The lost city of Volubilis is located in a vast Moroccan landscape, close to the royal city of Meknes and surrounded by almond and olive trees. The archaeological site is known for its beautiful, well-preserved mosaic floors, but it is probably the unique location in Morocco that really makes the Roman city of Volubilis worth a visit.
The highlights of Volubilis
Like Jerash in Jordan, Volubilis was one of the more remote cities of the Roman Empire. The ancient city once flourished through riches of olive oil production and grew out under Roman rule.
Only about half of the archeological UNESCO site has been uncovered. We already mentioned the well-preserved mosaic floors that are absolutely breathtaking. The arch, basilica and temples are all interesting, but the floors of the ancient houses and palaces are the highlights. The House of Orpheus used to be a grand palace and now the dining room floor attracts visitors. It has a beautiful mosaic dedicated to the mythical figure Orpheus, who plays the lute surrounded by animals. The House of Venus shows two mosaics depicting gods and goddesses, but there are many more beautiful floors to be seen near these two former palaces. On the practical map below we have marked the most unique Roman houses.
Practical: how to visit Volubilis?
Near Volubilis is the village of Moulay Idriss, a famous pilgrimage site in Morocco. It is the former home city of Moulay Idriss, a great-grandson of the Prophet Mohammed and founder of Morocco. You’re not allowed not visit the tomb and mosque as a non-Muslim, but you can enjoy the town itself. It takes some effort to shake off all the local ‘guides’. But if you fail to do so, you can expect a hefty discussion about their rate at the end of your visit. You don’t need their help to find the viewpoint anyways, if you use an online map like maps.me.
We recommend to visit Volubilis as a day trip from the nearby cities of Fez and especially Meknes. From Fez the train takes you to Meknes station in less than 45 minutes. Taxis are always available at the train station to bring you to Volubilis.
We spent several nights in Meknes, at the fantastic Riad Mama H&K with its friendly staff, a thousand and one night magical atmosphere and amazing breakfast. We took the bus from the center of Meknes – a lot cheaper and fun experience – and a taxi to get back.