Rabat Walking Tour

Overview

This walking tour covers about 2 miles (3km) and if you take in the sights and enjoy yourself it could easily take all afternoon. We’ll start at the Rabat Ville train station and walk down main street to the ancient market, then through the narrow market streets to the Kasbah des Oudayas and the city beachClick here for a printable version.

1 Main Street Morocco

Starting from the train station turn left and walk down the huge avenue (Mohammed 5th) with palm trees in the center, continue on this road for about a kilometer, until it seems to end at a set of ancient walls, then jump to the next section.

This main avenue starts at the royal palace of the king, and shortly past the train station you’ll see a large reddish colonial era building with guards and a huge fence, this is the national parliament building. (you can photograph the building, but don’t photograph the guards. A little further on you’ll see the Bank Al Maghreb with a huge stone facade, this formerly housed the Moroccan national bank, other government buildings and offices of major corporations like Maroc Telecom can be found on this street.

2 The Ancient Medina Market

At the end of Mohammed 5th, cross blvd Hassan II where you’ll find a very busy area with street vendors, donkey carts, and masses of people all trying to occupy the same space at the same time.  Hang onto your wallet and wade into the fray, this is a critical part of Moroccan culture, the market (called a Souk in Arabic). Proceed along the pedestrian section of Mohammed 5th until you come to your first intersection: Rue Suika, another market street (Do not expect a road sign!), turn right onto rue Suika and continue for about half a mile until rue Suika abruptly ends, then jump to the next section.

In this part of the city, life continues mostly as it has for the last 100 years. Women come to the market here to buy what they need for the house, and people walk up and down the streets to buy shoes or clothes. The buildings here were built by hand and the streets laid out before the introduction of cars. This part of the city is completely surrounded by the city walls, and was defended or conquered several times in it’s history. In this part of the city, you can find everything from soccer jerseys to new computers along this same stretch of street. Keep your eyes peeled for the calligrapher, who creates gifts with highly valued inscriptions and beautiful script. Also along this street are open air butcher, jewelers, an ancient traditional mosque, and other shops of every conceivable kind.

3 The Tourist Market

When you reach the end of rue Suika, turn left onto a broader, cleaner pedestrian street hung with tourist merchandise, walk along this street until you exit the old city until you find yourself at a busy 2 lane road opposite a moorish fortress, then jump to the next section.

This section of the city has the largest section of local crafts and tourist items like carpets, paintings, and leather goods. It’s brilliantly colorful, and less crowded than other parts of the ancient medina. Keep your eyes peeled on the right for the traditional bath house called a Hammam, used by women in the morning and men in the evening. You might smell fresh break from the community ovens located on the next street over.

4 The Kasbah des Oudaya

Kasbah des oudaya, Rabat Morocco

The view fromthe terrace cafe.

Carefully cross the two lane road and walk uphill along the walls of the fortress until you find a doorway (it you reach the giant staircase you’ve gone too far). Enter this doorway and then pass through a second doorway on you right just as you enter through the walls.

On the far wall of the garden about halfway down the longer wall is the entrance to the terrace cafe, exit the garden through this doorway and treat yourself to a glass of mint tea. From the terrace cafe you’ll see a warren of blue and white walls that empty in to the cafe, head out along these streets. Keep choosing the branches that are wider and roughly uphill, and you eventually find yourself on the only real street in the Oudaya, a one lane street with a few shops and cars parked on it. Turn right onto this street and continue down it until it ends, then jump down to the next section.

This ancient coastal fortress was once the Jewish quarter of the city, hence the name “Oudaya” which means Jews in the local dialect, today’s its ancient houses have mostly been turned into luxury apartments and fancy guest houses. You might notice the project underway to dig a tunnel beneath the walls for a major roadway.

5 The Rabat Beach

From the end of the street pass through the doorway on your left and out onto the ramparts of the kasbah. There is a stairway on the right hand wall than will lead down to the beach by following left along the walls of the fortress.

The Beach is a popular place to walk along the pier, or relax with friends and play soccer. You can rent a beach umbrella for about $3 US. Avoid walking among the tombs, its not a place for foreigners.

You can return to you starting point by retracing your steps or by catching a taxi.

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