Ok, Casablanca doesn't have the shopping attractions that Marrakech boasts. But, it does offer visitors a shopping adventure of sorts, mixed in with the spectacular structures of Casablanca's Islamic and foreign influences of the past. That's the beauty of this city. It's not just about the mosques. It's not just about the souqs. It's not just about the festivals. It's about the wonderful blend of all things Moroccan.
Upon first arrival into Casablanca, visitors will be surprised at how 'western' many parts of the city is. Casablanca hotels range in styles and prices, but many of the tourist-friendly lodgings are found in the centre and northern part of the town. Once everything is settled, it's probably best to see the hotel concierge, to get a better view of Casablanca's sites.
The first day or two should be focused on the structures and cultural landmarks of Casablanca. The souqs (market places) have been operating for many years, and can certainly wait an extra day or two for your business. While exploring the sites, try to pick up some extra Arabic to help with bargaining...it will certainly add that little extra spice while shopping.
Plan to spend several hours at each of the shopping locations around Casablanca. It may be beneficial to set aside more time for the more traditional shopping areas, as negotiating prices can slow the shopping process quite considerably.
The first place to visit for an intriguing shopping experience has got to be the Old Medina. Many visitors decide to come back here on their last day of holidays to purchase more souvenirs. However, first or last doesn't matter, it's the experience that counts. Haggling prices is customary in the Old Medina. Traditional Moroccan crafts can be found in the maze of stalls, along with leather goods, spices, animals and accessories.
Tourists on a bargaining high should visit Derb Ghraleef next. It is a large souq that can be aptly described as the most intense shopping experience in Casablanca. Non-stop from morning to night, Derb Ghraleef doesn't offer souvenirs as such. Phones, books, cloth, furniture and fashion accessories are just some of the goods on display in the souq. Merchants can be quite forth-coming towards passers-by, and a strong will to win is required when bargaining down prices here.
By this stage, if the sightseeing hasn't already exhausted the tourist, then the hours of price negotiations on every little product while shopping certainly has. For a more laid-back shopping endeavour, visitors can travel to the Exposition Nationale d'Artisanat, a large art and craft centre located in a three-level complex. Some tourists may be a little overwhelmed at first sight of the exposition, as there are hundreds of stores to search through.
Like the Exposition Nationale d'Artisanat, the Quartier Habous is also a renowned shopping area that is no way near the intensity of the Old Medina or Derb Ghraleef. Merchants tend to be very friendly, but not pushy, and onlookers can stroll from store to store without being hassled. Bargaining prices is generally not done in these two areas, as prices are already fixed. But, if you want to give it a try, the worst that would happen is a polite 'no' followed by a smile.
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