Casablanca, Morocco

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Cruising to Casablanca, Morocco

Of all the gin joints in the world...

Immortalised by the performance of Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman in what is perhaps the most famous movie of all time, Casablanca has been capturing the imaginations of film stars and tourists alike for decades. However, what many people don't know is that the film was shot almost entirely in a Hollywood studio, so if you think you know Casablanca from what you've seen on screen, you'll be somewhat surprised by the reality of the place.

Few visitors to the city can resist the opportunity to crack out some of the famous one-liners with which it is associated, and the immortal words "here's looking at you kid" are regularly recited by diners at Rick's Café.

However, while the venue may have featured heavily in the movie, the truth is that it didn't actually exist in real life until 2004, when it was built close to the harbour by Kathy Kriger. Still, taking a trip to the café is a great way to get into the spirit of Casablanca, and the establishment is one of the trendiest in the city, with bartenders serving up all manner of cocktails while donning white tuxedos and red fezes – just like in the film. The menu here is a classy mix of French and North African cuisine, making this a fantastic place to grab a bite to eat or just to hang out.

Forgetting the film for a while, the main attraction of Casablanca is its incredible blend of architectural styles, with art nouveau buildings lining the Boulevard de Paris, while the Cathedrale du Sacre Coeur, which was built in the 1930s, combines Gothic and art deco influences.

Elsewhere, the Marche Central is a constant hive of activity where fishermen sell their latest catches, while the Hassan II Mosque is the city's most imposing structure. Built as recently as 1993, it is the third largest mosque in the world and its 200-metre-high medina is the tallest on the planet.

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