Located in the northeastern part of Morocco, and situated centrally in relation to other main cities, Fez is (or at least should be) on most people’s Moroccan itineraries. It’s an absolute gem of a city that I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend! This post will look at what to do if you find yourself with 2 days (or more) in Morocco’s former capital.
Top 5 things to do in Fez:
1) Stay in a traditional riad
What is a riad?
A riad is a traditional Moroccan home that has an interior courtyard or garden. Instead of outwardly facing windows, you will open the shutters to look down onto a beautiful courtyard awash with intricate designs bordering the windows and doors.
Staying here is an absolute ‘must-do’ when you come to Morocco and Fez offers plenty of options, many of them very cheap. I stayed in a hostel-riad and my 6-bed dorm room cost less than 100 dirhams (about $13 cad) per night. This also included a delicious breakfast!
2) Get lost in the famous Medina
The medina (old town) in Fez is the highlight of the city, where you can find everything from a severed cows head to beautifully woven carpets, along with basically any leather product imaginable.
Everyone from your great Aunt Suzie to a modern day Marco Polo will, without a doubt, get utterly lost in this maze of streets and shops. If you think google maps will save you, think again!
In fact, the Medina of Fez is one of the largest car-free urban zones in the world!
The good (or bad) news is that there is a never ending supply of children asking to bring you to your hotel or hostel. If you don’t feel like wandering aimlessly, simply employ one of the kids to take you where you want to go. **make sure to agree on your price before**
3) Visit the Tanneries
Since the founding of Fez in the late 8th century, leather tanneries have been in operation. One of the top tourist things to see in Fez today, make sure to stop into one of the many shops overlooking massive wells of dye.
Here you’ll see, as you would have more than 1000 years ago, a variety of animal skins hung out to be dyed and dried. The smell is utterly abysmal but most shops will offer some mint herbs to inhale as you walk around.. (for a small fee of course. Don’t expect much to be free in Morocco)
The biggest tannery is located in the heart of the medina and can be quite tricky to find. The surrounding shops will open their doors to the general public, so you’ll easily be able to find a nice viewpoint. While not expected to buy something, the shop owners will do their best to try and sell tourists some local leather products.
In my opinion, Moroccan food is absolutely delicious and this is no different in its former capital city of Fez!
The most popular Moroccan dish has to be tagine. The name refers to the actual dish the meal is served in and you can get a number of different tagine’s like beef, kafka (camel), chicken, lamb and vegetable. The meat and vegetables are served on a mound of couscous (which you will find in almost every Moroccan dish) and mixed with a variety of spices and herbs. The general price of tagine in a restaurant will range from 35-55 dirhams ($5-7.50 cad).
The street food scene in Fez is also delicious and very cheap. This ground beef (at least I hope it was…) and veggie sandwich is 15 dirhams ($2 cad), while any freshly squeezed orange juice will cost you 5 dirhams (0.70 cad).
Lastly, why not try a camel burger!? When in Morocco….
… it wasn’t that great.
5) Venture out to the sunset viewpoint
Located outside the walls of the great medina, the sunset viewpoint is a 15-20 minute walk from the centre. It gives viewers a grasp of just how big this city of 1.1 million people actually is!
Additionally, as you head back into the medina, you’ll get to witness a pretty creepy and chilling scene as hundreds of birds circle overhead while nightly prayers bellow from loud speakers. *Turn the volume up for this one*
Other things to see/do in Fez:
Garden Jnan Sbil
Located a 5-minute walk from the medina, these century-old gardens are a nice spot to beat the scorching Moroccan sun.
Marvel at the incredible architecture!
How to get to Fez:
Marrakech to Fez: 7 hours by train (200 – 311 dirhams, $28-43 cad) and 9 hours by bus (150 dirhams, $20 cad)
Casablanca to Fez: 4 hours by train (110 – 165 dirhams, $15-23 cad) and 5 hours by bus (94 – 138 dirhams, $13-19 cad)
Chefchaouen, Morocco – Fez: 4.5 hours by bus (85 dirhams, $12 cad)
While Fez can be hot, sweaty, and absolutely frustrating at times, the cultural capital of Morocco has a ton to offer visitors. Two to three days is a perfect amount of time if you’re in a bit of a rush but if you have some time to spare, definitely consider staying in Fez for a while longer!
Hopefully you enjoy my favourite city in Morocco as much as I did!
Saha wa a fiab (cheers)