Fez Travel Guide
Introduction to Fez
Serving as the capital of Morocco before it was moved to Rabat in 1912, the gorgeous city of Fez retains many of the cultural attributes it attained while it was the political centre of the country. Home to laneways too narrow to allow vehicular traffic, Fez is built for pedestrians.
With many secrets contained within its maze-like streets, be sure to take your time exploring if you have room in your travel schedule.
Cultural Attractions in Fez
Spend your first full day exploring the Medina of Fez. The largest medina in the world, the old town of Fez contains many surprises, like one of the oldest universities in the world, hectic markets, and scores of Moorish buildings dating back to the 13th century. Here, you’ll find locals shopping for their dinner alongside tourists soaking up the rough and raw nature of this corner of Morocco.
Despite the fact that there are parts of Fez which are very much in the 21st century, the shops, souks, and structures within the walls of the medina have largely been kept the way they have been for centuries. This lends this destination a sort of cultural credibility which is becoming increasingly rare in the world.
After dedicating an entire day to soaking up the atmosphere of the medina, make Bou Inania Madrasa your next stop. A centre of Islamic education built in the 14th century, it is widely lauded as one of the best examples of Marinid architecture.
Additionally, it boasts a minaret in its inner sanctum, making it the only madrasa in Fez to boast such a feature. The design elements and architecture within are the chief draw, as the mesmerizing geometric patterns on its tiles and the arches in this complex make this place a photographer’s dream.
Looking for a historical attraction in Fez that is also the perfect site for panoramic photography? Head out of town for the Marinid Tombs, which sits on a hill overlooking the Medina of Fez. Once containing the graves of royalty and other nobles dating back to the Marinid dynasty, they are presently in an advanced state of ruin, with sheep grazing amidst crumbling brick walls.
Come around golden hour, as you’ll get excellent light for photographing both the tombs and the Medina of Fez below.
Other Attractions in Fez
Of all the neighbourhoods in Fez, Fes el-Bali is easily the most compelling. Located within the medina, this ancient part of town is home to the famous leather dying pits that appear at the top of image searches for the city of Fez.
Containing streets that are far too narrow for vehicle traffic, this section of town is the largest car-free urban area in the world, making it a relaxing place for visitors to explore. With over 9,400 pathways, have fun getting lost, but be sure to bring along a map or a fully-charged smartphone in case you really lose your bearings.
Retaining many of the characteristics that were present back in the medieval era, it has garnered a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation, so take your time exploring.
If the dusty streets of Fez have started to take their toll on you, drop by Jardin Jnan Sbil. Located just outside the medina, it is easy to reach when you are on the brink of losing your sanity. Containing pathways lined with immaculately trimmed hedges, flower beds with colourful flora, and plenty of shady palms, it is a wonderful place to enjoy a relaxing lunch.
While much of the city of Fez can be considered an open-air museum, those looking for an interesting break from the usual will want to take an hour to discover the Nejjarine Museum of Wood Arts and Crafts.
A former fondouq which gave traveling merchants a place to hang their hat, its fantastic wooden interior will make it clear to you Moroccans have a gift for crafting buildings. Its collection shows off various musical instruments, woodcarving tools, and prayer beads, but refrain from taking pictures, as this practice is prohibited.
However, a rooftop cafe will give you the perfect place to enjoy tea/coffee while enjoying some of the best views available in Fez.