From the Old Medina to the iconic tanneries.
Fez, or Fes, or Faz(s) is not only the second largest city in Morocco, it was also the capital of modern Morocco until 1925. Often referred to as “Mecca of the West” and “Athens of Africa,” Fez is a feast for the sensory of your entire body. From the eyes to nose, even your ears will be stimulated with the combustion of old and new, but in the most authentic way. Enjoy it to the max!
1. Start the morning with a little hike at Mount Zalagh.
Fez can be a noisy city known for its windy alleys full of markets and foot traffic, so a calm morning in Mount Zalagh is not a bad idea. Blanketed by olive trees with hints of lavender is the perfect accompaniment to the view of Fez in its entirety. There may be snow during wintertime. But in any other season, bikers, hikers and families with a picnic basket will love it here.
2. Entering the medina from Bab Bou Jeloud makes the perfect photo op!
It’s green in the front, blue in the back! Or blue in the front, green in the back depending on where you stand. Bab Bou Jeloud is the famous gate built in 1913 which leads folks right into Fez el-Bali market. Designed in Moorish style, you can see three symmetrical horseshoe arches in the gate. Note the calligraphy, geometry, and floral arrangements in its tile design, utterly opulent.
3. Feel the hustle bustle at Fes el-bali’s Old Medina.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is Fez’s most renowned landmark. This medina is the biggest car-free urban area in the world with a population of 156,000. Zig zag your way through vibrant alleys selling fabrics, embroidery, and tons of every kind of souvenir you can imagine.
4. Work those narrow stairs at Chouara Tanneries for THAT famous view.
For the most iconic image of Fez, you’ve got to endure the stairs and the pungent odor. Spot #10 on Derb Chaouwara (or ask around, everyone will know), and you will encounter walls of leather goods as you finally reach the perfect window view with the shot of colorful – and somehow, majestic – view of the colored dyes. Yes, it will feel VERY toursisty and commercialized, but this is the only place for the perfect photo snapshot you came here for.
5. Indulge in traditional delicious tagine at Chez Rachid.
You’re probably famished by now, so stop by Chez Rachid which is conveniently right in Fes el-bali. For a simple, casual yet completely local flavors, this place will deliver all that you want in a fantastic tagine, kebab and couscous. Go nuts!
6. Lose yourself in greenery at Jardin Jnan Sbil.
Founded in the 18th century by Sultan Moulay Abdellah, the garden is an easy walk from the Medina. Structured with an Andalusian influence, the park features over 1,000 gorgeous and rare floral species. Fountains, tables and basins will ensure that you feel calm and tranquil after a busy time in the market.
7. Take in the academic vibe at Bou Inania Medersa.
Not too far from the Blue Gate, is the famous Madrasa Bou Inania. Throughout Moroccan history, madrasas are build as an educational institute and a spiritual mosque. Here though, is Fez’s only madrasa with a minaret so it became the most significant religious place in the city thus was often called the Grand Mosque. There have been several renovations completed throughout history, so definitely take advantage of the fact that this is one of the few religious places open to non-Islamics.
8. Be artsy inside Nejjarine Museum of Wood Arts and Crafts.
Coming here simply to check out the breathtaking architecture is worth the trip. The museum is a local rooming house where merchants on voyages used to store and sell their goods on the bottom floors. They would sleep on the upper floors. Here, you can view artifacts from Berbers, craftsmen…and many more.
9. Relax with hammam at Spa Laaroussa.
One comes all the way to Fez, one must hammam. It’s a travel rule. Don’t deny it! It’s the perfect excuse to relax, chill and steam away! Spa Laaroussa inside the riad is a favorite amongst many, so make sure to reserve your spot!
10. Cap the night off with fine dining at Les Jardins de Sheherazade.
Voted as one of the best restaurants in the world, Les Jardins de Sheherazade is the most ideal setting to end your delightful day. The impeccable service paired with delectable gourmet Moroccan dishes will make this dining experience thoroughly splendid.