In the 3rd-century BC, Volubilis was a Carthaginian administrative center of the kingdom of Mauretania, whose prominence depended on the grain and olive oil exported to Rome. These days, the remains of defensive stone walls still surround the settlement and its smattering of buildings, temples, olive mills, and the highlight—the exquisite floor mosaics in Triumphal Arch of Caracalla, built to commemorate the death of the Roman Emperor.
Travelers may explore the ruins of Volubilis as part of a full-day or multi-day, private or group, tour that incorporates the most noteworthy and popular attractions of nearby Meknes and Fez and posts farther afield.
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Things to Know Before You Go
- Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and families with small children (there is a children’s playground).
- Admission is about $1; bring Moroccan Dirhams to pay.
- Wear comfortable shoes and beware uneven steps; this is not a wheelchair-friendly site.
- Remember sun protection and water for hydration, especially in the summer.
- The ruins are visible from the nearby holy town, Moulay Idriss Zerhoun.
- Climb the 13 steps at the Capitoline Temple to a raised platform surrounded by massive Corinthian columns.
How to Get There
Volubilis is about a 30-minute drive north of Meknes, near the religious city of Moulay Idriss. Most travelers go to the ruins as part of a tour, though they are easy to reach by driving or a combination of a train and a taxi Meknes or Fez. Both the trains and taxis are easy to arrange and quite inexpensive. The train from Fez to Meknes takes less than one hour and leaves hourly.
When to Get There
Volubilis is in the Middle Atlas Region, which is lovely year-round, but especially in the spring when the weather is perfect and wildflowers cover the hills a kaleidoscope of colors. Summers are very hot, and while winters are termerate, it can get quite rainy. Come to Fez in April for the Sufi Music & Cultural Festival or in May for the Festival of World Sacred Music. From Casablanca, driving and taking the train both take about 3 hours.
Visit Moulay Idriss Zerhoun
Across two pretty hills in a gorgeous valley is Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, considered to be the holiest city in Morocco. It was here that Moulay Idriss I arrived in 789, bringing with him the Islam religion and the dynasty that would lead to the founding of Morocco. Climb to the top of the mosque tower for a view of the pretty town and score the valley to Volubilis.
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- Moulay Idriss
- Royal Palace of Fez (Fes Dar el-Makhzen)
- Fez Mellah (Jewish Quarter)
- Zaouia Moulay Idriss II
- Bab Bou Jeloud (Bab Boujeloud)
- Dar Batha Museum
- Nejjarine Square (Place Nejjarine)
- Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts (Musée Nejjarine)
- Kairaouine Mosque (Mosque of al-Qarawiyyin)
- Al-Attarine Madrasa
- Medina of Fez (Fes el-Bali)