FEZ

Morocco
Fez Itinerary

The world's most extensive maze

Duration: at least five days

Stay: Riad Sanaa Rose, Dar Seffarine or Riad Drissia

 

Until today, the medina of Fez is the largest car-free zone in the world. Fez’s old city, the medina, consists of more than 9400 alleys. Some of them are more extensive; some so narrow you almost don’t recognize them as a path. Moroccans are proud of their traditions and heritage. As you roam through the streets, you’ll be able to watch artisans apply century-old traditions. Fez, one of the four royal cities of Morroco, was home to respected Imans, artists, and scholars and is a proud, confident city. It felt cosmopolitan and yet quaint at the same time. You’ll see tourists roaming the streets, salespeople who seem to be able to talk any language of this world, next to mules pulling carts as in the middle ages. Even the city’s waste is carried away on mules.

9400 alleys taking you back in time

You’ll be able to find century-old grand buildings, stunning hidden plazas, and delicate wells behind rustic, decrepit alleys and buildings. Fez has a certain roughness, not just visible in its architecture. Even though many “Fessi” traded their medina home for a more modern home in the novelle city, it is still home to 70 000 people.

Fez’s walled “medina” is known to be a maze to everyone who hasn’t grown up there. It sounded
terrific just to get lost and discover Morroco. We pictured ourselves walking through picturesque
arches, wandering narrow alleys, and exploring new flavors.
Mohammed, our first host, expected us
with a big, almost toothless grin. As we followed him through the medina, we were already falling
for Fez. We were mesmerized as soon as we entered our “Dar.” Hidden behind a small door, a
spacious inner courtyard awaited us. Our beautifully decorated, two-story room almost took our
breath away

Get lost in the medina's maze

We got fortunate, and the sun was shining on the day of our arrival. After having our first mint tea of the journey, we immediately ventured out to explore the medina. As we walked up and downhill and strolled through wide and narrow alleys, the delicately decorated buildings and fountains took our breath away. So many famous sights are not visible at first sight and are often hidden behind small lanes or at the back of unimpressive buildings. Talaa Kebeera is considered the main road. Try to remember your location relative to the main road. You’ll always be able to get directions back to Talaa Kebeera if you get lost.

Cavalerio church in Leon, Nicaragua
Granada, Nicaragua: market

The fountains of Fez

There are more than 60 public fountains all over the medina. Many of located close to a Mosche to allow people to clean before entering for prayer. You’ll hear the calls for prayer from the Minarettes five times daily. Unfortunately, as a non-muslim, you are not allowed to enter.

Take a free walking tour

Many of Fez’s most beautiful sights are not so easily found. Take your time when wandering the alleys. Make sure to admire the many ornaments you’ll come across. You’ll often find an impressive building, almost hidden in courtyards. If you want to get to know Fez, we really urge you to join a free walking tour, so you don’t accidentally walk by the attractions

Leon, Nicaragua: barrio Sutiavia
Granada, Nicaragua: dani in front of church

Bab Boujeloud, the impressive entrance to Fez

Known as “The Blue Gate of Fez,” Bab Boujeloud welcomes visitors to the medina of Fez. As visitors enter the median, the delicate tiles shimmer in blue, the color of Fez. The other side of the gate shines green, which represents Islam. The gate is stunning, and it’s even more beautiful during sunset. No wonder it has become one of Morocco’s most famous landmarks! Several cafes and restaurants offer a rooftop terrace from which you have a marvelous view of the Bab Boujeloud, the blue gate.

Get scrubbed at a hammam

A hammam is a typical Moroccan bathing house. You’ll be able to find many of them across the medina and in the new city. A visit to a hammam is an absolute must-do when traveling to Morocco! We promise that your skin wasn’t softer since birth! Of course, many hammams catering to tourists have sprung up in chic hotels, but we made the experience that the treatments in local hammams are much more thorough! We have been told that visiting the hammam also plays an essential role in social life. For example, where it is common for men to meet at cafes, the hammam often offers the only place for women to meet and hang out. Men and women have separate times to enter. The opening hours adapt to the “traditional way of life.” This means that men can visit a hammam in the mornings or at night. Either before or after work. While women get daytime hours, they enjoy the hammams from noon until evening. Every Morrocan we met visits a hammam once per week. Within the public hammam, one can pay for a scrub, or you’ll do it to each other.

Granada, Nicaragua: Lauri in Parque Colon

Everything you need to know about going to a hammam

Hammam 2

What is a hammam treatment?

Within the hammam, you’ll get to enjoy the traditional washing ritual. In a warm and steamy foam, women will first wash you and soak you with the special soap before you get your scrub. A traditional rough sponge and a particular technique ensure all your dead skin is thoroughly removed. The scrub is thorny, sometimes even a bit uncomfortable, but it’s very satisfying to see all the dead cells coming off. Our skin felt incredibly soft afterward. Depending on your choice of hammam, a message is included after a traditional scrub

Hammam

Hammam etiquette

If you visit a traditional hammam, remember to bring your own towels, flip-flops, soap, underwear, a scrubbing sponge (which you can buy at the entrance), and soap. Hammams frequented by tourists will provide all that for you! Keep in mind that you always keep your panties/underwear on!

