This post has been updated with additional information
This is the first in the series of Best Beach Vacations for Families and we start with Rabat the coastal capital of Morocco.
Morocco is ideal for parents who once travelled to intrepid destinations, and don’t necessarily fancy a Western poolside now they have knee-high travelling companions. Morocco and Moroccans are truly a family-oriented country.
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When to go? Good Question
As Rabat sits on the Atlantic Ocean, the weather is enjoyable all year round. Spring and autumn each see highs of about 20°C to 22°C. Between June and September the daily averages ranges from 20°C to 27°C with July and August being the warmest months with average highs of 26°C to 27°C. In the evenings, the cooling winds from the Atlantic Ocean help bring temperatures down to an enjoyable 15°C to 16°C.
In winters temperatures very rarely falling below 8°C, and daily highs of about 17°C to 18°C, this province is a great winter escape.
The Cost Factor
The currency is MAD i.e. Moroccan Dirhams and is a closed currency (can be traded only within Morocco), you can buy and sell Dirhams at most major airports in several countries. However, do keep in mind that there is a limit of Dh1000 that can be imported or exported. I would recommend you convert any bought currency back before departing Morocco and its best you keep the receipts of the currency exchange, as they will be required for the conversion prior to departure and before you go through passport control.
If you are on a tight budget say up to Dh500, it will cover;
- Basic double (shared bathroom): from Dh50 onwards
- Soup or sandwich: Dh4–30
- Four-hour local bus trip: Dh60
If your budget is Dh500–1400, it may consist of;
- Admission to sights: Dh10–50
- Hotel room: Dh400–800
- Dinner main: Dh70–150
If, are like me and spare no expenses when on holiday, then a top end budget of more than Dh1400 will cover;
- Hire a car: Dh300
- Day tour: Dh300
- Double in a city riad: from Dh1000
Most merchants accept Visa or MasterCard Debit card and may apply a surcharge to cover the cost of processing the transaction. Unfortunately, Amex is a not popular card in Morocco. I would not recommend travellers cheques as it is very difficult to find a bank that will cash them.
Lodgings – finding the right hotel is vital
Some hotels are more family-friendly than others, so check with the hotel your children will be well catered for before booking.
Many hotels will not charge children under two years of age. For those between two and 12 years sharing a room with their parents, it’s often 50% off the adult rate.
Getting Around Rabat
There are few ways to travel in and around the city.
- Boat – For Dh2.5 up can use a Commuter rowing boats to cross the estuary between Rabat and Salé between sunrise and sunset.
- Tram – Alternatively you can use the smart and efficient Rabat-Salé tramway system. It is an excellent way
to get around Rabat. Fares are Dh6, bought from ticket machines on the platforms (multiple journey tickets are also available). Services run every 20 minutes, from 6am to 10pm.
Bus – Buses are overcrowded and barely roadworthy; Avoid at all costs. If you decide to brave it, the tickets can be purchased from conductors on board and cost Dh5.
Car – If you prefer to travel your own pace, or visit regions with minimal public transport you can hire a car. Remember to drive on the right and keep a look out for erratic Moroccan drivers.
Taxi – Rabat’s blue petite taxis are plentiful, cheap and quick. A ride around the center of town will cost between Dh15 and Dh30 – try to get the driver to use his meter. Note that petite taxis aren’t allowed to drive between Rabat and Salé.
Top Things to do in Rabat
The key to a successful family beach resort holiday in Morocco is to factor in lots of time to acclimatize at the beginning, and to just relax and muck about at the end. Cramming everything in one go will lead to tired, cranky kids and that is something no parent wants. However, slowing your pace down to that of your kids – for example, staying indoors during the hottest hours between noon and 4pm – is one way your children draw you closer to the Moroccan landscape, people and pace of life.
Rabat has plenty to capture a child’s imagination with souqs, ruins and gardens that are a fascinating sensory explosion, to camel rides on the beach or the amusement park and pony rides that are equally memorable – but do factor in some pool time at the end of the day to unwind.
- Rabat Medina is small enough to be easily explored in half a day, but large 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. From here you can make your way up the hill to the Kasbah Les Oudaias.
Kasbah les Oudaias is predominately residential with its narrow streets are lined with whitewashed houses – most of which were built by Muslim refugees from Spain. There are scenic views over the river and ocean from the Plateforme du Sémaphore at its highest point, and the attractive Andalusian Gardens at its southern edge are a popular relaxation and meeting point for locals.
Moroccan Museum of Money offers an unexpectedly interesting tour of Moroccan history through currency, from the Roman period to today. There’s also an exhibition of paintings from the Bank Al-Maghrib’s collection of works by Moroccan artists and by foreign artists painting about Morocco. Entrance is FREE on Fridays.
If, do get bored with Rabat, you can always do a day trip to Casablanca as it is only an hour’s drive away. Alternatively, you could go to Marrakesh, Fes or Agadir which are a couple of hours away by road.
Rabat Beach Vacation. Add It to your Bucket List
Although Arabic and French are the main languages spoken in Morocco do not let that deter you from visiting the country as they do speak enough English for you to get by.
So, if you are looking for a lazy, exotic beach vacation at an affordable price, then add Rabat to the top of your bucket list oh holiday destinations. You will not be disappointed!!!
Just remember whenever visiting a Muslim country one needs to be respectful of its laws and remember the essential information. Read more about the essentials by clicking here.
Flights to Rabat: I recommend searching through KAYAK. They are the world’s leading travel search engine. It searches other travel sites to give travellers the information they need to find the right flights, hotels, rental cars and vacation rentals. The website and apps also offer tools to help plan and manage your trip, including Price Alerts, Price Forecast and free itinerary management.
Rental Cars in Rabat: Rentalcars.com is the world’s biggest online car rental service. Working with leading suppliers, they offer great prices on all car groups, including luxury cars, people carriers, minivans
Travel Insurance: Make sure you get Travel Insurance before you fly. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It covers for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. You can read all about why you need it here
Next up in the series – The Seychelles Islands
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A football-mad father of two wonderful girls, a pain in the butt hubby, a digital nomad, an insurance expert and budding entrepreneur. Just looking to find ways to spend more time with my family while providing for them financially. Hope you enjoy my blog and have a good one!