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Kasbah des Oudayas Rabat Morocco exterior view

A Guide for Things to Do in Rabat, Morocco

Author Mary Chong
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In this article, we explore the best things to do in Rabat, Morocco, the country’s capital and home to the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, the Royal Palace, and several other historical attractions. Rabat has the Bou Regreg River running to the west and is situated on the Atlantic Ocean. The river separates Rabat from Salé, its sister city.

Salé Morocco separated by the Bou Regreg River
Salé Morocco

The great thing about Rabat is that it makes for a welcome break and a pleasant surprise from all the hustle and bustle of the other Moroccan cities. Rabat’s atmosphere is calmer than its nearby counterpart, Casablanca (potentially better for day trips).  Rabat is perfect for history lovers; you’ll enjoy wandering the Oudaias Kasbah and exploring the lovely Chellah excavation area.

Discover the best things to do in Rabat, Morocco, with our list of top attractions:

Travel Guide for Things to Do in Morocco

Oudaias Kasbah (also known as Kasbah des Oudayas)

Kasbah des Oudayas Rabat Morocco exterior view

The Kasbah district in Rabat is one of its top sightseeing draws. A tiny, tranquil neighbourhood made of white-and-blue twisting lanes inside the 11th-century fortress walls. Kasbah is the ultimate place to walk around aimlessly; its winding alleys offer perfect opportunities for meandering strolls. Find the Kasbah Mosque in Rue el Jamma within the Kasbah district. The mosque was built in 1150 and is the oldest one in Rabat. There are plenty of photography opportunities, thanks to Kasbah’s fine views over the Atlantic Ocean and Salé.

Mausoleum of King Mohamed V

Mausoleum of King Mohamed V in Rabat

The Mausoleum of King Mohamed V is a showcase of traditional Moroccan design. Its opulent tomb chamber has zellige tile work covering its walls and is resplendently decorated and glittering. The Mausoleum of King Mohammed V lies in the same state where he gathered thousands of Moroccans upon his return from exile in Madagascar to give thanks to God for their country’s independence. The Mausoleum is closed to the public. 

Hassan Tower Rabat

Within the same complex is also the Hassan Tower, a minaret from an incomplete mosque built in the 12th century. It’s worth going to see if you are interested.

Chellah Necropolis

Chellah Necropolis Rabat Morocco

Chellah has remnants of the 14th-century Merenid citadel and the crumbled ruins of mausoleums and mosques in the older Roman town, Sala. The walled ruins were uncovered in the 1930s by archaeologists. Today, both these settlements can be seen. The excavated part of Sala includes a temple, forum, and bath on its site. You can also have a good view of the Chellah ruins in their entirety from the overlooking terrace. 

Oudaias Museum and the Andalusian Gardens

Andalusian Garden in Rabat Morocco

The lovely Andalusian Gardens are found within the Oudaias Kasbah and were laid out in the early 20th century. The Oudaias Museum is located in the 17th-century lodge, the first residence of Moulay Ismail in Rabat. The lodge has a room filled with an ancient Moroccan interior, silk, cushions in brocade, jewellery, musical instruments, pottery, gold-covered divans, and an exhibit of illuminated ancient Qur’ans.

Les Jardins Exotiques de Bouknadel

Les Jardins Exotiques de Bouknadel gazebo and pond

Found in Salé in the North of Rabat, experience lush nature by taking a trip to Jardins Exotiques. The series of gardens are shaded by tall palms and other species of plants from South America, Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa by horticulturist Marcel Francois. The goal is to create a showcase of nature that’s exotic. Its beauty is unbelievable, with its water features, series of walkways, follies, and scattered ornamental bridges. Jardins Exotiques is popular over the weekends with local families- if you’d like a quieter experience, visit during the week.

Rabat Medina

Shopping in the Medina of Rabat

The Medina has an Andalusian style which is distinct in its building as the architecture dates back to the 17th century, upon the arrival of Muslims from the Andalusia region in Spain. This architecture makes the Medina very different compared to Fes and Marrakesh. There are numerous intriguing buildings found within the district which are worth wandering around to experience. The two best streets for shopping are Rue Souka and Souk es Sebbat. Keep an eye out for the Merenid Fountain, Koubba Mosque, and Grand Mosque on Rue Souka. You’ll find the Jewish Quarter, the Mellah, in the Medina’s southeast corner—there’s an exciting flea market that’s worth checking out!

Mohammed VI Museum of Contemporary Arts

Exterior view of the Rabat Mohammed VI Museum of Contemporary Arts

This museum is considered one of Rabat’s top things to do, especially if you are interested in Morroco’s contemporary art movement. The art collection is housed in a renovated building that dates back to the French colonial days. The collection holds artwork from almost all the country’s top art world names. Visiting this museum makes for a fascinating contract to view the artisan work and contemporary side of Morocco’s artistic expressions.

Rabat Ville Nouvelle

Ville Nouvelle Rabat Morocco

Rabat’s New City is home to the Postal Museum, which has a magnificent collection of Moroccan telegraph machines, telephones, and stamps. It’s also home to the Archaeological Museum. There’s a wealth of French colonial architecture hosted by Ville Nouvelle, making it the ultimate place to take a stroll. The modern city is separated from the Medina by the 17th-century Undulations Wall, followed by Avenue Hassan II on the district’s edge. To the south, you’ll find the Royal Palace of Rabat, built back in 1864 and has a great wall that fences it off from its surroundings. The complex isn’t open to the public, as the palace is still used as the current King’s residence. There are opportunities to take photographs outside the palace from the nearby Sunna Mosque.

Where to stay in Rabat, Morocco 

To get the best experience out of Rabat, you should stay in the city center. Here are some hotel suggestions: 

Luxury Hotel

Hotel la Tour Hassan: It has a pool, spa, and a distinct Moroccan style. It’s the most prestigious hotel in the country. The Royal Palace, Medina, and Oudaias Kasbah are within walking distance. As well it is closest to the city’s train station, Gare Rabat Agdal. 

Mid-Range Hotel

Imperial Boutique Hotel Rabat: Around the corner from Hotel la Tour Hassan is the Imperial Hotel. Within walking distance to Hassan Tower, the Mausoleum of King Mohamed V, Oudaias Kasbah, the waterfront and the Gare Rabat Agdal train station. There is also a fabulous French seafood restaurant, “Marea,” next door, and the well-reviewed Sufra Restaurant is a very short walk away. We personally stayed here and loved the location and accommodations.

Riad Kalaa: It has a restaurant, pool, and an elegant Moroccan style. Located near the coast and just inside the Medina.

Budget Hotel

Riad Meftaha: Breakfast is included, and the authentic Moroccan guesthouse is found outside the gates of Medina. The guesthouse has exceptional tile work and a tranquil courtyard.

Booking.com
Guide to Rabat Morocco

As the capital city, Rabat is beautiful and has plenty to offer. Located beside the Bou Regreg Estuary, with beautiful gardens and resplendent historical sites, Rabat is a perfect place to travel if you’re looking for something peaceful in Morocco. 

For more related articles in Morocco, read:

Have you been to Rabat? What was your favourite part?

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