Leon, Nicaragua: Cerro Negro

Shop till you drop

Moroccans are proud of their traditions. Even though we are not big shoppers, we found it hard to resist what the souks had to offer. The colorful ceramics, atmospheric brass lights, argan oil, and exquisite leather products were calling us to buy them. Much of the shopping is done on Souks. (A souk is more or less a square with several vendors selling similar products.) In Fez, you’ll find a Henna, ceramic, leather, and carpet Souks. All the colors, scents, and impressions can get a bit much, especially when pushed by eloquent salesmen. Therefore, it’s best to get an idea of what you want to buy before entering a shop. Take your time, don’t let anybody talk you into buying and haggling! Don’t be afraid to name a flow price. The proposed rates are often exorbitant and aim to make you feel bad when suggesting a much lower one.

Admire Fondouk el-Nejjarine and indigenous woodwork

It’s a beautiful building housing a museum. The inside of the museum is stunning! Fondouk elNejjarine, the wood museum, displays tools and artifacts indigenous to Morocco. The museum also features an incredible view over the medina of Fez from its rooftop! (20 DHS, open from 10 am- 5 pm)

Fez 13

Hold your breath at traditional tanneries

Without a doubt, Fez is famous for its traditional tannery. Mainly the big tannery is often associated directly with Fez. Here leather products are still manufactured in the old way. Mules carry piles of goat, lamb, camel, and cow leather to and from the tannery. After the leather is cleaned, it is soaked in a mix of chalk, pigeon poo, and salt. The smell is brutal.
Luckily, we visited the tannery after it was raining, which reduced the smell. The leather is colored with poppy seeds, indigo, or Safran in the following steps. Morocco’s leather products belong to the finest in the world. The stores close to the tannery sell unique and exquisite products. Expect to pay a higher price, though!

Spice up your taste buds and indulge in Moroccan cuisine

Moroccan cuisine is delicious and so versatile! Often a mix of hearty and sweet flavors, it is sure to ignite your taste buds.
While many places cater to tourists, we urge you to take your time and visit the local restaurants and food stands. You’ll find plenty of them parallel to the main street heading towards the veggie market. It’s nice to take the time and engage in a conversation. We learned so much about the local customs by eating with the locals and hanging out over a typical mint tea.

Fez 49

Get ready to travel Morocco

Transport to and from Fez

Flights arrive at Fès–Saïss Airport, about 13 km outside the city. The taxi price depends on your haggling skills but should not be more than 150 dirhams. Grand taxis charge per seat while Petit Taxis charge per ride. Usually, Grand Taxis are cheaper. Buses run quite frequently from the Fez bus terminal and are pretty comfortable. You’ll find the bus
terminal right outside the medina.
Fez-
Meknes: 45 mins
Fez –
Chefchouen – 3,5 hours
Fez- Sefrou – about one hour
Fez- Rabat – 3 hours

Safety in Fez

The medina of Fez is a very safe area. Undercover cops and cameras on every corner aim to keep pickpocketers and fake guides away from visitors. Yet, it’s almost impossible to avoid
hustlerswho want to “help you” and later ask for money or bring you to a store to cash in on commission. Be aware of that, and don’t let them push you. If you ask for help and somebody guides you on the way out, it’s common to give about 20 dirhams. A “shu ma lick” (= you should be ashamed) should help you out if you feel pushed. If this does not help, let them know you’ll call the police, and they’ll let you go at once.

Best time to travel to Fez

The weather is mild all year round, making Fez an all-year-round destination. However, it gets boiling in summer, so it might not be the best time for extensive sightseeing.

Where to stay in Fez

Most of the accommodations within the media will be referred to as Riads. Traditionally, the inner courtyard is the center of the building. The living rooms are located around it and on the upper floor. Many Dars features a rooftop terrace from which you can enjoy a view over the medina. Contrary to many tourists’ beliefs, not every house centered amongst an inner yard is an actual Riad. A Riad is entered through impressive front doors, demonstrating affluence in past times. Check out our responsible travel guide to Fez for some truly unique places to stay.

Going out & alcohol

Officially, you can’t consume or buy beer at the medina. Yet, there is a black market for locals and some restaurants secretly selling alcohol to tourists. Always check your bill at any restaurant! We have seen so many tourists being ripped off.
Haggling is life. There is no such thing as a fixed price. So, especially in the shops, expect to haggle hard.

Tap water

Bring your Lifestraw Pro! Tap water in Morocco is safe for human consumption, according to Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani. The PM made the statement in February 2018 after officials uncovered issues with the public water delivery system. Despite the government’s assurances, however, distrust in tap water is growing. One problem is that the government has been slow to react and often lacks transparency in its communication. In addition, several reports have highlighted elevated levels of nitrates as an issue in Morocco.

Biggest challenge for the responsible traveler

Shopping: Low-quality Chinese products and goods produced under questionable working environments are sold everywhere. When shopping in Morocco, be conscious and check out our shopping guide!
Water: Avoid plastic pollution and bring your own Lifestrwa Pro! Your water will stay cool, too!

packing

Packing List Jamaica

When packing for a trip to Morocco, it’s important to keep the country’s culture and climate in mind as the weather can vary greatly, depending on the time of year and the region you’re visiting. Check out our packing list so you arrive well prepared!

Places to visit in Morocco

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