While many travellers focus their Morocco trips on the heady exoticism of Marrakech or the chilled-out atmosphere of Essaouira, it is also worth adding Rabat onto your itinerary. As the capital of the country, Rabat has a whole host of exciting attractions and sights to visit as well as having amazing weather all year round, fantastic food options and a stunning beach. Here’s what you definitely can’t miss on a trip to Rabat.
Of course, we all know that every Moroccan city has a Medina, but what singles out Rabat’s Medina is that it doesn’t have the suffocating crowds that you can find in many others, especially Marrakech’s. Here you can have a more peaceful shopping experience where you can buy anything from handmade carpets to jewellery and clothes.
The Royal Palace
Despite not being able to enter the palace itself, it is still worth visiting this beautiful building. Home to the country’s royal family, it is a wonderful example of Moroccan architecture with its stunning zellij-decorated doors, which makes it a great place to snap some Instagram-worthy selfies.
History buffs will love wandering the remains of the Chella Necropolis. A fortified Muslim cemetery, the Necropolis was built by the Phoenicians before subsequently being taken over by the Romans then passed over to Arab rule. Nowadays it is home to a number of bird species, predominantly storks, who you will see as you stroll around the ruins of the tombs.
Kasbah Les Oudaias
Possibly the most fascinating of all sights in Rabat, the Kasbah Les Oudaias was built in the 12th century by Muslim refugees who had fled to Morocco from Spain. What we see today is a magnificent example of Andalusian architecture. The quarter is also home to the oldest mosque in Rabat, the Kasbah Mosque, which actually dates all the way back to the 10th century, and the Andalusian Gardens.
When entering the Andalusian Gardens, you may be forgiven for thinking that they have been present for hundreds of years. In actual fact, the gardens were designed in the 20th century and their seemingly abandoned state is intentional. A stroll through these gardens is wonderful for those seeking peace and tranquillity, with its huge variety of beautiful trees, flowers and fountains.
Over 800 years ago, construction on Hassan Tower began with the intention of it being the tallest minaret in the world alongside what was to be the largest mosque. However, when the then Caliph, who had commissioned the building, died in 1195, construction stopped. Despite its incompleteness, Hassan Tower is considered one of the most important historical monuments in Rabat.
Mausoleum of Mohammed V
Located on the opposite side of Hassan Tower is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, an architectural wonder of more modern Morocco. Containing the tombs of the current king’s father and grandfather, it is an astounding piece of modern Alaouite dynasty architecture with its white facade and intricate tile detail.
You may think that Marrakech has all the best that Morocco has to offer, but Rabat definitely has just as much to enthral and captivate visitors.