Rabat Medina


When the French arrived in the early 20th century, this walled medina by the sea was the full extent of the city. Built on an orderly grid in the 17th century, it is small enough to be easily explored in half a day, but tangled enough to make getting lost inevitable. The main market street is Rue Souika, with local shopping on its western stretch and shops geared largely to tourists in the covered Souq As Sebbat to its east.

The Grande Mosquée de Rabat Medina, a 14th-century Merinid original that has been rebuilt in the intervening years, marks the start of the Souq As Sebbat. If you continue past the Rue des Consuls (so called because diplomats lived here until 1912), you’ll come to the mellah (Jewish quarter) just before Bab El Bahr and the river. Turning north along Rue des Consuls, which is home to many jewellery shops, will take you to one of the more interesting areas of the medina, with fanadiq (ancient inns used by caravans) and some grand former diplomatic residencies. At its northern end the street terminates in an open area that was the setting for slave auctions in the days of the Sallee Rovers. From here you can make your way up the hill to the Kasbah des Oudaias.

Most eateries are on the major pedestrian thoroughfare of Ave Mohammed V, which runs between the Medina Rabat tram stop and Ave Laalou, the medina's northern boundary. Popular fast-food joints with street seating, budget-friendly Restaurant de la Libération and a parade of street vendors sell snacks such as babbouche (cooked snails) served in a fragrant and spicy soup, freshly squeezed sugar-cane juice, syrup-drenched pastries, freshly baked bread and whatever fresh fruit is in season.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Rabat attractions

1. Grande Mosquée de Rabat Medina

0.09 MILES

This mosque, a 14th-century Merinid original much rebuilt in the intervening years, is located just off the Souq As Sebbat. It is closed to non-Muslims.

2. Souq As Sebbat

0.17 MILES

Recently restored, this covered souq at the eastern end of Rue Souika specialises in jewellery, rugs and leather goods, and is the only part of the medina…

3. Andalusian Gardens

0.29 MILES

These gardens, laid out by the French during the colonial period, are located within the Kasbah des Oudaias. Full of citrus trees, lofty palms and vibrant…

4. Bab Oudaia

0.36 MILES

The most dramatic entry to the kasbah is through the enormous Almohad gate of Bab Oudaia, built in 1195. Its location, facing the heart of the city and…

5. Kasbah des Oudaias

0.37 MILES

Rabat's historic citadel occupies the site of the original ribat (fortress-monastery) that gave the city its name. Predominately residential, its narrow…

6. Mosque El Atiqa

0.42 MILES

This small mosque is Rabat's oldest. It was built in the 10th century and restored in the 18th with funds donated by an English pirate known as Ahmed El…

7. Plateforme du Sémaphore


This plaza at the highest point of the Kasbah Les Oudaias offers wonderful views over the estuary and across to Salé. The elevated position once provided…

8. Le Quai Des Créateurs

0.54 MILES

Set on the banks of the Bou Regreg River, this low cubist structure hosts pop-up retail space for Moroccan designers, jewellers and artists. East along…