Casablanca, the cultural and commercial capital of Morocco, is a captivating confluence of classical charm and contemporary cool. Located on the Atlantic coast, taking a bike tour of this bustling city will acquaint you with the history and culture of Morocco’s biggest metropolis.
Once a small village called Anfa, this changed in the 15th century when the Portuguese captured the village and built a fortress on the site. They renamed it Casa Branca, ‘white house’ in Portuguese, after the white-washed houses that were common in the area. Despite a period of decline until the 18th century, the area was developed into a modern city in the 19th century and became an important administrative and commercial center for the French colonial government by the early 1900s.
A city tour of Casablanca is the best way to take in the wealth of culture this varied history has generated. A bike tour will take you to some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the Hassan II Mosque. This feat of Islamic architecture stands tall on the edge of the Atlantic ocean and is a magnificent masterpiece of Moroccan artistry, adorned with intricate details of stucco, mosaic tiles, and hand-carved woodwork.
Your day tour will take you through the Old Medina, where you can haggle with vendors and sample local street food. Stop at some of the city's malls and the Quartier Habous, an icon of modernity and internationalism in this stylish city. Take a break from the bustle of the center with a ride along the shore, where locals and tourists soak up the sun on Casablanca’s sandy beaches. For a moment of tranquil respite, travelers will appreciate the bicycle tour’s stops at some of the city’s parks and gardens, such as the Arab League Park and the Jardin de la Villa des Arts. Despite the idealized romance conjured up by the city’s name, thanks to the eponymous 1942 film, Casablanca’s charm is very much real, and waiting to be discovered by bike.