This post is also available in: Español (Spanish)
Day trip from Fes to Volubilis and Meknes
Fes day trip to Volubilis and Meknes Itenirary
After breakfast, you will travel outside Fes to explore the breathtaking archaeological site of Volubilis, the charming hill town of Moulay Idriss and the imperial city Meknes.
Once occupied by the Romans, Volubilis is a UNESCO world heritage site. And it gained international acclaim when Martin Scorsese made it a feature location for his film, The Last Temptation of Christ.
We will begin our visit by discovering the fascinating Roman ruins that have beautiful mosaics and colorful tiles depicting Roman mythology. The ruins are spread out across several acres and what remains visible is several fragments of wall, parts of massive columns, the capitol, the basilica, and a triumphal arch.
You can view how the Roman Empire transformed the original Carthaginian settlement into a typical Roman city. It has mansions, a town center, a triumphal arch, and temples of the Roman gods.
As you walk along with the fertile lands of the province, your guide will explain how natural commodities such as grain and olive oil were exported to Rome. Volubilis once functioned as a final stop of the Roman imperial roads that went across France, Spain, down to Morocco’s northern city of Tangier, and eventually into Volubilis.
After lunch at one of Moulay Idriss’s famous local restaurants, we will take you briefly through the town. You can stand on one of the twin hills of Moulay Idriss. From there, you see a panoramic view and appreciate the green plateau of Volubilis. The horizon is dominated by the triumphant aqueduct. From there, you can see how the Fertessa River, runs on one side of Volubilis, adding charm to the Roman ruins.
Then on our Fes Day trip, we will take the road to Meknes. First, we will pass through the triumphal arch. Standing at sixteen meters high with an eight-meter long arch, the intricately patterned triumphal arch is the most beautiful in Morocco. Pass under the arches and protruding towers to enter Place El-Hedime (Square of Ruins) which links the medina and the kasbah. The square is lined with modern residential buildings and a covered food souk (market).
We will stop and visit the Museum Dar Jamaï, a museum showing modern Moroccan arts, woodwork, ceramics, carpets, costumes, jewelry, and metalwork. The sophisticated building was once a palace incorporating a mosque, Menzah (pavilion), courtyard, kitchen, and hammam. Be sure to look for these as well as an Andalusian garden planted with cypresses. Moving along, we will stop by the Bou Inania Medersa to explore the beautiful 14th-century Koranic school. Opposite of the Medersa, see the Grand Mosque.
Then, we will take time to appreciate the green glazed terracotta tiles of the roof and the striking 18th-century minaret. After leaving the mosque, you will see a series of open streets with dozens of workshops.
Then, we will browse Rue de Souks, a street full of hardware merchants (Akarir), corn chandlers (Bezzazine), and metalsmiths Haddadin). Also of interest may be a trip to the En-Nejjarine Mosque, a 12th century Almohad built structure. Before moving on to see the square towers and zellij tilework of the Bab el-Berdaïne gateway, we will catch the action of Ed-Dlala Kissaria. Every day in the Berber souk an auction takes place to sell carpets, blankets, and other works made by the mountain dwellers.
We will visit the palaces and mosques in the heart of Ksar Dar el-Kebira, the heart of the Imperial city. Dar el-Keibra is also visited for the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail. Featuring a suite of three rooms, twelve columns, and a sanctuary hosting the tyrannical sultan; the tombs are reminiscent of the Saadian Tombs in Marrakesh.
Next, we drive to see Koubba el-Khayatine and Habs Qara, an imperial pavilion that once received diplomats who came to negotiate the ransom of Christian prisoners. Behind the pavilion is Habs Qara, a former Christian prison. We will continue on to see Dar el Makhzen, the “Palace of Labyrinths” and then to Bassin de l’Aguedal, a water tank to supply water to the palace and the imperial city.
Before returning to Fez, we will visit the famous Haras de Meknes, the largest national stud that can accommodate up to two-hundred and thirty one horses. It’s the home of noble Arabian and Berber Horses. Created in 1912, Haras de Meknes promotes the best breeds of horses for fantasia or competitive horse races. Finally, we go back to your Hotel/Riad in Fes and end our Fes Day trip .