We were torn on weather or not to spend any time in Rabat. It's the capital city, and we heard mixed reviews. Like nearby Casablanca, it's more of a modern, soul-less city.
I'm so glad we went though. It was more developed and modernized, with a modern new tram, but the medina was charming, and much easier to navigate.
It was right on the ocean. One thing I've never seen anyplace, ever:
Huge cemeteries, right on the beach.
Sadly, the beach was disgusting. Beyond gross. Garbage everywhere, piles of garbage at the high tide lines.
And dead chickens. I have never. Ever. Ever. Seen dead chickens on a beach before.
Yet a few hardy souls were out there.
Most of the guys out there were really quite good. I know that down the coast a bit, they have a well-known huge break. Really though, I can't see this taking off as a surfing destination until they clean their beaches, and who knows what is going into that water.
Also, having to be covered from head to toe makes for some non-existant tan lines.
Rabat was a pirate stronghold for a couple hundred years. Now it is the capital city.
My favorite find was the Kasbah of the Udayas. A tiny, thousand-year old fortress on the sea, all the doors and ground-level walls are painted blue.
Wandering the souks here was downright pleasant. Not one person tried to wrestle us into their shop. They don't have the crafting heritage here as they did in Fes or Marrakech- I'm sure all the goods were imported from elsewhere in Morocco. Still, it was a very relaxing stroll through the carpet-sellers and leather shops.
There were beautiful Palomino horses guarding the Hassan Tower.
The Hassan Tower was a fairly amazing ruin.
It had been meant to be the largest mosque in the world when construction was started in 1195, and abandoned a few years later. It was never finished.
The minaret is about half the height that it was meant to be, and there are over 200 pilars to have supported the mosque that stretch over a huge swarth of ground.
There is also one of the most ridiculously ornate buildings onsite- a Mausoleum where a former king lays buried.
I found the American embassy here! While the other embassies were in small house-like structures with a small plaque and a flag, the American one was a huge compound walled with multiple security checkpoints, cameras everywhere, and signs saying I was absolutely not allowed to take pictures of it.
Another nice find was Chella- now an unusual botanical garden with Roman and Islamic ruins of a former settlement on the banks of the Bou Regreg river.
There were tons of storks and egrets nesting here as well.
So, yes. Rabat was totally enjoyable and worth spending a couple days in. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. It was much more relaxed and calm than other cities in Morocco, with less tourist. The locals were actually friendly and tried to help, and they didn't demand payment for it either.