It is often said that outsiders know your hometown better than you. I’m pretty sure I know my hometown pretty well-ish though. Rabat is the administrative capital of Morocco, and tends to get empty around 10 in the evening. Many think it’s boring city but don’t judge a book by its cover.
What to See
Fortunately, all the must see places are close-by. I normally walk from one another. Here are my favorites:
Kasbah of the Udayas
It is an Arab-Andalusian style fortress built in the 12th century, facing Bou Regreg river from one side and the Atlantic from the other side. It includes a garden, a museum and a Café that offers the best mint tea and Moroccan pastries (the ones coconuts delicacies are to die for). This is literally my hiding spot :p
Mellah (old Jewish neighborhood), Souq Sebbat (Shoe market), Souq Tahti (leather and carpentry market) are my favorite spots. I love walking around these markets early in the morning; it’s as if I bare witness to the start of the day, the opening of the shops, the laying down of the fruits and veggies in the market. Don’t hesitate to grab a cup of mint tea and fresh-baked Moroccan pancakes from one of the female-run shops found almost everywhere in the Medina.
This site is rich in historical ruins and traces from the Phoenicians, Romans and Muslims. It includes walls with inscriptions, tombs, chambers, and ruins that makes you wonder how it was like back in the days. Perfect for a picnic!
Hassan Tower and The Mausoleum of Mohammed V
There is an ambiguous saying in Arabic about Hassan Tower that either means “Half of the tower is gone” or “Half of the tower is gold”. As a child I could see cookies in the towers square designs.
Hassan Tower was meant to be the second biggest mosque minaret in the world but unfortunately it wasn’t finished.
The mausoleum of Mohammed V is located next to the mosque. Buried in this mausoleum are Late King Mohammed V, Prince Moulay Abdellah and King Hassan II. It is opened to visitors. Don’t miss looking up at the ceiling, it is just amazing.
Mohammed VI Museum of Modern Art
Inaugurated on 2016, it showcases lot of art works such as paintings, street arts projects, and more by famous Moroccan artists or guest artists.
St Peter’s Cathedral
The Roman Catholic Church located at El Joulan Square was established in 1919 and finished in 1930.
What to Do
There are lot of activities to do in Rabat. Here is my recommendations:
– Boat trip or kayaking along Bou Regrag River
– Run at Hilton Forest
– Walk at Jardin d’Essais (a botanic garden)
– Paragliding (in the region of Rabat)
Where to Eat and Chill
Depending on what you fancy, there are lot of interesting spots to eat and chill. Check out my favs:
– Terminus Restaurant
– Cantor Rooftop
– The Dhow
– Pietri Hotel (Jazz lovers, this is the place)
– Amoud (for Moroccan yummy pastries and pastillas)
What to Buy and Where
For traditional clothes, leather items, like handbags, backpacks, wallets, I’d say check out the shops inside the Old Medina.. For modern items, there are lot of stores in the Agdal neighbrhood and Mega Mall (outside of city center).
Ps. There is a stereotype about Rabati people, they’re known to give wrong directions. It’s more or less true, no offence. So, if you ever get lost, make sure to ask a police officer, Google maps or me 😀