Meknes is Why You Came to Morocco

Ready to move on, we hopped aboard a 6 hour train north to the city of Meknes where life slowed down a bit. Immediately, it was evident that Meknes was just the city we needed after overbearing Marrakesh. Only 45 minutes from Fes, Meknes is often overlooked by tourists thankfully leaving it without the resulting hoards of professional tourist scammers.

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Letting Our Guard Down

We had heard wonderful things about Meknes and when we told Moroccans we´d met along the way that it was our next stop, they´d always smile and tell us how much they loved it (not just polite conversation as we´d soon find out when we started telling people we were heading to Fes next). From the taxi driver who asked if I could find him an American wife and wanted to trade emails to the family who helped us find our way in the pitch black medina streets one night, we discovered that the people in Meknes (Meknesians?) hadn´t become jaded and annoyed yet by the influx of tourists and were indeed friendlier. In fact, the entire pace of life in Meknes was slower and calmer than it had been in Marrakesh and this was a welcome change.

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Riad or Bust

Even if you´re travelling on a budget, I highly recommend staying at a riad. While hostels in the area ran about 10€ per person, a beautiful room in a riad with breakfast included might set you back 27€ total, so not much more if you are travelling with someone. What you get is an experience in itself. One of my favorite moments of the trip was sitting outside our rooftop room at Riad Bab Berdaine and eating a homemade breakfast of meloui (Moroccan style pancakes) and fresh squeezed orange juice as the morning prayer calls started.

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Marketplace

The markets of Meknes are also a refreshing change after the over-touristed souks of Marrakesh. With no fear of being run over by a donkey or motorbike, we took our time and wandered around for a while checking out the produce, live animals and random odds and ends being sold. If you´re hoping to pick up some souvenirs, maybe an intricately engraved tea pot or clay tajine, Meknes is the place to do it. The prices will be lower here and so will the pressure to buy. You´ll still have to haggle over the price but you´ll get used to that.

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At the end of the day, things close up pretty quick but there´s still time to grab one last glass of mint tea on the rooftop of one of the cafes surrounding the Place Hedim before you turn in for the night.

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Have you been to Meknes? How do you think it compares to other Moroccan cities?

Check out more photos from Meknes and the rest of my Morocco posts here.

Also, don´t forget my March Giveaway is currently underway! Click here to find out more about how you can win. International entries welcome!

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7 thoughts on “Meknes is Why You Came to Morocco

  1. I think I might need to go back to Morocco now! It sounds like everything I was looking for, but definitely did not find in Marrakech – too noisy, too busy and way too many tourists!

    1. Yes, you should give Menkes a go! I try to tell everyone, especially if they´re thinking of going to Fes, that they should do Meknes instead for sure.

  2. Menkes looks beautiful and much more tranquil than other Moroccan cities I’ve read about. I’ve not made it to Morocco yet, but you can bet that Menkes is now on my radar!

  3. I haven’t been to Meknes, but it’s now on my list for future travels. Thanks! It looks like the best place to really enjoy the local culture…and maybe finally buy myself a tajine ;-) I’d love to hear more about the local cuisine…

    1. I seriously overdosed on tajine but i loved it so much it was hard to stop! Really, many places dont have tons of options, tajine or cous cous, beef or chicken. Variations on that. Sometimes you can find other meats (lamb or goat) but its not incredibly varied. Maybe omellettes. The spices are a little different between regions so that keeps it interesting. Sometimes you find zatar tea instead of mint and that mixes things up. I loved the food and the prices are great.

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