What to Do in Rabat: 20 Amazing Places to Visit and Points of Interest 2019
Considered as the second-largest metropolis after Casablanca and full with points of interests, Rabat is markedly more pleasant than some other Moroccan cities. In this article, we have selected an exciting list of places to visit in Rabat which is a must see of any Rabat sightseeing trip, that you can use it for your stay in this imperial city.
So what to do in Rabat? There exists a variety of heritage, with stories of everything from the Roman occupants to Almohad rulers, Andalusian designers to Sherif’s kingdom builders, all wrapped up in the attractive domes and historical districts. However, there is also a fundamental change; Rabat is the political, administrative, and financial capital of Morocco.
You won’t have to look far for locals’ life as you can just plunge into the thoroughfares of Oudaia Kasbah and the lively Souks in the Medina. Then, perhaps, you can admire one of the best things to see in Rabat which is the Hassan Tower, or go to amaze yourself at the majestic building Mausoleum of Mohammed 5. On the other hand, the remains of the Romains as well as the Merinid Sultans appears with vanity in the Chellah Necropolis. And if you love cats and calming atmosphere, the Andalusian Gardens are waiting for you!
Let’s discover our list of places to visit in Rabat!
1. Andalusian Gardens
The Andalusian Gardens are located at the bottom of the Kasbah Oudayas, it is a paradise of tranquility in the heart of the capital Rabat.
There, you can discover the beauty of pristine nature, and it is a public place and very visited by tourists.
The garden is home to a Café with Moorish style, which offers a beautiful view of the river.
You can also visit the souvenir shop which is near the garden, it’s a pretty romantic place to take pictures of memories and admire the biodiversity that exists there.
2. Hassan Tower
The Hassan Tower is the only vestige of a mosque that was the largest religious building of its time. Today, it is considered by many to be the symbol of Rabat.
This Tower was built in the style of the Koutoubia of Marrakech, a mosque initiated by his grandfather Abd El Moumen, and the Giralda of Seville.
Its Arab-Andalusian minaret is the only vestige of the mosque and rises to almost 44 meters, which gave its name to the monument.Originally the minaret was built to accommodate up to 40.000 people and its style is a masterpiece of traditional Moroccan Art.
3. Oudaia Kasbah
If there is only one thing to see in Rabat is The Oudaia Kasbah, this is a unique place in Morocco.
In Roman times, here was a fort there to defend the city of Sala (Chellah), and after, The Kasbah was built in the 12th century by the Almohads.
The great gate was built by the Almohad sultan Yacoub el Mansour in the end of the 12th century, and it is a masterpiece of Almohad Art.
Jamaa Street is the main street of the Kasbah and Most of the remains date from the 12th century.
There is a mosque, which you can see the minaret was founded around 1150. The minaret dates from the 17th century, time of the Alaouite Dynasty.
The Moorish Cafe is a must in the Kasbah of Oudaïa, at the end of Bazo Street and you can enjoy a fantastic views of the Bouregrag River, the ramparts and Hassan Tower.
4. Mohammed VI Bridge
The first of its kind in Morocco, this large cable-stayed bridge opened in 2016.
It was created by the Chinese Company “China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group” which participated in the construction of the Kigamboni Bridge in Tanzania.
The bridge crosses the high, rocky banks of the Bouregrag and The pylons, 200 meters high, start at 18 meters underground.
Inspired by the Arab Muslim Architecture, It was designed in the shape of an ark, symbolizing the new gates of Rabat and Salé.
5. Cathedral Saint-Pierre
The only Catholic religious building in Rabat is this church Built from 1919 by the architect M. Laforgue, then inaugurated in 1921 by General Hubert Lyautey.
Walk around to the apse to contemplate its two turrets and go inside to see the light shines on the windows when the harmony and purity of its lines inspire meditation and spiritual elevation.
St. Peter’s Cathedral is open to all and Mass is celebrated there almost every day.
The cathedral adjoins the Moulay Hassan square (still called Place Pietri), where there are some florists.
And the former presbytery of the cathedral now hosts the French Institute of Rabat.
