Visiting Rabat Morocco in 1 day — the complete travel guide to the city

Of all the places we’d visited on our road trip around Morocco, it was the capital city of Rabat that surprised me the most, and in a good way.

After leaving behind the vibrant, yet chaotic city of Fes, I’d zero expectations of what would be waiting for us in the capital city. A member of staff at the wonderful Riad Anata said that Rabat had a more chilled atmosphere, and she was right. I’d also find out that the capital was more liberal with women in terms of dress and demeanour.

Driving into Rabat, first impressions

There’s definitely an air that you’re entering the capital as you drive into the heart of Rabat. On our particular route, we passed by the seemingly endless palatial residence and its manicured lawns of King Mohammad VI.

A city more spacious in feel, it’s also possible to see across the city, with views of minarets and buildings in development.

1 day in Rabat

The best area to stay

When it comes to choosing an area that’s not only authentic, but also close to the other sights, you can’t beat the old medina. We stayed in the excellent 4-star boutique hotel, Riad Senso, about 100m from the main souk. A quiet hotel in the centre of Medina, each room carries its own personality, and is a perfect example of understated Moroccan style.

 

 

Service is impeccable and they try to cater to your every need. If you have enough time, I’d urge to take a glass of wine on the upstairs terrace. The seating area’s intimate and never busy. Perfect for introverts and romantic couple time too!

We had a really comfortable stay, and enjoyed the mammoth Moroccan breakfast that waited outside our room the next morning!

The best sights to see in Rabat

The absolute great thing about Rabat, is that the majority of the top sights are free. It’s a great choice not only for the budget-conscious traveller, but also for families watching their finances.

Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera
Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera

“…each room carries its own personality, and is a perfect example of understated Moroccan style.”

FOLLOWING THE RIVERA

Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera
Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera

“It’s a place to stop and admire the fishing boats on the water, and the signs of life all around.”

FOLLOWING THE RIVERA

Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera
Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera

“Kasbah des Oudais is a mini version of the city, though with more white walls mixed with the blue.”

FOLLOWING THE RIVERA

Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera
Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera

“The building’s a dazzling white, with a green tiled roof, to represent the colour of Islam.”

FOLLOWING THE RIVERA

Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera
Luxury experience in Vienna - Vienna State Opera

“…Le Ziryab offers fine dining in sumptuous Moroccan style — but at a cost.”

FOLLOWING THE RIVERA

Luxury experience in Vienna - Burggarten
Luxury experience in Vienna - Burggarten
Luxury experience in Vienna - Burggarten

Get lost in the old medina

A no-brainer, especially if you’re staying in the area, is exploring the labyrinth of the old medina. The alleyways here seem a lot cleaner than the ones in Marrakech and Fes, but the energy’s no different. In around 5 minutes’ walk from the riad, you arrive at the junction of the souk.

A succession of smells, sights and sounds lift your senses as you decide which way to go. Whatever direction you choose, there’s always something to grab your attention. From the sellers making Moroccan pancakes, to the robust smell of leather goods, you can’t visit Rabat without seeing it.

One thing I really enjoyed about the Rabat souk, was the ability to shop and browse in peace. Unlike the markets in Marrakech and Fes, no market seller hounded us, or tried to guide us away.

In fact, at one shoe stall, I actually had to look for someone to help us! That said, I’d highly recommend shopping in Rabat. The souks are full of goods, it’s less touristy, and they don’t care where you’re from.

Walk along Rabat harbour

If like us, you travel to Rabat in October, be sure to take a leisurely stroll along Rabat harbour. Just across from the old medina, there’s a welcoming calm in the air that I didn’t find elsewhere in Morocco.

It’s a place to stop and admire the fishing boats on the water, and the signs of life all around.

Chow at Le Dhow

Most travel guides point to Le Dhow as a good place to eat and drink, and after visiting, I can confirm it’s true. This large wooden pirate boat turned floating restaurant is popular with the locals, offering views across the water. The seating areas are quirky and intimate, and you’ll most probably want the best seat of the house: the front of the boat.

Kasbah des Oudais

Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible to get to the famous blue city of Chefchaouen on this trip, but we did get the consolation prize in Rabat. The neighbourhood of Kasbah des Oudais is a mini version of the city, though with more white walls mixed with the blue. Needless to say, it’s a fantastic area to discover and take photos, and free too! There are a few locals that will try to be your personal guide, but there’s really no need for one.

Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V

Hassan Tower’s an icon in Rabat, and one attraction I’d urge everyone to see. It represents an unfinished mosque and was supposed to be the largest minaret, and part of the largest mosque, in the world. However, after the death of Sultan Abu Yusuf Yakub al-Mansur in 1199, all construction was stopped. It stands at 44m and is made of the red sandstone that is popular all over Morocco. The pillars that remain make for some great photos, and shows the scale of the complex size.

The minaret’s part of this impressive complex that’s also home to the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. It’s the resting place of the king and his 2 sons, King Hassan II, and Prince Abdallah. The building’s a dazzling white, with a green tiled roof, to represent the colour of Islam. Visitors can walk inside the strikingly stunning building of reds and golds, and admire the tombs below. The ambience is calm and peaceful, and totally fitting for a resting place.    

Luxury experience in Vienna - Kunsthistorisches Museum

“Most travel guides point to Le Dhow as a good place to eat and drink, and after visiting, I can confirm it’s true.”

FOLLOWING THE RIVERA

A Moroccan feast to end all feasts

There are a few good choices for restaurants in Rabat, and though it was a tough decision, we settled for Le Ziryab.

A gorgeous interior dripping in marble and orange, Le Ziryab offers fine dining in sumptuous Moroccan style — but at a cost. In many of the good restaurants in Rabat, they only offer a set menu, and not a la carte. That said, check beforehand if you can choose dishes, or whether there’s only the set menu option.  

Sadly, we both weren’t that hungry, and chose the ‘smaller’ set menu for 2. This includes a selection of 5 Moroccan salads, a fragrant chicken tagine, a creamy pastry desert followed by baklava and Moroccan tea. You won’t be surprised to hear that we were so full, that we had to walk a few rounds in the medina to work it off! Regardless, it was worth every bite and I’d return, only this time, with a better appetite.

Have you visited Rabat? Were there any other places you’d suggest seeing? Drop me a comment below and let me know!

Follow on Bloglovin

Like this post? Why not pin it!

Want new articles before they get published?
Subscribe below, and get them before anybody else.

10 + 11 =

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share this post with your friends!