Travel Guide Morocco

25th February 2024

The Ultimate Meknes Travel Guide: History, Facts, Things to Do, How to Reach (2023)

If you are planning to visit Meknes, this complete Meknes travel guide will definitely be helpful to you.

In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey through the vibrant streets and rich history of this captivating Moroccan city.

From our last visit to this place, we learned that the city holds an irresistible allure for travelers seeking an authentic Moroccan experience.

The city is calling, and we’re here to be your trusted guide, revealing the enchanting wonders that await you in this mesmerizing city. Let’s embark on an unforgettable adventure together!

Why Visit Meknes?

Nestled in the heart of Morocco, Meknes is a captivating city that entices travelers with its rich history, cultural charm, and hidden treasures. Steeped in centuries of tradition, this vibrant destination offers a tapestry of experiences.

Explore the majestic Bab Mansour gate, marvel at the grandeur of the Moulay Ismail Mausoleum, and wander through the bustling Medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Immerse yourself in the vibrant souks, where exotic spices and handicrafts beckon.

Discover the intricate beauty of the Heri es-Souani granaries and the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis nearby. With its authentic ambiance and warm hospitality, it promises an unforgettable journey into Morocco’s enchanting past.

History of Meknes

Meknes, steeped in history and adorned with remarkable architecture, stands as a testament to Morocco’s glorious past. Founded in the 11th century, this imperial city showcases a fusion of Islamic and European influences.

Its awe-inspiring structures, such as the monumental Bab Mansour gate and the intricately designed Moulay Ismail Mausoleum, showcase the grandeur of Moroccan craftsmanship.

The sprawling Royal Stables and the massive Heri es-Souani granaries reflect the city’s historical significance. It also boasts the nearby ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, where ancient mosaics and remnants of an ancient civilization offer a glimpse into the region’s captivating heritage.

Facts about Meknes

1. Meknes, located in northern Morocco, was once the capital of the country during the reign of Sultan Moulay Ismail.

2. The city is renowned for its well-preserved historical sites, including the grand Bab Mansour gate and the sprawling Royal Stables.

3. The city is a UNESCO World Heritage site, recognized for its harmonious blend of Islamic and European architectural styles.

4. The city is famous for its vibrant Medina, where bustling souks offer a treasure trove of traditional crafts, spices, and local delicacies.

5. Meknes is an excellent starting point for exploring the nearby ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis, showcasing stunning mosaics and captivating ruins from a bygone era.

Things to Do in & around Meknes

1. Walk amid the Roman Ruins of Volubilis

Roman Ruins of Volubilis

Step into the ancient world by exploring the Roman ruins of Volubilis, located near Meknes. This archaeological site showcases remarkably preserved remnants of a once-thriving Roman city.

Take a leisurely stroll through the well-preserved streets, marvel at the intricate mosaics adorning the floors of former mansions, and imagine the bustling life that once occupied this historical gem.

The site’s impressive arches, temples, and bathhouses offer a glimpse into the grandeur of the Roman Empire’s influence on the region.

  • Location: Volubilis is located near the city of Meknes in northern Morocco.
  • Famous For: Volubilis is famous for its well-preserved Roman ruins, including ancient buildings.

2. Photograph the Pastel-Painted Alleys of Moulay Idriss

pastel-painted alleys town marrakech

Venture into the charming town of Moulay Idriss, nestled in the hills near Meknes, and discover its picturesque pastel-painted alleys.

This sacred pilgrimage site is known for its beautifully adorned streets, lined with colorful buildings and ornate doorways. Capture the essence of Moroccan architecture and immerse yourself in the tranquil atmosphere of this historic town.

The winding alleys reveal hidden gems at every turn, inviting you to capture unforgettable moments through your camera lens.

  • Location: Moulay Idriss is a town located in the foothills of the Rif Mountains in northern Morocco.
  • Famous For: Moulay Idriss is famous for its picturesque pastel-painted alleys and its significance as a pilgrimage site.

3. Admire the Artistry of Bab al-Mansour

Artistry of Bab al-Mansour morocco
The ultimate meknes travel guide: history, facts, things to do, how to reach (2023) 1 meknes travel guide

Prepare to be mesmerized by the architectural masterpiece that is Bab al-Mansour. This majestic gate, located at the entrance of the city, stands as a testament to Moroccan artistry and craftsmanship.

