Exploring Morocco: Guide to Casablanca & Transport Connections between Key Destinations
Introduction to Morocco’s Cosmopolitan Cities & Transport Routes
From bustling Marrakech and historic Fes to coastal Casablanca and laidback Essaouira, Morocco tempts travelers with stunning diversity packed into a country the size of California. Exploring the souks crammed with handwoven rugs, labyrinth alleys of ancient medinas, and mouthwatering cuisine means journeying between cities to fully immerse in cultural and natural highlights.
This two week Morocco travel guide spotlights the economic hub of Casablanca, along with efficient transport links by rental car, hired driver and train to connect top imperial cities plus beach towns for memorable adventures.
Modern Meets Old-World Charm in Casablanca
As the economic engine and largest city of the country, Casablanca presents a fabulous fusion of traditional Moroccan style architecture amidst contemporary office towers and European design influences dating to the period as a French protectorate from 1912 onwards.
Wander the vast Hassan II Mosque complex, which took over 6000 Moroccan artisans to complete, featuring intricate mosaics crafted from Italian marble and carved wood ceilings absent of a single nail. Parts of the ornately tiled interior open onto the Atlantic, embracing elements of water prominently as visitors listen to the recitation of the holy Quran.
Those seeking local handicrafts should head straight to Central Market (Marché Central), where Berber carpets hang from the rafters and artists hawk vibrant paintings reminiscent of Matisse depicting daily life. Bargain for woven rugs, scarves or clay tagine dishes in vibrant yellows and deep red local patterns.
Tourists flock to pose beside the city hall and its clocktower, made famous as “Rick’s Cafe” from the classic film Casablanca. Yet beyond the Hollywood set replica cafe lies the true charm of neighborhoods like Anfa and Maarif, dotted with hip coffee shops, international restaurants, and Riviera-reminiscent French art-deco facades left from the Protectorate era.
With a reliable tram system criss-crossing downtown and extending to the beach, petit taxis zipping about, and walking paths that feel utterly European, navigating central Casablanca proves simpler than intimidating for first-time visitors.
Uber luxury properties like the Hyatt Regency and Four Seasons Hotel attract global power brokers with sublime onsite Moroccan restaurants, spas, pools and utterly pampering service. While undoubtedly touristy in parts, Casablanca deserves more than a transit hub label from travelers exploring Morocco’s diversity.
Coastal Political Capital of Rabat
An easy 60 minute train or 90 minute private transfer shuttle north reveals Morocco’s capital Rabat, equally framing a tranquil coastal landscape like Casablanca, with the Bouregreg River flowing gently to meet the ocean.
Stroll tree-lined walkways of the beautifully preserved Oudayas Kasbah quarter, watching fishermen cast lines along the Andalusian styled ramparts. Gaze up at the towering unfinished 12th century minaret, intended to be Morocco’s largest, known as the Hassan Tower. Marvel at artifacts inside the national Archaeology Museum, spanning prehistory to ornate Moulay Ismail era weaponry.
Pause after museum wandering for mint tea and almond pastries at a café terrace soaking up views of the meticulously maintained Andalusian Gardens, exploding in fragrant roses and neatly clipped hedges.
Thanks to efficient train connections shuttling at least hourly between Imperial Rabat and Casablanca, combining both cities promises a convenient cultural insight into historical dynasties and influential modern rule.
Sensational Marrakech Plus Nearby Day Trips Galore
Just three hours south awaits the country’s postcard perfect red city of Marrakech, where street performers wow the crowds nightly onbustling Djemaa El Fna while vendors jog between souk stalls peddling babouche slippers and woven wool blankets.
Don’t miss overhead views looking down on the electric spectacle below from one of the many rooftop restaurants clustered around the city center. Sip refreshing Moroccan mint tea sweetened just right as mosque spotlights illuminate towering minarets. Watching the vibrant scenes of acrobats, musicians, and food stalls as the sunset’s pink glow washes over Djemaa El Fna promises an unforgettable travel moment.
