How to Spend one day in Rabat

one day in Rabat Morocco

Rabat, the Moroccan capital is a fantastic place to start your Morocco itinerary. Being such a clean and well organised city, it is a great option for solo female travellers, and it will ease you into Morocco gently! I totally loved Rabat and opted for a second day there to enjoy the beach and have some relaxing time, but two days is not really necessary, especially if you are on a strict time schedule for Morocco. So, if you have just one day in Rabat, how should you spend it?

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How to get to Rabat

You can fly into Rabat or get the train to Rabat from Fes, Casablanca or Marrakech. Rabat train station is friendly and well organised and the taxi touts are no where near as bad as Casablanca. The petit taxis here in Rabat are blue and most will automatically put on the meter (tell them to if they don’t!)

Where to stay in Rabat

It is best to stay within the Medina of Rabat which is close to all the street food and markets (it’s nit a stressy market – much more relaxed than Marrakech or Fez!) I highly recommend staying at Riad Amaris on Rue Lalla Hannou – we had a wonderful stay there. The location was perfect and it included free Wifi and a traditional Moroccan breakfast.

Riad Amaris Rabat
Riad Amaris, Rabat, Morocco

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How long to spend in Rabat

One day in Rabat is enough to see the main sites. However, as it is such a pleasant and relaxing city with a nice soul and beach, you may opt to spend 2 or 3 days in Rabat. I wouldn’t blame you if you did! 

How to Spend one Day in Rabat

You will be pleased to know that most of Rabat is walkable as it’s not a big city, but you might want to use taxis to get to and from Chellah and the Royal Palace, which are a bit further in the South of the city. You can book a tour guide for your day in Rabat, but it’s honestly not necessary. Rabat is well policed, safe to walk around and easy to navigate. Here’s how to spend one day in Rabat!

8am Traditional Moroccan Breakfast

Start your day early with a traditional Moroccan breakfast in your hotel or Riad. Most Riad’s serve a breakfast of Moroccan breads with honey, jam, olives, boiled eggs and mint tea.

9am Oudaya Kasbah and Rabat Promenade

Start your day off by heading to the Oudaya Kasbah, one of Rabat’s most famous structures. Ignore the one or two boys on the main gate who will try to guide you or tell you where to go! The Kasbah has some gorgeous traditional Moroccan doors on white washed buildings, with flowers and plants lining its narrow streets. Just outside the entrance of the Kasbah you can see an archeological site (only discovered just over 20 years ago when the were going to build a car park!) and enjoy the Andalusian gardens. Also, don’t miss the Kasbah Museum to learn about Rabat’s history.

Oudayas Kasbah Rabat

11am – 12 noon Medina and Souk

Next it’s time to head to the Medina and souk where you will be able to shop and soak up the atmosphere.

Enter into the Medinah through one of the main gates (not to be confused with the gates of the Kasbah!) The souk in Rabat is one of the calmest and friendliest that I have ever been in. As Rabat is the capital, it is generally a hassle free and scam free zone, so you can relax and enjoy. Take an hour for lunch and an hour for shopping and exploring here.

After your morning of exploring the Kasbah and Medina, there are plenty of cafes and stalls here where you can get a sharwarma (kebab) or panini and some sweet pastries or baclava. I also recommend trying the local pomegranite juice – they will squeeze it for you from fresh!

1pm Mausoleum of Muhammed V and Hassan Tower 

Next, head straight to the Mausoleum of Muhammed V and the Hassan Tower, which are icons of Rabat. They are free to enter and visitors can also go inside the Mausoleum for free. The complex is guarded by horse mounted guards at the gate and you will also find guards in traditional dress outside and inside of the Mausoleum. If you would like to take photos of them, please ask first and usually, they will give permission.

Mausoleum of Muhammed V and his Sons

The mausoleum was constructed to house the tombs of King Mohammed V and his two sons, King Hassan II and Prince Moulay Abdallah. King Mohammed V played a crucial role in the country’s fight for independence, and his reign marked a period of important political and social changes in Morocco.

Mohammed V Mausoleum Rabat Morocco
Mausoleum of Muhammed V, Rabat, Morocco

The mausoleum is known for its exquisite architecture, combining traditional Moroccan design elements with modern influences. The structure is made of white Carrara marble, and its design reflects a blend of Islamic, Moroccan, and Andalusian architectural styles. The green tiled roof is characteristic of traditional Moroccan craftsmanship.

Inside the Mausoleum, the tombs are surrounded by rows of Moroccan flags and the walls lined with traditional geometric Moroccan tiles. Although you won’t be allowed down inside the chamber of the tombs, you can observe them from above. Oh, and don’t forget to look up at the gorgeous ceiling…

Ceiling Muhammed V Mausoleum Rabat Morocco

Hassan Tower

The Hassan Tower itself is a minaret that was intended to be the focal point of the mosque. Construction began in 1195 during the reign of Sultan Yacoub al-Mansour, but it was left unfinished following his death in 1199, and so the only tower stands at about half of its originally intended height.

The complex also includes the remnants of the mosque’s walls and columns. These archaeological remains provide a glimpse into the original grandeur and scale of the mosque that was never fully realized.

Hassan II Tower Rabat Morocco
Hassan Tower

Next, it’s time to jump in a petit taxi to Chellah for a stunning archaeological site.

2pm Chellah (if open)

Chella is a medieval fortified Muslim necropolis and ancient archeological site. The cost to visit is 70 Dirhams and you can expect to pay around 20-30 Dirhams for the taxi ride there from downtown Rabat. It takes roughly around one hour to visit. Please note that at the time of writing this blog (January 2024), Chellah was temporarily closed for refurbishment, so it’s important to check whether it has re-opened before taking the journey.

If you’re interested in history and artifacts, visit the National Archaeology Museum located near the Chellah Necropolis. It houses a collection of archaeological finds from across Morocco.

3pm Rabat Royal Palace

Next, jump in a petit taxi to the Royal Palace (it should take just 12 minutes by car) for a photo opportunity. This is the King of Morocco’s main palace, where he spends most of his time. You will be able to take photographs at the main gates, but as expected, it is not possible for visitors to go inside.

4pm Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

If you still have the energy, head to modern Rabat for the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. It is a very recent development, opening only in 2014. It is one of 14 museums of the National Foundation of Museums of Morocco. The museum curates modern and contemporary Moroccan and international art, including a number of famous Moroccan pieces from 1950’s to present day. The price of a ticket (at the time of writing) is 70 Dirhams.

Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art

6pm Traditional Moroccan Meal on Rabat Corniche

Finally, head to the Rabat Corniche for a traditional Moroccan meal such as a chicken tagine or pastilla. I recommend Marina Palms or Le Dhow.

Looking for more pictures and inspiration for Morocco? Check out my Morocco Instagram highlights.

Further Reading on Morocco

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