Rabat, Morocco's laid-back capital, is a welcome break to frenetic fast-paced Casablanca. It's a good place to enjoy some Western food, hit a night club or hang out in a hookah bar before you head to the rest of the northern coast, the Rif Mountains or the Saharan south. Rabat is not an outdoor tourist destination, but trekkers and travelers alike can recoup and refresh in this city with both ancient and modern charm.
Most travelers to Morocco fly into Casablanca or arrive in Tangier via ferry from Spain. It's easy to reach Rabat via bus or train from other Moroccan cities. The CTM bus company (www.ctm.ma) offers punctual service, and the ONCF rail service (www.oncf.ma) is also reliable and comfortable.
The quickest way to get around Rabat is by taxi. Ask your driver to use the meter or decide on a price for the journey before getting in the car.
When to Go
Summers can get quite hot in Rabat, and winter nights can be cold. The best time to visit is either in spring or fall, and its best to avoid traveling during the Muslim month of fasting, Ramadan or during Islamic holidays because transportation can be hard to come by.
Make sure to ramble through the old walled city (madina qadima) and marvel at the Kasbah. Then head to Le Tour Hassan (Hassan Tower) and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V. Marvel at the Grand Mosque, and then spend an afternoon checking out crumbling Roman ruins at Chellah.
Although there are not as many touts in Rabat as there are in Fez or Tangier, be wary of men and young boys offering to "guide" you through the city. Many times they will follow you and give you a tour even if you don't want it. Be persistent, and if you want a tour guide, book one through your hotel.
Article Written By Heather Carreiro
Heather Carreiro is a certified English teacher who has been writing since 2008. The editor of Matador Abroad, her work has appeared online at BootsnAll, Matador Network, GoNOMAD, Journey Beyond Travel and Expat Women. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics and Middle Eastern studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and is pursuing a Master of Arts in English at Bridgewater State University.