25 things to do in Rabat
25 things to do in Rabat: Rabat is the capital of Morocco and the country’s second most populous city after Casablanca. Despite its political importance, in the context of tourism, it remains in the background. Although we think this is unfair, as there are many interesting places to visit. You won’t run out of things to do in Rabat: from enjoying the magnificent Chellah necropolis to getting lost in the Kasbah of the Oudayas. In this article, we tell you 25 things to do in Rabat.
On this map, we’ve marked all the places we’ve mentioned in the post to help you plan your visit to Rabat . You can see it whenever you like from the “My Places > Maps” section of the Google Maps application if you click on the star next to the title.
Visit the Mausoleum of Mohamed V:
This is Rabat’s main attraction. The “father of Moroccan independence” has a truly magnificent tomb. It was designed by no more and no less than 400 different artists and is in the classic Arabo-Andalusian style, within the framework of traditional Moroccan art. Mohamed V was one of the most beloved kings in the country’s history. He refused to enforce the anti-Semitic laws of the Vichy regime and continued to protect over 400,000 Moroccan Jews.
The site of the mausoleum is highly symbolic. On his return from exile in Madagascar on November 18, 1955, he announced the independence of the Moroccan kingdom on the esplanade of the Hassan Tower, precisely where the mausoleum was built. Your visit to Rabat is a must.
It’s important to know that entry to the adjacent mosque is forbidden to non-Muslims. If you want to see the tomb of Mohamed V and his family, you’ll need to do so from a vantage point at the mausoleum’s main entrance.
One of Rabat’s must-see monuments
This is another of Rabat’s landmarks. The Hassan Tower is the minaret of the mosque of the same name. It’s an unfinished tower. The ruler of the time, Yacoub al-Mansour, wanted to build the largest mosque in the world after Samarra, in Iraq.
However, after his death, work stalled and the plan remained unfinished. The Hassan Tower measures 45 metres when it should have been more than 60. As a curiosity, this minaret is the brother of the Giralda in Seville and the Koutoubia Mosque in Marrakech.
Travel back in time to the Chellah necropolis:
If you visit Rabat, you can’t miss the Chellah necropolis. Phoenicians, Romans and Arabs all lived here. Although the Phoenicians were probably the first to occupy the site, the city only developed with the arrival of the Romans. The location was perfect: close to the Atlantic and next to the Bou Regreg, a navigable river.
Centuries later, however, the Romans abandoned it, and later the Arabs moved in. They built a mosque, several shrines and a medersa, among other buildings. Without a doubt, it’s a good historical place to better understand the region, its occupation and the different cultures that followed.
And best of all, admission is virtually free: it costs 10 dirhams (just under €1). Although located on the outskirts of Rabat, it can be reached in around 35 minutes on foot from the center. If you prefer to travel by cab, it shouldn’t cost you more than 200 dirhams (around €2). Without doubt, one of Rabat’s must-sees.
See Rabat’s Palais Royal from the outside:
Like all the great cities to see in Morocco, Rabat has a Royal Palace. As you might imagine, the King of Morocco does not reside in this spectacular palace. It is used as the seat of government and other institutions, since Rabat is the political and institutional center of the country. Entrance to the building is totally forbidden. In fact, there’s a ton of security. If you want to see it, you’ll have to content yourself with strolling through its gardens and observing it from afar. Above all, don’t take photos of the guards.
Do you have any doubts about the safety of visiting Morocco? We’d like to share our experience and advice with you.
Breathe in the capital’s air:
25 things to do in Rabat: As we’ve said, Rabat is the capital of Morocco, and you’ll notice this as you walk through its streets. You’ll see a lot more police, government buildings… Anyway, it has a very different air from other cities in the country, much more orderly and institutional. As well as being a different city, it enjoys a fairly favorable climate all year round.
A stroll through Rabat’s Medina:
This is another of the best things to do in Rabat. If you’ve been to Fez or Marrakech, Rabat’s Medina won’t seem like much. It’s totally different, mainly because of its Andalusian-style architecture. The buildings were constructed in the 17th century, coinciding with the arrival of Muslims from Andalusia. Calle de los Cónsules, or Rue des Consuls, is one of the main streets, where you can find all kinds of products.
Find the El Qoubba mosque:
In Rabat’s Medina, if there’s one building that stands out from the rest, it’s the beautiful El Qoubba mosque. It stands out for its height and beauty. Even if, as in any medina, it’s hard to find, it’s well worth the detour. Entry is forbidden to non-Muslims.
Discover the Mellah, Rabat’s Jewish quarter:
Another must-see attraction in Rabat is the modern Jewish quarter of Mellah. We say modern because it was created relatively recently: in 1808, under the reign of Sultan Moulay Slimane, the more than 6,000 Jews living in the city were forced to reside in this area reserved for them.
But today, the capital is nearly entirely devoid of Jews. The exodus was enormous in the 1950s, when over 300,000 Moroccan Jews from all over the country left for Israel.
Get lost in Rabat’s magnificent Kasbah:
25 things to do in Rabat: It’s one of the city’s main tourist attractions, not to mention the main one. Inside the walls of the 11th-century fortress, the magic is hidden: a quiet little district full of white and blue buildings that are a little reminiscent of Chefchaouen. If you want to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the capital, getting lost in its streets is ideal.