Its intricate mosaic work, elaborate carvings, and imposing structure make it one of the most impressive gateways in the country. Stand in awe of its grandeur, capturing the ornate details and experiencing the sense of grand welcome that it evokes.

Bab al-Mansour is a true masterpiece that embodies the magnificence of Moroccan architecture.

  • Location: Bab al-Mansour is a grand gate located in the city of Meknes, Morocco.
  • Famous For: Bab al-Mansour is famous for its exceptional architectural beauty and intricate artistry.

4. View the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail

Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail morocco

Pay homage to the legacy of Sultan Moulay Ismail by visiting his splendid mausoleum in Meknes. This architectural marvel is a sacred place where the sultan’s tomb rests.

The mausoleum’s exterior exudes grandeur with its intricate zellij tilework, green-tiled roof, and decorative elements. Step inside to witness the serene ambiance and pay your respects to the influential ruler who played a significant role in shaping the city.

The mausoleum offers a glimpse into the rich history and reverence for the past that permeates throughout the city.

  • Location: The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is situated in the city of Meknes, Morocco.
  • Famous For: The Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is famous for being the final resting place of Sultan Moulay Ismail.

5. Get Lost amid Meknes Medina

Meknes Medina morocco

Embark on a captivating adventure through the bustling streets of Meknes Medina, the old quarter of the city. Lose yourself in the labyrinthine alleys, where every corner reveals a new discovery.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you encounter lively souks filled with a myriad of goods, from aromatic spices to intricate handicrafts.

Allow the sensory overload of colors, scents, and sounds to envelop you as you navigate through the vibrant tapestry of this ancient marketplace.

Meknes Medina is a true treasure trove for the intrepid explorer seeking an authentic Moroccan experience.

  • Location: Meknes Medina is located in the heart of the city, Morocco.
  • Famous For: Meknes Medina is famous for its labyrinthine alleys, bustling souks, and historical landmarks.

How to Get to Meknes

1. By Road

Meknes is easily accessible by road, with well-connected highways leading to the city. If you are already in Morocco, you can reach Meknes by car or bus from various cities. The road network provides convenient access to it from major destinations, including Casablanca, Rabat, and Fes.

2. By Train

Meknes is served by a reliable train network, making it convenient for travelers to reach the city by rail. The ONCF (Moroccan National Railways) operates regular train services to the city from various cities, including Casablanca, Rabat, Fes, and Marrakech. Board a train and enjoy a comfortable and scenic journey through the Moroccan countryside as you make your way to Meknes.

3. By Air

Although Meknes does not have its own airport, you can reach the city by flying to nearby airports. The closest major airport is Fes-Saïss Airport, located approximately 75 kilometers from Meknes. Upon arrival at the airport, you can take a taxi or arrange for transportation to Meknes.

Best Time to Visit Meknes

The best time to visit Meknes is during the spring (April to May) and fall (September to October) seasons. During these months, the weather in Meknes is pleasant, with mild temperatures and less humidity.

It’s an ideal time for exploring the city’s historical sites, strolling through the Medina, and experiencing outdoor activities. The spring season brings colorful blooms and vibrant landscapes, while the fall season offers pleasant temperatures for sightseeing.

It’s worth noting that Meknes can be quite hot during the summer months, and winters can be chilly with occasional rainfall. Planning a visit during the spring or fall ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience in Meknes.

Where to Stay in Meknes

1. Riad Yacout: Located in the heart of Meknes Medina, Riad Yacout offers an authentic Moroccan experience with its traditional architecture and warm hospitality. This charming riad features beautifully decorated rooms, a tranquil courtyard, and a rooftop terrace with panoramic views.

2. Hotel Transatlantique Meknes: Situated in the Ville Nouvelle district, Hotel Transatlantique Meknes combines modern comforts with Moroccan flair. The spacious rooms, elegant decor, and on-site amenities, including a swimming pool and restaurant, ensure a comfortable stay.

3. Riad D’or: Nestled in a quiet corner of Meknes Medina, Riad D’or offers a peaceful retreat with its tranquil atmosphere and refined Moroccan decor. The riad features comfortable rooms, a charming courtyard with a fountain, and a rooftop terrace offering panoramic views of the city.

