Where to Stay in Rabat First Time: Best areas

In this blog post, we well be looking at Where to stay in Rabat as a tourist, the best areas to stay in Rabat for first-time visitors, and the best hotels in Rabat for all budgets (including the hotel where I stayed).

The exotic North African country of Morocco is a popular tourist location. Rabat has not got the romantic reputation of Casablanca or Marrakesh. Rabat is not a huge city, its population being well below that of cities such as Casablanca, Tangier, and Fez. It is a generally moderate safe city for tourist.

The city’s coastal location results in plenty to do by the Atlantic Ocean with long stretches of the beach a particular attraction. The historical and cultural gems satisfy the inquisitive tourist, and the vibrant atmosphere of Rabat is well worth a visit.

Rabat became the capital of Morocco when it was a French Protectorate. As a result, there remains a French influence in the architecture and the streets. French is widely understood even today, and a few words will be useful for all tourists seeking advice and directions.

Where to Stay in Rabat?

The best areas to stay in Rabat for first-timers are the neighborhoods of Medina, Agdal, Hassan, hay Riad, L’Ocean, Souissi, and Les Ambassadeurs. These are popular and safe areas for tourists that offer a wide range of attractions and amenities.

Medina is the best overall area for first-time visitors due to its prime location. If you book a hotel here, you will be located in the heart of city, within a short walking distance from major tourist attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

If you’re want to stay in authentic accommodation, book a stay in traditional riads. Riads are traditional Moroccan houses that are coverted into boutique hotels with rooms and inner courtyard. Some even have swimming pools or hammam-style spas for guests.

If this is your first visit, I recommend spending at least 2-3 days in Rabat, which is enough to see major tourist attractions, to enjoy local food, and to get a good sense of the city. if you have more days, you can enjoy the city in a slower and relaxing pace.

Where did I stay in Rabat?

When I visited Rabat, I stayed for 2 nights in the city center area at RIAD Dar Ouezzani. It was a good value for money hotel that has a great location within the medina, walking distance to the Kasbah, the beach, and Hassan Tower. I had a wonderful breakfast in its pretty courtyard everyday.

💖 Best Area for first-timers:Medina
💎 Best luxury hotel:Riad Dar Karima 
🏨 Best mid-range hotel:Riad Meftaha
💰 Best budget hotel:Chambre haut standing

Map of areas and neighborhoods in Rabat:

The 7 Best areas to stay in Rabat for tourists are:

1. Medina – best overall area to stay in Rabat for first-timers

Where to Stay in Rabat Morocco: Medina Rabat

Medina is the best overall area to stay in Rabat for first-time travelers who want to be in the historic heart of the city. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of everything, within walking distance to top sights, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

It is a lively central district where travelers will be able to observe the daily activities of the locals. Common accommodations in Medina are riads, hotels, and dars, with on-site hammams, beautiful rooftop terraces, on-site restaurants, breakfast, and swimming pools in many properties.

Rue Souika is a good place to stop which start from the 14th-century Grande Mosquée de Rabat Medina to the reed-covered Souq as-Sebbat.

To absorb the medina atmosphere, stroll around narrow streets such as Rue des Consuls, one of the oldest and most famous alleys in Rabat. This craft souk is a perfect place to shop for handicrafts and souvenirs.

At the end of Rue des Consuls, you will find the massive walls of the Oudaias Kasbah (Kasbah les Oudaias) with the beautiful gateway Bab Oudaia, originally built in the 12th century.

Kasbah les Oudaias overlooks the Bou Regreg River, the Atlantic Ocean, and Rabat’s sister city, Salé. Here you can see narrow, white-washed streets, the Moorish café, Rue Jamaa, Kasbah Mosque which is the oldest mosque in Rabat, Andalusian Gardens, and Oudaya Museum.

You can also find Rabat Beach, the Lighthouse Rabat on Boulevard Mokhtar Gazoulit, the National Photography Museum, the fort of Rottembourg, also known as Fort Hervé which was built in 1914.

Other points of interest are the National Craft Museum, Nouzhat Hassan Garden, the old Jewish Mellah neighborhood, the Bab Laalou which is the western entrance of the Medina.

Staying in Medina, you are also within walking distance to one of the most famous sites of the kingdom, Hassan Tower, known as Tour Hassan in French. This symbol of Rabat is the remains of the Hassan Mosque.

