Fez in Morocco, a mythical city of the kingdom. I like Morocco. And I particularly like the city of Fez located in the north of Morocco. This is why I decided to publish this guide to visit Fez! If you are not too familiar with this city and wonder what to do in Fez, this is the ticket for you…
Fez is clearly my favorite city in Morocco and one of the cities I enjoy the most, all trips combined. This is why I share with you this complete guide to visit Fez. You will find ideas for visits to Fez there, what to do in Fez, the essentials of the city but also many practical tips for a successful trip to Fez in Morocco!
Fez is, without a doubt, the city with the most history. Along with Damascus, Baghdad, Cordoba, and Istanbul, it was one of the main cities of Arab-Muslim civilization. Inevitably, Fez is full of places of interest that can only appeal to lovers of cultural discovery.
The traces of this rich past are still very present: a preserved and authentic medina, numerous religious monuments, a city still very steeped in traditions,… Many buildings in the medina of Fez testify to the past grandeur of the city.
Through this post, I hope to make you want to visit Fez during your trip to Morocco. Without forgetting its surroundings which also deserve to be visited over several days. Otherwise, if you are already convinced by the idea of visiting Fez, I hope this guide to Fez will help you prepare for your trip by giving you some tips.
Visit Fez and the most beautiful medina in Morocco
If you want to discover Morocco and a medina (and its famous souks), Fez is THE city to visit. No other medina in Morocco can match that of Fez. And certainly not that of Marrakech 😉 The medina of Fez corresponds to the old city, in Arabic, this part of the city is called Fes el Bali.
Of course, other medinas in Morocco have charms, such as the Essaouira medina or that of Chefchaouen. But that of Fez has a past, a history, a great and rich history! In addition, even if there are many souvenir shops, the authenticity of the medina is still very much present in Fez! The medina of Fez is a place of life for tens of thousands of people and it is not just an old city where tourists wander to visit it …
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the medina of Fez has remained almost intact since its creation at the very end of the 8th century. Visiting Fez is not just about discovering its medina. But almost!
The historic heart of Fez, it is in the medina which brings together the main historic buildings. There are hammams, bread ovens, many craftsmen, many mosques, religious schools (madrasa), caravanserais (foundouk in Arabic) or mausoleums (zaouia). All in a medina which can be explored on foot only. It is the largest urban and pedestrian area in the world! Even if visiting Fez and its medina is not easy, one can only be won over by so much history in its alleys …
I could tell you about the hours of this city which still intrigues me despite many stays in Fez and Morocco.
If I had to recommend some monuments or places of interest for your visit from Fez to Morocco, it would be:
-Madrasa Bou Inania
-Qaraouiyine district (main mosque of Fez)
–Chouara tannery: the biggest tanneries in Fez where you can see the different steps to go from raw hide to a usable piece of -leather
-Mérinides tombs to have an overview of the medina of Fez (negotiate a round trip taxi)
-Nejjarine Museum (enjoy a tea on the roof of the museum!)
-Bab Boujloud district, ultra-dynamic, it is one of the main entry points in the medina
-mausoleum of Moulay Idriss (founder of the city) and its surrounding alleys offering many religious products and derivatives: incense, musk, … We feel an impressive religious fervor that we do not find elsewhere in the city!
-Getting lost in the alleys of the medina of Fez in Morocco
I insist on the last point. The medina of Fez is very large. Composed of hundreds of small alleys, a real labyrinth. Don’t be afraid to walk in its alleys, without direction, without a plan. You will inevitably end up falling on one of the main arteries of the medina or on the periphery of the medina to reorient yourself! If you only had to give one single advice to visit Fez properly, it would certainly be lost in the alleys of Fez el Bali.
The visit of Fez is not limited to chaining the historic monuments or the souks of the medina, it is also necessary to take your time, observe the scenes of life and wander without precise direction but with one and only objective: to soak up the medina and its soul.
Guided tour to better understand Fez and its medina During the first visit to Fez, it is not necessarily easy to understand the functioning and the past of the medina. And this is even more true if it is your first trip to Morocco. Visiting Fez and its medina should allow you to better understand the city and its past but also daily life in a city of Morocco, the Muslim religion, the traditions of Morocco and many other things … A guided tour can then be really useful to fully understand the most beautiful medina in the kingdom. On-site, you will find many guides (and also false guides…). It is not necessarily easy to find a professional and motivated guide, it is a bit of a lottery, unfortunately … To compensate for this, you can book a private guided tour here. The visit is offered by a small agency based in Fez, very professional! Satisfaction guaranteed and it is really given (40 euros for your group, whether you are alone or in a family with 3, 4 or more …).
