What are the best things to do and see in Morocco's second largest city Rabat?

Rabat is an impressive contrast


Located on the Atlantic coast, Rabat is the political and administrative capital of Morocco and the second largest city in the kingdom. Imperial city registered in 2013 in the Unesco World Heritage List. There are many things to do and see in Rabat!

It was founded in the twelfth century by the Almohad sultan Abd al Moumen, whose ribat (a religious and military camp) was the starting point for Arab raids in Spain: since then, the Muslims who settled in Andalusia made the age of gold of the city, giving it a leading commercial and artisan role.

At the beginning of the 20th century, however, it was only to a small town of 25,000 that Marshal Lyautey entrusted the status of political and administrative capital of the French protectorate. Benefiting from an oceanic climate, the place is the polar opposite of what one might imagine when one thinks of Maghreb cities: the thermometer rarely exceeds 25 ° C during the summer, making it an ideal city for Europeans to visit. who are not used to sweltering temperatures

But Rabat is also an impressive contrast: that of an urban and trendy metropolis with an impressive list of monuments, cultural sites and heritage that will be very pleasant to contemplate.

Are you wondering what to do in Rabat during your stay? Here is the answer with our 7 must-see places to see in Rabat!

1. The Kasbah of the Oudayas

The Kasbah of the Oudaya is a former fortified military camp, built in the 12th century, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the first palaces built by the Alaouites, the royal dynasty, which still reigns today.

After entering the kasbah through one of the imposing gates that act as great guardians of the place, one is fascinated by the small bluish alleys with whitewashed walls, by the surprising silence that contrasts with the frenzy of the modern city center and by the quiet that reigns in the place.

Many guides will help you understand this place full of history: if you don't know what to do in Rabat, don't hesitate, go to the kasbah.

Also, if you are not staying in Rabat, it is possible to go there to discover all its historical wonders such as the kasbah. For example, starting from Casablanca for a day, enjoy a complete guided tour that will immerse you in the heart of the capital! Visit it during your desert tours in Morocco.

2. Rabat Zoo

The zoo is a popular place not to be missed when visiting Rabat: it is home to the largest number of captive Atlas lions and forms an artificial biotope that is home to more than 130 animal species from the Atlas Mountains, the typical North African desert and the savannah. An interesting visit to do with the family!

3. The Museum of History and Civilization

Formerly known as the "Archaeological Museum", the Museum of History and Civilization is a testament to the rich history of Morocco from Prehistory to the Islamic period, and exhibits ancient objects from excavations, as well as extremely detailed descriptions of the ancestral way of life of the tribes of the Maghreb .

For a negligible sum, you can admire the tools of prehistoric men, the Neolithic statuettes, such as the Roman gods, or the ceramics, vestiges of the early Muslim period; the bronze busts of Juba II and the great Cato, the famous statue of the crowned ephebe, or the dog of Volubilis.

4.  Cathedral of San Pietro

Built in 1930 in the Hassan district, in Place du Golan, the Cathedral of St. Peter is the seat of the archdiocese of Rabat; Morocco has always seen different religions coexist in peace, and it is therefore quite natural that Christian and Jewish religious buildings have found their place within it.

The most surprising thing is to see Rabat and come across a cathedral built in the purest art deco style: its very particular geometric shape and its immaculate whiteness are reminiscent of snow crystals!

5.  The test botanical garden

Created at the initiative of Marshal Lyautey in 1914, the test botanical garden was to feature more than 250 fruit trees and ornamental plants from various regions of the world.

Today, this eco-friendly micro-system in the heart of the city is home to an impressive collection of cacti and it's fun to meet many birds that have come to take refuge in the trees lining the park's shady paths!

Even if it is never very hot in this Moroccan city, thanks to the nearby ocean, it is still pleasant to enjoy a quiet walk in the green alleys of the park; a must for anyone who is still looking for something to do in Rabat. Check the 3 days tour from Marrakech to Merzouga desert.

6. The necropolis of Chellah

Located on the site of the ancient Roman city of Sala Colonia, 2 km southeast of the city center, the Chellah necropolis is considered by all travelers visiting Rabat as a place full of mystery and the most romantic place in the country.

It offers great views of the Bouregeg River, and although some of the tombs within the site are now used as landmarks for storks and other birds, the remains of this necropolis are anything but eerie! Many locals come here at sunset, wandering through the ruins of this ancient city. A must for travelers and lovers, looking for what to do in Rabat.

7. The souk of Rabat

The latter takes place in rue des Consuls and leads to the Kasbah des Oudayas; even if it is not as majestic as that of Marrakech or the medina of Essaouira, it still makes an appreciable stop when you come to see Rabat! It extends for over a kilometer and, an important detail that will seduce the most dizzying: the absence of winding alleys will prevent them from getting lost like in Marrakech, for example, where dozens of tourists struggle to find their way!