Shopping in Casablanca
Morocco is famed for its dark, fragrant medinas overflowing with spices, handmade goods and traditional pastries. Casablanca's old medina is a far cry from the ancient winding souks of Marrakech, but it's still full of interesting stalls selling trinkets and fresh food, and far less touristy. Heralded as the commercial capital of Morocco, it's also possible to do plenty of European-style, high street shopping in the colonial centre of Casablanca.
If endless bargaining in Casablanca's markets proves too stressful, the Exposition Nationale d'Artisanat, 3 Avenue Hassan II, offers all the expected odds and ends at fixed prices. The Maarif area of the city is the home of international shopping, with the likes of Prada and Zara, and a few fashion boutiques. If you want an authentic shopping experience, head to the rough-and-ready Derb Ghraleef district for knock-off clothing and homeware.
Souks and street markets in Casablanca can be easily found at various locations across the city and suburbs. Prices are not marked on most items and buyers are expected to haggle, even when purchasing fruit and vegetables. Craft ware, superb carpets and leather goods are generally good quality and inexpensive but make sure you are buying the real thing and not some cheap imitation made in the sweat shops of the Far East.
Worthy mementoes include ornately decorated tagine cooking dishes, leather belts and jackets, handmade jewellery and attractively embroidered clothing but are generally dearer than elsewhere in Morocco.
Be sure to visit the legendary Marché Central on Boulevard Mohammed V for seafood and Moroccan-style souvenirs, as well as some handicrafts.
Alpha 55, at 76 Avenue Mers Sultan, is pretty much the only department store in Casablanca where it's possible to find anything the heart desires. It also has a few places selling traditional jewellery that's made from Moroccan silver, usually at relatively low prices.
Typical opening hours for shops in Casablanca are Monday to Saturday 0830-1200 and 1400-1830. During Ramadan however, food stores open late in the morning and are closed for much of the day. They then reopen in the evening until very late. Hypermarkets open daily from 0900-2000.
To pick up authentic hookahs, lanterns and smaller items such as ornamental woodwork, head to the medina, on Boulevard Mohammed V, and get ready to haggle. You'll also find several souvenir stalls in the Marché Central, also found along Boulevard Mohammed V.
Morocco applies value-added tax on goods and services at a rate of 19%.