The Moroccan train network consists of a few lines serving the routes between the main cities with fairly modern, clean trains. Trains leave Rabat Ville station on Ave Mohammad V about every two hours for Fes, a journey of about 3 1/2 hours. We caught the 9.17 train. Booking is advisable the day before. The train station is right in the centre of the Ville Nouvelle and makes the train more convenient a point to leave Rabat if you're going onto a bigger town or city.
When booking, make sure to ask for second class is you're travelling on the cheap or you may automatically be sold a first class ticket as we were. The difference is minimal, though first class compartments hold 6 people, second class compartments hold up to 8 people.
A first class ticket from Rabat to Fes costs 151dh.
I arrived to Rabat by own car driving from neighbouring Sale. Unfortunately I hit afternoon rush hours and driving in Rabat was not that simple that time. There are wide avenues with no lanes marked and chaotic traffic of cars, trucks, bicyclists, motorbikers and pedastrians. Luckily there were many traffic lights and some free places + a few petrol stations to stop and look at the map.
My first task was to find out any safe, cheap and conveniently located accommodation with a safe place for my car. I used small and not very detailed but quite good for driving visitor maps of Rabat in my Michelin Maroc Guide de Tourisme. I marked a few cheap hotels which I found in my Lonely Planet guide and it took me approx. 30 min. to find out Hotel d'Alsace where I decided to stay.
It's not my recommendation to drive around Rabat, never. Use your foot, city buses or a taxi. Although two days later I left my hotel and just after morning rush hours I drove first to Hassan II Tower + Mausoleum of Mohammed V (not so easy driving and easy parking there) and then to Chellah (there was large and almost empty square to park a car in front of the entrance there). Then I found out route to Casablanca which was a bit complicated but I didn't get lost :-). Do not look for big direction signs above your lane - there are none. Instead, from time to time, on some crossroads, there are small signs, often hidden behind trucks/buses and easy to skip. Thus, prepare your itinerary before you start, keep on main avenues and check where you are on the map as often as you can.
My recommendation is to visit Rabat on foot. A few recommendations (starting from my hotel located a bit south of the medina).
1. walk around the medina + visit to the Kasbah of the Oudaya: 3 - 5 hours
2. Tour Hassan - take a taxi or city bus or take a 40 min. walk first along Andalusian Walls (noicy traffic!)
3. Royal Palace - take a taxi or city bus or take at least 1 hour walk (add Archeological Museum almost on the way).
4. Chellah - off the beaten path, take a taxi or drive there if you have a car or... take a loong walk (add Royal Palace and the Archeological Museum on the way).
Trains run between Casablanca and Rabat twice every hour from Gare de Port. The journey takes one and a half hours.There are two stations Rabat Agdal and Rabat Ville. The latter is the main stop for the town.
We paid 29.50 dirhams each for the trip.
Suitcases were a problem as there is nowhere to put them and the ovehead racks are too small. We left them in the passageway which caused problems for the foodcart.
I was later told that for a small amount more we could have travelled first class which is more comfortable. As it was I did not find it particularly uncomfortable.
Train Station There are 2 stations, The one on Rue Mohammed V is near the action. the other train station is located in Agdal. From either station you can take the train to any destination in Morocco including Casablanca's Mohammed V Airport .
Bus Station There is one bus station located far away on the road to casablanca. There is a laft-luggage service and it will cost you 10 dh per day.
Petit Taxi The blue colored little taxis are a good way to travel around town. Intially it will cost 1.7 dh and half dh for every 100 meter.
A very exciting way to get to Sale (Rabat's sister town) is by rowboat. The rowboats depart from near the Mausoleum of King Hassan as seen from the picture. The crossing takes a couple of minutes as the guy skilfully guides the boat across the river that divides the two towns. On the other side of the river one has to walk for about 1km to reach the entrance of Sale's old town.
It is probably more expensive than taking a taxi to Sale (we were charged 9dh for our group of six people without any bargaining). The rowers also can do regular boat trips along the river bank to let you admire the beauty of Rabat.
No airport in Rabat. But the city is less than 100 km away from Mohammed V International Airoport, south of Casablanca. It is very easy to go by train, fast, comfortable and cheap: it's 80 DRH each all the way from the airoport to Rabat, travelling first class - but we discovered second class was as good, for nearly half the price!
In the old part of town the best way to get around is on foot, or as the Moroccan's call it, bus number 11.
To get to the museum of Antiquities, the Chellah or an other part of town, take one of the blue *Petit Taxi*, fix a price, or ask them to use the meter.
This one is just waiting in front of the restaurant I had lunch!
These little taxis are blue and usually Fiat Uno’s. They can be found everywhere. They are metered and can be picked up just about anywhere. If you are travelling to Sale, then you cannot take a Petite taxi as Sale has their own taxi’s and you will need to take a grand taxi instead.
There are frequent trains from Rabat to Casablanca airport, 75 Dirham, you might have to change train in Casablanca Voyageurs station, every 30 minutes a train to Casablanca Voyageurs, from there every hour a train to the airport.
There is also every second hour a train to Marakesh, 120 Dirham.
Although Rabat is a very compact city; you may want to hail a petit or grands taxi to get to your destination faster; these can be found outside the train station Rabat Ville, at the airport and at Boulevard Hassan. Local Bus services can also be very useful and they are marked very clearly. Take note that petit taxis are not authorised to operate between Rabat and Sale.
The Rabat Ville main train station is right in the middle of the Ville Nouvelle, just a few minutes walk to most of the hotels, so the best way to arrive in Rabat is by train. There is even a bureau de change and a car rental office on the station platform.
As I was living in Casablanca, Rabat was one of the most accessible places to get immersed in the ancient Moroccan culture, rather than the westernised and business oriented Casablanca.
As a matter of fact, getting to Rabat from Casablanca could not be easier: train connexions were good, reliable and relatively fast.
Once in Rabat, walk. The area around the station is full of broad avenues and governemental buildings erected during the French colonial era. From there, you can catch a petit taxi to go to the walled Kasbah of the Uddayahs (pictured here).
I took Royal Air Maroc to and from New York City, NY to Casablanca, service was excellent and the food served was excellent. I took the bus from Casablanca to Rabat as I missed my flight connection due to customs interrogation about a piece of expensive test equipment I was taking in to assist me in my work.
The bus trip was hot and dusty. My lugage had been sent on the flight I was to be on. I did not want to spend a night in the airport in Casablanca. A agent from Royal Air Maroc set up the bus trip for me. Then a taxi from the bus station to the airprot in Rabat to retrive my lugage and taxi to the hotel.
I was a guest of Mr Brahim Sidate, he owed several automobiles and that was the method used.
We took a bus from Tangiers. It wasn't very pleasant, but it got the job done. THe train is also an option.
We mostly walked around Rabat (the family we were staying with lived close to most of the attractions), but we also took some taxis (make sure to negotiate the price first...and don't overpay, they will try to screw you).
Flights leave from Paris Orly to Rabat-Sale regularly.
Taxis are the best way. They are very cheap: blue taxis for local trips. White taxis for trips out of town when you're in Rabat. Beware: most won't put their meters on once they know you're not Moroccan. So, have an idea of how much you want to pay and take it from there. Or negotiate a price on entering. They generally drive safely.