What to do in Fez: my top 10 for visiting Fez in Morocco
As I wrote earlier, visiting Fez is not just a series of visits to historic sites in the city. It is also and above all soak up the unique atmosphere of the medina of Fez!
For that, here are 10 things to see or 10 experiences to live to visit Fez well and for an immersion in the most beautiful medina of the Arab world. What to do in Fez: my essentials, my top 10 for visiting Fez!
-getting lost in the medina of Fez, wandering from alleys to alleys with the sole aim: to observe the life of the medina
-visit a madrassah (madrassa in Arabic), a Koranic school which magnificently shows the know-how of Moroccan craftsmen (stucco, calligraphy, zelliges, architecture,…)
-enjoy the view of the medina of Fez from the Merinid tombs located outside the ramparts
-negotiate ardently to buy souvenirs, play the bargaining game
-admire the medina of Fez from a riad, cafe, or restaurant terrace
-take the time to see the craftsmen of the tanneries of Fès, at work. And not only at the tanneries! You can see dozens of craftsmen during a visit to Fez: woodworking, wrought iron, copper, weaving, …
-stock up on spices or body products in a traditional medina shop like for example in Rachid’s small shop located in the henna souq (you can tell him that you come from me!)
-enjoy a mint tea on a terrace in the Place Nejjarine or Seffarine and observe the comings and goings of the inhabitants of the medina of Fez
-stay in a riad or dar (traditional house of the Moroccan medinas) for total immersion and enjoy the refinement of the old buildings of Fez el Bali
-discover Moroccan cuisine in the city of Fez, the most famous city in the kingdom for gastronomy
By living these 10 experiences, you will be sure to have visited Fez in depth! Do not limit yourself to a day of fast walking and to the visit of some monuments. Visiting Fez takes time and must appeal to all your senses!
Where to sleep in Fez?
Now that you know what to do in Fez, let’s talk about another crucial point when planning any trip, accommodation. And for a stay in Fez, we also ask ourselves the question of where to sleep in Fez in Morocco?
This part of the guide to Fez should help you find answers to your questions 😉 After a good ten trips to Fez, I have had the opportunity to sleep in many hotels or riads. So I’m going to share with you my favorite accommodation addresses for sleeping in Fez!
To sleep in Fez, two solutions are available to you concerning the neighborhood: opt for accommodation in the medina or in the new city. In the medina, you will have the opportunity to stay in a riad or a dar, either in traditional accommodation.
In the new city, it will be in a classic, more modern hotel. The type of accommodation and the neighborhood are therefore linked in order to choose where to sleep in Fez.
For a first stay, I recommend you stay in the medina because it is in Fez el Bali (the oldest medina) that you will spend most of your days. It will be more convenient to visit Fez because you will already be in the medina and you will enjoy the charm of the riads!
And besides, even for subsequent stays, the charm of Moroccan architecture is such that it is better to opt for a riad or dar.
Where and when to book accommodation in Fez?
I recommend that you book your accommodation on Booking.com. Almost all of the accommodation is there and you will benefit from the best rate with very often the possibility of choosing a cancellable reservation, in case something unexpected should happen …
It is best to book as early as possible! The prices of hotels always tend to go up when the date of the trip approaches … In addition, the longer you wait, the more the best hotels in Fez will be filled … Once you have booked your flight ticket to Fez, I advise you to book your hotel / riad.
Stay in the medina of Fez, the most beautiful medina in Morocco Staying in a riad or a dar in the medina is certainly the best option for visiting Fez and immersing yourself in the daily life of the fassis who live in the medina. However, be aware that it is not possible to travel by car in the medina. The taxi can drop you off at one of the access doors to the medina (Bab in Arabic), Bab Boujloud being the best known and often considered to be the entry point to the medina. If you have luggage and your riad/dar is located in the middle of the medina, know that you can ask for help. Very often, the riad/dar offers transfer services. If you are arriving on your own, do not hesitate to call the riad/dar for assistance with your luggage. The alleys are not all flat and are often crowded. 10 or 15 minutes of walking with your suitcase can quickly become a hassle 😉
The best hotels and riads in Fez, in my opinion!
