Things To Do in Fes, Top Attractions Not To Miss

Things To Do in Fes

   Mystical and enchanted Fes is a magnificent Moroccan city that is home to the biggest and oldest medina in North Africa and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city, which was formerly Morocco’s capital, is still recognized as the nation’s cultural hub. Discover spice towers, traditional handicrafts, tanneries, and hammams by venturing into the gloriously chaotic ancient medina. Spend a day or two taking advantage of everything Fes has to offer; the past is very much alive here!

1. Get Lost in the Medina of Fes

   Dating back to the ninth century, Fes’s (Fes el Bali) medina is the biggest and oldest in North Africa! It is also recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its cultural and historical significance.

  Considering how successfully the Medina’s historic attractions have been maintained, it’s simple to understand why. Explore the hundreds of alleyways here to learn about Fes’s history, and take in the world’s largest car-free urban region!

   It’s effortless to get lost because of its tight streets—something we have personally done a few times. In this maze, even Google Maps struggles to find its way around, so before you leave your riad or hotel, make sure you know which signs to follow.

   Try to book a hotel within the medina proper, if at all possible. This is because certain Medina gates close after 7 p.m., which might make it difficult to go back to a hotel outside the Medina walls. Suggestion: Lost? If you need directions to a certain location, just ask a store or restaurant owner. Keep in mind that many kids participate in con jobs where they pretend to be adults and provide you instructions in exchange for payment.

2. The Gardens of Jnan Sbil (Bou Jeloud)

   The only public garden inside the bustling medina, this tranquil oasis is a welcome respite. Outside, you can see birds, plants, flowers, and paths lined with palm trees; inside, you may take a break from haggling and admire the beauty of the space. Sit back, cool down, and enjoy the park as you watch the inhabitants of Fes do the same. Open from 8 AM to 7:30 PM, the park is open from Tuesday through Sunday. 

3. The Enchanted Bou Inania Madrasa

   Located in the heart of the medina, the Bou Inania Madrasa is a famous religious structure. This structure, which dates back to the 14th century, served as a school in bygone days. But now the public may see its remarkable architecture. Delve inside its breathtaking marble courtyard, detailed wood carvings, and an unending array of green mosaic tilework.

   Across the medina, you can see the next mosque’s verdant minaret, which continues the color trend. Among the city’s madrassas, this one stands head and shoulders above the others. Make sure you don’t pass on this fantastic Fes activity.

   Its central position makes it convenient to stop by on a stroll around the medina. Not only that, it’s one of the few Fes holy places that non-Muslims are welcome to visit. To see this stunning location at its serenest, go either early or late in the day. When we went around 4 p.m., hardly anybody was there!

   You may enter between 9 AM and 5 PM (except prayer times), and the admission fee is 20 Dhs (or around $2).

4. Marvel at the Tannery smells

Things To Do in Fes

   See the world-renowned tanneries of Fes while you’re there! Find hundreds of holes in the ground filled with different colored dyes used to dye animal skins. A visit to the tanneries is a must for every traveler to Morocco; they are an integral aspect of Fes culture. But you should know that it has a really strong odor!

   The locals will give you “free mint” to mask the odor, but many visitors end up paying for it. For this reason, a scarf or a little piece of mint might be more appropriate to bring along.

   If you can’t make it to the tanneries, try looking for a rooftop patio in the area. You may have a bird’s-eye perspective from this vantage point.

Advice: Check out the Chouara tannery, the world’s oldest and biggest leather tannery.

5. The University of Kairaouine, the Oldest in Africa

   In addition to being the second-largest mosque in Morocco, the Kairaouine Mosque is renowned for being the oldest university in the world. Because of its status as one of Fes’s holiest mosques, entry is restricted to Muslims exclusively.

   The inside is off-limits to visitors, but there are many entry gates where they may have a good look. Observe the faithful praying in this sacred structure, which is still in use as a university, and marvel at the beautiful marble courtyard, fountains, arches, tiles, and sculptures.

Advice: From a rooftop in the area, try to see the mosque’s stunning minaret.

Things To Do in Fes

6. Acquire a Flavorful Orange Juice

   One thing that Fes does well is orange juice, which we enjoy.  To set yourself up for a day of exploration, get a cheap, fresh juice first thing in the morning. There are orange juice stands throughout the town center, so it’s hard to overlook them. Yum!

