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UNESCO has recognized Fes as a world heritage site with exceptional cultural and historical significance. The wonderful Medina, which is also known as Fes El Bali, is packed with narrow alleys, traditional markets, and a great number of hidden gems.
It is a great place to visit as a city trip or to start your road trip in Morocco if you want to immerse yourself in the Moroccan culture because there are so many wonderful things to do in Fes.
I visited Fes several times and recommend spending at least 3 nights discovering the treasures of the Medina. In this article, I share some of the best places to visit, where to eat, how to get, and some extra useful tips.
How to get to Fes?
You can find many ways to get to Fes in Morocco. These options may depend on your location, budget, or preference. Anyway, the following options are there to pick the best way that works for you.
It’s easy to catch a flight from most major European cities to the international airport of Fes-Saiss Airport (FEZ). Airlines like Ryanair and Transavia are offering often discounted tickets. I booked my flight with Ryanair for only €49 (one-way) through Skyscanner
You can easily take a train from any other Moroccan city. Check the website of the Moroccan railway for the latest info, www.ONCF.ma or buy tickets online here
It’s possible to travel by bus from almost every city in Morocco but it might take longer to reach the city. The best way to find tickets or directions for the bus is with 12GoAsia
BY CAR / TAXI:
A taxi or car is probably the most convenient way to reach Fes. If you rent a car, you can easily pick it up at the airport and drive to the city. In case you take a taxi, check outside the airport the taxi fares on the big information board. Most taxi drivers try to charge you more to drive to the Medina. I ended up paying 200 MAD.
BOOK: Pre-book your private transfer to your hotel or riad in Fes
Best time to visit Morocco
Morocco is a great place to visit at any time of the year, with snowy mountain peaks in the Atlas Mountains during autumn and spring to dry and extremely hot summers in July and August.
Although summer can be very hot, these are the months with the fewest tourists while spring and autumn are actually the busiest and best months to visit Morocco.
Where to stay in Fes?
You can easily find some great places to stay in Fez as there are so many hotels and riads in any budget range. Regarding the best areas to stay, I would recommend looking for riads in or close to the Medina. The atmosphere is more authentic and it is easier to explore most of the sights in the Medina.
I stayed in the beautiful Riad Anata last summer, which is an amazing place to stay.
Best restaurants in Fes
There are many amazing places to eat in the Medina from traditional cuisine to cozy restaurants with a variety of food from all around the world. During my stay in Fes, I went to several places that I believe are worth visiting and try some of their delicious meals.
- Fondouk Bazaar: A great spot with a relaxed vibe and a rooftop to have lunch or dinner
- Le Tarbouche: A very small but lovely place to have lunch. It is worth waiting for a seat as the food is delicious.
- The Kasbah Of Fes: The best place to eat authentic Moroccan food with stunning views of the Blue Gate
- The Ruined Garden: this hidden gem is a must-visit for dinner! the food is amazing and the decor makes it the perfect place for a romantic dinner.
- Cafe Clock: The best views over the Medina from the rooftop, combined with amazing food, live music, and traditional dance make it a great place to eat in Fes.
Awesome things to do in Fes
Walk through the Blue Gate (Bab Boujloud)
The Blue Gate, also called Bab Boujloud, is one of the city’s most famous landmarks that you can’t miss. It is the entrance to the Medina, which is the old city center. I think you should start your trip in Fes from here, no matter where you are staying, because this is where most taxis and tours begin.
There are also many cafes and restaurants around the Blue gate where you can have a coffee or enjoy your breakfast. The best time to visit the Blue Gate is around sunrise to avoid the crowds and see the Medina waking up from a balcony.
BOOK: A private walking tour with a guide to get more knowledge about the history of the Medina
Visit The Bou Inania Madrasa
After exploring the Bab Boujloud, make your way to the Bou Inania Madrasa, which is one of the few religious sites that welcomes non-Muslim visitors. This madrasa is a school that teaches Islamic studies.
At the Bou Inania Madrasa, you can observe the architecture of one of the old religious schools in the town and which was built in 1350. Stepping inside through the giant brass entrance doors will dip you in a masterpiece interior design that is very attached and unique to the city’s culture.
