Getting Oriented

You can easily drive to Rabat from the northern cities of Tangier and Tetouan on the newer highway, although the older, slower coastal road is still open. From there, you can go on to Casablanca, Azemmour, and El Jadida, where the highway ends. The coastal road will lead you farther south from this point—a good idea if you wish to explore the southern beaches, Essaouira, Marrakesh, or the Atlas Mountains. Either way you'll absorb plenty of coastal scenery. If you only have limited time to spend in the region, you may want to fly straight into Rabat as it's richer in traditional sights.

  • Rabat. Visitors are enticed by the tranquillity of Rabat, where beautiful Moorish gardens are bordered by charming cafés. They marvel at the Hassan Tower, which has overlooked the city for eight centuries, and the adjacent Mohammed V Mausoleum. The Museum of History and Civilisation, home to an extensive collection of archaeological artifacts, lures history buffs, while the Royal Golf Dar Es-Salamg and Rabat's south shore draw golfers and beach bums respectively.
  • Around Rabat. For those captivated by Morocco’s medinas, the nearby city of Salé promises one notable for its traditional architecture and pottery shops. Bird lovers should consider a day trip to Lake Sidi Bourhaba, near Mehdiya Plage, known for its 200-odd species of birds. The sandy beaches in the direction of Skhirat are equally breathtaking and much-loved by locals.
  • Casablanca. Featuring broad avenues lined with contemporary and Hispano-Moorish structures, plus Art Deco edifices, public fountains, and a spacious shoreline, Casablanca is an appealing blend of East and West. The massive Hassan II Mosque—an architectural marvel completed in 1993—flashes its laser beams to Mecca, underscoring the city's eclectic spirit.
  • Around Casablanca. Dar Bouazza, a fishing community and growing resort town, has great beaches and oceanfront restaurants. Oualidia is a haven centered on a splendid lagoon, while Azemmour offers a whitewashed medina and artsy atmosphere. El Jadida, built by the Portuguese, feels quite different from other Moroccan towns and offers more dining and lodging options.

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