Basic Facts about RabatRabat is the capital city of Morocco in North Africa. Over 2 million people live in Rabat, making it the country's second largest city. Rabat is located on the Atlantic ocean, but Casablanca further south along the coast is the main port. Rabat is where the government is located, as well as the King of Morocco, but it's not the commercial capital (that would be Casablanca). Rabat has a rich history but is a fairly new capital, the French gave it this status in 1912 and it remained the capital as per the King's wishes, after independence in 1956.
Rabat is a very pleasant capital, and not as congested as some other Moroccan cities. The boulevards are wide, the souqs are not too hectic and there's a cosmopolitan feel to the outdoor cafes and well-dressed middle classes that live and work here. As with many Moroccan cities, it's divided into the Medina (old-walled city) and the Ville Nouvelle (new city, built by the French).
Arabic and French are the most common languages you'll hear on the streets of Rabat.
Travel to RabatRabat has a small airport, Rabat-Sale Airport, just outside of town; serviced by Royal Air Moroc and Air France. Most visitors will arrive by train from Casablanca (where the main international airport is). Frequent trains from Casablanca take an hour to reach Rabat. Long-distance buses are also readily available from every major town in Morocco.
More about: Train Travel and Getting Around Morocco.
Take a petit-taxi to get around, make sure the meter is working.
Where to Stay:
Riads, traditional homes converted into boutique hotels, are my favorite. Rooms aren't spacious, but they are gorgeous, intimate and in the heart of the medina. Rabat's best Riads include: Riad Kalaa, Dar el Kebira; and Riad Marhaba.
More Riads in Morocco...
What to See:
The Medina -- More sanitized than Marrakech or Fes, the Medina in Rabat is a fun place to shop and stroll. Food, copper, carpets, leather, mint, western-style clothing -- it's all there.
Kasbah des Oudaias -- a beautiful fortified city, on a bluff overlooking the ocean. The main gate leads to narrow streets inside the kasbah, stroll around and visit the oldest mosque in town.
Chellah -- an ancient Roman site, very pretty with fruit trees and storks, and crumbling ruins.
Hassan Tower -- famous landmark and close to the mausoleum housing the King's father and grandfather.
More Rabat Resources:Wikipedia - Rabat
Lexicorient - Rabat Rabat Travel Blogs