When I come back to visit in the future Rabat will be my first stop.
Before we left, I was feeling hesitant again because we booked things last minute and this time we decided to stay in an Airbnb. We weren’t sure about Airbnb before becasue of safety but decided to go for it this time. It saved us so much money and our host was great. So yet again my pre-adventure nervousness could not have farther from reality. Rabat is incredible. While Chefchaouen picturesque it has the small tow charm. Rabat on the other hand has character and charisma. Rabat is alive and friendly in the best way. People go about their day and seem to be loving life; whether it’s sitting in a café laughing with friends and family or taking time to sit with a loved one on the beach as the sun is setting. The people in Rabat seem to enjoy life in their city. Seeing the locals enveloped in bliss only made me feel the same way.
The city of Rabat is the capital of Morocco and the second largest city in the country with around 1.2 million people living in the metropolitan area. Originally, the city was a port town and a fortress for launching attacks against Spain around 1146. That’s where it got the title Ribatu l-Fath, meaning “stronghold of victory.” These days it’s not only known as the political and administrative hub for Morocco but also as one of the top destinations to travel to in the world. In 2013, it was named number two on CNN Travel’s list of top destination to visit.
There are so many things I loved about this city but I narrowed it down to my Top Six…
- Hassan Tower and Mausoleum of Mohammed V
This place is amazing as you walk in through the tall gates guards on horses sit on either side of the entrance and you feel almost like your walking into a different time period. You’re immediately surrounded by different sized pillars with a beautifully carved tower on one side and the mausoleum on the other.
Next up, Chellah! Chellah is medieval ruins once used by the Romans and Muslim conquerors as both a fortress and trade hub. Just like with Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum it was amazing to be able walk through history.
The man leading us down the path in this photo walked up to us right as we entered Chellah and offered to give us a tour for a really good price. I’m still not really sure if he was an official guide or not but he was so helpful and I’m glad we got to walk around with someone who knew a little bit of the history of Chellah.
The garden was amazing! The picture on the right is of five stork nests on top of one another. It reminded me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book.
The old mosque with a nest on top.
I was amazed at the size of this leaf. I tried to grow elephant ears back home and my leaves were always tiny. Nature is pretty neat!
Beautiful door with very little of the original tile work left.
Ancient Roman market place.
This man was at the door of Chellah. He cracked us up. I had to ask for a picture.
The locals of Chellah relaxing in the sun.
- Murals and Art
The city of Rabat was, to my surprise, very artsy. All around town there are beautiful murals on the side of buildings. I only got pictures of a few but its little things like that that gave the city character and made me like it so much.
- Beach and Lighthouse
The sunsets do not disappoint in Rabat. Being from the Midwest where there are no oceans it always takes my breath away to stand on a beach and look out across the water thinking about how small I am in this world. The beach in Rabat did just that. Probably the most picturesque moments of the trip was watching the sunset with the lighthouse in the background while listening to the wave’s crash onto the shore.
- Le Dhow Restaurant
Our first night in Rabat we had dinner on a ship that has been converted into a restaurant and lounge, located right on the pier. For a second I forgot that I was in Morocco. The food was amazing and we all got fancy desserts. It was nice to have a night out. The view from our table was amazing as well. You could see the city of Sale from across the river and in the distance you could see the Atlantic.
- Breakfast Food
Something I thought a lot about before coming to Morocco was… being that I have never been out of the US before… what will I miss the most about being home? One thing I definitely miss is breakfast food. Breakfast in Morocco isn’t bad by any means but the choices are limited. There are only so many times a person can eat a croissant in a single week and still enjoy it. We picked a random place off of Trip Advisor to eat breakfast and we were not disappointed. The orange juice was the freshest I have ever had. I ordered an ‘omelet formage’ which means cheese omelet, every menu I have seen except one in Chefchaouen has been in French so I’m learning quickly what different french words for food mean. It was delicious! I haven’t had eggs since I’ve been here. When I look back I don’t think I would have guessed that I would miss eggs but here I am! We went back the next day for the same thing… it was too good not to.
This was trip number two and I can already see improvements from our last trip. Rabat was easier in many ways because of the benefits that come with being in a bigger city but if we would not have gone to Chefchaouen first there are many things I wouldn’t have known to do or not do. Traveling is terrifying and I have been nervous before both of our weekend trips but in the end I feel more confident in both myself and the group I travel with to overcome anything Morocco throws at us.