There are few places as intense as Fez, Morocco. The medina of the city, the world’s largest pedestrian only urban area, is a chaotic mess. It takes a lot of nerve to not lose one’s nerve among the chaos, crowds, faux-guides, and pushy shop keepers. However, if you manage to look through the city with a positive energy and stay above the pressures you’ll find a wondrous place with a new adventure waiting around each and every corner. Fez can easily get the best of travellers, and many do fall victim to its challenges, but those who push through will find great rewards within the orange mud walls of this ancient city.
Time Needed: 2-3 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: $30-45
Things to do in Fez
- Get Lost in the Medina: It’s probably easier to get lost in the Medina than it is to find anything. I spent two days looking for the mosque that I was apparently doing circles around. That being said, toss the map away for a bit and just wander. If you ever get lost, you can always pay some local kid to help you find your way home.
- Plug your Nose at the Tanneries: The tanneries are a must see, but plug your nose because they don’t smell nice. The best way to see them is from a rooftop. Make sure to agree to a price before going up to a rooftop, or be prepared for a hassle leaving.
- Kairaouine Mosque: It’s a shame that us non-Muslims can only see this place from the outside because the interior of this ancient mosque looks fascinating. It’s almost enough to turn a man Muslim just to have a look.
- Visit the Jewish Quarter and National Palace: This part of town is much quieter but still very interesting. A good afternoon is a wander through here followed by late lunch at Cafe Clock and then a hike up to the next item on the list: a view over the city.
- Views Over Fez: If you leave the medina and head up hill behind the bus station you’ll be greeted by an incredible view of the medina. It’s amazing how peaceful the place looks from above. This is a great place to catch a sunset.
Where to Eat in Fez
- Cafe Clock: Ask around because it’s worth a visit, but a little hard to find. The staff is very friendly, the menu is nice and varied, and the roof top terrace setting is brilliant.
- Funky Fez: At the hostel, you can grab an assortment of meals for both lunch and dinner. Try the massive camel burgers!
Where to Stay in Fez
While in Fez I stayed in a place called “Funky Fes” which was really great. The address is 60 Arset Lamdelssi – Bab Jdid, but you’ll likely just have to tell a taxi to go to Arset Lamdelssi through Bab Jdid then to find the hammam. The best thing to do then is to pay a local boy a couple dirhams to take you there, it’s only a block walk into the medina. The rooms are good, staff is great, there is good wifi and there are meals available for lunch and dinner. There is also a very good rooftop terrace.
Getting Out of Town
Fez is connected along the main Moroccan train line meaning you can get to Tangier, Meknes, Rabat, Casablanca, and even as far as Marrakesh on the train. You can also catch the bus to closer destinations like Chefchaouen and Tetouan.
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