Fes Travel Guide
In a nation with a wealth of fine cities, Fez is a place that exudes magic and magnificence, a city that stimulates your senses in a riot of sights, sounds and smells. This is in essence the real centre of Morocco, the oldest of its Imperial Capitals and the most complete medieval city in North Africa.
Life in Fez seems to exist suspended between the Middle Ages and the modern world. Behind the anonymous walls of Fes el Bali (Old Fes), lies an incredible tangle of alleys crammed with souks, workshops, mosques, medersas and extensive tanneries. This Medina City might be a vast museum but continues to be a living quarter, and but for the advent of mobile phones, electricity and tourists you would be forgiven for putting your watch back a thousand years.
If you are looking for that “authentic” Moroccan experience, then Fez with its unique sense of history and its insulation from the modern world could well be the answer.
Getting There: Flights to Fes
There are currently no direct flights to Fez from the UK, but a number of connecting flights through Casablanca are operated by Royal Air Maroc from London Heathrow. Further connecting options are available through France and Spain, which have a larger range of flights.
Check our flights to Fes guide for flights operated by low cost carriers from Spain and France.
Fes Sights and Activities
You want to spend most of your time exploring Fes el Bali (Old Fez), where most of the souks, mosques, medersas and other monuments are, combined with a mile-long network of souks. There are enough “sights” here to fill three days just trying to locate them!
The pinnacle of Medersas (Koranic Schools) is the Bou Inania, a 14th century Merenid structure with exquisite zellij or stucco you won’t see anywhere else in Morocco. Take a view from any vintage point of the Kairaouine Mosque – as non-Muslims are not allowed to enter – to get a glimpse of its seemingly endless columns. Head to Place es-Seffarine to see the city’s iconic Tanneries, fantastic ancient pits straight out of a gothic fairy tale.
With more than 9000 alleyways and dead ends, it would take a lifetime to unravel all Fez has to offer, but that’s part of the Medina’s charm. You never quite know what souk or monument lies just around the next corner!
Accommodation: Hotels and Riads in Fez
There are two main considerations when choosing accommodation in Fez: you can either go for the comfort and quiet of the Ville Nouvelle or immerse yourself in the chaos and colour of the Medina (Fez el Bali). Whichever your preference, you will find something for all budgets, from the simple youth hostel to the opulent traditional guesthouse.