Our favorite place in Morocco was without a doubt the enchanting Fez. After arriving in this old town we immediately fell in love. It was as if we went back in time when entering the medina. With our backpacks still on our backs – on the way to our hotel – we walked past small sewing workshops, wood workshops, children playing, shops, leather workers and much more, while donkeys and wooden cars passed us by their cargo. We immediately lost our heart to this town that seemed to come from the magical Fata Morgana of the Dutch theme park Efteling. These are our tips to make your trip to Fez as unforgettable as ours was!
#1 The medina
Narrow streets with endless shops and sellers that does not seem to end. The medina of Fez is big. Very big. It is even said to be the largest car-free zone in the world. The biggest attraction of Fez is therefore not a museum or monument, but simply street life itself. Wander endlessly through the winding medina, leave the big and more touristy streets and just look around. You will not really get lost, as although the medina is large, you will eventually end up on a larger road or at one of the gates. Read our blog about how to survive the hustle and bustle of the Fez medina here!
#2 Spend the night in a riad
For the real thousand-and-one night atmosphere you have to book a stay at one of the many riads for the night. Typical for a riad is the beautiful inner garden around which the rooms are located. Add colourful mosaic and Moroccan lamps and you have a fairy-tale feeling that fits perfectly with the old medina.
#3 The tanneries
The tanneries are perhaps the most visited attraction in Fez. How you actually find them? Just look it up on an (online) map, so you know what direction to go. You won’t just bump into them, as they are surrounded by tall buildings, but it is not difficult to find them if you are close. The more often someone offers to bring you to the tanneries – for a high price of course – the closer you are. The moment you find yourself at a street full of leather shops, you are where you need to be.
The buildings surrounding the tanneries are mainly used as leather shops. The vendors will offer you their balcony or terrace to look down at the tanneries. For a payment, of course. Beware: the smell of the tanneries can be pretty intense. We were perfectly fine without it, but we advise you not to turn off the bunch of mint that you wil get offered to mask the smell. Keep it under your nose and your visit to the tanneries will be a lot more comfortable.
Tip: does the smell not scare you off and do you want to get even closer? If you walk past all the shops, you will eventually see a narrow alley down towards the tanneries themselves. In this alley you will always be approached in no time by someone who wants to guide you around for a small fee. Although we avoided the guides in Fez in all other places, this was the best way to see the working Moroccans and colorful baths!
#4 The Bou Inania University
As non-Muslims are not allowed in the mosques, it is not easy for tourists to admire the beautiful architecture of Morocco. The Bou Inania University near the Blue Gate is an exception. For a small price you can go in and you can marvel at all the beauty of the typical Maroccan architecture.
#5 The Blue Gate
You will enter the medina through one of the gates and chances are high this might be the most important and beautiful of them all: the Blue Gate. Two of the larger streets end/start here, so you will undoubtedly end up at this gate when wandering around town eventually. Do you enjoy the hustle at the gate? Then sit down on the roof terrace of restaurant Bounania for a great view on the Blue Gate. The fair prices on the menu may also tempt you to order a bite as well.
#6 Jardin Jnan sbil
Just outside the medina – at the Blue Gate – you will find this park. What an open space and peace compared to the medina streets, we love it! Walk around the orange trees and sit down on a bench at the water before returning to the medina.