As I told you, I have had the opportunity to go to Fez many times. So I also had the opportunity to sleep in many hotels or riads in the city.
Here are my favorites, by budget to sleep in Fez. Let’s start with the accommodation located in the medina of Fez.
Low budget (less than 40 euros per night / double room)
Dar Nejma is the best dar I have tested in Fez. Ideally located in the heart of the medina, on the main street, this dar is very well maintained, very clean and not too bling bling decoration level! The reception is at the top. In this price category, it is impossible to find better in Fez! Count around 30/40 euros per night in a double room, breakfast included.
Intermediate budget (between 50 and 90 euros per night for 2)
In this budget category in Fez, there are dozens and dozens of riad or dar. But the price / quality ratio goes from very bad to excellent … It is therefore important to choose a good riad …
Here are 2 addresses visited and validated.
Both very well located in the medina, Riad Adarissa (very close to Bab Boujloud) and Riad Idrissy offer excellent value for money for an intermediate budget. What fully enjoy the charm of a riad in the most beautiful medina in Morocco!
To have fun in Fez…
To have fun with accommodation in Fez in the medina, only one address: Riad Fès.
This riad is the only Relais & Châteaux address in Fès. After less than 5 minutes in the riad we understand why it is a Relais & Châteaux. Everything perfect! For an exceptional stay, it is without a doubt at Riad Fès that you have to sleep. This riad actually brings together 5 neighboring riads to provide more space. Each riad courtyard is designed differently, a real gem. And there is a swimming pool in one of the courtyards …
It is well located in the medina, a few minutes’ walk from an entrance to the medina, and Bab Boujloud can be reached in less than 5 minutes on foot. At Riad Fès, you can get away with 200 euros a night in a double room by booking in advance!
Sleep in Fez outside the medina
Outside the medina, I recommend these addresses:
- budget – the Ibis hotel in Fez, a stone’s throw from the train station, is very practical for several reasons. We forget it for the charm of the hotel but it allows you to take an early morning train to Fez, Rabat or Marrakech. And you can always find small taxis easily outside the hotel to reach the medina. Count around 35/40 euros for one night in a double room
- to have fun – the Sahrai hotel is my favorite outside the medina of Fez. An infinity pool with magnificent views of the medina, a great Moroccan restaurant and rooms perfectly decorated with Moroccan inspiration. A nugget!
Visiting Fez is also outside the Medina
Outside the medina of Fez, a stroll in the Jnan Sbil garden is very pleasant. The garden is a 5-minute walk from Bab Boujloud in the direction of Fès el Jdid.
Fès el Jdid is a more recent medina, founded by the Merinids in the 13th century. It is less interesting than Fez el Bali (which means Fez the Old or Old Fez).
Finally, on Fez, a quick passage in the old Jewish quarter (Mellah) can be worth the detour. You can also go through the main entrance of the royal palace (Dar el Makhzen) located on the Place des Alaouites. The doors are magnificent.
The new city of Fez is not of much interest. If you like your traveling comfort, you will find more modern hotels there than in the medina but also a lot of snacks, restaurants or tea room and even western chains (Borj Fez, new shopping center for example where you will find a Burger King, a Pizza Hut but also a Mc Donalds nearby). Needless to say, I recommend that you rather enjoy the rich Moroccan gastronomy!
Visit Fez In Morocco: Some Practical Tips
First, over the duration of your stay in Fez, I recommend staying there for a minimum of 3 days. Especially if this is your first trip to Morocco. By visiting Fez, we discover a city but also the past and the greatness of the Cherifian kingdom.
A visit to Fez is also an opportunity to better understand Islam, the Muslim world but also the Moroccan traditions and the gastronomy of the kingdom. Fez is considered as the cultural, spiritual but also the culinary capital of Morocco!
Getting around Fez -Visit Fez
During your stay in Fez, you should know that almost all your trips will be on foot because the medina of Fez is the largest pedestrian urban area in the world!
To reach other more distant places outside the medina, I recommend you take a taxi. You have to take a small taxi (red cars) and ask for a ride on the meter. Some refuse. In this case, go your way and ask another driver. You will have no trouble finding a driver who accepts a trip on the clock. Fez is not Marrakech.
