The city of Fez is a beautiful city that you can visit in one or two days. You won't run out of things to do in Fez, and it's definitely a must-stop if you're thinking of doing a Morocco itinerary.
In this post I talk about its essential places to visit in Fez, about some recommendations for tours and guided visits, what to do on the outskirts of Fez and some accommodation tips. You will also find a map at the end of the post with all the places on the list marked and some more, which will be useful for you to prepare your own itinerary.
10 + 1 ESSENTIAL THINGS TO DO IN FEZ, MOROCCO
Fez has many things to do and beautiful places to visit. Don't forget that the best way to get to know a city is to wander around! and without a doubt Fez is perfect for this. Thousands of corners where you can find precious details, markets, alleys, small restaurants, cafes...
The Boujloud Gate
The best possible entrance to the old medina of Fez is the Boujloud gate. It was restored in 1913. Although it is surrounded by two high walls, it never had any defensive function, it is only decorative. It has three arches and is decorated with blue tiles on one side representing the color of the city. On the other side they are green, the color of Islam. If you look at it from outside the medina you will see the silhouette of the minarets inside the main arch.
The jewish cemetery
The Jewish cemetery has hundreds of historic graves, including that of a 14-year-old girl who refused to convert to Islam and was murdered.
It is a somewhat unsafe area after dark, so avoid going in the afternoon.
The entrance to the cemetery also includes access to the museum about the Jewish community in Fez.
The Medina of Fez-el Bali (Talaa Kebira and Talaa Seguira)
In the old medina are most of the things to see in Fez. Walking aimlessly through its many souks is a great way to get to know the city. The streets are very narrow and not organized at all. It is difficult to orient yourself and surely many will come to you trying to guide you. We did it for free, but if I were to return to Fez, I would definitely consider visiting the Medina with a guide, because I am sure that I would miss beautiful places within the Medina.
I leave you two very good guided tour options, in case you are interested in seeing options with a guide:
Hold your breath at Chouwara Tannery
One of the essential visits to do in Fez is to see how the leather tanners work. The skins of various animals arrive there to be turned into bags, backpacks or slippers that are sold in the nearby souks.
The smell is horrible. But it is something that you must visit yes or yes.
First they pass the skins through a mixture of cow urine, pigeon droppings, salt and water to make them very soft. That liquid in the white part is what causes the bad smell of the tannery. Upon entering they will offer you a sprig of mint, it will be good for you to have something more pleasant to smell. After leaving the skin there for several days, they dye it with natural substances such as henna or saffron.
There are various terraces from which to watch the tanners in action. Each one corresponds to a store and, therefore, they will try to trap you in any way so that you enter and buy there. If you do not intend to buy, do not give them wings, they can become very heavy, to the point of not stopping following you. They usually pressure you to enter their stores and if you take the step from there you don't leave for a long time even if you want to.
The Bou Inania madrasa
This madrasa was built in the 14th century and was used as a Koran school and a mosque every Friday. At the end of the courtyard there is a prayer room, and it is one of the few religious buildings open to non-Muslims.
It is decorated with carved wood and stucco. It is the only madrasa in Fez that has a minaret, which is covered with green tiles.
Mulay Idris mausoleum
This monument is dedicated to Mulay Idriss. He was the king of Morocco during the 9th century and when he died he became the patron saint of the city and a very important saint throughout the country.
The mausoleum began to be built nine centuries later and stands out for its pyramidal dome that can be seen from any viewpoint in the city.
The oldest university in the world, converted into the Al Karaouine Mosque
It was put into operation as a madrasa to learn the Koran in the year 589.
It is located in the Medina and was converted into a mosque. Although only Muslims can enter, you can see its spectacular patio from the outside.
It is a beautiful building, in white and green roofs. It has many decorations in wood, marble and stucco.
The Andalusian Mosque
In the heart of Fes-el Bali you can find the neighborhood where immigrants from southern Spain lived. Nearly 10,000 families settled on the river bank during the 9th century. There is the entrance to the Mosque of the Andalusians. It is worth coming here to see it!
Very close to the main entrance gate to the medina is the Glaoui Palace. Although it is not very well preserved, you can get an idea of the luxury of the time.
During the visit you will be able to see the various rooms, decorated with precious tiles and classical and Islamic-style furniture.
El Mokri Palace
It is a privately managed former palace. It was built in 1906 for the vizier of Casablanca. The rooms serve as Riad. So if you want to sleep in a real palace you can do it here. (Although I'll tell you more about accommodation in Riads later).
Visit Meknes, Volubilis and Mulay Idrís in one day
Just one hour from Fez there is one of the most authentic cities in Morocco. Meknes is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco and has several monuments worth seeing.
A few kilometers from Meknes are the Roman ruins of Volubilis. And don't forget to add to your tour the holy city of Moulay Idriss, where until recently tourists were not allowed to enter. We recommend you go up its steep streets to the viewpoint, its little houses from above are beautiful.
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I hope you really enjoy your trip to Fez and that this article has been useful to you. You can continue reading many more related articles on the blog.
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A hug and see you soon!