Leisure in Rabat

Updated 2020-05-19 12:59

Rabat is a wonderful place to live as an expat, as it is a city full of beautiful historic sights, cultural attractions, and traditional architecture. Yet, it is very developed and diverse. You can spend the weekends enjoying the beach, exploring the traditional shops in the old medina, admiring the Hassan tower, or sipping juice in a cafe. You can also visit malls, restaurants, pastry shops, a movie theatre, or art museums. Rabat is truly a city with something for everyone, and you will undoubtedly enjoy spending time there.

Historical sights in Rabat

Rabat is home to the Kasbah des Oudayas, an ancient fortress; Chellah, Roman ruins; and the Hassan Tower and mausoleum, resting place of the former king. The medina is enclosed by ancient fortress walls and contains hundreds of tiny shops and restaurants selling everything you can imagine, from traditional gifts to modern gadgets. You might also visit the enormous Saint Pierre Cathedral in the centre of the city, or visit Salé, a small historical suburban town 10 km from downtown Rabat, or a canoe trip around the Bouregreg river. In addition, the Andalusian gardens are one of the top destinations in Rabat for families, to get a taste of both the history of the country and the city as well as nature and the landscape; for a relaxing mood contrasting with that of the downtown area.

Culture in Rabat

As Morocco's cultural capital, there is no shortage of cultural events and exhibits to enjoy. Visit the modern art museum or catch a film at the movie theatres 7eme Art and Renaissance. Go to the annual Mawazine concert, which in the past has featured Moroccan and international artists, including Christina Aguilera, Kanye West, and Whitney Houston. You might also enjoy orchestra or theatre performances more frequently at the local Mohammed V theatre. You can study French, Spanish, or Arabic in one of the local language centres.

 Good to know:

Rabat is one of the cleanest and most organised cities in Morocco, partly because it is the city where the king spends most of his time.

Food and drink in Rabat

Rabat has plenty of Moroccan and international restaurants to try. Enjoy a French pastry or Moroccan tea in an outdoor cafe, or sample traditional Moroccan dishes such as couscous and tagine at a restaurant. Have a snack of fish inside the medina, or shop for ingredients in a traditional market. Be sure to check Le Dhow in the bank of the Bouregreg river, an old boat turned restaurants catering for international cuisine enthusiasts. Dinarjat and Le Ziryab for a real taste of fine Moroccan dining.

Activities in Rabat

Although Rabat has fewer beaches than Casablanca, there are plenty of spots just outside the city where you can enjoy quieter beaches. You can get around the city and its neighbouring towns very easily by taxi and tram, and Rabat's central location makes it easy to take the train to other cities. There are several smaller shopping malls and some beautiful beach resorts just outside of the city. You will also find many spas in the downtown area, as well as traditional baths (hammams) and wellness centres.

Nightlife in Rabat

Besides architectural landmarks and historical sights, Rabat offers exceptional places for a wonderful night out. Make sure to check these places during your stay. Amnésia is known as probably the best night club in Morocco, with a capacity of over a 1000 people. Although a bit expensive, this place has a wonderful design, great music and is popular among expatriates. So Lounge is located within the Sofitel Hotel in Rabat. You can enjoy great music on a spacious dance floor, the best international and local dishes in its restaurant So Good, and a comfortable, relaxing time in the So Zen Lounge. For more musical ears, be sure to check the Upstairs, a bar/pub in downtown Rabat, showcasing the most talented blues/rock and jazz musicians.

Family activities in Rabat

For more family fun activities, you can visit the Magic Park amusement a few kilometres in the outskirts, as well as the many restaurants downtown with play areas for children and family attractions. You can also visit Mohammed VI's Museum Of Modern and Contemporary Art. Here you will find many sections destined for both children, modern international art enthusiasts as well those seeking to better understand the local culture and its history. The historical sights of the city are also known family attractions (the Hassan Tower and the Mohammed V's mausoleum). Also, just 10 minutes off the city, you will find this gem of a workshop known as The Little Workshop, for kids to learn about art and pottery, in Harhoura; a beach town/resort.

Sports activities in Rabat

Rabat, like most metropolitan cities, doesn't offer much in terms of sports activities. However, you will always find a gym and/or fitness centres in most neighbourhoods. In Rabat, you will mostly find surf clubs like Rabat Beach Culture and Oudaya Surf Club, offering excursions and classes for men, women and children. Club Acacia offers different activities for adults and children such as Ping Pong, archery, football and basketball. You will also find golf activities in Rabat, in the Moroccan Golf Range Dar Essalam Royal Golf.

 Useful links:

Rabat Tramway itinerary and city map
Moroccan Restaurants Directory
Your guide to visiting Morocco

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