Where to Stay in Rabat Morocco – 7 Best Area, Neighborhoods & Hotels
Wondering Where to Stay in Rabat for First Time, Budget, Nightlife, Family, Shopping? Find out the Best Areas, neighborhoods & Hotels in Rabat in this guide.
The exotic North African country of Morocco is a popular tourist location. Rabat has not got the romantic reputation of Casablanca or Marrakesh. Look closer however and you will soon discover it has many attractions to see and experience.
Rabat became Morocco’s capital just before the First World War. That status resulted in development and expansion beyond the traditional Medina district. The Medina remains one of the best places to stay for travelers, especially those on a budget.
The city’s coastal location results in plenty to do by the Atlantic Ocean with long stretches of beach a particular attraction. The historical and cultural gems satisfy the inquisitive tourist, and the vibrant atmosphere of Rabat is captivating.
Where to Stay in Rabat Morocco – 7 Best Area & Neighborhoods
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.
Rabat is not a huge city, its population being well below that of cities such as Casablanca, Tangier and Fez. The transport system is good so none of the neighborhoods below are too far away from the city’s highlights. Where you decide to stay is down to personal choice and interests and this outline hopes to give you further insight into Rabat to help you with your planning.
Where to Stay in Rabat Morocco Map
To see more detail where to stay in Rabat, go to Google Map;
1. Medina – Best Area to Stay in Rabat Close to Everything
The Medina is the heart of most Moroccan communities and Rabat is no exception. It is a lively central district where travelers will be able to observe the daily activities of the local population. It is also the top district for those looking for accommodation and working on a budget.
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 taxi or public transport.
YOU SHOULD 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 IN MEDINA IF:
- You are looking for a quiet environment
- Your priority is a family-friendly neighborhood
2. Agdal – Best Area to Stay in Rabat for Quiet Holiday
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 Gardens created by the French in 1914, Jardin d’Essais, is the main place to visit within the neighborhood.
This neighborhood is in the heart of Rabat close to Medina, but perhaps slightly quieter?
YOU SHOULD 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 IN AGDAL IF:
- You are young and want to enjoy the hectic lifestyle Rabat can offer, day and night.
3. Hassan – Best Area to Stay in Rabat Near Tourist Attractions
This neighborhood is fairly central and just south of Medina. The highlights of Hassan include the Mausoleum of Mohammed V, Nouzhat Hassan Gardens and St. Peter’s Cathedral. It is still perfectly easy to walk from accommodation in Hassan to get to the very heart of the City.
Hassan Tower close to the Mausoleum 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.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN HASSAN 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 IF:
- You are interested in nightlife without traveling into the center.
4. Hay Riad – Best Area to Stay in Rabat for Nightlife
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.
YOU SHOULD 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 IN HAY RIAD IF:
- You are looking for the most budget-friendly accommodation.
5. L’Ocean – Best Area to Stay in Rabat for Families
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.
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. Add the refreshment outlets and L’Ocean certainly deserves serious consideration.
YOU SHOULD 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 IN L’OCEAN IF:
- You want a choice of budget alternatives
- You want to walk to landmarks if you are traveling with children
6. Souissi – Best Area to Stay in Rabat Close for Relax Atmosphere
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
YOU SHOULD 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 IN SOUSSUI IF:
- You are young and single and want to be in the midst of the action
7. Les Ambassadeurs – Best Area to Stay in Rabat for Outdoor Activities
This last suggested neighborhood is the furthest from the center but that has definite advantages. It is a quiet district with not as much traffic as elsewhere in Rabat. Those interested in fitness will find open spaces, tennis courts, swimming facilities, the Royal Golf Course, and the chance to go horse riding.
Local taxis do not cost a fortune and will take you to other parts of Rabat to see the significant landmarks.
YOU SHOULD STAY IN LES AMBASSADEURS 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 AMBASSADEURS IF:
- You want to see Rabat’s landmarks without needing transport.
Tips for Choosing Where to Stay in Rabat
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.
Those looking for budget accommodation as part of an itinerary based on seeing the whole country should look at Medina first of all. There are plenty of hostels but also quality hotels in Medina for travelers wishing to be in the heart of the City.
If you want somewhere quieter, then look at the outskirts in the knowledge that transport within Rabat is well-organized, regular, and inexpensive.
What Is Rabat Morocco Known For?
Rabat’s status as the national capital makes it the obvious location for some of Morocco’s most important landmarks, the Nation’s Best Museums, the Mausoleum of Mohammed V and Royal Palace itself.
The Kasbah of the Oudaias is an ancient citadel dating back to medieval times cited in a prominent location overlooking the Atlantic.
The Chellah was founded by the Carthaginians and subsequently fell under Roman rule and ultimately Arabs. Travelers will be surrounded by history even though it is now home to migratory storks who return from their nesting sites in Europe in August.
What Is the Best Month to Visit Morocco?
The Ocean’s influence ensures that Rabat does not experience the really hot summer weather found in Morocco’s interior. However, the most pleasant time to enjoy Rabat is spring and autumn, especially for travelers intending to explore Morocco as a whole.
March until May then September and October are all times when the weather is guaranteed to be pleasant and largely dry. Throughout these weeks, the temperatures will be in the high 20s centigrade. At the height of summer, they are regularly into the 30s.
Is Rabat Safe at Night?
Every traveler needs to follow simple rules whenever they visit a strange town or city, but beyond that Rabat is extremely safe. Scams do exist, as do pickpockets but there is a good police presence throughout the City which does not intrude of the experience of a visit.
It does not make sense to wear expensive jewelry or appear to be carrying significant amounts of cash. Walking is fine but ensure your valuables are in your control perhaps by keeping hands in pockets. Dress casually and appropriately.
Solo female travelers should not worry about walking in Rabat. It is common sense in any city to avoid very quiet places that are unfamiliar and that applies to Rabat as it does to anywhere else.
Where to Stay in Rabat on a Budget?
The best budget accommodation is found in Medina. An added advantage is its central location meaning none of Rabat’s major attractions are too distant.
There are plenty of signs for hotels as you walk along Mohammed V Street. At peak tourist times, they tend to fill up quickly so if you have not booked in advance, try to call in before lunchtime to book for that evening before continuing to enjoy the City.
A double room in Medina should start for as little as US$15. Prices do rise outside Medina but there is good value to be had throughout Rabat.
How long to Stay in Rabat?
While few travelers to Morocco go specifically to see Rabat unless on a business trip, it would be wrong to omit it from a Moroccan itinerary just because cities like Casablanca, Marrakesh and Fez receive more attention.
If time is short, you can see the main landmarks of Rabat in two days, but it is certainly worth relaxing and taking an extra day unless time makes that impossible.
The fine beaches are a great place to relax during a hectic schedule while the café culture that has existed since the time of the French offers a chance to just sit and watch the world go by.
Is Rabat Worth a Visit?
No one who goes to Rabat for a few days will be disappointed. Its growth came about because of its capital status but there is plenty of history there because human settlement dates back to the days of Carthage and its struggles with the Romans.
In addition, its coastal location adds to the options of things you can enjoy. A mix of old and new, it would be a shame to miss it out of your Moroccan itinerary.
It would be a shame if you are planning a visit to Morocco if you miss Rabat out. There are several cities that receive more attention than Rabat and international flights do go directly into cities such as Casablanca but that is not a reason to miss it out.
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.
There is no shortage of accommodation for every budget for the time you spend in Rabat and onward travel to nearby Casablanca and beyond ids readily available and inexpensive.