Meknes is known for its huge gates and remnants of its imperial past, and also for being close to the famous ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis.
I didn’t really have big expectations about Meknes, but because was on the way and I had time to spare I stopped there. I found Meknes quite disappointing, and don’t really recommend including Meknes on your travel plan.
The city itself is ok, but not worth a visit when compared with other cities in Marocco. On the bright side, Meknes receives fewer tourists than other imperial cities.
Walking in the old medina is nice. Because Meknes receives fewer tourists it feels in a way more authentic and untouched than other cities. Simply wander and get lost in the small streets of the old city.
The gates are huge and really impressive, The most beautiful one is Bab Mansour right in front of Hedim square.
The Place Hedim (also called Lahdim square) its the heart of the city, full of people, music, games, coffees and restaurants, a less chaotic version of Jemma el Fna square in Marrakesh.
But there is a dark side to this place. It’s where snake charmers, ostriches and monkey with lids being explored.
Visiting the market is also a must, they sell a bit of everything.
Visiting the Moulay Ismail Mausoleum it’s free and non-Muslim can enter. It’s also a beautiful place with fountains, courtyards, colourful tiling and stucco walls.
Tourists are not allowed to ‘approach’ the tomb itself, but it is easy to see through the archway, and another side window where viewing is permitted.
The Dar Jamai Museum is worth a visit more for the building rather than the collection. The entry fee is DH10 (~$1).
Bou Inania Madrasa is a beautiful building, that used to be both a school and a mosque. Located right in the centre of the old Medina. To enter the entrance fee is DH60 (~$6.50) not worth it.
The royal stables have fallen in decay due to poor maintenance, and are not worth a visit. The entrance fee is DH70 (~$7.50).
The prison of Habs Qara is a huge underground prison where the Sultan Moulay Ismail would keep prisoners. In my opinion also not worthy of a visit. The entrance fee is DH60 (~$6.50)
Since I don’t really recommend any of the paid attractions there isn’t a whole lot to do as a tourist in Meknes. So just soak up the atmosphere.
Outside of Meknes
Located a less than an hour from Meknes you have the ancient city of Moulay Idriss and the Roman ruins of Volubilis. both worthy of a visit.
How to get to Meknes From Fez
How to get to Meknes from Fez
It’s really easy to travel from to Meknes, all 3 options are good. Get to Meknes from Fez by bus with the company CTM or by train.
You can also travel in a shared taxi. The shared taxis stop in front of the main bus station (just outside Bab El Mahrouk).
The short answer to my question: Worth going to Meknes in Morocco? No, but if you have plenty of time on your hands why not 🙂
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha