Being based in the old medina, we found plenty of things to do in Fes. A labyrinth of narrow streets and dead ends, it’s like nowhere else. The former capital of modern Morocco, Fes is the country’s second-largest city. The main draw is the old walled Fes Medina, a place to wander, to get lost, and to discover. As one of the world’s largest pedestrian zones, the Fes medina is one of those places that people either love or hate. It’s an overload of colours, patterns, sounds, and unknown aromas. To be honest, Fes is somewhere we liked so much, we went back for a second visit.
Let me take you on a photo exploration of the 1300-year-old Fes Medina, a UNESCO world heritage site.
More Things to Do in Fes Medina:
- Admire the Andalusia Mosque, the Karaouine Mosque, and the entrance to the tomb of Moulay Idris. While stunning in their own right, each of these is open only to Muslims.
- Visit the Palace Nejjarine, its beautiful fountain, and the Nejjarine Museum of Wood.
- Take a local’s hammam bath. We opted to do this rather than the tourist hammam, and it was quite the experience.
- Inside the Fes medina, our favourite place to eat is Chez Rashid’s. Learn from our mistake, if their metal shutters are down, the restaurant is not open, regardless of what a server tells you. I am not sure who served us our dinner that night, but it wasn’t up to standard.
- Also in the medina is the University of Al Quaraouiyine. Founded in 859AD, it is the oldest continuously functioning university in the world.
- We were lucky enough to arrive for the huge Moussem Moulay Idriss festival.
A few things to do in Fes outside of the medina:
More Things to Do in Fes Outside the Medina:
- Visit the district of the potters, Ain Nokbi.
- Take a walk through the narrow streets of the Mellah, the old Jewish Quarter.
- Stroll through the 14th-century Merenid Tombs (we didn’t go here).
More Tips and Practical Information:
- Many visitors get lost in the old medina. Before you hire a guide to find the exit, try walking uphill. Most of the medina alleyways head downhill to the centre.
- Take caution when drinking water. Always ask if it is safe for you to drink (the Moroccan’s grew up on it, and they can drink it without a problem). Also, if you buy bottled water, be sure you receive unopened bottles, rather than refilled.
- Carry toilet paper with you.
- If you are outside of the medina, ask at your hotel or Riad how much the taxi should cost and don’t pay more – negotiate before you get in.
- If you prefer a tour, Viator offers several affordable options.
- We stayed at Riad Al Atik in the old medina both time we visited Fes. The attention to every detail, exotic and delicious food (be sure to try the homemade ice cream), and a friendly atmosphere make this traditional riad the ideal lace to stay on any visit to Fes.
- If you are headed to the Fes or anywhere in Morocco, don’t forget to pick up a copy of Lonely Planet’s Morocco Travel Guide.
(This is another post in my throwback series encouraged by moving all my photos to Lightroom. Most of these photos have never been published before today. We visited Morocco in 2012.)
Have you been to Fes? Does the contrast between the old Fes Medina, and the new sections surprise you?
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