Beauty and brains find themselves strange bedfellows in Rabat. With a chillaxed approach to life and clean streets lined with greenery, the Moroccan city charms visitors with its looks, before making them beg for a dose of its rich history.
Not that you have to beg that hard – Rabat gives it up pretty easily. Start by checking out the architecture along the Rue des Consuls, the 12th century wall art of Bab Rouah and the 18th century Es-Sounna Mosque, built by the celebrated Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah. Then fall in love at the Oudaias Museum, a place filled with oodles of tales from ancient, Moroccan life, before achieving cultural nirvana at the fancy Mohammed V Theatre.
Rabat’s Top 10
10. Mehdia Beach Find a nice bed of sand and fresh water to help you cool off from the sun.
5. Rabat Archaeological Museum The Islamic section is famous for its ancient relics and scripture scrolls.
9. Natural Science Museum Boasts an impressive collection of fossils and other dino remnants.
4. Kasbah of the Udayas At the mouth of the Bou Regreg River, this 11th century kasbah is just waiting to be rocked!
8. Amnesia The place where Rabat’s youth come to party and get their drink on. Dress nice or get rejected.
3. Hassan Tower This half-finished minaret of a half-finished mosque dates all the way back to the 12th century.
7. Royal Palace The King’s HQ is a massive complex surrounded by gardens, fancy-looking guards and awesome mosaics.
2. Old Medina This maze of alleyways will turn you from fresh-faced and eager to sweaty but satisfied.
6. Chellah This ancient necropolis is packed with crumbling ruins and Roman-style streets to explore.
1. Mausoleum of Mohammed V This gold-filled mausoleum is home to the tomb of Morocco’s most famous ruler.
- Kasbah Mosque – This mosque is the oldest in Rabat and was built in the 11th century.
- Chellah – An old city founded by Carthaginanis.
- Royal Palace – Constructed in 1864 and features several buildings, as well as vast gardens.
- Hasan Tower – Incomplete tower that dates back to 1195.
- Mohamed V Mausoleum – Built in 1956 to honour the leader of Moroccan independence.
Rabat Art & Culture
- National Archaeological Museum – Has exhibitions for the prehistoric, neolithic, Islamic and Roman categories.
- Oudayas Museum and Andalusian Gardens – The museum in Rabat features Moroccan art and is located in an old palace.
- Oudaias Crafts Museum – Features crafts that range from famous berber carpets to more traditional local items.
- Costume Museum – Has an extensive collection of clothes, costumes and jewellery from the Islamic era.
- Galerie Bab Rouah – One of the five gates of this building is an art gallery.
- Old Medina – A busy market that offers souvenirs, jewellery, domestic products and more.
- Ben Hamou Metloub – The store is packed with curios and other trinkets.
- Rue Souika – At the end of day, vendors sell their goods along the crowded streets of Rabat.
- Marilyn Bottero – This small pottery boutique is located at the rue el Harrarine and rue des consuls.
- Pop Art-L’Art Moderne – A small workshop that offers metalworking by two brothers.
Gay & Lesbian Rabat
- Dar El Mouhit – A gay-friendly guesthouse located near Rabat.
- Riad Zahraa – Gay-friendly accommodations that feature three suites.
- Riad a La Belle Etoile – A gay-friendly, traditional guesthouse located near the ocean.
- Cafe Jour et Nuit – Bar that regularly serves gay clientele.
- Balima – Located in front of the parliament, this was once a famous meeting place for artists.
- Kasbah des Oudaias – A section of Rabat with gorgeous views of nearby beaches.
- Lac Sidi Boughaba Parc – A gorgeous biological reserve with many different types of flora and fauna.
- Sale – Beautiful garden that contains small gorges, rocks, rope bridges and little waterfalls.
- Plage de Rabat – Visitors can spend the day at the beach soaking up the sun and enjoying the water.
- Temara Zoological Gardens – Features rare species of mammals and other wildlife.
- Watch the first division FUS de Rabat football club at the Prince Moulay Abdellah Stadium. .
- Play a round of golf at the Dar Essalam Royal Golf Club, located just outside the city.
- Surf at the Les Nations beach.
- Learn how to windsurf along the Bou Regrag dam.
- Ride a horse or take equestrian lessons at the Royal Clube Equestre Riding School.
The Wax Lantern Festival in April features a massive lantern-filled procession, plus live music on open-air stages. Grab a spot early to avoid the pushy crowds.
May’s Mawazine Festival features over 1,500 concerts at many of Rabat’s historical sites. Even big names like Yusuf Uslam/Cat Stevens and Shakira have appeared.
June’s Jazz at the Chellah is for those who prefer the slinky and sexy sounds of jazz. Kick back with a stiff drink and soak up the sweet sounds of Coltrane and Davis.
When To Go
A Mediterranean climate means moderately cool winters and hot summers. Expect temps to average 27°C (80ºF) in summer and 10°C (50ºF) in winter.
Rain is minimal in Rabat throughout the year.
Prepare to sweat, as humidity often hits 95 per cent during summer.
Buses are definitely the cheapest and most convenient way to get around.
Taxis are another great way to explore. There are two types: petit taxis (small and blue) and grand taxis (big, fancy Mercs). Like the buses, they’re amazingly cheap.
We don’t recommend hiring a car and making your own way around. Moroccan roads are notoriously dangerous and locals don’t care about rules.
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