Rabat is the capital of Morocco, and while many choose to overlook it when traveling through the country, it deserves some recognition. For starters, the city is more orderly than most of the country's top tourist destinations, and the unhurried pace can prove to be very pleasant. More akin to a European city than a Moroccan one, Rabat can make for an especially good stop for westerners who want a break from the more hectic side of things. Strolling along the lovely, tree-lined boulevards can prove relaxing on a Rabat vacation, and there are plenty of interesting sights to take in along the way. Easy to negotiate, Rabat can be a joy to explore, and the fact that locals allow tourists their space only helps to make for a more pleasant travel experience.
Much like the larger and grimier city of Casablanca, which is just 57 miles away, Rabat can be found on the coast. This means that visitors can add some beach time to their list of things to do in Rabat Morocco. Overlooking the city is a historic Kasbah, and this Kasbah also overlooks a beach. At the beach is a renowned surf club, where visitors can rent surfboards and body boards. Lessons for both surfing and bodyboarding are available at the club, and advanced learners can head to nearby Temara Plage to enjoy some better overall conditions.
When travelers aren't spending some time on the beach during a Rabat vacation, checking out the historic Kasbah is one of the top things to do. The Kasbah des Oudayas was built in the twelfth century, and its cliff-top location makes it a truly delightful area to explore. Primarily a residential area, this former fortress boasts a quaint, village-like appeal, its whitewashed buildings lending to the city's Andalusian heritage. In addition to enjoying the views of the ocean and the attractive homes, visitors to the Kasbah des Oudayas can also shop at the tourist shops, see what the art galleries have to offer, or check out the old mosque, which was originally built in the 1100s. Rabat travel isn't complete without a visit to the Kasbah, and some visitors will find that repeat visits are in order.
In addition to exploring the Kasbah, those who are looking for interesting things to add to their Rabat travel agendas will also want to keep the city's medina in mind. Much like the Kasbah, the historic medina is a largely residential area full of whitewashed buildings. It is less chaotic than many of the country's other medinas, and can be a most inviting place to stroll and shop. The walled medina is an excellent place to pick up some spices, and visitors can purchase any other number of things, from DVDs to carpets. Travelers won't want to forget their cameras when exploring the medina in Rabat, as it is quite photogenic.
There are a surprisingly good amount of attractions in Rabat, and two of the most renowned are Le Tour Hassan and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. Le Tour Hassan, or the Hassan Tower, looms over the ruined mosque at its base, and while it was never completely finished, it is nevertheless formidable. Just opposite this beautiful, 145-foot-tall tower is the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, which is one of the most important shrines in the country. Here lie the remains of one of Morocco's most iconic historical figures, King Mohammed V, who was responsible for negotiating the country's independence from France in 1956. Mohammed V's tomb is flanked by those of two of his sons, and the interior of the shrine is quite exquisite. Non-Muslims are free to enter the Mausoleum of Mohammed V to view the tombs from the gallery, though they must remember to dress respectively and modestly.
Exploring the Kasbah, strolling along the streets of the medina, visiting the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, and taking in the Hassan Tower are the top things to do in Rabat Morocco, but they aren't the only options. For travelers who are interested in museums, the capital offers one of the country's best. At the Archeological Museum, visitors can learn about the history of Morocco and check out the fascinating pieces in the Salle des Bronzes annex. Among the pieces on display in the Salle des Bronzes are Roman-era relics that date back to the first and second centuries A.D. As for some other attractions that are worth adding to a Rabat travel itinerary, they include the Chellah and Sala Colonia, both of which are ruined settlements that date back to ancient times.
A Rabat vacation can be enjoyed at any time of year, though travelers might keep the city's festivals in mind when planning a visit. The most renowned annual event in the capital is the Festival International de Rabat, which takes place in summer and lasts for two weeks. Music, film, and theater are at the heart of this dynamic festival, which attracts more than its fair share of visitors. While it's always a good idea to book a room at one of the Rabat hotels in advance, it's even more important around festival time.