While Rabat has not necessarily established itself as a major tourist destination, this pleasant metropolitan city is a great home base for exploring Morocco’s more modern sites. Morocco’s capital city lacks the hustle and bustle of other Moroccan cities, making it a great place to stay for families traveling with children. Rabat’s medina is rather quiet yet authentic so you take your young ones shopping in the souks without too much worry about losing them in the crowds
There are plenty of sites to see in Rabat like the ancient city of Sale Colonia and Rabat’s most famous landmark, Le Tour Hassan, plus there are many popular historical sites within an easy traveling distance from Rabat.
Once you’ve explored Rabat, consider taking several day trips to one of these neighboring sites to get more of a feel for Moroccan culture.
Established as a military fort by Morocco’s first French Resident General in 1912, Kenitra is a modern town on the road to Tangier, about 46 kilometers north of Rabat.
Although the town itself doesn’t have much to offer visitors, it’s a great base for trips to the bird-watching haven of Lac Sidi Boughaba National Park. This park, just on the outskirts of town, is a major stop-off point for migratory birds between October and March.
Other nearby sightseeing attractions include the Roman garrison site of Thamusida, just to the north of Kenitra. Although sparse, the ruins of Thamusida include a temple, bath, housing, and a large garrison camp area.
Known for its scoop of beach, bobbing fishing boats in the port, and the bird-spotting activities of Merja Zerga National Park, Moulay Bousselham, 140 kilometers north of Rabat, is an easygoing place to while away a day or two.
It’s a good stop-off point on a journey up or down the Atlantic Coast between Rabat and Tangier.
For bird-watchers, a visit to Moulay Bousselham is all about getting onto the lagoon of the national park, where herons, plovers, egrets, and flamingos can be easily spotted on a boat trip, while those just after a relaxed day can enjoy the golden sand that fronts the town.
Located within an easy hour’s drive from Rabat, Casablanca is one of Morocco’s favorite tourist destinations. Inspired by French colonialism, Casablanca is more modern and more open to Western ways than other places in Morocco. Take a walking tour through the Marche Central and spend the afternoon sipping tea at one of Casablanca’s many hip cafes. Make sure to explore the old city’s medina, the newly gentrified shopping district of Quartier Harbous and the Hassan II Mosque—the fifth largest mosque in the world.
On the way to Casablanca, you can stop off at one of the beautiful beaches that line the Atlantic Coast. Bouznika is one of the trendiest beach towns located between the two cities, complete with luxurious golf resorts. Bouznika is also a popular surf spot, especially in the winter when the surf is especially consistent.
CITY OF SALE
Rabat’s neighboring city of Sale is a fun place to explore. With winding streets, narrow alleyways and old medina houses, Sale looks more like a traditional Moroccan village than a literal suburb of the modern Rabat. Conservative dress is more appropriate in Sale compared to the other cities near Rabat, so if you don’t want to stand out in Sale, dress more conservatively and avoid wearing short skirts or tank tops.
Just eight miles southwest of Rabat is the peaceful seaside town of Temera. The Temera Plage is a long coastal area divided up into many sandy beaches perfect for both surfing and sunbathing. You can also visit Termera’s Grand Mosque and the many quaint markets you will find around town. Great for children, the Temera National Zoological Park houses hundreds of species of birds and many mammals like elephants, lions and gazelles.