Fes Morocco

17th April 2024

15 Unforgettable Experiences: Things to Do in Fes (2023)

Are you looking for the best things to do in Fes? If so, we’ve got you covered in this blog post. 

From our past experience of leading group trips here, we’ve discovered the hidden gems and local favorites that will make your visit truly unforgettable. 

Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, indulge in delicious cuisine, explore historical sites, and wander through the enchanting streets of the ancient medina. 

Join us as we unveil the top experiences that will make your trip to Fes an extraordinary journey. So, let’s dive in and discover the wonders of this fascinating Moroccan city together.

5 Interesting Facts about Fes

  1. Fes is one of the oldest imperial cities in Morocco, known for its well-preserved historic medina.
  2. The city is famous for its traditional craftsmanship, including intricate pottery, leatherwork, and carpet weaving.
  3. Fes is home to the University of Al Quaraouiyine, the world’s oldest continuously operating university.
  4. The medina of Fes is a UNESCO World Heritage site and offers a maze of narrow streets and bustling markets.
  5. Fes hosts the annual Fes Festival of World Sacred Music, attracting renowned musicians and artists from around the world.

Best Things to Do in Fes

1. Sleep amid Historic Finery in a Riad Hotel

Riad Hotel

Immerse yourself in the rich history and enchanting atmosphere of Fes by staying in a traditional riad hotel.

These beautifully restored historic houses feature intricate architecture, ornate courtyards, and elegant rooms adorned with traditional Moroccan décor. Each riad offers a unique experience, allowing you to sleep amid the finery of the past while enjoying modern comforts.

Wake up to the soothing sounds of a fountain, savor a delicious breakfast on the rooftop terrace, and feel the authenticity of Fes come alive within the walls of your riad hotel.

2. Get Lost amid the Alleys of Fes el Bali

Alleys of Fes el Bali morocco

Embark on a mesmerizing journey through the ancient heart of Fes in the UNESCO-listed medina of Fes el Bali. Lose yourself in its labyrinthine alleys, where every turn reveals a new treasure.

Experience the vibrant atmosphere as locals go about their daily lives, and discover a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, and scents. Explore the bustling souks, where artisans craft intricate goods, from colorful ceramics to luxurious carpets.

Encounter historic landmarks, hidden mosques, and charming riads tucked away in quiet corners. Getting lost in the alleys of Fes el Bali is a true adventure that offers a glimpse into the soul of this captivating city.

3. Admire the Medersa Bou Inania

Medersa Bou Inania morocco

Step into the world of Islamic art and architecture at the Medersa Bou Inania. This stunning madrasa, or religious school, is a masterpiece of Moroccan craftsmanship.

Marvel at the intricate details of the carved cedar wood, the vibrant tile work, and the elegant calligraphy that adorns the walls. Admire the serene courtyard with its central fountain and take in the peaceful ambiance that permeates this sacred place.

The Medersa Bou Inania offers a captivating glimpse into the artistic and intellectual legacy of Fes, allowing visitors to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of Moroccan architecture.

4. Shop in the Medina Souqs

Medina Souks Morocco

Indulge your senses in the vibrant Medina souqs of Fes, where a world of treasures awaits. Explore the bustling markets filled with colorful stalls, offering a wide range of goods, from spices and herbs to leather goods, traditional clothing, and Moroccan handicrafts.

Engage in the art of haggling and immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere as shopkeepers showcase their wares. Discover unique souvenirs to take home, and engage in cultural exchange with friendly locals.

The Medina souqs are a shopper’s paradise and a window into the vibrant trade and craftsmanship that has thrived in Fes for centuries.

5. Climb to the Rooftop of the Medersa el-Attarine

Medersa el-Attarine Morocco

Experience a breathtaking view of Fes from the rooftop of the Medersa el-Attarine. This 14th-century madrasa boasts an exquisite courtyard adorned with colorful zellij tilework and intricately carved plasterwork.