You can also sample the best of both the Moroccan tradition and the French colonial influence in traditional restaurants.

You can easily walk around Medina and neighboring Agdal while the tram and bus services make it easy to reach any part of the City. Taxis are inexpensive as well though it is not recommended to hire a car as opposed to a taxi or public transport.

Stay in Medina if:

  • You want a central location, an ideal base for exploring Rabat
  • You want to be close to many of Rabat’s major attractions
  • You are interested in experiencing Rabat’s daily life and activities which is such an important aspect with travel
  • You have a limited budget and are looking for value.

Don’t stay here if:

  • You are looking for a quiet environment
  • Your priority is a family-friendly neighborhood

Best places to stay in Rabat Medina for first-timers:

Luxury ($$$): Riad Dar Karima The riad is just a fairy-tale oasis in the noisy and rush medina of Rabat. You could easily reach everything by walking. The hotel is situated within Rabat’s medina and only 500 m from the Kasbah des Oudaias. Ryad Dar Karima is 2 km from Chellah and 500 m from Rabat Medina Station. Rabat-Salé Airport is 5 km away.

Mid-range ($$): Riad Meftaha is set in Marassa Ocean in Rabat. Guests can enjoy various activities in the surroundings, including golfing, cycling and fishing. The riad also offers car hire. The hotel is close to Kasbah Oudaya, Moroccan Parliament, Goethe-Institut and Rabat-Salé Airport is 9 km from the property.

Budget ($): Chambre haut standing is near The National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco, National Railways Office and Ministry of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Training, Chambre haut standing features free WiFi, and guests can enjoy a shared lounge.


2. Hassan & Quartier des Orangers – central areas

Where to stay in Rabat Morocco - Hassan

This neighborhood is fairly central and just south of Medina. It is still perfectly easy to walk from accommodation in Hassan to get to the very heart of the City.

Hassan Tower (Le Tour Hassan) is the minaret of a mosque that was commissioned by Abu Yusuf Yaqub al Mansur at the end of the 12th Century, but he died, and work finished, never to be resumed. 

Constructed in red sandstone, it was given UNESCO World Heritage status in 2012.

Hassan Tower and the Mausoleum of Mohammed V are both located in the gardens of Jardin Tour Hassan or, Jardin d’Essais Botanique.

Other highlights of Hassan and Quartier des Orangers are t Nouzhat Hassan Gardens St. Peter’s Cathedral, Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, and the Rabat Archaeological Museum.

In this neighborhood, you can find Rabat Ville station, the central train station in the city. There is the train to the Mohamed V International Airport and Casablanca.

Stay in Hassan & Quartier des Orangers if:

  • You want to be on the doorstep of landmark attractions
  • You want a wide choice of hotel and apartment accommodation 

Don’t stay in Hassan & Quartier des Orangers if:

  • You are interested in nightlife without traveling into the center. 

Best places to stay in Rabat in Hassan for first-time visitors:

Luxury ($$$): Suite Balima XI Location is ideal as it is very close to the main station. Situated 1.9 km from Plage de Salé Ville and 2 km from The National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco, Suite Balima XI in Rabat features air-conditioned accommodation with views of the city and free WiFi.

Mid-range ($$): Hotel Le Diwan Rabat – MGallery is located next to the Palais Royal in Rabat city centre, Morocco. This 4-star resort has a hammam and the gourmet restaurant serves traditional Moroccan cuisine. Le Diwan is an ideal base to explore the city and Royal Golf Dar Es Salam is just 14 km away.

Budget ($): Hotel Le Musée is just 900 m from Tennis Stadium, Hotel Le Musée offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi. The hotel provides a terrace and a shared lounge. Private parking is available on site.


See more: 20 Best things to do in Rabat, Morocco

3. Agdal – where to stay in Rabat on a budget

Best area to stay in Morocco - Trams running through Agdal.
Trams running through Agdal @Simon White

Agdal attracts younger travelers because of the number of small cafes and bars to choose from and its central location. It also contains quality restaurants and is not simply a place for those on a budget.

The 17-hectare gardens created by the French in 1914, Jardin d’Essais, is the main place to visit within the neighborhood.

Attractions in Agdal are the Royal Palace of Rabat, the Urban Forest Ibn Sina, the Valley of the Roses. Be sure to visit a fine-dining restaurant and bar, L’entrecôte, and an Irish pub called Upstairs.