Just 90 minutes southwest via rental car lies beachy Essaouira, host to colorful fishing boats unloading the daily catch as shopkeepers lure travelers into tiny art galleries and Argan oil emporiums. Wander the breezy Atlantic oceanfront ramparts then relax over lunch at a portside grill, enjoying just-grilled sardines complete with views of purple winged gulls circling fishing boats mid-meal.
Venture northeast of Marrakech about an hour deep into the stunning Ourika Valley, full of picture perfect Berber villages and Kasbahs straddling desirable hiking trails leading towards imposing mountain peaks capped in snow year-round.
Transport Options Linking Must-See Destinations
|Infrequent to smaller towns
|No public options
|350+ per day
Key details: The limited rail routes reaching smaller sights like Atlas treks and surf-loving Essaouira means relying on private transfers or rental cars if hoping to avoid bus connections.
Book premium private transfers between Marrakech, Fes or Casablanca for utter door-to-door ease at 200 dirhams ($20 USD) onwards between cities. Mind airport arrival signage and tips when booking.
Opting for a rental car allows freedom for impromptu stops but requires comfort navigating and returning vehicles before nightfall typically. Allow at least 350 dirhams ($35 USD) daily for compact vehicles. Consider adding an English-speaking hired driver for further peace of mind.
Trains efficiently connect major hubs like Imperial Cities daily for fares averaging 80-300 dirhams ($9-30 USD), spanning two hours up to five hours depending on route and class selected. While clean and comfortable, be wary of potential delays.
Hand Crafting 10-14 Day Multi-City Itineraries
10 Day First Timer Variation:
- 3 days in colorful Marrakech with day trip to Atlas Mountains
- 2 days enjoying Ourike Valley Berber villages and waterfalls
- 2 days in beachy, relaxed Essaouira
- 3 days feeling the Paris-meets-Morocco vibe of Casablanca & Rabat
2 Week Slower Paced Version:
- Add extra time for:
- Side visit to Ait Benhaddou Kasbah filming site
- Extension trip to the sand dunes and camel rides
- Wandering Fes, Meknes and medieval Chefchaouen
- Volubilis Roman ruins
- Modern art museum in Rabat
Reliable private transfers around 550 dirhams ($55 USD) between cities easily facilitate hopping around longer wish-list sites. Or tailor a trip focused on your 3-4 favorite spots for a shorter memorable 10 day introduction.
Booking Transport, Drivers & Guides
Leave worrying about navigating the roads, train station nuances and public transit to the experts and make space for joy! Reputable companies like premium Morocco drivers arrange experts like Brahim to quarterback entire multi-week trips complete with modern vehicles, walking tours, day trip excursions and insider cultural tips.
Morocco Premium ensures utmost quality control, timely airport greetings, pre-booked riad and hotel accommodation in each location, and restaurant reservations at hidden gems only locals frequent. Top rated drivers like Brahim enrich outings to Volbilis, Ouarzazate or Chefchaouen with ample histories and backstories. Opting for fuller service packages provides freedom to fully soak up your carefully planned adventures.
Alternatively, the reliable ONCF rail system offers routes efficiently connecting most major cities if traveling independently on a student budget. Review schedules closely when booking tickets online in advance to save substantial sums.
Just be ready to navigate language barriers and transit gaps getting between stations and accommodations. For utmost transportation freedom minus haggling, consider a custom driver and vehicle for door-to-door delivery exploring Morocco your way.
Come Discover the Magic of Morocco’s Cities & Beyond
In these histories-steeped imperial towns scattering intricate mosaic fountains, soaring ancient fortifications built of red sandstone, and market stalls bursting with hand woven rugs and glittering lanterns, Morocco’s compelling history overflows at every turn.
The call to prayer echoing through the narrow medina alleys reminds visitors of the abiding Muslim influence infusing culture and hospitality at each corner. Yet the Atlantic and Mediterranean beaches allow utter escape too into tranquil relaxation alongside topaz waters, while views from the lofty snow-dusted Atlas Mountains surveys scenery straight from postcards.
Visitors soon learn the famous Moroccan hospitality begins with comfortable transport connections seamlessly orchestrated between awe-inspiring destinations showcasing why this North African gem entices a spectrum of travelers from surfers to foodies to artists for repeat visits. Let your memorable trip unfold with help planning that perfect multi-city getaway!