Inside the school, you can only visit the yard, although, it is a great place to go if you like to take photos for Instagram because it is so beautiful.
COST: The entrance fee is 20 MAD / € 1,9 per person
TIP: Most guided tours of the Madrasa begin at 10 AM, so it’s best to get there earlier to avoid the crowds or go just before closing at 5 PM.
BOOK: A guided tour to learn more about the history of the Bou Inania Madrasa
Explore the Medina
When you visit Medina (the old town), you will see why it is called the cultural capital of Morocco. People come from all over the world to visit this city because of its religious and historical significance. There are a lot of interesting places to see in the Medina.
I loved to wander and get lost in the small alleys and streets of the Medina as I found many unique architectural details, beautiful photo spots, cozy alleys, and many other interesting places in Fez.
Wander around the Henna Souk
Get lost in the Medina’s shopping district for trinkets and souvenirs after you visited the Bou Inania Madrasa. Keep following the main alley in the Medina and you’ll end up in the Henna Souk. Walk through the many small shops and experience the genuine atmosphere of the souks in the Medina.
You can find almost everything here from perfumes, oils, ceramics, jewelry, carpets, and many other things. So it is a great place to buy some souvenirs, although you have to bargain as they try to charge you way more. I would say you can easily get 50% of their prices.
Have lunch at a rooftop cafe
On the way to the Henna Souks, you can have lunch at the rooftop of Fondouk Bazaar as the food is amazing and you’ll have beautiful views over the Medina. I liked this place so much that II came back to have dinner as well.
For my lunch, I had the delicious Mezze trio with hummus, Moroccan cucumber salad & harissa, and Tunisian bricks for only 100 MAD. For dinner, I can recommend the fresh Tagliatelle with veggies.
Another good restaurant that I enjoyed a delicious lunch in this alley was ‘Kasbah of Fes”, a Moroccan restaurant with small balconies overlooking Bab Boujloud.
LOCATION: Fondouk Bazaar
Stay in a beautiful Riad
Staying in Riad Anata was a magical experience as this magnificent Riad features uniquely designed rooms each with a different theme color. It is a traditional Riad with a courtyard to relax, a rooftop terrace with stunning views, and optional cooking classes.
The authentic feel of a boutique hotel, the terracotta floors, etched wooden decorations in the bedroom, and windows facing the courtyard were the main reasons for falling in love with the beautiful place.
Join a traditional cooking class
Whether you stay at Riad Anata or not, you might consider joining a cooking class with their amazing chefs Samira and Hassania. Wander with them through the local market to find the best ingredients and learn how to make the best couscous or tajines in the open-air rooftop kitchen.
At the rooftop, you will enjoy amazing views while enjoying your delicious meals together with the group. A truly unique experience!
Visit the Chouara Tanneries
If you need to get a unique experience, you have to visit the Chouara Tanneries which is the largest and oldest tannery in the world as it has been operating since the 11th century. At the tanneries, they wash, dry, and cooler animal skin to make leather items such as handbags, and jackets, …
The smell of the tanneries is awful but let it not take away to visit this authentic place as you will see how they make leather goods in the old way. If you book a tour guide, you will get fresh mint that you can keep up to your nose to avoid the bad smell.
However, you can visit the tanneries without a guided tour and wander around with one of the locals this gives you a bit more freedom and the locals are happy to assist you with taking some cool photos. though, they appreciate a small tip for their help.
TIP: I went in the afternoon to the Chouara tanneries myself and decided to follow a local guy who pretended to be an ‘official guide’. I trusted my guts as he didn’t ask for any money at the beginning of the tour. He showed me around for more than an hour, explained a bit about the tanneries, and let me take some awesome photos. In the end, I paid him 150 MAD / 14€ tip and he was happy.
BOOK: Join a guided tour to get more information about the tanneries and the process of traditional leather makers
Visit the Al Attarine Madrasa
Technically the place is known as a school that was built and served under the command of Sultan Abu. The elegance of the architecture of this building is the reason to name this one of the best places to visit in Fes.
Right after you walk through the big wooden door, you will see the large open courtyard and the eye-catching marble fountain. This charming building is home to almost 30 classrooms, which you can visit on the first floor.