Hallucinate with their opinions:
Apart from its beautiful blue and white streets and Rabat’s oldest mosque, the Kasbah des Oudayas has other attractions. Especially for the views it offers of the Atlantic Ocean and Salé from its belvedere.
Relax in Rabat’s Andalusian gardens:
It is also advised that you visit the Andalusian gardens in Rabat after your visit to the Kasbah. Although they’re nothing to get excited about, they’re quiet and perfect for relaxing. The name is misleading, as they only look Andalusian. In fact, they were designed by a French architect in the 20th century.
Enter the medina through the Bab El Had gate:
There’s no better way to enter Rabat’s Medina than through the Bab el Had. Passing through this imposing gateway, you leave behind modern Rabat and enter the world of crafts, markets and haggling.
Pasear por la Ville Nouvelle de Rabat:
It was built in 1912 by the French during their protectorate. They wanted to build a completely different district on the outskirts of the Medina as a residence for French bureaucrats. In fact, Rabat’s Ville Nouvelle was the first of its kind in Morocco. There is a ton of Art Deco and Art Nouveau architecture in these areas of the city. The contrast with the narrow streets and alleys of the Medina is striking. The main artery of Rabat’s Ville Nouvelle is Avenue Mohammed V.
Fall in love with the elegant Avenue Mohammed V:
25 things to do in Rabat: This is the city’s main avenue, linking the Medina to Rabat’s Ville Nouvelle. It begins at the foot of the Assounna Mosque and ends at Boulevard El Alou. During your visit, you’ll find numerous boutiques and the famous Hotel Balima. Opposite this hotel is the Moroccan Parliament and other important buildings such as the Al Maghrib bank and the magnificent post office. Walking around and observing your surroundings is a highly recommended activity in Rabat.
Get to know the Assouna mosque:
Precisely where the elegant avenue Mohamed V begins is Rabat’s most famous mosque. The Alaouites constructed it in the eighteenth century. Entry is forbidden to non-Muslims.
Visit the Mohamed VI Museum of Contemporary Art:
There’s no museum in Rabat quite like this one. Only the building itself is worth a visit. The museum houses modern and contemporary Moroccan and international art. As a curiosity, it is the first large-scale museum to be built in Morocco since the country’s independence in 1956. Over 200 Moroccan artists have their works displayed in the museum overall. Without doubt, a curious visit to make in Rabat. Admission costs 40 dirhams (about €4).
Photograph the magnificent post office:
This is one of the most striking buildings on the beautiful Avenue Mohamed V. It was built in the 20th century by French architect Lafforgue. Don’t forget to photograph it!
Get up close to the curious San Pedro Cathedral:
Construction began in 1918, but it wasn’t completed until 1930, with the completion of its two towers, one of the most distinctive elements of the city’s modern architecture. San Pedro Cathedral is still in use today, and Sunday masses are celebrated here.
Visit the Rabat Museum of Archaeology:
25 things to do in Rabat: And another interesting museum to see in Rabat is the Museum of Archaeology. It’s the city’s second most visited museum, after the Modern and Contemporary Art Museum. It contains authentic treasures from the city’s Roman period. Without doubt, the most worthwhile are the Volubilis artefacts. If you have several days in the city, don’t miss it. Admission costs 20 dirhams (about €2).
If your itinerary includes Fez, we recommend booking this tour to discover Volubilis first-hand.
Shopping at Megamall:
And if you’ve had enough of so much tourism in the city, come to Megamall to disconnect. It’s an interesting shopping mall on the outskirts of Rabat, near the embassy district. You’ll find stores of all kinds and a few dining options. Ideal for an afternoon out if you’ve got enough time in town.
Know the embassy area:
As the country’s capital, international embassies are concentrated on the outskirts of Rabat. Although not a major tourist attraction, it’s a curious visit to Rabat to learn more about the city.
Visit Salé to learn more about the Abul Hassan Madrasa:
25 things to do in Rabat: If you’re spending several days in Rabat, it’s well worth visiting Salé, the town on the other side of the river. This town of over 800,000 inhabitants hides several attractions. One of these is the Madrasa Abul Hassan, also known as the Medersa des Merinides .
It was built 700 years ago for religious instruction. It’s right next to Masjid Azam, a large Muslim mosque. Admission costs 10 dirhams (about €1).
Unwind in the exotic gardens of Bouknadel:
And on the outskirts of Salé, you can also visit these exotic gardens. If you’re a plant lover, you’ll find your paradise here, and if you’re not, at least you’ll be able to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of Rabat. In the 20th century, a French horticulturist with a passion for travel wanted to represent various exotic microclimates in this space. Admission costs 20 dirhams (approx. €2).
Watch a sunset on Temara beach:
Located on the Atlantic coast, Rabat also has a beach. The best of them all is on the outskirts, at Témara. You can get there easily by public transport: bus 33 from Bab el Had. Beautiful views of Rabat
Escape to Casablanca:
25 things to do in Rabat: And to round off this list of things to do in Rabat, you can’t miss a visit to Casablanca, Morocco’s economic capital. It’s only an hour from Rabat. It’s also a city you can see in a single day, so you can easily get to and from Rabat. There’s a train every half-hour, so it couldn’t be easier. Don’t miss the spectacular Hassan II Mosque!