The youngest of Morocco’s four imperial cities, Meknes makes a less-crowded alternative to nearby Fez or Rabat, and the comparative lack of tourists means you’ll be able to explore free from the chaotic pace and over-zealous vendors of its neighbors. Don’t let its lesser fame stop you from visiting though—Meknes’ striking landscape of palaces, gardens and mosques is well deserving of its UNESCO World Heritage status.
Start your tour at the Place el-Hadim, the lively central square that fronts the grand city walls, and then explore the walled medina, with its winding souks and array of architectural gems. Sultan Moulay Ismail erected many of the city’s most impressive buildings and his most fanciful designs include the monumental gate of Bab Mansour, the Koubba el Khayatine Ambassador’s Hall and the Heri el Souani stables. The opulent Tomb of Moulay Ismail is another fitting tribute to his legacy, while additional attractions of Meknes include the Museum of Moroccan Arts, the ornate Grand Mosque and the Madrassa Bou Inania.
Meknès is located around 70 km west of Fez in northern Morocco.