7. Al Atterine Madrassa

  The beauty of this madrassa transcends its little stature. Geometrically patterned tiles adorn the walls and floor, creating a beautiful border around the middle courtyard. Take a step back in time to medieval Morocco as you marvel at the ornately carved wooden doors.

  Take a moment to admire the stunning minaret atop the building. In the middle of Fes’s chaos, between the Chouara leather tannery and the Kairaouine Mosque, is this tranquil haven. Perfect for a leisurely visit to Fes! The madrassa is open from 8 AM to 6 PM (please note that these timings are subject to change due to religious festivals and activities). Twenty dirhams (about $2) get you entry.

8. A Rooftop Sunset

   Houses with flat roofing and earthy colors are typical of Moroccan architecture. A tiered paradise, that is what it is! To get a bird’s-eye view of Fes, go to a rooftop bar or café (like café Clock) and people-watch. Take a seat here as the sun goes down behind this magnificent city after a long day of touring. Pure joy!

9. Dar Al-Makhzen, the Royal Palace

Things To Do in Fes

   Gaze over the magnificent façade of the royal residence. Unfortunately, visitors are not permitted inside this structure since it is still used often by the royal family and the administration. Nonetheless, it is one of the must-dos in Fes due to its breathtaking blue mosaic tile walls and gorgeous bronze doors. Outside the palace, there are beautiful, verdant gardens that visitors may stroll around. The magnificent mosque Fes el-Jdid, with its exquisitely decorated minaret, is next to the gardens.

   The museum and peaceful grounds of Dar Batha, the old royal palace of Fes, are worth a visit.

10. See the Labyrinthine Souks

   Fes has some of the most magnificent souks, which are the heart and soul of each Moroccan city. Transport yourself to a bygone era of dusty, walled lanes and the humble donkey and cart. There will be vendors yelling prices and making hard deals, aromas wafting in from all directions, and displays of textiles in every hue of the rainbow. It will be a sensory overload.

   Streets in the souks of Fes are much more winding and narrow than those in Marrakech, creating a veritable labyrinth. You may also choose to go on a guided tour if you want to find out more about the center and what it has to offer.

11. Acquire a Graceful Fes Carpet

 Fes is renowned for its arts and crafts, particularly its carpets. Vendors selling carpets adorned with exquisite Moroccan motifs line the major streets of the medina. Our Marrakech-based French friend recommended a store across the street from Café El Khmissa that she said would offer us a fair price.

We narrowed the options down to our preferred rug after looking at around twenty. We paid $750 for the 2-meter-long and 1.5-meter-wide classic Moroccan rug, which we considered to be a reasonable price.

Fes Accommodation Options

   Make the most of your time in Fes by staying in a traditional riad. Traditional Moroccan guesthouses often include courtyards or pools in their central locations, which are often found in the older sections of town. Staying at their residence will let you unwind after a day of exploring Fes.

   If you want to be near the major attractions and not get lost at night, it’s best to stay in a hotel or riad in the middle of the medina.

How to Visit Fes, Morocco

   From every direction, Fes is easily accessible. The blue city of Chefchaouen, Rabat, and Marrakech are all convenient entry points. You can reach Rabat’s stunning shoreline from Marrakech by rail. Fes is the next stop along this rail route.

   Fes is also a great jumping-off point for a Desert Merzouga Tour, which is sure to be an unforgettable adventure.

Top Dining Spots in Fes

   Chez Rachid, literally “The Blue Gate” (Bab Boujloud), served us the tastiest meal in town. With its picturesque patio, Cafe Clock is another lovely spot to have a meal. Here you may get fusion cuisine that leans a little more toward the West.

   Advice: You may also take culinary lessons at Cafe Clock! This is an excellent opportunity to learn the ins and outs of making mouthwatering Moroccan cuisine.

The Optimal Time to Visit Fes

   March–May or September–November is the shoulder season when Fes is at its most beautiful. Warm sunshine and pleasant temperatures (not too hot) characterize these months. Even in the dead of winter, the weather may be beautiful and bright, making it an ideal time to explore the nation and all its amazing regions.

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