When you come early in the morning, you might have the place for yourself as most tours arrive around 10 AM. I came in the afternoon as it fitted better in my schedule and it wasn’t that busy either.
ENTRANCE: 20 MAD / €1,9 per person entrance fee
Discover the oldest University in Africa, the University of Al-Qarawiyyin
One of the highlights in Fez is the University of Al-Qarawiyyin, the oldest operating university in the world which was founded by a woman and established in the year 857.
The University of Al-Qarawiyyin is easy to get after a visit to the Al Attarine Madrasa as it is right around the corner. However, it was closed due to renovations when I was in Fez. When I asked a local why it was closed, he explained this and wanted to show me another way to see the University.
I couldn’t refuse his help and trusted my guts again. The guy took me to a silk shop in the same alley and at first, I thought he would try to sell me some fabrics or silk but then he took me up to the rooftop of the shop.
At the rooftop was an incredible view of the University and the surrounding area of the Medina. Just beautiful!
I took some photos and followed the guy downstairs where he wanted to show me more about how they make scarfs, pillows, etc from cactus silk.
TIP: Only follow random people or strangers if you have a good feeling about it. Although, if you are not comfortable, I would recommend joining a guided tour.
Visit a silk shop
If you love interior gadgets or you want a new scarf made from soft silk, you have to visit a silk shop in Fez. Most of the silk shops use cactus or aloe vera silk to make their goods and they even show how they make it in the traditional way.
As I explained, I followed a local, who showed me a silk shop in the alley next to the University and it was worth the visit. He explained a bit about the process of weaving silk and showed me how to wear a scarf of silk like a Berber.
I didn’t buy anything but paid a small tip to show me around and provide some explanation. However, if you like some items I recommend bargaining as you can easily get cheaper prices than what they ask for.
TIP: Go about 100 meters to your left when you are facing the door of the University in the alley. On the left side is a carpet and silk factory, where you can go up the roof and admire the university from above with pano views over the Medina.
Admire the Palais Royal Fes, Dar El Makhzen
Fez has limitless Insta-worthy backdrops, but Palais Royal Dar el Makhzen is something beyond that. I have no words to describe the elegant architecture of this stunning place. The eye-catching seven-arched doors make it a great place to makes some beautiful photos and except for the taxi ride, it is completely free.
Although It is not allowed for visitors to go inside the Palace, you can admire the golden doors for 24 hours.
See Fez from a panoramic view at Marinid Tombs
The Marinid Tombs are settled at the top of the mountain, which allows you to enjoy stunning panoramic views over the Medina of Fez. The best time to visit this place is during the sunset or sunrise as the views are just stunning.
You can walk up to the hill which will take about 30-45min., however, it was too hot during my visit so I grabbed a taxi for 50 MAD from the Blue Gate to the Marinid Tombs and the driver waited while I took some photos as there are not many taxis around the Tombs.
Visit the Sahara Desert from Fes
One of the most unique experiences in Morocco is without a doubt sleeping in a tent in the Sahara Desert and enjoying traditional Berber music or activities like camel riding and sandboarding.
When you make a road trip in Morocco, you can drive yourself to Merzouga and stay in one of the many desert camps, however, you can also join a guided tour from Fes if you are limited in time or you don’t have your own transport.
BOOK: Join a private guided tour and sleep in a Berber camp in the Sahara Desert
READ ALSO: Sahara Desert Luxury Camp: The best desert camp in Morocco
Fez is the perfect destination to start your trip in Morocco. With authentic markets and many cultural sights, this city has it all. I spend a few days in the Medina and I explored all the amazing places in this article. Even so, there is so much more to do that I will have to come back.
Have you been to Fez or do you plan to go there soon? Tell me more about your trip in the comments,
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Plan the best things to do in Fes, Morocco with my favorite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
- Trip – Flight deals
- Booking.com – Hotels and accommodation
- TourRadar – Group trips
- TripAdvisor – Reviews and activities
- HostelWorld – Hostels
- GetYourGuide – Activities and excursions
- RentalCars – Car rental
- Omio – Transport
- iVisa – Travel documents
- Wise – Money transfer
- InsuredNomads – Travel Insurance
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.