Are you visiting Rabat for the first time? Or are you wondering what to do for your trip to Rabat? If you are coming to Morocco without planning to spend some time in Rabat, it would be a disappointment, sorry to say! Coming to Morocco without visiting Rabat is like a trip to the tropical beach and not jiggling your toes in the soft sand. It is unimaginable.
Rabat has something for everybody if you hunt for relaxation, explore, learn local history, or go sightseeing. You only need to visit once, and there is no going back.
You came to the right place for anyone wondering where Rabat is and why it is worth a visit. We help you discover Rabat and why the city is worth a visit. You will undoubtedly be planning your visit after reading the best things to do in Rabat.
Rabat is the capital of Morocco. It also has the most important museum of the country, the Royal Palace and the Mohammed V Mausoleum, among other historical charms of the country.
Since it is one of Morocco’s major cities, Rabat is the perfect place to visit, particularly when traveling to or from the Atlantic coast. It is small and less renowned than other cities like Fes and Marrakesh. Rabat is relatively calm, and the atmosphere is a welcoming gesture for tourists from other cities.
Rabat offers various attraction sites, hence worth exploring. It is also drenched in antiquity and gives a friendly travel experience to tourists.
Similar to Casablanca, Rabat is a seaside city perched on the western shores of northern Africa, nestling the immense Atlantic Sea. The small size of Rabat is perfect for travelers who like to explore on foot. It is a magical destination; you will not regret coming.
Numerous features include a modern carriage system that joins the city to other nearby Casablanca and Fes. It also links to Sale, a small town considered a suburb of the capital. It is an excellent base while touring Rabat.
What to do in Rabat?
Rabat is an open-minded city, home to beautiful gardens, a royal palace, and other historic sites. Most fun moments and experiences come from getting lost in the winding streets, which gives an escape from the global masses that visit Marrakech and Casablanca.
Whether you come to explore the coastal region or the traditional medina, you will be surprised by the fewer crowds around. Besides, more people are locals than tourists. The diverse, unique attractions contribute to the city’s beauty, giving you the best touring experience. People who come to Rabat find so much beauty and things to do.
Check the different things you can do to maximize your visit, these are the best things to do in Rabat:
Table of Contents
- 1 Tour the Grand Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V
- 2 Visit the Kasbah of the Udayas
- 3 Take a tour at the Chellah
- 4 Stroll on the narrow streets of the old medina
- 5 Take some mint tea while relaxing in the beautiful Andalusian Gardens
- 6 Visit the traditional Berber Art at the Craft Museum of Oudayas.
- 7 Learn surfing at the Rabat beach and the Oudayas Surf Club
- 8 Catch a show in one of the performance theaters in Rabat
- 9 Visit the Rabat National Zoo
- 10 Visit the Villa Des Arts
- 11 Explore the Mohammed VI Museum
- 12 FAQs about the best things to do in Rabat
Tour the Grand Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V
This is among the historic sites in Rabat. It is an opportunity to learn the exciting history of the 12th century. Generally, the construction project of this tower is dated to the 12th century and was started by Yacub al-Mansur, a Moroccan ruler. He had an ambitious vision of constructing the biggest mosque globally.
However, he died before completing the project, and it was halted for centuries. After the construction was abandoned, the remains were also destroyed in an earthquake in 1755. That is still evident and can be seen on the 348 restricted cylinder-shaped stone pillar in front.
The tower’s remains are now called Hassan Tower and have already been among the most notable art globally. It has ramps rather than staircases, allowing people to get to the top while on horseback. Isn’t that a fantastic experience?
UNESCO documented the structure in 2012, and as a way to preserve the expansive architectural achievement, it was declared a dwindling Global Legacy site.
People come to visit the remains and explore the diverse ruins that stretch right to the tomb of Mohammed V and the sons. When planning your trip to Rabat, ensure you have the site on your bucket list.
All people are allowed to tour the tomb, including non-Muslims. But everyone is advised to keep silent while there and respect the mausoleum. The interior of the mausoleum is decorated with elegant Moroccan decor.
The tower is situated on the furthest corner of Quartier Hassan, close to the Tour Jardin. When you visit the furthest end of the site, you will see the ornate mausoleum at the Avenue bordering the Hassan Tour. It is an adventurous place to visit, with beautiful architectural sites. The historical site is also a fantastic experience.
Visit the Kasbah of the Udayas
The 12th-century citadel guards the mouth of river Bou Regreg against the cliff-top on the left side. The Almohad rebuilt it in 1146 to launch the attacks on Iberia.
The Kasbah of Udayas is a compacted labyrinth of dashing backstreets with the whitewashed building clipped with blue. The ramparts give fantastic views of the Rabat beach, the Atlantic Ocean, the Bou Regreg river, and the Sale on the right bank.
The 10th-century mosque was reconstructed by an English renegade, Ahmed Inglis, by the 18th century. You will notice Bab Oudaia, the solid main gate, and many large cornices sketching the Arch on the strip when you visit the place.
The Bab Craft Museum is situated in the 17th-century noble palace in the Kasbah. It displays numerous Korana, jewelry, music instruments, great mats used by Berber, and other ancient Moroccan clothing.