Things to Know Before Visiting Meknes

1. Meknes is known for its rich historical heritage and architectural marvels.

2. The local currency is the Moroccan dirham, and it’s advisable to have some cash on hand.

3. Dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting religious sites.

4. Bargaining is a common practice in the souks, so be prepared to negotiate prices.

5. Be cautious of pickpockets in crowded areas and keep your belongings secure.

Things to avoid at Meknes

1. Avoid displaying excessive wealth or valuable items to minimize the risk of attracting unwanted attention.

2. Avoid drinking tap water and opt for bottled water to prevent any potential stomach issues.

3. Avoid visiting Meknes during the scorching hot summer months (July and August) to escape the intense heat.

4. Avoid engaging with unauthorized guides or individuals who may approach you offering unsolicited services.

5. Avoid disrespecting local customs and traditions, such as public displays of affection or inappropriate clothing, to ensure cultural sensitivity and harmony.

Conclusion – Meknes Travel Guide

In conclusion, Meknes, with its hidden treasures and authentic Moroccan experience, is a captivating city that seamlessly blends history, culture, and architectural marvels.

From exploring the Roman ruins of Volubilis to immersing oneself in the vibrant Medina, the allure of Meknes is irresistible. Marvel at the architectural splendor of Bab Mansour and the Moulay Ismail Mausoleum, while discovering the artistic beauty of Moroccan craftsmanship.

Don’t miss the opportunity to wander through the bustling souks, where spices and handicrafts beckon. With its rich heritage and warm hospitality, Meknes promises an unforgettable journey into Morocco’s enchanting past.

FAQs – Meknes Travel Guide

What are the main attractions in Meknes?

Meknes offers a treasure trove of attractions for visitors. You can start by exploring the well-preserved Roman ruins of Volubilis, where you’ll be transported back in time. Don’t forget to capture the picturesque pastel-painted alleys of Moulay Idriss with your camera. The architectural masterpiece, Bab al-Mansour, will leave you mesmerized, and a visit to the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail is a must to pay homage to the influential ruler. Lastly, get lost in the vibrant streets of Meknes Medina, where you’ll find bustling souks and a true Moroccan experience.

How can I reach Meknes?

Getting to Meknes is convenient! If you prefer a road trip, you can reach the city by car or bus from major cities like Casablanca, Rabat, and Fes. Another option is traveling by train, with reliable services operated by ONCF, connecting Meknes to various cities. If you prefer flying, you can fly to nearby airports like Fes-Saïss Airport or Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport and then continue your journey to Meknes by road or train.

When is the best time to visit Meknes?

The best time to visit Meknes is during the spring (April to May) and fall (September to October). These seasons offer pleasant weather, ideal for exploring historical sites, strolling through the Medina, and enjoying outdoor activities. Spring brings colorful blooms, while fall offers comfortable temperatures for sightseeing. Keep in mind that summers can get hot, and winters can be chilly with occasional rainfall. Planning your visit during spring or fall ensures a comfortable and enjoyable experience.

Where should I stay in Meknes?

Meknes offers a range of accommodations to suit different preferences. If you want an authentic experience, Riad Yacout in the heart of Meknes Medina is a charming option. For modern comforts, Hotel Transatlantique Meknes in the Ville Nouvelle district is a great choice. If you prefer a peaceful retreat, Riad D’or in Meknes Medina provides tranquility and refined Moroccan decor. All these options offer convenient access to the city’s attractions and vibrant souks.

Are there any nearby tourist attractions worth visiting?

Absolutely! While in Meknes, you can explore the fascinating architectural wonders of the Imperial City, including the opulent Dar El Makhzen. Don’t miss the chance to visit the Museum of Moroccan Art, where you’ll discover traditional crafts and ancient artifacts. For a unique perspective, climb to the rooftop of Bou Inania Medersa and enjoy panoramic views of the city. Additionally, Heri es-Souani, with its granaries and stables, offers a captivating glimpse into it’s history. And for a serene experience, take a stroll along the enchanting Souani Basin.

What should I know before visiting Meknes?

The city is known for its rich historical heritage and architectural marvels. It’s advisable to have some cash in the local currency, Moroccan dirham. Dress modestly and respectfully, especially when visiting religious sites. Bargaining is common in the souks, so be prepared to negotiate prices. Keep an eye on your belongings in crowded areas to avoid pickpockets. Respect local customs and traditions, such as avoiding public displays of affection or wearing inappropriate clothing, to ensure cultural sensitivity and harmony.

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