Allow around 8/15 Dh for a small taxi ride in Fez. If you are inside the Medina of Fez, you will have to go to one of the doors to find a taxi. Cars do not circulate in the alleys of the medina!
Flight / Air Ticket To Fez -Visit Fez
Fez is served by the deplorable but cheap airline Ryanair. If your budget is limited, opting for Ryanair is certainly the most suitable solution for your trip to Fez. It is common to find return flights from France at less than 80/90 euros! And maybe even less if you go out of season (winter) and outside school holidays. During these periods, by booking at least a month and a half / 2 months in advance, you can find flights to Fez at 60 euros round trip with Ryanair …
If your budget allows, I can only recommend that you put Ryanair aside and opt for a company that is more respectful of its passengers and employees. Transavia also serves Fez. From Brussels (or Charleroi), you can also find cheap flights to Fez with TUI Fly.
From Fez Airport, you can reach the city center by bus or taxi. The taxi costs 120 Dh. For this price, this is clearly the solution to choose! A panel indicates the price, if the driver asks you more, do not hesitate to claim / insist for 120 Dh or turn to another driver. Overall, no problem to enforce this tariff at Fès airport!
Eat well in Fez -Visit Fez
Visiting Fez is also immersing yourself in Moroccan culinary specialties but also the Fassi specialties that are the pride of the city of Fez! Besides, it is often said that the best Moroccan cuisine in the kingdom is found in Fez. Of course, if you ask me what to do in Fez, I will necessarily recommend that you feast on the delights of Fassi cuisine during your visit to Fez!
I will not necessarily dwell on Moroccan specialties in this post but rather give you some good addresses to eat well in Fez.
- Chez Zohra restaurant, located in the Blida district, near the Chouara tanneries
- Chez Rachid, a restaurant located near Bab Boujloud, the menu at a very fair price
- Have a tea at Clock coffee (located at the beginning of Talaa Kebira coming from Bab Boujloud) to enjoy the view over the roofs of Fez and the neighboring minarets (avoid eating there, not great)
- Drink a mint tea or a good orange juice in the Seffarin square while observing the bustle of this square in the medina
- For good Moroccan pastries: after passing Bab Boujloud, take directly on the right towards Talaa Sghira. Last shop before the left turn. A delight!
Visit the surroundings of Fez: Meknes and Volubilis
After you finish visiting Fez, you might want to explore the surroundings of the city. And near Fez, there is something to keep you occupied!
Let’s start with the city of Meknes. Located about sixty kilometers from Fez, allow a big half hour to make the journey Fez / Meknes by train.
The city of Meknes can easily be visited by having a hotel in Fez. The return trip during the day is more than achievable and if you want to explore the city calmly you can spend 2 days there.
El Hedim square marks the entrance to the medina. It is pleasant and has the advantage of sleeping on Meknes one night and being able to enjoy it in the evening. This is the time when it comes alive. A small Jemaa el Fna square in Meknes! There are snake charmers, musicians, games, some vendors … A good atmosphere without the aggressiveness that we find in Marrakech!
The medina of Meknes is also worth a visit. Even if it seems very very calm compared to that of Fez, it remains very charming, there are some monuments to visit in a madrassa where it is possible to climb on the roof. Magnificent view over the roofs towards the madrassa and the neighboring mosque.
Bab Mansour is the largest gate (wall) in the city. Very beautiful.
Do not miss the mausoleum of Moulay Ismaïl, very beautiful, visitable, and particularly photogenic! And yes, unlike the mausoleums of Fez, it is open to travelers and non-Muslims. It is, therefore, possible to visit it!
Other monuments of the city are also interesting like Heri es Souani (old granary), the Christian prison, or the Agdal basin, very pleasant to walk around.
Finally, Volubilis is a site that is worth a detour, it is unique in Morocco. Volubilis is a Roman archaeological site. Quite large, it is very interesting and the surrounding landscapes are superb.
If you do not have a car, it is possible to get there by grand taxi from Meknes (with a stop at Moulay Idriss Zerhoun). The journey is very good in 1 hour in total for a ridiculous cost. Allow 2 to 3 hours to visit the archaeological site. A stroll to Moulay Idriss Zerhoun can also be interesting before leaving for Fez or Meknes.
After Visiting Fez: The Middle Atlas?
