It’s safe to say that Morocco has been the most challenging port thus far. That’s not to say it was bad per se. None of the ports have been anything short of fun, uh, unless you count the couple days on my death bed in Paris. It was just that … a challenge.
Though I’ve been a couple times before, I’ve never led a group of eight little ducklings through the crowded streets of locals trying to peddle their goods and services onto us obvious tourists.
This visit, we decided to stick close to the port. Casablanca is where the ship docks and is known for being a gritty, industrial town. Marrakech is my favorite of Moroccan cities, but given it’s three hours by train each day—and we only had one night—we took a 55-minute, $15 ride to the capital instead.
After checking into our riad, we set out in search of a restaurant, Dar Naji, that the general manager had recommended—and then I made the fatal error. I asked directions.
The medina was more confusing than any others I had encountered, the map did us no good as there are no street signs in the medina, and a seemingly kind local offered to lead us there, for which I knew we’d pay. What I didn’t realize is he had no idea where he was going, so he took us the most roundabout way possible, and nearly an hour later, we arrived at our intended destination. It took us 15 minutes to walk back the “long way” after lunch.
Oh, and he wanted 20 euro for his efforts. Ha. Classy. (We gave him two.)
Though our unexpected hike wound up being worth it as the meal might have been the highlight of our time in Rabat. I had forgotten just how much I enjoy Moroccan cuisine.
Tajine and couscous and Moroccan Coke—though we passed on one local delicacy: pigeon pastilla.
We spent the rest of the afternoon checking out the coast line. It was pretty and all, but the next morning, we took the earliest train back to Casa and spent the afternoon enjoying the sun from the ship’s pool deck.
Rabat was nice to see—and definitely a much prettier city than Casablanca—but next time I find myself in Morocco, I think I’ll trust my gut and return to Essaouria or Marrakech once more.
We are planning a trip to Morocco in the Fall and we have to make a stop in Rabat. Good to know maybe only spend one night there and the rest in the other cities. That restaurant looks really cool, too.
In and out. Spend the bulk of your time in Marrakech and the desert if you can!
I had to smile when I read about your experience asking for directions. I can relate. Last time we gave directions, I think it added about an hour to our time. 🙂 Love the pics.
I love morocco, my fav city is marrakech but also rabat is very interesting!
I love Morroco! Those are beautiful pictures, Kristin.
But pigeon pastilla….what’s that ?
It’s pretty much a baked pastry with pigeon/squab in the middle and cinnamon on top! I had it the first time I was in Morocco and did. not. like.
Ah, Rabat! When I was in Morocco in 2011, my friends were living in Rabat, though we spent most of our time in OTHER cities. 🙂 It was nice to spend a day there, but not much more time was needed. And the only time I went to the Rabat medina was at night, so it was crazy confusing. Thankfully I was with people who knew where they were going, so I just had to follow!
I have been in many medinas but none made me as claustrophobic/panicky as Rabat’s!
That restaurant looks well worth the milage! It seems such a shame to have such a short time in one country though. I love the idea of a cruise, seeing so many places, but I know that having so little time would frustrate the life out of me!
Looove the food in Morocco! I still remember my first meal there. I was blown away by the delicious combination of sweet and savory flavors. Yum….
Nice pictures. Your experience reminds me of the time when we visited Morocco and had to travel without the guide. The Rabat experience was quite similar to yours.
Nice pictures! I had never been to morocco. After reading your post i think i must plan for a trip to morocco with my friends. It seems that the food of morocco is quite good.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
Another great post and belated congratulations on the weblog award!
Great post! I loved Morocco for a long time but not as much as I love Aruba and its beaches. Nice pictures btw..
I hope to be able to travel to Morocco this summer if everything works out. I love your pictures Kristin and love reading about your travels!
I was in Rabat for just a day, but really enjoyed it. Itching to get back to Morocco and see the Sahara!
Yay!!! One of my fav countries is Morracco. Never been to Rabat but look magical!
Went to Marrakech a few weeks ago…..it was mental!! We loved it….would love to go back to Morocco again. Not heard or Rabat before….but sounds like a return trip to ‘Kech’ or try Essaouria instead sounds like the plan!
Moscow sounds like a great place to visit but I never knew it was considered expensive to travel there. Is it cheaper to go doing our Christmas or would you recommend a better time?
Morocco was the most difficult place to visit in my travels, too. I’m not sure if it was because it was our first port in F2011, and I had never traveled like that before, or if it’s the country in general. It was really overwhelming. Casablanca was no fun for us (getting lost and walking for hours to try to find the ship after buying tickets to Marrakesh.) Marrakesh was uncomfortable, as I was constantly being dragged away by men and touched in all the wrong places. I finally found my favorite part of Morocco the last two days we were there–the Sahara desert. I think it was then that I realized that as much as I wanted to like cities, I am–and always will be–a country girl full of awe for nature. Stargazing in the desert while riding a camel is one of my favorite travel moments to this day!
Their beaches look magical. Is it Morocco that also have some mountains where tourists go for skiing as well?
Rabat seems to have a such a vibrant tourism industry. The beaches are not too welcoming with the dull sand but definitely look like its rich in culture and food.
I always feel so jaded when I’m asked for money when abroad. Especially if the service offered was definitely not what you received.
I love Morocco! Such a beautiful place in the world that I would love coming back again and again. Lovely photos! Nice share!
Took me a while to find your blog again but wanted to read this piece again as we are thinking of going again…but this time somewhere else in Morocco & couldn’t remember the coast place you were talking about – but it was Essaouria…..now we can start looking more into it. Thanks !!
Yes, Essaouria! Rabat was pretty but not worth a visit when there are so many other more fascinating spots in Morocco.
Those pictures are so gorgeous. So jealous of your travels. Cheers!
I love morocco as well, my favourite city is casablanca and marrakesh but after seeing your beautiful pics i will soon plan to visit rabat too. Cheers!
Geat article and helpful infos, thank you for sharing 🙂
I love Morocco. It seems such a shame to have such a short time in one country though. I love the idea of a cruise, seeing so many places, but I know that having so little time would frustrate the life out of me!
I totally agree. Luckily, it was my third (fourth?) time in the lovely country, and on my first visit I spent a good 10 days there, so I’ve spent more time there than just this brief visit to Rabat =)
Tourism in Morocco is well developed, with a strong tourist industry focused on the country’s coast, culture, and history. Morocco has been one of the most politically stable countries in North Africa, which has allowed tourism to develop. The Moroccan government created a Ministry of Tourism in 1985.
really i like this countryyyyyyyy
Went to Marrakech quite a few years ago now. Loved it. We are looking to go back to Morocco so was searching for articles & found this one as we had searched for Rabat….but does sound like there is better….next search – Essaouria. Thanks!