Take a tour at the Chellah
The Chellah is a great place and fun for exploration. It is a walled garden situated on the left bank of the great Bou Regreg river mouth. It holds a lot of history, dating back to the Phoenicians, who started trading on that spot for over 2000 years ago.
The area grew and extended to the Roman city of Colonia, which initially had a Roman military unit until the 5th century. By then the Rome had already withdrawn from the rest of the region.
On the other hand, Muslims had already taken over during the 7th century, and the area was under the rule of Marinids in the 13th century. The former city was turned into a royal cemetery. At the place, you will find the Roman holdovers such as the Arch, ramparts, steals, spring, among other traditional fruit trees.
There is also a section of the Muslims, where you will find a tomb of the late Marinid ruler, Abu al Hasan. He was the ruler from 1297-1352 and a Balck Sultan. He once held authority over the whole Maghreb province.
Chellah is also close to the foot of the most integral lump minaret for a ruined mosque. However, it is still adorned with the tilework of zellige and topped with a stork’s coat.
Today, Chellah was designed to be a garden for tourists to explore the traditional remains left by the peoples through the eras. Although most of the structures were ruined during the earthquake in 1755, it is among the popular things most visited in Rabat.
Chellah is used to hold the Chellah festival and the Mawazine music festivals. The festivals allow people to celebrate traditional music in an exclusive outdoor setting.
If you are lucky to visit the place during the music festival season, you will have an unforgettable experience, dancing to the lovely tunes while among the remains of Chellah.
Stroll on the narrow streets of the old medina
The medina can be accessed through Souika, Rabat’s old town. For visitors coming to Morocco, the ancient medina is a must-visit. The medina is among the oldest and renowned things to view in Rabat.
The medina has narrow and winding streets, which closely confined market shops couple. While here, you will go home with many handcrafted artistries and other striking foods. These are the images and pictures that people associate with morocco.
The market stalls in the medina are often less crowded, and the owners are seen having the stalls in an arranged manner, as compared to the souks in other Morocco cities. Also, they are usually less crowded.
Although the souks don’t exude the same frantic and claustrophobic impression that many people associate with the other market in the different Moroccan cities, they style it up for triangulation’s appeal and effortlessness.
The bargaining with shop attendants is often less aggressive, and other three imperial cities in Morocco. Besides, most people strolling the aisles are often locals, giving a more personal feeling.
The other thing you will love about the medina is the Rabat carpets. They are a subject in the old medina and are handcrafted specifically for the only vestiges. Their style is more evocative of the Turkish carpets than the ordinally Berber or Moroccan rugs.
The medina is located in the old city center, just inland of river Bou Regreg. Since the city is small compared to the others, tourists love walking from their hotels or other accommodation places to the medina.
Also, the souks give everyone a chance to buy souvenirs. If you are planning a trip to the old medina (which you definitely should), plan the trip close to the end of your journey in Rabat so that you can satisfy your shopping requirements.
Take some mint tea while relaxing in the beautiful Andalusian Gardens
The Andalusian gardens are located at the entrance of the Kasbah and give a serene retreat from the surrounding commotion of Rabat city. It is located right outside the old medina, making it an ideal stop point when touring the neighboring attraction sites.
The Andalusian gardens are dated in the colonial period, when the French designed and outlined all the scenic grounds, with different flowers, fruits trees, and interesting flora. All the flowers and trees, such as oranges, roses, palms, and red hibiscus, are trimmed with low boxwood hedges in rectangular beds.
When you walk inside, the garden is walled, and guests are welcomed at a small café that provides mint tea and different light snacks while they watch the scenic views of the ocean.
Also, the large areas of shadow formed by the matured trees style the garden into a beautiful place to relax after a long hot day while people are still enjoying the cool outdoor breeze. You cannot miss stopping by for a cup of mint tea.
Visit the traditional Berber Art at the Craft Museum of Oudayas.
When you visit the Kasbah, you will get an opportunity to learn the history of the traditional architectural items of Morocco at the craft museum.
All the ancient Berber rugs are crafted from wool and camel hairs. They make the most popular exhibitions of Morocco at the museum. Besides, at the museum, you will find a lot of jewelry, music instruments, pottery, and other traditional Moroccan garments.
The building is well preserved and was built in the 17th century by Ismail Moulay. You can’t miss a visit to the museum. It is an enjoyable activity to take if the weather doesn’t allow outside exploration. You learn a lot about the crafts in Rabat and the history behind the museum.
Learn surfing at the Rabat beach and the Oudayas Surf Club
If you have been to Casablanca, you noticed that your favorite water activity is surfing. Similarly, the most common water activity in Rabat is surfing. It is done at the Rabat beach located on the city’s northwest side. People often flock to the beach to learn the exciting water activity.
Besides, the red-colored sand is highlighted by the scenic sights of the enclosed Kasbah, hovering on a bluff, overseeing the sea.
