Five reasons why Rabat should be on your travel wish list 

Olivia Palamountain

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What to see in Rabat

Ancient heritage

Rabat’s rich history stretches back to the 12th century, a unique legacy recognised by the UNESCO World Heritage List since 2012. As one of Morocco’s four imperial capitals and the country’s administrative centre, the city expanded within the walls of a fortified town founded by the Almohad dynasty during their conquest of North Africa. Shaped by a multitude of rich influences, Rabat intrigues with stories of French artists, Moorish exiles and legendary corsairs who settled here. From the remains of the ramparts and gates of the Almohad era, to the iconic Hassan Tower, built during the era of Sultan Yacoub el Mansour in 1184, the city is full of gems from the past. 

What to see in Rabat: Hassan Tower

A contemporary vision for the future

Among the landmark urban developments that have received international recognition are the Grand Théâtre de Rabat, designed by Zaha Hadid and mirroring the graceful curves of the Bouregreg river and the glittering Mohammed VI Tower, the highest building in Africa. The future House of Arts and Culture and the rehabilitation of the Rabat Corniche will complete this ambitious vision of Morocco’s City of Light. 

Festivals, museums, galleries and more

Aspiring to the title of African Cultural Capital for 2023, Rabat shines through its arts and culture calendar. Expect festivals and events showcasing local and international talent, ranging from jazz to cinema, photography to fashion. Art and history fiends will love the collections of artworks and documents on display in the Dar Belghazi Ethnographic Museum, while other must-see institutions include the eco-museum, adjacent to the Maamora forest, the Museum of Musical Instruments in Dar Lkadi, the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art and the National Museum of Photography, housed in an ancient fortification on the coast. 

Dar Belghazi Ethnographic Museum one of the best places to visit in Rabat
National Museum of Photography, Rabat Morocco

Green spaces galore 

Rabat is famously the ‘greenest city in Africa’, filled with an abundance of green spaces that breathe life into the city centre. The exotic gardens of Bouknadel are well worth a visit, as is an afternoon stroll in the beautiful Andalusian gardens, laid out at the dawn of the 20th century under the shade of bougainvillea and lemon trees. While you’re there, stop by the Museum of Finery, which offers a fascinating insight into traditional dress over the ages. 

gardens of Bouknadel , what to see in Rabat

Excellent weather, surf and leisure

Thanks to its unique location on the Atlantic coast, the Moroccan capital is an exceptional resort destination that offers a mild climate all year round. Miles of fine sandy beaches, delicately shaped by the ebb and flow of the tides, are ripe for exploring, crowned by surf clubs that take advantage of the next-level waves – all of which is accessible at only a few minutes from the medina. If you’re into golf, check out the idyllic palm-fringed links at the prestigious Golf Royal Dar Es Salam, designed by Robert Trent Jones, or cycle the myriad bicycle paths that criss-cross the city. 

Travel to Rabat