|Rabat Capital of Morocco|
Rabat is the capital and the second largest city of the Kingdom of Morocco. Situated in north-western Morocco, the region of Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer . The city is located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the river Bou Regreg. Rabat is a home to all the Moroccan ministries, the Parliament, the Mohammed V University and some beautiful monuments. It is a cosmopolitan city, with a relaxed atmosphere and almost no hustlers at all, unlike Marrakech for example, because it has yet to become a tourist destination. It does not have many shopping districts and it’s an easy going city by Moroccan standards. The tourism and the presence of all foreign embassies in Morocco make Rabat to be one of the most important cities in the country. Rabat is famous for its many historical monuments, luxurious carpets and rich embroidered goods. A good thing about this city is that you can easily explore the city on your own without any help of a guide.
With the city centre of Rabat being very compact, all the points of interest are in walking distance. The city has a number of wide boulevards and is full of interesting historical sites and monuments. The heart of the city consists of three parts: the Medina (old town), the Oudayas and Hassan.
One of the must-see attractions is the Medina of Rabat, which is in the older part of the city, it’s a home to a few very good cafe-restaurants which are moderately priced and inexpensive. In the Ville Nouvelle you will find a fine selection of Moroccan and French restaurants for five-star cuisine and also a few Oriental Restaurants for a change in cuisine. In the medina of Rabat there are lots of traditional shops and cafes that you can visit and explore. Rabat's medina is a pleasure to walk around in . You can find here a leather footwear bazaar where you will see interesting leather shoes, leather bags and wallets at a good price. There are lots of Moroccan craft shops that contain a variety of items, like the well-known Rabat and Berber carpets and embroidered fabrics. If you will enter the Green Street in medina you will find the stalls with the meantha tea, this type of tea is also called Moroccan vodka as it’s the cheapest drink in Morocco. Tourists can make bargains at Rabat's medina and so are assured of coming away with a couple of items to take home .
The Rabat International Airport is in the nearby town of Salé. The city has limited international connections, so the better way to get to Casablanca and then come to Rabat by train or coach.
Rabat is well served by train and you can get frequent connections to most places. There are two stations in Rabat - Centre Ville (Medina/Downtown) and Agdal. A tram and a taxi station are located just next to the downtown train station. It's possible to get a bus from almost any town in the country to Rabat. The buses often do not stop at the central bus station, but instead go through the city.
Eat and drink
Eating out in Rabat is easy and often affordable. Traditional food is mostly meat and pasta based, and while many restaurants serve alcohol because of the European influence in the city, Morocco is a Muslim country and alcohol can be hard to come by. Green tea, the national beverage, can be found everywhere and is a cheap alternative.
In the centre there are often inexpensive food stalls around the medina, serving delicious fish and salad sandwiches. Especially found right around the perimeter of the Marche Centrale, these places also serve fresh and simple salads, hot bowls of beans or lentils, rotisserie chicken, and home-made tagines. There are also lots of stalls selling pancakes and pain au chocolat.
Cheap restaurants and snacks in medina can be found mostly on Avenue Mohammed V. Also, around lunchtime (between 12am and 3pm) makeshift food stalls are mounted and you can smell roasted meat, cooked snails, fried fish and such.
Make sure to try tajine kefta aux oeufs (meatballs in spicy tomato sauce with eggs) and brochettes el bahia (grilled lamb kebab) in Moroccan cuisines. The restaurants has fish on the menu and also a big chose of meat dishes.
What to Do
The Mausoleum of Mohammed V is one of the most important monuments in Morocco. It is here that the founder of modern and independent Morocco, the father of the nation, king Mohammed V is laid to rest. Next to the tomb of Mohammed V is the tomb of Hassan II, his son, and the father of the present king, Mohammed VI. The royal tomb is beautifully decorated in wood, stucco and zellij mosaic, inside an open chamber which can be seen (and photographed) by visitors from the gallery surrounding it.
The Kasbah des Oudaias is the fortification built on a hill, overlooking the ocean and Salé. The white ochre walls surround it from all sides, while the small, winding streets inside it are really charming, with all the houses being painted in white and blue.
Inside the Kasbah, there are also Andalusian Gardens, filled with palms, orange trees, flowers and cats. During the warm part of the year, you will see many local students study here.
The Rue des Consuls is the most charming street in Rabat's medina. Only craft shops can be found here, and the colors of the rugs, pottery, leather goods, lamps and wooden furniture are really charming.
Chellah is the old necropolis situated at the end of Avenue John Kennedy, it is a really great place to take a walk and enjoy the nature and the view over the Bou Regreg river valley. Here is possible to see olive and orange trees everywhere.
The Royal Palace in Rabat is the place the King mostly resides . Any building inside this area is non-accessible, but you can take photos of the Palace building. There are royal palaces not only in every imperial city (Rabat, Marrakech, Fes and Meknes) but in other, smaller towns too, all over Morocco.
The unique Hassan Tower, begun at the end of the 12th century, was meant to have the world's largest minaret, but was never completed. It’s situated opposite the Mausoleum of Mohammed V.
In Rabat you can find a lot of places to stay in from five star luxury hotels to fabulous self-catering holiday cottages, chalets, villas, holiday rentals, vacation rentals and holiday apartments. Riads, traditional Muslim houses, are a popular alternative to hotels and offer a more intimate view of the city. Most of Rabat's riads are located in the Medina, and have been converted to bed-and-breakfast style inns. Rooms are often smaller but they are clean and well kept.