6. Mausoleum of Mohammed V
The Mohammed V Mausoleum is a royal tomb, it is located on the esplanade of the Hassan Tower and overlooking the Bouregreg River.
The mausoleum houses the tomb of the king Mohammed V, and his sons Moulay Abdellah and Hassan II.
It was built between 1961 and 1971, 10 years of work with 400 Moroccan artisans and its architecture was designed by the Vietnamese architect Eric Vo Toan.
This building is characterized by its classic Arab-Andalusian style according to the traditional Moroccan art.
7. Chellah Necropolis
This is a lovely place in the city, and clearly it is among the most beautiful historical sites in Morocco.
The Chellah necropolis is an ancient temple of the dead, hidden within huge ramparts and planted with hundreds of exotic trees, figs, banana trees and other palm trees.
The storks literally invaded the area, using the ruins of the minaret, walls and some colonnades to nest or snap their beaks.
Further in the garden is the eel pool, where you can throw some bread or eggs in the pool and admire these creatures a little scary, Do not miss this place, there are few people and it’s magic!
8. Rabat National Zoo
Close to the sea, expertly organized and well maintained, the Zoological Garden, is a very pleasant zoo to visit.
Open since the end of 2011, this zoo specializes in African wildlife and more specifically in Saharan and Moroccan wildlife.
This zoo hosts more than 1400 animals (divided into 130 different species) and is organized according to 5 ecosystem spaces: the Atlas Mountain, the Savannah, the Desert, the Marshes and the Tropical Forest.
There are also many restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and an information and environmental education center. Don’t miss this attraction, it is a good place to spend time.
9. Dar el-Makhzen
Dating from the mid-19th century, the Royal Palace of Rabat houses a mosque, barracks for the guard, a royal college, a small race course and various ministerial buildings.
Although it is now only an administrative building, its architecture remains a jewel of Moroccan culture.
In fact, the buildings are covered with gabled roofs made of green tiles and elegantly surround gardens and large courtyards.
For security reasons, access to the enclosure is restricted to accredited persons and groups accompanied by official guides.
This attraction is well worth a visit: the elements of its artisanal decoration are treasures of Moroccan art.
10. Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
Dedicated to the modern and contemporary Arts, this attraction is the first public institution to meet international museum standards.
The museum architecture enjoys a traditional motifs that have been reinvested and stylized to bring a contemporary touch to the building.
On the floors, there is a permanent collection which is focused of the evolution of Moroccan artistic creation in the plastic and visual arts, from the early 20th century to the present day.
In addition, the museum regularly hosts temporary exhibitions, such as “Medieval Morocco: an empire from Africa to Spain”, “Cesar, a Mediterranean history”, “Retrospective Giacometti”, “Fugitive Volumes” and much more.
11. Bab Rouah
Bab Rouah is the biggest gate of Rabat and it was built in 1197 by Yaacoub Al Mansour Al Mouahidi.
In the early 1960s, Bab Rouah underwent a complete renovation and was transformed into a national art gallery.
Today, this gallery is ranked as one of the best destinations for art lovers in Rabat, and It offers national and international exhibitions of various artists.
The proposed works of art are very interesting, they are both local and international.
Bab Rouah is also home to a beautiful painting gallery.
12. Plage de Rabat
The large beach of Rabat, or Oudayas Beach, is located between the dike separating it from the ocean and Bouregreg River, and is close to the Kasbah.
No need for a car to access to the beach, and it is an integral part of the medina.
This beach is surrounded by several seafood restaurants, as well as a nautical club where surfers, sailors or jet skiers can indulge their passion in peace.
13. Rue des Consuls
Rue des Consuls is the traditional souk of the city, it overlooks the Oudaya Kasbah and still a very pleasant walk in the capital.
This place is clean, clear, spaced and much less crowded than the winding streets of Marrakech: you do not risk getting lost.
There, you will find carpets, pottery, wooden or stone objects from all over Morocco, but also many jewelers whose specialty is silver.
Search a little and you will discover beautiful and unique old pieces. Of course, do not hesitate to haggle. Have a nice walk!