Agdal is home to one of the two stations in Rabat, Rabat Agdal Station. It is a newer station with a three-level state-of-the-art structure, where you can find McDonald’s, Starbucks, MiniSo Shop, and a Léonidas Belgian chocolate stand.

This neighborhood is in the center of Rabat close to Medina, but perhaps slightly quieter?

Stay in Agdal if:

  • You want to walk around and enjoy Rabat’s café culture
  • You are looking for plenty of choice of food and drink alternatives
  • You would like to enjoy the relaxing Jardin d’Essais 
  • You want to shop yet are looking for a quieter place than Medina.

Don’t stay here if:

  • You are young and want to enjoy the hectic lifestyle Rabat can offer, day and night.

Best places to stay in Rabat – Agdal Area:

Luxury ($$$): Dayet Ifrah by RENT-INN is located in Rabat, 3.3 km from The National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco and 6 km from Hassan Tower. Boasting family rooms, this property also provides guests with a terrace.

Mid-range ($$): Ibis Rabat Agdal is 1.6 km from The National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco and 4.2 km from Kasbah of the Udayas, Dayet Ifrah by RENT-INN features accommodation with free WiFi, air conditioning, a shared lounge and a terrace.


4. Hay Riad – the best place to stay in Rabat for couples

where to stay in Rabat: Hay Riad
Moshee Hassan ll Werner Bayer

Hay Riad was developed in the 1970s and is recognized as one of the classiest neighborhoods in Rabat.  The architecture is impressive and includes stunning villas, a real sign of wealth in Morocco. 

While it is the main business district of Rabat, it is also home to plenty of excellent nightlife alternatives including quality restaurants. Even though the French have long gone, French-style cafes feature in Hay Riad.

Tourists wanting to stay at a top-quality hotel should begin by looking to Hay Riad. 

Stay in Hay Riad if:

  •  You want a choice of top-quality accommodation
  • You want a neighborhood with a range of nightlife choices whether restaurant or bar.
  • You are keen on a very safe neighborhood for visitors, day and night.

Don’t stay here if:

  • You are looking for the most budget-friendly accommodation. 

Best places to stay in hay Riad area:

Private Apartments – Hay Riad – Prestigia is a self-catering accommodation located in Rabat. Free WiFi access is available. Great central place, nice spots in the close vicinity. Underground around the corner and public parking close by.

The View Hotel is set in Rabat, a 15-minute drive from OLM Souissi Stage of Mawazine Festival, The View Hotel features air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi throughout the property. Guests can enjoy the on-site restaurant. Free private parking is available on site.


5. L’Ocean – Where to Stay in Rabat for Families

Staying in L’Ocean Rabat
Dar Shâan near L’Ocean

Quartier de l’Ocean west of Medina has an extensive coastal section with all the benefits that such a location provides. As a result, there are plenty of choices when it comes to accommodation. Those choices include quality hotels as well as apartments available for rent

This neighborhood offers quiet accommodation and close proximity to top attractions like National Theater, Medina, the Palace Kabbaj. Close to the Atlantic ocean, you will find Fort Rottembourg, one of the historical attractions in l’Ocean.

The beach areas have been well developed as tourist numbers grew so families will find plenty for the kids to do, relaxing sea air, warm water, and lovely sand. This beach is a popular spot for surfing. Add the refreshment outlets and L’Ocean certainly deserves serious consideration.

Stay in L’Ocean if:

  • You want a coastal location and all that offers
  • You want to be close to the heart of Rabat
  • Your priority is a relaxing environment despite being relatively central

Don’t stay here if:

  • You want a choice of budget alternatives
  • You want to walk to landmarks if you are traveling with children

Best place to stay in L-Ocean area:

Luxury ($$$): Dar Shâan This Riad is such an awesome place. It’s in great location, inside medina with easy access to main road and gardens. The hotels is in walking distance from Laalou Avenue and the beach is just 10 minute’ walk away. It’s sparking clean and very stylish.

Mid-range ($$): Riad Meftaha is located in good location, close to train station, Moroccan Parliament, Goethe-Institut, while Rabat Aiport is 9km away from the hotel. the service is very friendly and helpful. We highly recommend this hotel. Guests can enjoy various activities in the surroundings, including golfing, cycling and fishing. The riad also offers car hire.

