If you’re looking for a ready-on-the-go tourist destination in Morocco, head to Rabat. Rabat is Morocco’s capital that’s worth the visit before going to other Moroccan tourist destinations like the High Atlas Region. Time for you to be one of the 13 million tourists that visit Rabat annually. Stop thinking and grab your things. This article will tell you where to go.
Numerous flower-filled parks, wide boulevards that remind you of Washington, mausoleums, and temples, and a halcyon environment that the 360-degree sceneries from the Atlantic Ocean bring – these are the tourist attractions, in general, that expect your visit to Rabat. For the specific places to visit, these are the ones that others are recommending:
• Hassan Tower
• Mausoleum of Mohammed V
• Royal Palace
• Rabat National Zoo
• Rabat Archeological Museum
• Rabat Old Market
• Plage de Rabat
• Bou Reg Reg
• Villas des Arts
• Andalusian Gardens
• The Riads
• Kasbah of Udayas
• Bastion des Larmes
The Hassan Towe is an incomplete minaret of an incomplete mosque that Abu Yusuf Yaqub Al Mansur built. Construction for Hassan Tower started in 1196 and ended in 1190. If the building pushed through, both the Hassan Tower and its mosque would’ve been the most astounding structures in the Muslim World.
Finding Hassan Tower won’t take long. It’s near to important establishments in Rabat, such as the embassies of Africa, Italy, and Switzerland. From the Rabat international airport, Hassan tower is only 23 minutes away.
Hassan Tower looks very stunning, especially with the 358 columns of the incomplete mosque that stands in front of it. On the tower’s surface are numerous intricate details such as arches, criss-cross patterns, and others. On the back of the Hassan Tower is a verdant garden where you may avail a guided tour.
Mausoleum of Mohammed V
The Mausoleum of Mohammed V is the burial place of King Hassah II and Prince Abdallah. It lies a little southeast of the Hassan Tower, about 170 meters away. This building follows the architectural style of the Alaouite Dynasty and is the most beautiful of all the buildings of that time.
On the exterior, the Mausoleum of Mohammed five features a white facade and a green roof. However, as you come closer, more details reveal themselves. The entrance has wonderful aesthetics and shows three arches with an upper wall having diamond-shaped embossments that interlink.
On the other hand, the interior is more striking than the exterior. On its walls are polychromatic swirling and floral-like patterns. Their shades range into red, black, green, blue, and golden hues. Much of the activities in the Mohammed V museum are sightseeing and picture taking. Nevertheless, the things for you to see inside won’t make for a boring visit.
The Royal Palace is the residence of the monarch of Morocco. It’s where the king, his sons, daughters, and some grandchildren live. With that being said, the Royal Palace serves as one of the important locations for the seat of power in Morocco. The Royal Palace is only 8 minutes from Hassan tower and lies in the Touraga neighborhood.
Aside from acting as the dwelling place of Morocco’s royal family, the Royal Palace is also a royal college. Comprising its area is a cooking school, a ground floor library, and a college. In front of the Royal Palace is a mechouar or a public square. It’s in this area where most tourists flock.
Tourism activities in the Royal Palace only extend to the public square in front of it. Royal Palace doesn’t admit tourists due to security concerns. Nevertheless, don’t let this disappoint you, because there are lots to do in the public square such as shopping for souvenirs, watching public dance performances, etc.
Rabat National Zoo
The Rabat National Zoo has been providing Moroccans mother nature’s spectacle since 1973. This zoo is one of the best in Morocco. It’s special because it houses the lions that were dwelling in the Royal Palace in the past. Cheetahs, lions, elephants, monkeys, cheetahs, ibises, foxes – Rabat zoo offers a mini African safari to tourists in Rabat.
Biozones, vivarium, museum, zoo shop, and conference room – Rabat National Zoo apportions its area into these. The biozones are where animals dwell naturally and not in cages. It comprises terrains the resemble the High Atlas region, a dessert, a savannah, a wetland, and a tropical forest.
On the other hand, the museum is where you can see the bones of Moroccan animals that lived 7,000 years ago. The vivarium is a 1700-meter square space for raising African reptiles that consist of 14 snake species and 16 lizard species. The conference room is where you can join seminars and workshops from notable professionals in Morocco.
Rabat Archeological Museum
The Rabat Archeological museum is an 89-year-old museum that houses paleolithic and neolithic artifacts and pre-Roman and Roman artifacts. Visiting Rabat Museum is great because it’s near to other potential tourist attractions, specifically the Mohammed Museum of Modern Art (on the north) and Villa des Art (on the south).
Jewelry, baking tools, and medical tools that date back to the 8th and 9th centuries provide you with an idea of Moroccan’s sophisticated lives in the past. Moreover, the Roman artifacts like the “Drunken Donkey” and ” Volubilis Dog” make you realize how far the Roman conquest went. There are also marble and ceramic sculptures for you to see.
Rabat Archeological Museum is big, and its collection endless. You can explore on your own. However, you can appreciate the displays better with a tour guide. Hiring one is great for you to know the origins, cultural significance, and backstory of each.
Rabat Old Market
Rabat’s old market is a slow-paced shopping district right at Rabat city center. It has an array of Moroccan restaurants, souvenir shops, cafes, and textile shops. You might find this place quite agreeable because it has a more laid-back vibe than other shopping districts that had visited before.
