Rabat

Rabat travel guide

Rabat is located on the Atlantic coast and is the capital of Morocco. Rabat is one of the four royal cities of Morocco, with the other three being Meknes, Fes and Marakech. There are four districts worth visiting. In the north lies the kasbah of the Oudaya's (kasbah = fortress). The medina is partly confined by walls in the west and south. In the northeast you'll see the Hassan II tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, and in the south you will find the remains of the Roman city of Sala or Chellah. Over the centuries, various peoples and dynasties have left their mark on this city.

Mohammed V mausoleum

The Mohammed V mausoleum, located on the same grounds as the Hassan II tower.

  Average costs in Rabat

Stay – Rabat is not that expensive if you’re looking for accommodation. There are big price differences between Rabat and more popular cities such as Marrakech.
If you’re lucky you can already book a 5-star hotel for €110 ($125). A 4-star hotel is a lot cheaper, though! For average prices around €50 ($56) you already are presented with immense luxury!
The price for three stars is strangely similar to four star hotels…
Budget travelers can already stay in Rabat for €25 to €30 ($28 – $34) per night. Make sure to also look at the nearby Salé when searching for accommodation. This suburb is really close to Rabat and is much quieter and prices are often significantly lower.

For an overview of accommodations and prices, I recommend to check out Agoda and Booking.

Eat – Going to a restaurant in Rabat shouldn’t cost more than a few euros or dollars. The Moroccan food in Rabat is delicious. A main course can cost less than three euros ($4). Would you also like a dessert? Then you will only pay another two to three euros ($3 – $4). A Moroccan mint tea usually costs less than one euro, while a soda will cost €1,5.

Transportation – If you aren’t exploring much outside of Rabat, you can easily visit the city by walking. The only exception is maybe Chellah. This necropolis is located a few kilometers from the other sights.
The tram from Rabat to Salé costs 60 eurocents, about 80 dollarcents. Instead of the tram you can also take a rowing boat. For this you pay 5 to 6 dirham per person.

There is no public transport in the city itself, but fortunately there are hundreds of taxis that would love to take you to your next destination. There are no fixed prices or fares, so haggling is a must!
The original cost proposed by taxi drivers should never be the final price. Try paying 30% to 50% less than what was originally proposed.

rabat medina

The medina of Rabat. A paradise for shopaholics!

  Saving money in Rabat

Haggle for the best prices – If there is one thing that can save you a lot of money in Rabat, it must be haggling. Almost everywhere you go, you’ll have to think of a price for yourself. Taxis, markets, shops, etc. It sometimes gets a bit annoying but it’s just part of Moroccan culture… Depending on what you purchase, a haggling discount of 20 to 50% is very normal.

Doing everything on foot – The distances between all the attractions of Rabat are not insurmountable. By walking around, you will not miss anything from what the Moroccan capital has to offer!

Overnight in Salé – Rabat is certainly not the most expensive city in Morocco, but you can still save some money on your accommodation. Staying in the nearby Salé will make prices even less expensive. Salé is a 25-minute walk from Rabat, or 5 minutes by tram or boat. Salé is also very pleasant to explore, so even if you’re not staying there I recommend you to visit it.

Take sun cream with you – One thing that’s really expensive in Rabat is sun cream. For a small tube you pay at least €20 ($23). In the shops and pharmacies, they only sell creams from factor 50 or more. So everyone who wants to tan at least a little bit is better off providing their own creams!

medersa salé rabat

The Medersa of Salé is located just outside of Rabat, but is definitely worth the detour!

  Things to do in Rabat

Kasbah of the Oudaya’s – Nestled next to the Andalusian gardens of Rabat lies the cozy kasbah of the Oudaya’s. The streets with the whitewashed houses are almost completely abandoned. A greater contrast with the Moroccan capital is almost impossible!
Be sure to enjoy a mint tea on the kasbah’s panoramic terrace. It’s wonderful to take in all those beautiful views!

Andalusian Gardens of Rabat – Right across the medina, you’ll find another wall surrounding yet another part of Rabat. Inside you will not find a lively market this time, but a beautifully maintained garden. Tropical flowers and plants brighten up the courtyard and provide shade and great smells while you rest and relax in this paradise like setting.

Necropolis of Chellah – Too bad that the necropolis of Chellah is located a bit out of the center, because it’s without a doubt one of the best things to do in Rabat. Long ago, many civilizations fought over this place but after a while its popularity seemed to fade away. Today you can still see beautiful remains and a well-kept garden. The main attraction of the necropolis are of course the dozens of storks. They remain the only permanent inhabitants of this abandoned place!

Salé – Just outside Rabat lies Salé, a suburb which is definitely worth a visit. The city is a real maze of narrow alleys and streets. Here you will also find a beautiful medina, a beautiful kasbah and other beautiful buildings. Be sure to visit Morocco’s smallest madrasa. An Islamic school with an incredible interior.

The medina – Every city in Morocco has a medina (= old town) hidden somewhere. The one of Rabat is not particularly big, but nevertheless great to explore. Between the narrow streets you’ll find thousands of bargain hunters looking for the best deals. The medina is the heart of Rabat!

Cemeteries of Rabat – Thousands of graves adorn the surrounding area near Rabat. The higgledy-piggledy
placed graves are a beautiful sight. Whether you’re watching them from afar or from up close.
Some gravestones are very beautifully decorated, others remain very sober. Taken over by grasses and plants, it’s something you should definitely not skip!

The Hassan II tower and the Mausoleum – Besides the medina of Rabat you’ll find the impressive Hassan II tower with the Mausoleum of Mohammed V behind it.
Rabat wanted to have the highest minaret in the world, and the pillars that stand here were supposed to become the biggest mosque. However, the buildings were never completed and thus the monument still remains unfinished.
In the beautiful mausoleum you can pay your respects to the very beloved Mohammed V.

herbs and spiced morocco

A great scent and very colorful. The dried herbs and spices of Morocco.

 

   Avoid in Rabat

Not asking the prices in advance – Whenever you buy something, immediately ask for the price. If you don’t, many people will try to scam you by asking a much higher price.

No haggling – Something you should always do in Rabat: haggle. The original price is almost always too high. A big discount is always possible. If the vendor isn’t giving in to your offer, head to another store. Almost all the shops sell the same products and eventually you’ll find someone who accepts your lowest offer.

Accept someone’s help right away – Unfortunately, the spontaneous help of Moroccans is not always free. When you’re lost, there are always a few people who wouldn’t mind getting you back on track. But nothing is free in Morocco! A couple of dirhams are usually enough though.

Clothes that are too revealing – Rabat is quite conservative. If you prefer not to be looked at in a judgmental way, you should perhaps think of wearing some other clothes. T-shirts don’t really seem to be a problem, but shorts (especially for women!) seem to be less accepted.

chellah rabat ramparts

The ramparts around Chellah: the necropolis of Rabat.

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Hi, I'm Sam Van den Haute. The last three years I've been traveling the world almost constantly. Heading out for an adventure and visiting the most beautiful places are what I love to do! Let me inspire you with great stories, beautiful pictures and handy tips from my adventures and travels. On my facebook page and instagram account you'll get to see the latest updates and photos to inspire you for your next vacation.
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