Fez is a feast for all of your senses! Its old medina is a maze of narrow streets, colorful souks and pleasant sounds. Stepping in to the narrow streets of Fez is like stepping back in time. Historically, the city was one of Morocco’s main centers of trade and craftsmanship, today, it’s considered the culture capital of Morocco. This post covers what to see and do in Fez in one day along with all the tips to make it a great visit.
Fez Mini Travel Guide
Is One Day Enough?
I spent 24 hours in Fez and felt like I got a good feel for the city. There is always more to do with more time but in my opinion you can easily hit the highlights with one full day in Fez.
How to Make the Best of Your Time
It’s very simple! Hire a guide. I cannot stress this enough. Fez is one place you absolutely need a guide to navigate through the city. It is said there are over 9000 narrow streets and alleyways in Fez, some of which are so narrow that a full grown adult can barely pass through. A guide can help you not only figure out where to go but also help you see the best the city has to offer, given you are only in Fez for one day.
How to Get Around Fez
Most of the attractions in Fez except maybe the Royal Gate and the Borj viewpoint is within the Medina or Old City of Fez and walkable. Taxis are the best way to get around the city if you need to. Just remember to always look for a metered taxi and if there are none around, make sure to negotiate the price before you get in.
The Main Attractions of Fez
The Gates of The Royal Palace
This is one of the locations away from the Medina but definitely worth the taxi ride to visit. The palace itself is closed for visitors but these magnificent golden gates, lavishly decorated with mosaic is definitely worth visiting.
Bab Bou Jeloud
The grand entrance to the medina, this beautiful ornate blue gate welcomes visitors to the old city or medina. The other side of this gate is green, the color of Islam and a reminder of the significance of the religion on the city and its culture.
This is one of those highly instagrammable streets. It’s a short distance from Bab Bou Jeloud and although I call it a street, it’s really a small alleyway that connects two streets. It can be easy to miss but not a must see so don’t worry if you do!
This was my number one bucket list for Fez and the one place I absolutely had to see. Chouara is one of the three main tanneries located in Fez and is the largest tannery in the city and one of the oldest. The colors in the tanning pits are truly amazing and mostly derived from natural ingredients! The area does smell a little as animal droppings are used to in the dying process but they do give you a sprig of mint to hold under your nose.
You can also buy genuine leather goods from here.
Explore the Medina
With a guide of course but as I said before, exploring the Medina really takes you back in time. You also get to see some of the craftsmen at work. It’s fun to just explore all the little alleyways as well as the bigger streets with all the shops and souks. As Fez is known for crafts, you will find a lot of opportunities to shop or buy souvenirs.
Take a quick gander at this travelers inn that is now a museum for wood crafting. You can see some of the intricate woodwork in the architecture.
University of al-Qarawiyyin and Mosque
This university was first founded in the 800s as a mosque. It was one of the leading spiritual and education centers in the Islamic world, until it was incorporated into the modern state university system in Morocco in 1963. You can’t really go inside the mosque but you can still admire the architecture just at the entrance and around the mosque. It’s truly stunning!
Visit a Madrasa
A madrasa is a religious school. There are 2 notable madrasas in Fez – Madrasa al-Attarine and Bou Inania Madrasa. You may have to pick one in the interest of time. But regardless of which one you pick, both are known for their beautifully decorated architecture with intricate carvings, colorful zellij tiles, calligraphy and stucco work.
Borj Sud (or Nord) Viewpoint
This is another location that you will need a taxi to get to but I think the view is worth it. From this view point, you can pretty much see the entire median and old town and it gives you perspective into how vast and how sprawling the city really is.
Where I Ate
Somewhere deep in the medina of Fez, lies Ryad Nejjarine. The restaurant serves traditional Moroccan cuisine in a Moroccan styled setting. The chicken tajine with preserved lemon dish was phenomenal!
Café’ Clock serves traditional as well as modern dishes like camel burgers.
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