14. Bab El Had
In the heart of Rabat and a few hundred meters from Bouregreg River is Bab El Had; a magical place where any kind of goods you will find: Food, vegetables and fruit, restaurants, clothes, Moroccan crafts, jewelry, shoes, leather goods…
Bab El Had is one of the main gates of the medina, where begins the famous Souika market.
This great gate was built during the period of the Almohads who had a great interest in securing cities by walls and ramparts.
Thus, it was renovated and rehabilitated by the Alaouite sultan Moulay Slimane in 1800s.
15. Musée des Oudaia
This museum was built in the old pavilions erected during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismaïl (1672-1727) to serve as a place to stay in Rabat.
This building is really a masterpiece with its architecture, decor, and its garden. It has been installed since 1915, and includes clothing collections representing several regions of the country.
The collection of jewels, as rich as varied, reflects an undeniable skill of the Moroccan craftsman. The astrolabes testify to the genius of the Maghreb school and its contribution to the development of science.
Carpets, pottery and musical instruments complete the picture of what the Oudaia Museum holds as ethnographic collections.
16. Botanical Garden Experiments
Located in the heart of the city and classified “World Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2012, this botanical garden is a real green lung of the Capital.
Created in 1914 on a total area of 17 ha, this garden is home to more than 650 ornamental and fruit species of various origins (local, tropical, subtropical and desert).
It hosts a Moorish house with Arab-Andalusian architecture, and a permanent museum dedicated to the water and light.
This attraction is a place of relaxation but also and especially an ecological space dedicated to scientific research and the preservation of the environment.
17. Villa des Arts
Located in the Hassan district near the As Sounna Mosque, in a magnificent 1930s neo-colonial style house, the Villa des Arts will welcome you in one of the most pleasant places of Rabat.
The visit is free and you can move easily by being simply respectful of this place dedicated to contemporary art in all its forms.
This building is composed of several spaces: forum for shows, garden, exhibition galleries, creative rooms, etc. The decor is bucolic and romantic, perfect for a walk to discover the exhibitions of the moment.
This is an essential cultural space in Rabat, where exhibitions, meetings, concerts and conferences are regularly organized.
18. Assounna Mosque
This mosque was built during the reign of Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah around 1785, with an area of 5565m2, it becomes the fourth largest mosque in Morocco after those of Hassan in Rabat, Hasan II in Casablanca and the Qaraouiyne in Fez.
The prayer hall is subdivided into three large naves and is parallel to the wall of the qibla. Embellished with two pavilions reminiscent of those of the al-Qaraouiyine mosque, it provides permanent ventilation and lighting at the oratory.
Characterized by its vast size, it rises outside the walls of the Royal Palace and dominates the Boulevard Mohammed V and its monuments of the colonial era.
19. Royal Golf Dar Essalam
Only about 15 minutes from the center of Rabat, the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam is aptly named, The “House of Peace” – in Arabic – is a real Garden of Eden where to practice golf.
For golf lovers, Dar Es-Salam is a mythical place! Traced by Robert Trent Jones in the middle of 440 ha of trees and flowers, this 45-hole golf course is a dream for golfers all over the world.
Ranked among the top 50 golf courses in the world, this golf course, opened since 1972, is the largest in Africa and the Arab world. The Hassan II Trophy takes place every year.
The Club House offers a sublime view of the park through its huge bay window where lush nature is a delight. Large room or lounges more cozy, it houses a bar-restaurant and its panoramic room overlooking the green and a terrace overlooking the Japanese garden.
20. Archaeological Mueum
Through thematic and chronological exhibitions, this museum traces the history of Morocco and its civilizations from prehistory to the Islamic period through the Roman era.
On the ground floor, the exhibition offers a chronological itinerary. The first pieces exhibited date from prehistory: these are the first traces of human in Morocco, more than 10,000 years ago.
The displays continue upstairs with Islamic collections. You can discover the coins that belonged to different dynasties established in Morocco: Idrissides, Almoravides, Almohades, Mérinides and Alaouites.
There are also a thematic exhibition. You will find the marble room filled with antique white marble works.
But the museum’s great object is the bust of Juba II. At the age of 6, he was abducted and brought to Rome. He married Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra VII and Mark Antony. The texts speak of him as the one who discovered the Canary Islands.