While here, you can take award-winning shots, even when the beach is overcrowded. The ocean water welcomes tourists with a warm treat from the not sun during summertime. Besides, one can take a peaceful trek along the shoreline while enjoying the cool breeze and the ocean views.
The other place you are out to visit if you are an exploratory tourist and you don’t know what to do during your trip to Rabat is the Oudayas Surfing club. It is located in the middle of Rabat lighthouse and the beach. The club is among the famous surf clubs in Morocco, and one of its founding members is said to be King Mohammed VI.
The club gives incredible oceanic views. Also, one can try their luck with surfing lessons and enjoy the activity.
Catch a show in one of the performance theaters in Rabat
Rabat is set to extend its status as the artistic hub of Morocco. The leaders are tirelessly working towards developing more prospects in support of artistry. For instance, the latest inclusion to the artistry scenes is the Grand Theatre, an architectural wonder designed by Hadid Zaha.
The design of the building is modern, with a capacity of 1822 seats in the main multipurpose room. Also, the theatre is designed to accommodate different kinds of performances, with a large number of guests.
Once completed, the theatre will also host numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants with scenic views of River Bou Regreg. Besides, people will soon be planning dinner while they catch a show and enjoy views.
However, before the grand development is completed, one can still catch live performances in other national theatres such as the Mohammed V. It is located in the Quartier Hassan, close to the 7th Art café. You will enjoy the live performances, including symphonies, ballet among others. The theatre is close to numerous restaurants and other attraction sites to have an entire tour of concerts.
Visit the Rabat National Zoo
The fascinating thing about the zoo is the numerous and rare species. It has more than 140 animal species, although the zoo was initially made for all the lions living in the king’s palace.
The fascinating thing about the zoo and these animals is that they descended from the wild Barbary lions, which are now inexistant, and were seized by the noble family in the Atlas Mountains.
The zoo has more than 2000 animals, including the Nile crocodiles, African elephants, and wild dogs. They all live in a healthy natural environment.
The zoo is a fun place to be for every tourist. You will find other people having fun feeding the giraffes and taking a long ride on the Shetland pony.
Visit the Villa Des Arts
The Villa Des Arts museum is a splendid mansion on lavish and beautiful serene grounds. The art museum is operated by the ONA Foundation, a non-profitable organization partially devoted to raising the face of Moroccan artistry.
The villa has two lasting expositions: the self-educated artist Bent Radia and Gharbaoui Jilali, the first non-figurative visual artist in Morocco.
The villa provides a stage for performing arts, traditional music, and seminars. While here, you will enjoy different performances by the local artist, soothing local music, and other arts performances.
Explore the Mohammed VI Museum
The Mohammed VI museum is among the most incredible places to visit if you are interested in the contemporary art of Morocco. You cannot afford to miss the experience.
You will find a lot of permanent collections of art. The building is also impressively renovated, and it dates back to the French colonial days. Although it is considerably small compared to other museums, it holds arts worldwide from the 20th century until now. You will also notice a program of temporary expositions presenting both homegrown and worldwide artists.
While here, it is an opportunity to have an exciting view contrary to seeing the old-style artisan works. Morocco is known for its famous artistic exhibitions.
FAQs about the best things to do in Rabat
Why should I visit Rabat?
Rabat is the right place if you are looking for a serene, relaxed, and soothing destination. Besides, when you visit Rabat, there are many things you can do and see. The city is full of fun activities to do. If you wonder what you can do, we have highlighted the fun places and activities you can enjoy participating in.
How long do you require for a stay in Rabat?
While you can have all the time for your stay in Rabat, it is essential to plan your time well to maximize the opportunity to explore the different attraction sites of the city. However, if you are short of time, two to three days are enough.
Is Rabat safe for tourists?
There is nothing to worry you about planning your visit to Rabat. It is the Capital of Morocco, and the entire country is safe for tourists and the locals.
Is there an uber in Rabat?
Yes. Like other imperial cities in Morocco, uber is available to move people around and between the cities. Uber operates in Rabat, Mohammedia, and Casablanca. Careem is the largest uber company and was obtained at $3 billion. They have more than one million Uber drivers across different cities and countries.
How do you get around Rabat?
While in Rabat, one can either use public transport, a taxi, or a car. There is a train service throughout the city for public transportation, running on two lines, and the charges are affordable at only DH6. Also, a vast network of buses in the city, charging about DH4.
Which is better between Rabat and Casablanca?
Rabat has a relaxed environment and cool vibes than Casablanca. It is a small city with a lot of traditional cultures. Rabat is cleaner, making it a pleasant town to stroll around, particularly in the markets.
The city also has sophisticated streets, tourist attractions, and top-notch artistic institutions. You will want to visit Rabat to see all the exciting things offered.
What is there to do in Rabat at night?
There is a wide range of fun activities in Rabat, including nighttime. You can walk to a bar, restaurant, the SO Lounge in Rabat, among other things.
Besides, the city is safe during the night—just the common sense of not looking so showy or flashing a large quantity of money. While using public transport at night, be sure to keep an eye on your pockets.
In conclusion, Rabat has something for everyone if you hunt for relaxation, explore, learn local history, or go sightseeing.