After 2 weeks of travelling in Morocco we made it to Rabat, a city with a relaxed vibe that I instantly loved. Located on Morocco’s Atlantic Coast, Rabat is the capital city of Morocco and is a lot smaller than nearby city Casablanca. It’s elegant tree-lined streets give it a very European feel and it’s Medina kept us entertained for hours with some of the best shopping and some of the cheapest food we came across during our time in Morocco.
Please Note: At the time of writing, 10 DH is equal to approx $1/ £1.50
How long to spend in Rabat
Rabat might even be my favourite city in Morocco, and I was glad we ended up with 3 days to explore the city.
We felt like 3 days was plenty of time, some would probably find 3 days too much time as the main sights could all definitely be seen in 2 days, especially if you’re on a stricter time schedule, but for us it was nice to relax and take it slow after a busy few weeks travelling around the rest of the country.
How to get to Rabat
Rabat is located on Morocco’s very efficient railway line, travel to and from Rabat couldn’t have been any easier. It took us just over 3 hours to get to Rabat from Fes on the train and the ticket cost 85Dh per person (£6.80). Alternatively, to get to or from Meknes, it takes just over 2 hours and costs 69Dh (£5.50). And if you’re going in the other direction, Casablanca is only 1 hour away (35Dh/ £2.80) and Marrakech is about 3.5 hours away.
Once in Rabat, the tram around the city costs 7Dh (60 pence) per journey.
What to do in Rabat
Shop, eat and drink in the Medina
I loved Rabat Medina. It gets really busy in the evenings; once the sun goes down this is the place where everyone seems to be at. Rabat Medina seemed much less touristy than any other Medina we visited in Morocco, so the shopping was a much more enjoyable experience.
I actually really loved shopping here, where the vendors don’t hassle you as you walk by and prices were cheaper than anywhere we had seen in Morocco. I ended up with 2 new pairs of trainers! (trainers cost anything from about £4), Shaun got a vintage Nike jacket in the flea market (£3) and a new bracelet cost me 8 Dh (about 60p).
Wander around the white and blue Kasbah des Oudayas
Built in the 12th century, the Kasbah des Oudayas is located on the cliff top by the edge of the Bou Regreg river. It’s narrow streets are lined with ridiculously beautiful white and blue houses! There is a really nice viewpoint once you’ve walked through the Kasbah which overlooks the ocean and the river.
Head to the other side, to the city of Sale
Located on the other side of the Bou Regreg river is the little city of Sale. We spent a few hours here wandering around the small maze of souks and had a walk along the beach. There is a very relaxed vibe here and it’s a true Moroccan town, not overwhelmed by tourists. Sale is not far from the centre of Rabat so easily accessible, we got a tram here and back for 7 Dh each way (60p).
Visit the beach
Although not the most beautiful beach we’ve ever seen, it would have been fine to sunbathe on if the weather was warmer. We were there in March and it was not quite hot enough for a beach day! For us, the beach was nice to just take a stroll across. The beaches around Rabat are also a popular place for surfing.
Drink lots of smoothies
I think I became a bit addicted to fruit juice and smoothies in Rabat so I have to include it in this list, as it’s what we spent a lot of time doing. The Medina is packed full of places that sell them for really cheap. I loved sitting with a smoothie at the side of Avenue Mohammed V, watching the world go by. My favourite choice being Jus de Fraise!
Where we slept in Rabat
We stayed in Hotel Lutece, which cost us £31 a night and despite costing double what most of our other rooms in Morocco cost, it was one of the cheapest we could find in Rabat and it was perfect for us. The location was excellent, really close to the Medina and the kasbah and only about 20 minutes walk to the train station. After weeks of staying in traditional Riads, it was quite nice to stay in a hotel for a change.
Where we ate in Rabat
Restaurant les Voyageurs – located on the edge of the Medina, we stumbled across this place whilst in search for a toilet! It was so busy inside and the food looked great, so we gave it a try and loved it so much we went back the next day too. It cost us 25 Dh each (less than £2) for a plate of chicken, fries and rice, with a free bread basket and olives.
Patisserie Majestic – This was our favourite breakfast spot and although it wasn’t the cheapest place for breakfast it was definitely reasonable and so we treated ourselves each morning as we loved it so much. It cost us 55 Dh (just over £2 each) for a coffee each and 3 items each. Probably one of the best bakeries we’ve ever been to!
Good Way – There were loads of little cheap food places along Ave Mohammed V where you can sit outside on little plastic chairs and eat pizza and drink fruit juice, the menu’s and prices all looked fairly similar, but we went for ‘Good Way’, one that was consistently busy with young locals. It was great for a cheap lunch time spot as it only cost us 15Dh per pizza (£1.20!)
And that’s how we spent 3 days relaxing in the really lovely Moroccan city of Rabat. A city often overlooked by tourists, we felt it definitely deserves a spot on any Morocco itinerary!