If you want to get away from the city for a day or 2 during or after visiting Fez, the Middle Atlas is the ideal place. Exit the medinas, monuments, and bustle of Moroccan cities … Here, it is essentially nature!
Close to Fez, you can enjoy the magnificent landscapes of the Middle Atlas a few dozen kilometers from Fez. An impressive contrast between the serenity of this region compared to the bustling activity of the medina of Fez!
There are many nice places south of Fez.
Sefrou, the first pleasant town on the Middle Atlas route. There is a small waterfall in the city. The small medina also, calm and different from the medinas of the big cities of Morocco. Finally, Sefrou hosts the cherry festival (Hab al Moulouk mousse) which takes place in June.
A little further south, you will certainly pass by Immouzer and then near Lake Dayet Aoua lake. Around there are a lot of lakes, it is a very pleasant corner and landscapes that one does not necessarily imagine when one thinks of Morocco.
At Lake Dayet Aoua, the closest to the road to the south, you can go horse riding or pedal boating on the lake.
Still going south, stop at Ifrane. Small town nicknamed little Switzerland. The city’s buildings are really reminiscent of European mountain homes. We are not in Morocco! We go up in altitude. Ifrane is around 1700 meters above sea level, Fez around 600 meters!
Aïn Vittel (Vittel source), a source of water with a small waterfall, near Ifrane. Beautiful walks! Possibility of horse riding also.
A little further south, you can push as far as Azrou. Small pleasant souk in the city. Outside Azrou, you will find a cedar forest where you can see monkeys (Berber macaque or magot). A great time to pass!
This small route in the middle Atlas can be done during the day from Fez. If you want to spend more time there, there is something to take care of for 2/3 days easily 😉 2 days seems to me to be the ideal duration to enjoy this part of the country.
If you are going 2 days outside of Fez to discover the Middle Atlas, the ideal is to sleep in Azrou which will be more or less the end of your journey in the Middle Atlas. You, therefore, divide the trip over the 2 days!
Here are two addresses that I particularly recommend to Azrou, for 2 different budgets:
- low budget: basic but very clean, Riad Azrou is located in the charming little medina of Azrou. Allow 30 euros per night in a double room with breakfast!
- if your budget is higher, I recommend the Palais des cerisiers. Slightly away from the city, it is located by the road which leads to Gouraud Cedar. Count 80 euros per night in a double room. Surely one of the best addresses in the Middle Atlas!
You will find on Fès large taxis for Sefrou or Azrou but you also have the possibility of taking a taxi for you, by the day. it’s the best solution if you don’t want to drive.
In Fez, I have a contact for an excellent taxi driver, Mohamed, who speaks good French and who knows the region very well. With him, you will have the assurance of not being taken to shops (commissions). He will not hesitate to advise you on the rates for horse riding or other. If you wish to obtain his contact details, please do not hesitate to contact me, I will communicate them to you by email. More than just a driver, he will be happy to answer your questions about the region and Moroccan culture.
In summary, I would like to conclude this long post on the fact that a cultural trip to Morocco must for me pass through Fez. It is THE medina of Morocco. Too often Marrakech is the main stopover for travelers to Morocco. And yet, to discover an authentic Morocco, it is clearly towards Fez that you must turn … It is by visiting Fez that you will discover the authenticity of a medina. The city with a rich past which will also allow you to understand Moroccan traditions and Islam. And without forgetting that Fez is also the city of Morocco most famous for its cuisine.
Above all, when planning your trip to Morocco, allow enough days to visit Fez. It takes at least 3 or 4 days to soak up the ambiance of the medina! Visiting Fez takes time, it is the most interesting city in the country …
Do you know Fez? Have you ever visited Fez and its medina? What do you think of this millennial city?
Visit Fez in Morocco: to go further… Do you plan to visit Fez soon?
Here are some links that you may find useful:
- FES TANNERY: IMMERSION IN THE CHOUARA TANNERY
- Al Boraq TGV: The Moroccan 320km/h Fastest Train In Africa
- Moroccan Language : The Ultimate Guide About Morocco Languages
- MOROCCAN DESERT: ERG CHEBBI OR ERG CHEGAGA?
- VISIT CHEFCHAOUEN AND ITS SO PEACEFUL MEDINA
- Moroccan Food :Complete Guide Of Everything You Should You Know About Moroccan Dishes
- Moroccan Wedding: All What You Need to Know About Moroccan Marriage