Budget ($): Hotel Lutece The location is very good, not in the Medina but very close and in a safer area. The staff are very friendly and helpful. Excellent breakfast, very clean rooms, contemporary art on the walls.


6. Souissi – best area to stay in Rabat for families

Souissi is where the annual music festival, Mawazine Rabat is held each May. Several world-famous performers have featured over the years and the Festival is an important date in the Moroccan calendar.

It is a relaxing neighborhood, ideal for families with plenty of open spaces and entertainment for children. 

Accommodation choices have limited budget alternatives

Stay in Souissi if:

  • You are looking for a relaxing atmosphere away from the hectic heart of Rabat
  • You are traveling as a family and need plenty to amuse the kids.

Don’t stay here if:

  • You are young and single and want to be in the midst of the action

Best places to stay in Soussui Area:

La Villa Mandarine is set in an orange grove, a 5-minute drive from Nahda Stage of Mawazine Festival. It offers an outdoor heated swimming pool. You can relax in the massage room and hammam or drive to the beach in 20 minutes.

Sofitel Rabat Jardin Des Roses is in the centre of Rabat, this hotel sits on a luxurious site of more than 7 hectares, including 3 swimming pools and mini-golf area. It offers stylish rooms with balconies. The guest rooms at the Sofitel Rabat Jardin Des Roses have panoramic views of the Andalusian gardens, the swimming pool or the Eucalyptus forest


🎬 Check out my virtual tour about the best areas to stay in Rabat in this video:

7. Salé – sister’s city of Rabat

Staying in Les Ambassadeurs (Salé) Rabat
Riad La Porte du Bouregreg near Les Ambassadeurs (Salé)

Located on the right bank of the Bou Regreg river, opposite the national capital Rabat, Sale is not a major tourist city, it’s a great place to explore the local daily life and break from the hustle and bustle of another city in Morocco.

Here you will find Plage de Sale Ville / Sale Beach, a lot of murals and street art, and Sale’s medina. Sale’s medina is home to the third-largest mosque in Morocco, The Great Mosque of Sale.

There are also sights like The Cemetery of Sidi Benachi, The Great Door of Sale (Bab LaMarissa) which is one of the oldest gates in Morroco, and Oujla Craft Complex.

Accommodations here are affordably dars and riads with breakfast is typically included with the room rate, rooftop terraces, and some accommodations can offer an airport shuttle bus. The Marina Bouregreg Salé are more expensive.

Local taxis do not cost a fortune and will take you to other parts of Rabat to see the significant landmarks.

Stay in Les Ambassadeurs (Salé) if:

  • You want a peaceful area and want to relax and enjoy some quiet time.
  • You are fit and looking for physical, outdoor activities

Don’t stay in Les Ambassadeurs (Salé) if:

  • You want to see Rabat’s landmarks without needing transport. 

Where should I stay in Rabat for the first time?

Medina is the best place to stay in Rabat for first-timers due to its close proximity to rabat’s top tourist attractions. If you stay here, you will be located in the heart of the city, within a  walking distance from sights, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

What are the best areas to stay in Rabat? 

Medina, Hassan, Agdal, Hay Riad,  L’Ocean, and Souissi are the best areas to stay in Rabat because they are the most popular and safe neighborhoods for tourists that offer a wide range of attractions and amenities.

Read Also: 

Rabat is a mixture of new and old. Its expansion began around a century ago when it became the French Protectorate’s Capital, but human settlement existed for many, many centuries before that. You can find something for every taste, balancing history, culture, and outdoor activities by day with fine cuisine and bars by night.  

Morocco is a popular destination for travelers of all kinds whether solo, couple, family, young or old. Its capital Rabat has something for everyone and when it comes to choosing accommodation, there is plenty of detailed information online that will narrow down your choice based on interests and personal circumstances.

Overall, I recommend Rabat Medina as the best area to stay in Rabat for first-timers due to its central location. If you stay here, you will be located in the middle of action within a short walking distance from major tourist attractions, as well as many restaurants, bars, and shops.

About Author: Linda Smith

I'm Linda Smith, the Hotel Expert, an experienced travel blogger who passionate about traveling. I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I cover a wide range of travel topics, specializing in sharing information about the best areas, neighborhoods, and hotels in each city. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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