The Archaeological Site of Volubilis is part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Probably the largest and best preserved Roman ruins in Morocco.
The Roman city of Volubilis dates from the 3rd centuries B.C. and the remaining structures still stand stubborn against the skyline nowadays.
Volubilis was one of the Roman Empire’s most remote outposts.
To enter the site you need to pay an admission fee of 70 dirhams(~$7.50).
There are guides waiting for you at the entrance who can be hired for around DH150-200 for around an hour. It’s your choice to wire one, I always prefer to walk around at my own pace.
Better to go early in the morning or later in the evening for sunset, to avoid the heat of the day and the tour groups. The site opens at 8:30 and closes at 19:30.
Just beyond the entrance gate, there is an on-site museum, which displays the ancient city’s most celebrated finds documenting the whole history of the ruins.
The ruins, still impressive all these years later
Nowadays still a lot is left to be seen. From an impressive triumphal arch to mosaic floors in what were once rather magnificent townhouses.
My favourite mosaic was located at the House of Orpheus, where you see Orpheus playing his lute to an audience of wild animals, a dolphin and Poseidon, the Roman god of the sea.
At Volubilis, there’s nothing much separating you from the ruins, just a few bits of rope. So wander the site at will. Just let’s hope that all tourist are respectful and will not destroy anything.
It’s also still possible to the foundations of many houses, hot and cold rooms, the city’s basilica, temples, graceful columns and bathhouses. The ruins offer a fascinating insight into the city that once served as the capital of the kingdom of Mauretania.
Much more is still there to be found since the site is only partially excavated.
Getting to Volubilis
I recommend spending one night at the picturesque and charming town of Moulay Idriss and walk down to the ruins. The setting is just stunning, you have hilly, wheat fields and olive groves.
But if you don’t have the time to stay at Moulay Idriss you can still visit the Roman city of Volubilis as a day out from Fez or Meknès. From fez are an hour and a half drive and less than an hour from Meknès.
The most expensive way to wire a taxi, the cheapest alternative is to take a shared grand taxi from Meknès to Moulay Idriss (Dh10). – (shared grand taxis to Moulay Idriss only run from near Meknès’s Institut Français)
From Moulay Idriss is just 4 kilometres to Volubilis so easily walkable if you don’t go when the sun is at its strongest. If you are not much of a walker hire a grand taxi to take you to the ruins (~Dh30 one way).
I adored Volubilis, the site itself is beautiful and also all the nature around it. I’m glad I had enough time to visit the site and to explore and walk around the Moroccan countryside.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha