European and Moroccan influences. Inside, you’ll find beautiful stained glass windows.

I loved seeing this church right after the mosque, which was a lot more impressive to be honest. But the contrast to both buildings was what made it interesting for me.

4. Royal Palace

The Royal Palace in Casablanca is a stunning architectural gem that you should see.

The palace serves as the official residence of the King of Morocco when he visits the city. He only uses it for state affairs, he does live in a private residence somewhere else.

While you can’t tour the interior, you can admire the impressive gates and the cool design from the outside.

From the Royal Palace, it is only a few steps of walking until the Old Medina of Casablanca.

amazing picture of the royal palaca in casablanca with woodwork

5. Old Medina of Casablanca

The Old Medina of Casablanca, also known as the ancient city, is a fascinating place. You best explore it on foot, since the streets are super small. It takes about an hour to see it all.

The area is full of narrow, winding streets and is surrounded by historic walls. Some of them are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s different from the modern parts of Casablanca, showing a more traditional side of Moroccan life.

When you walk around, you’ll see a mix of old houses, shops, and markets. It’s a great place for souvenir shopping. There are clothes, silverware, carpets, and even olives on sale.

6. Traditional Moroccan Lunch

We continued our tour with a traditional Moroccan lunch. We were brought to a lovely restaurant that had set up a buffet for all cruise ship guests.

We sampled traditional Moroccan Tajine, hearty stews, spicy fish, and some really great desserts.

Afternoon: Rabat

one day in rabat itinerary

7. Hassan Tower

The Hassan Tower in Rabat is a tall tower located in the heart of the city. I

t’s a historic landmark with an interesting history. This tower was constructed back in the 12th century during the Almohad dynasty. It’s made of beautiful red sandstone, and its design is quite unique.

Our tour guide believed, that the Hassan tower was meant to be much taller than it is today, but it was never completed. It is still pretty cool to see.

amazing hassan tower with blue skies in the background in rabat

8. Mausoleum of Mohammed V

The mausoleum of Mohammed V is located right next to the Hassan Tower. This mausoleum is, as the name already says, dedicated to King Mohammed V, who played a crucial role in the country’s history.

The mausoleum’s architecture is stunning, with its white marble and green tiles. It’s a peaceful and solemn place where the late King Mohammed V and his two sons are buried.

The interior is beautifully decorated as well, and I found it super interesting to peek inside for a second.

the author walking in a black dress in front of the mausoleum of mohammed v in rabat

9. Mohammed VI Tower

The Mohammed VI tower is a super famous landmark in Rabat since it is one of the biggest buildings in Africa. You can see it from the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, no need to travel.

It is 55 stories and 250 meters high, and it looks super impressive. This will only take a minute.

impressive tower of mohammed vi in rabat

10. King’s Palace

Next on our one-day agenda is the King’s Palace (yes, another one).

The King’s Palace in Rabat, Morocco, is a significant and impressive palace. It serves as the official residence of the King of Morocco (only when he has official business).

It is famous for its beautiful architecture and grandeur. Sadly, the palace is not open to the public, but you can still appreciate its exterior, which is surrounded by high walls and guards.

the kings palace in rabat at sunset

11. Kasbah of the Udayas

The Kasbah of the Udayas is a historic and picturesque area in Rabat. It’s a charming and well-preserved kasbah (fortified quarter). Because it is located near the Atlantic Ocean, it has amazing views and is one of my favorite places in Rabat.

The Kasbah of the Udayas is known for its narrow, winding streets, white-washed buildings, and blue accents. It is totally Instagram-worthy. It’s a great place to explore Morocco’s rich history and culture.

You can visit the Andalusian Gardens for a cool experience, and enjoy the scenic views of the ocean. Make sure to plan at least 2 hours for this area, as there are also super cute cafés.

Do you need travel insurance in Rabat? Yes, travel insurance in Rabat is highly recommended.
Unsafe roads, sports accidents, and food poisoning are only a few examples of when travel insurance could come in handy. EKTA offers worldwide travel insurance with 24/7 service and no hidden fees or restrictions.

Conclusion: One Day in Casablanca & Rabat

I hope I could give you a lovely itinerary on how to spend your shore day on your cruise to Casablanca. From the famous Rick’s Cafe in Casablanca to the King’s Palace in Rabat, this itinerary includes all the highlights you will want to see.

After doing this itinerary myself, I found it perfect to see everything interesting without getting overwhelmed.

I hope you will have a lovely day in Casablanca and Rabat, just as we did. If you are still undecided, on whether or not to go to Marrakesh instead, keep on reading.

If you are not sure yet which ship to pick for your cruise, why not go for the MSC Divina?

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blonde girl pink dress in front of blue door santorini

About the Author

Sabrina is a passionate travel blogger and content creator, originally from Austria. She spends most parts of the year abroad at various destinations with her husband.

She provides slow-paced itineraries that focus on quality over quantity. Sabrina wants to help her readers to get more out of their travel experiences – while doing less. Read more.