Fez has the most impressive and largest medina of Morocco. The streets are narrow and full of shops and street vendors. The crowds and size of the medina can be overwhelming, but with these tips you will not only survive the medina, but also experience Fez as one of the highlights of your Morocco trip.
The streets of the medina are narrow and winding, often lead nowhere and are super crowded. It is therefore not easy to orient yourself and online maps do not know how to handle all these tiny streets. Our tip: surrender to it and get lost! The medina of Fez is best experienced when you wander through it without a plan or purpose. Turn into small streets and just see where you end up. You will eventually return to one of the busier streets again anyone. Then, just to turn into a small side street and go through it all again.
This is how to orientate yourself
Do you want to find the way and do not get lost? Remember that the medina has the shape of a bowl. Is the road slightly uphill? Then you are walking on a road towards the edge of the medina and you will go to one of the gates. You can also minimize the chance of getting lost by staying on the main roads. They are more touristy, but usually lead you straight through the medina from one side to the other.
The road is not closed
Do not take any advices, as you will be saddled with a guide in no time. If you think someone is ‘just pointing the way’, think again. A clever remark to help tourists to an unwanted guide is the warning ‘the road is closed’, after which the person in question will guide you a little further. And ask for a payment. The road is rarely actually closed. It was called to us several times a day and we only once or twice walked into a dead end street. So ignore all so-called guides with their advice and go with your guts instead.
The medina streets are so narrow that you will not get much daylight. The moment the crowded streets gets a bit too overwhelming, it’s time to walk to the Blue Gate and leave the medina for the Jardin Jnan sbil. What an open space and peace compared to the medina streets, amazing! Walk around the orange trees and sit down on a bench at the water before returning to the medina.
Look subtle on your phone or map
As I wrote: surrender to the medina and get lost! But if you want to be able to find your riad or hotel, I understand that it might be useful to acutally know where you are going. If you want to use an offline of online map, make sure you do it subtly! You really do not want the so-called guides who are hanging around like vultures, to show up the moment you look on your map. They are difficult to get rid and ask for hefty payments.
Ask the way to sellers, not to people on the street
Do you want to ask someone the way? Ask the sellers! The people on the street will almost all turn out to be unwanted guides in no time, but the vendors will of course not leave their shop to guide you around for a fee. So ask your sellers questions. They will undoubtedly help you on your way.
In a city where the buildings are as close to each other as in the medina, the roof is naturally the only place to get your daily dose of daylight and fresh air. This does not only apply to the lucky home owners with a roof terrace, you too can go up the roofs of some of the restaurants with a roof terrace to take a breath of fresh air. Bonus: this is also an excellent way to view the medina from a different angle and enjoy a view from the top. Our favorites were the hip Café Clock and a bit further the restaurant Bounania. The second has a view on the Blue Gate!