Rabat, Morocco: A Day Trip from Casablanca

Cruising to Morocco: Casablanca to Rabat

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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.

Rabat, Morocco

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.

Rabat, Morocco

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.

Rabat, Morocco

Oh, and he wanted 20 euro for his efforts. Ha. Classy. (We gave him two.)

Rabat, Morocco

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.

Rabat, Morocco

Tajine and couscous and Moroccan Coke—though we passed on one local delicacy: pigeon pastilla.

Rabat, Morocco

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, Morocco

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.

Rabat, Morocco

  • May 24, 2013

    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.

    • May 24, 2013

      In and out. Spend the bulk of your time in Marrakech and the desert if you can!

  • May 24, 2013

    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.

  • May 24, 2013

    I love morocco, my fav city is marrakech but also rabat is very interesting!

  • May 25, 2013

    I love Morroco! Those are beautiful pictures, Kristin.
    But pigeon pastilla….what’s that ?

    • May 25, 2013

      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.

  • May 25, 2013

    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!

    • May 25, 2013

      I have been in many medinas but none made me as claustrophobic/panicky as Rabat’s!

  • May 28, 2013

    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!

  • May 28, 2013

    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….

  • May 29, 2013

    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.

  • May 29, 2013

    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!

  • May 30, 2013

    Another great post and belated congratulations on the weblog award!

  • May 30, 2013

    Great post! I loved Morocco for a long time but not as much as I love Aruba and its beaches. Nice pictures btw..

  • June 2, 2013

    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!

  • June 3, 2013

    I was in Rabat for just a day, but really enjoyed it. Itching to get back to Morocco and see the Sahara!

  • June 4, 2013

    Yay!!! One of my fav countries is Morracco. Never been to Rabat but look magical!

  • June 10, 2013

    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!

  • June 12, 2013

    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?

  • June 13, 2013

    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!

  • June 19, 2013

    Their beaches look magical. Is it Morocco that also have some mountains where tourists go for skiing as well?

  • June 19, 2013

    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.

  • June 20, 2013

    I always feel so jaded when I’m asked for money when abroad. Especially if the service offered was definitely not what you received.

  • June 27, 2013

    I love Morocco! Such a beautiful place in the world that I would love coming back again and again. Lovely photos! Nice share!

  • May 16, 2014

    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 !!

    • May 18, 2014

      Yes, Essaouria! Rabat was pretty but not worth a visit when there are so many other more fascinating spots in Morocco.

  • June 25, 2014

    Those pictures are so gorgeous. So jealous of your travels. Cheers!

  • August 16, 2014

    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!

  • August 10, 2016

    Geat article and helpful infos, thank you for sharing 🙂

  • January 6, 2017

    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!

    • January 6, 2017

      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 =)

  • February 11, 2017

    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

  • September 10, 2019

    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!

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