Top Things to Do in Rabat, Morocco

If you’re still in the planning stages of your trip, I present to you the top things to do while visiting Rabat, Morocco. If you’re already there and looking for things to add to your itinerary then you’re in the right place! I’m glad you’ve made it here and hope this guide helps you maneuver the capital city of Morocco. I’m sure you either have the Medina on your list or probably already visited it, so for this reason you won’t see it on this list. Now let’s get to it!

(Photos are mine, unless stated otherwise)

Bonus: I’m including 3 places I haven’t had the chance to visit myself yet, but don’t want you to miss out on them.

1 Chellah Necropolis

Chellah Necropolis
Chellah Necropolis April 2019

We’re starting this list at the farthest point of places to get closer to our night spot. Chellah is located in the center of Rabat and is a medieval fortified city. It’s actually a pre-Islamic city that was abandoned in 1154 only to be built upon by a Sultan later on. As you walk around you’ll see how overgrown the plants are after so many years of inuse. Many of the roofs of the buildings are no longer on the buildings which makes it beautiful on sunny days to walk around and take pictures. There’s some signs with history along the walkways to transport you to a different time period.

Fee: 10 Dirhams / 0,95€ / $1.10 [kids free]

Hours: 8:30am-5:30pm TEMPORARILY CLOSED (check online to see updates)

Address: Ave Yacoub Al Mansour & Blvd Moussa Ibn Nassair, Rabat, Morocco

 

2 Mausoleum of Mohammed V

Mausoleum Mohammed V
Mausoleum Mohammed V April 2019

From Chellah we get a bit closer to the center part of the city, and the location of the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V and his two sons. The tomb is open to everyone, including non-Muslims so you’ll be able to see the beauty that is this mausoleum. The details alone, image a gold leaf ceiling and beautiful carvings, are reasons enough to visit this place. From the outside, you won’t expect to see what you get to experience once inside. I’ve only been able to visit once back in April 2019, because July 2021 it was closed due to COVID. From looking online it does seem to be open now, but make sure to double check before making your way there.

Fee: FREE

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm

Saturday and Sunday 8:15 am to 5:45 pm

Address: 25FH+3C2, Rabat, Morocco

3 Hassan Tower

Hassan Tower Rabat
Hassan Tower April 2019

Right across from the Mausoleum is the Hassan Tower, an incomplete mosque. It was started by the Almohad ruler, Yacoub al-Mansour, near the end of the 12th century to be a majestic mosque but was never completed. The designs on the tower and the fountains that surround make it a must see for sure.

TIP: I recommend visiting during sunset because the colors of the sky make a beautiful backdrop for the pictures you’ll want to take.

Fee: FREE

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm 

Saturday and Sunday 8:15 am to 5:45 pm

Address: 25FH+3C2, Rabat, Morocco

4 Andalusian Gardens

Andalusian Gardens Rabat
Andalusian Gardens April 2019

The name may have you thinking this was created by a Spaniard from Andalucia, but actually it was designed by a Frenchman. Walking through the gardens will have you feeling that you are in the Andalucia region with its water fountains and choice of floral that you’ll find here. As with most of Morocco, expect to see lots of cats wandering freely around. 

TIP: The gardens along with the Café and the Kasbah of the Udayas are all right next to each other and I recommend visiting them one after the other as you’ll be there either way. It’s a great place to spend a relaxing morning or somewhere to relax after a busy day around the city.

Fee: FREE

Hours: Open everyday (exact hours unconfirmed) TEMPORARILY CLOSED (update: Nov 9, 2021)

Address: 25J7+2VF, Rabat, Morocco

5 Café Maure 

Cafe Maure
Cafe Maure July 2021

Located right next to the Andalusian Gardens and the Kasbah of the Udayas, is Café Maure right on the water. This is a perfect relaxing point between the gardens and the Kasbah. Also a great time to visit would be during sunset as you see the sunset colors with the water making for a perfect photo opportunity. 

So what to get? I recommend the Moroccan Mint Tea and some pastries (Kaab Lghzql and Briwat). They’ll bring over a tray with ones to choose from and even describe each to you. I went with my gut and went with the ones that just looked delicious, it didn’t steer me wrong. 

Fee: only what you purchase

Hours: Open everyday 8:30 am – 7:30 pm

Address: 25J8+623, Rabat, Morocco

6 Kasbah of the Udayas

Kasbah of the Udayas
Kasbah of the Udayas July 2021

Most people have heard of Chefchaouen, the Blue City or Pearl, of Morocco, but many people don’t know there’s a blue section of Rabat! Located near the water and next to the Andalusian Gardens is this blue and white medieval fortress district. It’s the ideal spot for watching the sunrise or sunset, so definitely recommend staying there a night or two to be able to enjoy it. With its cafes, restaurants, shops, and museums, it’s practically a city within a city making it a must visit when you’re in Rabat. 

