Fez Guide – cultural & spiritual capital of Morocco

 

Why to travel to Fez?

Fes Morocco © Jürgen Reichenpfader

Fez el-Bali, this UNESCO world heritage city is the cultural hot spot of Morocco, a place to see and to feel the typical buzzing Moroccan life. The Medina (old town) of Fes is the largest and most vibrant in North Africa. 70.000 people are living in this car-free urban area and somehow it seems that time stopped there at one point. The opinions of this city are quite different – some of the tourist love it, some of them are feeling they have to run away. From our point of view, we had some of the most intense moments in Morocco, some cultural shocks inclusive, but that’s why we love to travel, isn’t it?

In this blog post we will show you the best sights of Fes and you will learn some hacks to make your stay in this city even more incredible!

The best sights of Fez

Getting started!

Fez-el-Bali is like a labyrinth, it’s easy to get lost. Some people fear that and don`t feel that comfortable walking alone. There are several guides offering there “service” on a budget price but the will bring you from one shop to another. Better you are look for a high-quality tour or walk by yourself.

Borj Sud – viewpoint

You want to see Morocco’s largest Medina from the top?  It is the best that you take a taxi and go to Borj Sud! It is a military monument and its terrace serves the best panoramic view of the whole Medina of Fez! You will get a first impression how huge the old town really is – it’s a real labyrinthine!

 

Bab Boujeloud – The Blue Gate

The Bab Boujeloud is the most popular gate of Fes and a wonderful first impression entering Fez-el-Bali. The gate is blue from outside, while coming from the inside it appears in green.

The Medina

What to do best inside the medina of Fes – of course getting lost 🙂 – Just enter one of the colorful gates and start your adventure. Stroll around the winding streets, explore the different souks and try out your bargain skills. The most sights of Fez are located inside of the Medina and incidentally you will pass them. In case you are lost, just ask inside a restaurant or a shop holder, Moroccans are very helpful and they will tell you the right direction.

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Zaouia Moulay Idriss II

University of Al-Karaouine

Tanneries of Fez

Visiting the famous leather tanneries of Fez was actually the main reason why we decided to go to Fez. Located inside of the Medina, the tanneries are the most iconic sight and also the smelliest experience. Interesting is that the procedure of making leather goes back to the 11th century and even today it doesn’t involve modern machinery.
The best views you will have from one of the several rooftops of the nearby leather shops. Up there you will see numerous stone vessels filled with white liquid and some with different colors. The white ones are filled with cow urine and pigeons feces and they smell very strong.
NOTE: The smell is really strong, prepare yourself and take some mint and a scarf with you. The entrance is usually for „free“ but if you would like to avoid getting pulled to buy something just give the vendor a tip (5 Euro) before you enter.

 

Chouara (Chaouwara) Tannery:

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Tannery Sidi Moussa:

Place Seffarine

The Place Seffarine is a lovely square where you will see the original boiler workers doing their job. If you hear the sound of the metal clanging you are at the right place. There are also plenty of small shops where you can buy their handcrafted works. It was really cool watching the men creating Moroccan art with this traditional techniques which haven´t changed since centuries.

Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts

The Fondouk el-Nejjarine or also known as the Wood Museum is a beautiful place for learning about the woodwork in Morocco. We really enjoyed this lovely and calm place! Also you should visit the terrace on the rooftop of the museum, from there you will have a great view.

Royal Palace

The Royal Place is not open for visitors, but you should not miss the opportunity to see the imposing colorful brass doors. The Royal Palace is outside of the medina, at the end of an 80 hectares of palace grounds. We recommend to take a taxi going there.

Where to stay in Fes

The Medina definitely has lots of beautiful raids to stay, you are going to find them in every price class – so you have a free choice!  Click here to check out some of the beautiful riads.
We had been traveling through Morocco by car, so we haven’t stayed inside of the medina. If you do the same, we can recommend a place with a safe parking spot: The Riad Passiflora


PlacesOfJuma – Insider Tips Fes city trip

  • Tanneries: The smell is really strong, prepare yourself and take some mint and a scarf with you. The entrance is usually for „free“ but if you would like to avoid getting pulled to buy something just give the vendor a tip (5 Euro) before you enter.
  • Parking: If you are traveling by car, it’s better to stay outside of the medina. We stay in the Riad Passiflora which has its owne safe parking spot. To go to the Medina just take a taxi.
  • Guided Tours: We preferred to explore Fez by our own. Lots of guides offers tours with budget prices (20 Euro) but they will bring you from one shop to another. If you don`t feel comfortable with walking by yourself, you should book a high quality tour.

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Read more about our latest Morocco Round Trip -> 3-Weeks Morocco self-drive round trip

Read more about our latest journey to Marrakesh -> Sightseeing Marrakesh & our top travel tips

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10 Comments

  1. Fez looks amazing! We’ve had Morocco on our list for the longest time. I have to make sure we visit the tannery. Thanks for the great post!

  2. I love towns that have a labyrinth feel! I enjoyed getting lost around Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. The tanneries are so picturesque, your photos are lovely. Have you ever watched the movie Kairo Time? The feel of this town reminded me of that movie.

  3. I would definitely need a tour guide. I can see myself wandering around and getting so lost. Everything is so colorful and beautiful that I would forget where I was 🙂

  4. The busy winding streets look a bit intimidating, but once you close in on the details it is utterly appealing. Your photos really seem to capture the essence, and I really want to be there and have that experience. The colors and patterns are so detailed and rich! Thank you for a great article!

  5. Your photos of Fez are fantastic. Morocco is high on our list of places we need to visit. I can only imagine the beauty in the wood carvings and the wonder in getting lost in the maze of streets. Even the tannery sounds like a must-see.

  6. The tanneries look wonderful, but I wonder how ecologic the whole thing is since you are pointing out a strong smell. Anyways, on the pictures it looks like a sculpture. I love North African architecture and culture so of course the Madrassa and the Palace would be just right for me. I’ve been to Morocco only once, but want to go back again for sure.

  7. I have been to Fez, and I have to say I thought it was chaotic and exotic. The smells of the tannery were hard to take, but the colors and activity was fascinating. We never quite got lost, but close. It’s one of those places, the souk, that everyone should experience at least once.

  8. Thank you for your advice to take a tour. I’d be lost inside Fez. I’d definitely want to spend some time at the Blue Gate and the Royal Palace. The tanneries look amazing, and I’m sure it would be fascinating to watch the leather-making process.

  9. I visited Fez over 20 years ago, and I totally loved it. We did many of the things you suggest. Such a fascinating city, and well worth visiting. Would love to go back.

  10. Oh wow what an incredible place to visit! Good idea about the views from Borj Sud – that would be incredible to see the city from that view. I love how traditional it is, and I can imagine it would be fascinating just simply to walk up and down through the streets and see what people are working and what they are selling. I love the doors too – they are so ornate and beautiful! Really hope to visit one day.

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