This is Dan from Vagabond Buddha. This is my things to do in Rabat Morocco guide.
Things to do in Rabat Morocco
Rabat Free Walking Tour Video and Map
Here is my Rabat free walking tour video and map. Click the interactive Google Map on your smartphone to be guided on this tour.
Kasbah of the Udayas: This Kasbah located at the mouth of the Bou Regreg River was built in the 12th century. Upon the death of Yaqub al-Manssur, the Kasbah was deserted and the city began a period of decline that lasted for hundreds of years until only 100 homes in the Medina were still occupied in the 16th century.
Rabat Medina: The medina of Rabat is listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Since the end of the 13th century, many Moriscos expelled from Spain and Portugal have ended up living here. The population here began to increase here substantially when Moriscos left Granada in 1609. That is also about the time this city became a haven for pirates attacking the shipping routes in and around the Mediterranean.
Hassan Tower: Hassan tower is the minaret of a mosque started in the 12th century that was never completed in Rabat. It was intended to be the world’s largest mosque at the time. Upon al-Mansur’s death in 1199, the construction was abandoned and the mosque was never completed.
Mausoleum of Mohammed V: This memorial completed in 1971 contains the tombs of King Hassan II and his son Prince Abdallah. King Hassan was buried here in 1999 upon his death.
Musée Mohamed VI d’Art Moderne et Contemporain: The museum which opened in 2015 curates modern and contemporary Moroccan and international art.
Chellah Necropolish: This is a medieval fortified Muslim necropolis which was the site of an ancient Roman colony. A Roman military unit remained here until the 5th century AD. It was mostly in ruins when the Muslim Arabs showed up in the 7th century AD. Since 2005, the ruins of Cellah have hosted the international jazz festival, Jazz au Chellah. It was granted part of the world heritage site in 2012.
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Rabat Best Area to Stay
You should stay close-in while you are in Rabat. If you do, everything interesting will be within walking distance from your accommodations. The above map provides a perimeter that I consider close-in. But don’t be afraid to stay anywhere within the footprint of the public trolley system. We stayed outside the above red circle and were perfectly happy.
We stayed in a full private apartment we booked on Airbnb. You will see the inside of it in the below “Digital Nomads in Rabat ” video below. (If you are new to Airbnb, use this code http://www.airbnb.com/c/dbell50 for a big discount).
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Digital Nomads in Rabat: Best Food, Experiences
We were in Casablanca for a few nights and then headed to the Rabat. In Rabat, we had our own apartment so we felt like cooking. Our apartment was in the suburbs. We tried a few restaurants, but nothing else was worth mentioning here.
Dar Rbatia: This place is expensive but it gives you an idea of how the wealthy lived. This is a former Riad that is converted into a high-end restaurant. We stopped here for lunch during our old town walking tour. We got some of our best pictures in Rabat inside this Riad.
Vagabond Buddha’s Kitchen: We cooked at least one meal per day at home, in our Airbnb kitchen. There were grocery stores within 2-3 blocks of our Airbnb apartment. We were eating high-quality meals we cooked at home for about $3 per person, per meal.
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Rabat Facts and History
Above is where Rabat is located. Here are some interesting facts about Rabat from Wikipedia. I am in Rabat now.
Rabat is the seventh largest city in Morocco with about 600,000 people and about 1.2 million in the metropolitan area of Rabat. Rabat is also the capital of Morocco.
Today the economic drivers are textiles, food processing, and construction. Because of tourism and all of the embassies here as the capital city, the economy flourishes. Rabat is a UNESCO world heritage site also.
In the 12th century, Rabat was turned into a fortress to launch attacks on the Iberian peninsula. Later in the 12th century, the capital of Morocco was moved to Rabat but that was short lived. Yaqub al Mansur died during the construction of the worlds largest Mosque, which along with Hassan Tower still stands today. This started a period decline for Rabat in the 13th century and the power shifted to Fez.
Bt the 16th century, the Spanish explorer El Wassan reported that Rabat had declined to a population of only 100 households. Moriscos expelled from Sapin in the 17th century helped boost Rabat’s population.
Rabat port became a haven for pirates in the 16th to the 18th centuries. Pirates used Rabat as a base for launching attacks on shipping. As late as1829, Rabat was shelled by Austria as a retaliation for a ship lost to pirates.
When the French invaded Morocco in 1912, they established Rabat as a base. When Morocco achieved independence in 1955. Mohammed V chose to keep Rabat as the Capital of Morocco. The USA maintained a post-WWII airforce base in Rabat as late as 1959.
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This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha. Thank you for stopping by. The world is your home. What time will you be home for dinner?
I am not offering you any of the above prices. These are just my notes and estimates from the time of my visit and this post. Your costs will likely be drastically different if significant inflation or deflation occurs or the market changes after this post. I will not update these numbers until I am on the ground again here, if ever.