Named for the Udaya (also written “Oudaya” or “Oudaïa”) tribe which traditionally guarded the area, the Kasbah of the Udayas occupies the site of the “ribat” monastery-fortress that gave Rabat its name. While it forms part of Rabat’s old quarter, it’s distinct from the neighboring medina, with its own gates, walls, and tranquil atmosphere. Visit on a food tour, a history tour, or a cultural tour, from Casablanca city or cruise port, from Marrakech, or from Rabat itself. Tours from Marrakech sometimes pair Rabat highlights with Casablanca, roughly an hour’s drive away.
Things to know before you go
- Photographers won’t want to miss the ocean and river views from the Plateforme du Sémaphore square.
- Back carriers or slings are better choices than strollers for parents exploring historic Rabat.
- Cobbled, rough, steep slopes put much of the Kasbah of the Udayas out of reach for travelers who rely on wheelchairs.
How to get there
The Kasbah of the Udayas sits on the banks of the Bou Regreg estuary, about a 1.5-mile (2.5-kilometer) walk north of Rabat train station. Buses in Rabat are crowded and unreliable and traffic is hectic. Many visitors opt to take a tour or book a private driver rather than self-drive.
When to get there
April through October are the best times of year to enjoy Rabat, although some travelers may find July and August a little hot. Fall and winter can be surprisingly cool in this northern city.
Don’t-Miss Historic Sights in Rabat
Rabat holds UNESCO World Heritage status for its blend of ancient and modern. Don’t miss the atmospheric medina, the Chellah citadel, with its Roman ruins, and the landmark Hassan Tower (Tour Hassan). The dramatic remnants of a 12th-century mosque once slated to be the largest in the world, sits opposite the landmark Mausoleum of Mohammed V.
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