Fee: FREE to enter and visit, pay for any activities/food/hotel stays

Hours: Open everyday

Address: Pont Hassan II, Salé, Morocco (every site I’ve seen gives this as the address, but it’s better to look up the Andalusian Gardens and pretty much go behind them through a gate entrance)

7 Le Dhow Restaurant Bar Lounge

Le Dhow
Le Dhow July 2021

This is a restaurant, bar, and lounge all in one and the best part is it’s on a boat! The first time I ever visited was back in April 2019 and it was a couple of locals that took my friends here. We had already had a couple of drinks, so in my slightly tipsy stage, I honestly had no idea where we were because we had arrived in the dark. I definitely recommend visiting at night because it turns into a legit club. Of course this was pre-COVID but hopefully it can get back to that. 

Fee: Pay for what you consume, check out the menu 

Hours: Open everyday 11am-11pm

Address: Quai de Bouregreg، Av. Al Marsa, Rabat 10000, Morocco

BONUS

Although I’ve had the opportunity to visit Rabat twice in my travels, once was during COVID so it didn’t give much chance to visit many new places. Morocco took the closure of most places to begin repairs on them, which limited access to tourists that were able to visit. Below I decided to include a couple of places that I didn’t get a chance to visit on either of my trips, but would include in my itinerary if I make my way back there in the future. 

8 Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

Mohamed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Mohamed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Photo by MOMAA

Opened in 2014, this contemporary museum is located in the new part of the city. So I haven’t visited but just looking at the pictures of the architecture have me 😍. Since Morocco’s independence from France, this is the largest scale museum to open. It’s inaugural exhibition was entitled “1914-2014: 100 Years of Creation”. The permanent collection holds artwork from a variety of the country’s top names in the art world, dating from the 20th century to present day. This is a perfect visit for anyone wishing to see the contemporary side of Morocco in contrast with the traditional work visible anywhere in the city of the country. 

Fee: Adults40 dh / 3,80 / $4.40

Young people (12 to 18 years) – 20 dh / 1,90€ / $2.20

Children under 12 years – 10 dh / 0,95€ / $1.10

Hours: Closed Tuesdays and holidays. Open Wednesday through Monday 10am-6pm. Friday the museum opens at 9:45 am

Address: 2 Av. Moulay Hassan, Rabat, Morocco

9 Exotic Garden of Bouknadel

Exotic Garden of Bouknadel
Exotic Garden of Bouknadel. Photo by Mapio.net

So this one is a little out of the city center, but if you’ve had your fill of buildings and need some nature, this is the spot for you. It’s not just a garden as it also has a museum and a vivarium, where you can see reptiles in what is a replica of their natural habitat. The gardens were created by a French horticultural engineer, Marcel François in 1952 in a space covering 4 and a half hectares. His dream of having the exotic plants he had found all over the world be in one place, became true in this space located north of Rabat. Some areas are even divided into sections that represent different parts of the world, such as the Japanese Garden. Prepare to see beautiful fountain displays and be transported throughout the world as you walk around.

If you get hungry while you’re here, there’s a Cafe Maure and kiosk to buy small meals and something to drink. 

Fee: for the Gardens, Vivarium, and Museum-

Adult (older than 11) – 20 dh / 1,90€ / $2.20

Children (younger than 10) – 12 dh / 1,15€ / $1.30

School groups and associations – 12 dh / 1,15€ / $1.30

Family (parents with 3 children) – 50 dh / 4,75€ / $5.50

Guided visit (Obligatory / Group of 25 people) 

School groups – 60 dh / 5,70€ / $6.60

Hours: Open every day

Fall and winter: 9am-5:30pm

Spring and summer: 9am-7:30pm

(Times may change slightly depending on the length of the day)

The gardens are closed on aid Adha and Al Fitre (holidays) and every Monday morning.

Address: Les Jardins Exotiques de KM 13، Bouknadel 11052, Morocco

10 Abou Hassan Medersa in Salé

Abou Hassan Medersa
Abou Hassan Medersa. Photo by Shutterstock

Okay, so technically not in Rabat, but it’s right across the river in Salé. 😅 Built in 1341 by the Marinid sultan Abu al-Hasan is this medieval madrasa. A madrasa is where students go to study the Quran, so expect to see many of these throughout Morocco. The architecture and patterns are mesmerizing to look at even online, I couldn’t imagine in person. 

Apparently, if you tip the guardian a tip (about 50 dh), he’ll give you an hour-long tour or access to the flat roof from the upper floor where there are amazon views of Salé and Rabat. I have not visited this place nor attempted this, so if you attempt it please let me know how it goes!

Fee: Adults60 dh / 5,70€ / $6.60 (the only price I’ve been able to find so it may be inaccurate or outdated, but it’s a good approximate)

Hours: Open every day 8:30 am – 5pm (only schedule I was able to find, will update when possible)

Address: Salé, Morocco 

The more I visit Morocco, the more amazed I am. There is always so much to see and the colors, smells, and views are enough to occupy all your senses as you wander around. Of course, there is so much more to see in Rabat than just this list, but it’s a great jumping off point to see the best of what this city has to offer. 

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