Rabat city lies along the Atlantic coat, at the Bouregreg River, with beautiful architecture influenced by its Islamic, French colonial, and Berber past. You'll enjoy the city's warm hospitality, the very modern new town, and the historic city center.
Rabat's walled Medina, built in the 17th century, is filled with local shops and bazaars to explore.
Enjoy the warm sands, or ride the surf at Plage des Nations just north of the city. The beach is clean, but be forewarned not to venture too far out into the strong currents.
From the old Kasbah des Oudaias, the historic fort now surrounded by the rest of the city, to the Rabat Archaeological Museum, and the Chellah, a Roman fort that dates from 40 AD, centuries of civilization are waiting for you to discover.
Explore a wealth of green spaces, including the extensive Jardin d'Essais and the charming Andalusian Gardens in the Kasbah.
From its native Berber influences to French colonial and contemporary Middle Eastern and European cuisine, there is much to savor in Rabat's dining scene, including a local specialty for fresh seafood.
The walled Chellah complex says a lot to visitors who are looking for a snapshot into the medieval lives of Muslims, even though it was originally a necropolis in Morocco. The Berber fortress boasts many architectural flourishes characteristic of Islam including tall prayer minarets, tilework, and royal tombs. Walking through the chellah or skirting its perimeter, travelers will feel as though they've been transported back in time to an ancient, almost forgotten world. And viewing the land from one of its higher platforms during sunset is a sight you won't soon forget.
The Clash crooned about it, so why not experience it firsthand? The Kasbah des Oudayas is right beside the Chellah, on the mouth of the mouth of the Bou Regreg, and it is historic and significant enough to have been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Take a view from the inside of the Kasbah and you'll see the dusky remains of the Chellah in the background. The Kasbah still has its brightly colored walls intact, cobbled streets fading but present, ivy growing on its walls and beautiful, intricate detailing on its door frames. Its winding alleyways, hidden doorways and alcoves will remind you of Santorini, but make no mistake, Kasbah des Oudayas has its own Arabian vibe of mystique.
Known as the Grande Mosquée Hassan II, this is the largest mosque in Morocco and its minaret is a sky-scraping 689 feet tall. Ready to feel small and insignificant? Simply plant yourself at its base and look up and around. Get a taste of classic Moorish architecture as you roam its palatial interiors, taking in its extensive libraries, steam-filled hammams, cooling courtyards and majestic fountains. You'll soon realize that the mosque is partially built on land and partially over the Atlantic Ocean.
Intended all along to be the majestic minaret of a mosque, the Hassan Tower is now just one part of an unfinished project started in 1195 that was intended to be one of the largest mosques in the world. Because parts of its walls, columns and ramps still exist, preserved, the space has the feeling of a strange art installation or an open-air mosque, with the looming presence of the minaret watching everything. Instead of stairs, the incomplete mosque had planned for ramps, and some still exist. Nonetheless, stalwart guards still stand at its gates on horses as a mark of what once was and now still survives being worth protection.
Like everything else in Morocco, the Andalusian Gardens are tinged with a heavy sense of mystique, age and old-world beauty. Built by the French during Morocco's colonial period, the Gardens are nestled within the Kasbah des Oudayas. Its walkways are made of stone and tile, with aging fountains and water bowls, small, perfumed, exotic plants and flowers, and date trees swaying lazily in the breeze.
Summers are warm and dry, and winters mild and wet in Rabat, making it a year-round destination with a spike between April and November, when temperatures range between 70 and 80 degrees.
Rabat-Salé Airport (RBA) is located in Salé, about five miles northeast of Rabat. A taxi to town costs about DH200. Express bus service to the city center is available from Stareo Bus company; tickets costs DH20.
There are frequent train connections to Marrakech, Fes, and other major centers in Morocco via the Gare de Rabat-Ville.
It is possible to drive to Rabat from Agadir or Casablanca, although 4x4 rentals are recommended over a sedan due to the condition of some road surfaces along the way.
There are bus connections to and from Rabat and most major centers in Morocco, although some may not run through the central bus station.
The Riad Meftaha is a quiet oasis in the city, with well-appointed rooms and modern furnishings. At the Golden Tulip Farah, you'll enjoy contemporary furnishings and amenities, with beautiful views of the Bouregreg River.
Centre Ville - the downtown area encompasses the Medina along with the surrounding commercial area of the city, and offers a wealth of shopping and dining possibilities.
Agdal - this wealthy neighborhood is where you'll find many French immigrants, along with both of the city's train stations.
Ville Nouvelle - the modern part of the city is where you'll find the Mega Mall and other shopping adventures, along with dining options.
There is a tram service through the city, with two lines and fares of only DH6, as well as a more extensive network of city buses, with fares at DH4.
Taxi service is available - the Petit Taxis recommended. You'll know them by their blue color. The minimum fare is DH5, with most trips in town DH25-30.
Driving through the city on your own isn't recommended for most visitors, with traffic somewhat chaotic and accidents frequent.
Rabat's main shopping street is the Rue des Consuls, where you'll find local artisan work, including leather goods, clothing, and jewelry.
Carrefour and Acima are national supermarket chains with good selection of fresh and imported goods. A quart of milk costs about DH7.50 and a dozen eggs about DH14.
Enjoy classic Moroccan favorites like couscous at cheap prices at Restaurant de la Libération, where main dishes start at only DH60. Ty Potes is one of many French restaurants in Rabat, this one specializing in crepes, galettes, and other lighter fare. Main dishes start at DH65.