Shop keepers in the old market, especially those selling clothing, are very accomodating. They will urge you to visit their shop but not force you to buy anything. Shopping here is like an educational tour as store owners always tell a thing or two about their trade.
Plage de Rabat
The Plage de Rabat is a short beach right at the mouth of Bou Regreg river. It serves as a quick getaway from Rabat’s hot climate. Though the water quality isn’t that good, Plage de Rabat attracts tourists because it’s the only beach in the city for swimming and seeing the Bou Regreg river at the same time.
Plage de Rabat is an undeveloped beach. What you’ll only see is a naked shoreline where locals either sunbathe, play badminton or beach volleyball, engage in a match of frisbee, or walk their pets. As for the activities, swimming and sunbathing are great. But since it’s a bit windy, you can also try windsurfing.
On the east of Plage de Rabat is a Rabat lighthouse. This is an old lighthouse that will let you see the quickest routes to the nearby Bou Regreg river and the Kasbah of Udayas.
Bou Regreg River
Flowing near to the center of Kasbah is the Bou Regreg river. The Bou Regreg is one of the primary reasons why Rabat grew into becoming an expansive city in the first place. The Bou Regreg flows between the city of Rabat and Sale. The Kasbah of Udayas and the Plage de Rabat offer a wonderful view of the Bou Regreg.
Cross the Bour Regreg river, and you’ll get to the historic city of Sale. The sale is a city of numerous antiquities. Places in it that you’ll enjoy are Souk el Kebir’s leather market, the Mosque Sidi Ahmed Hajii, and the Sale Great mosque. Of course, for seeing the best of Bour Regreg, Rabat, and Sale, nothing beats the Rabat-Sale tour.
Kasbah of Udayas
The Kasbah of Udayas overlooks the Bou Regreg river and the Plage de Rabat. It’s directly on the eastern edge of the Plage de Rabat and the left side of the Bou Regreg river’s mouth. The Kasbah of Udayas is a UNESCO world heritage site that attracts tourists with its picturesque entrance gate, gardens, and pavilion.
Upon arriving in the Kasbah of Udayas, the entrance gate immediately greets you with its intricate details. It features an arch and numerous patterns carved on its surface resembling cris-crosses, swirls, circles, and oval figures. As you head further, the pavilion welcomes you next. Resembling the look of Ottoman pavilions, the pavilion awes you with its notable aesthetics.
Your exploration of the Kasbah of Udayas ends at its highest points that either overlook the Bou Regreg or the Plage de Rabat. There’s nothing much to do except feel the breeze of the winds on your face, take pictures, or listen to the ebb and flow of the Bour Regreg or the waves of the sea.
Another part of the Kasbah Udayas is the Andalusian Gardens. Though on the Kasbah of Udayas, most tourists treat the Andalusian Gardens as an attraction of its own. The Andalusian Gardens date back to the time when the French took Morocco as its colony.
The Andalusian Gardens serves well for a relaxing walk. On its landscape are bougainvillea and citrus trees. Well-trimmed shrubs and hedges seem to ask for your attention. Along with the flowers are fountains that don’t spoil picture-taking escapades.
A quiet and romantic vibe always embraces the Andalusian gardens. As a result, it’s a famous spot for wedding proposals. The fountains and flower gardens are just one of the many locations where you can ask for that yes or say yes to that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of marriage.
Villas des Artes
Another equally peaceful location in Rabat is the Villa de Arte’s. Villa de Arts is an art gallery that features a mix of French ad Moroccan architectural elements. Its landscaping resembles the look of Andalusian Gardens but with fewer flowers, hedges, and trees.
Numerous exhibitions take place in Villa de Artes. With that being said, what you’ll see here changes from time to time. Sculptures, paintings, and handicrafts are some of the most common things to expect. These come from a variety of art genres such as Contemporary, realism, modern, etc.
The Riads are local boutique hotels that you’ll find all over Rabat. Most Riads flock near tourist attractions, thereby toppling tourists in terms of competition. Compared to luxurious hotels, staying at Riads is cheaper but is nevertheless comfortable and wholesome. Original Rabat families run the Riads. As a result, staying on them gives you quick access to trusty tour guides and insiders.
Chella is a famous archeological site in Rabat. This location features robust fortifications, walls, and several historical landmarks within. Chella plays an important role in defining Rabat’s history as it served as a significant location for the ancient Phoenicians, ancient Romans, and Moroccan Muslims.
Bassin Aux Anguilles is a major attraction in Chellah. This is a natural pool that people believe helps couples who are struggling to have kids. The tombs of roman saints also attract people with their enigmatic construction. Nevertheless, the reason why Chellah remains popular is due to the annual festivals that it hosts.
The Les Mandarin is the oldest Asian restaurant in Rabat. It has been serving food for the people of the city since the 1950s. Most of the cuisines that you’ll find commonly range from Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines. For the past years, the look of the place didn’t change a lot, and the simple and classic Vietnamese interior still makes the place as authentic as it can get.
Vegetarians will love Les Mandarin because it specializes in making Vietnamese dish that makes use of fresh vegetables. The Pho here is great and features a large bowl of noodles soaked in beef broth with many spring onions, cabbages, and sprigs as garnish. Seafood is also phenomenal. Try the calamari curry with green sauce because it tastes heavenly.