Ascend to the rooftop terrace and be rewarded with a panoramic vista of the medina and its labyrinthine alleys. Take in the mesmerizing sight of the ancient cityscape, with its mosaic of rooftops, minarets, and bustling activity below.

It’s an ideal spot to capture stunning photographs, soak in the atmosphere, and appreciate the timeless beauty of Fes from a unique perspective.

6. Photograph the Famed Fes Tanneries

fes tanneries morocco

The Fes Tanneries are an iconic sight in the city, known for their vibrant colors and traditional tanning methods that have been passed down for centuries.

As you visit the tanneries, you’ll witness a fascinating process where hides are treated and dyed in large stone vats. The tanneries are best viewed from the surrounding rooftops, providing a panoramic perspective of the workers toiling away.

Be prepared for the pungent odor, but the unique photo opportunities make it worthwhile to capture the vivid tapestry of colors spread across the tannery.

7. Explore the Mellah District

Mellah District morocco

The Mellah District in Fes is the historic Jewish quarter, offering a glimpse into the city’s multicultural heritage. Wander through the narrow alleys and discover the beautifully preserved Jewish architecture, including synagogues and traditional houses.

Explore the Jewish Cemetery, which dates back to the 17th century and reflects the community’s rich history. Along the way, you’ll find shops selling handicrafts, traditional Jewish artifacts, and delicious kosher food.

The Mellah District is a testament to the diverse and harmonious coexistence of different religious and cultural communities in Fes.

8. Take in the Views from the Borj Nord and Merenid Tombs

Borj Nord and Marinid Tombs morocco

For breathtaking panoramic views of Fes, head to the Borj Nord fortress and the nearby Merenid Tombs.

From the top of Borj Nord, you can gaze out over the sprawling cityscape, the labyrinthine streets of the medina, and the minarets of the mosques. The Merenid Tombs, located just a short distance away, offer a serene setting with ancient ruins and a vantage point to admire the city from a different angle.

Both locations are especially captivating at sunset when the warm hues of the sky enhance the beauty of Fes.

9. View the Qaraouiyine Mosque’s Exterior

Quaraouiyine Mosque Exterior morocco

The Qaraouiyine Mosque is a significant religious and architectural landmark in Fes. While non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the mosque, you can still appreciate its grandeur by viewing its exterior.

Marvel at the intricate carvings, beautiful tile work, and impressive minaret that dominate the skyline. The mosque holds a special place in history as one of the oldest universities in the world and a center of Islamic learning.

Take a moment to admire the mosque’s architectural splendor and appreciate its importance in the cultural and religious fabric of Fes.

10. Admire the Royal Palace’s Gate in Fes el Jedid

Royal Palace Gate in Fes el Jdid Morocco

In the district of Fes el Jedid, you’ll find the grand entrance to the Royal Palace. While the palace itself is not open to the public, you can still admire the ornate and intricately designed gate.

The massive brass doors are adorned with intricate patterns and motifs, showcasing the craftsmanship of Moroccan artisans. The gate stands as a symbol of royalty and offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the palace beyond.

Stop by to capture photos of the impressive gate and appreciate the regal ambiance of Fes el Jedid.

11. Visit the Batha Museum

Batha Museum Morocco

The Batha Museum is a must-visit attraction in Fes that showcases the rich cultural heritage of Morocco.

Housed in a former palace, the museum exhibits a remarkable collection of traditional Moroccan arts and crafts, including ceramics, textiles, and woodwork.

As you wander through the museum’s rooms and courtyards, you’ll be immersed in the intricate designs and vibrant colors that represent the country’s artistic traditions.

The Batha Museum provides a captivating insight into the history and craftsmanship of Fes, making it an ideal destination for art enthusiasts and cultural explorers.

12. Check Out the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Crafts

Nejjarine Museum  Morocco

Located in a beautifully restored caravanserai, the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Crafts celebrates the exquisite woodworking craftsmanship of Fes.

The museum showcases a stunning collection of traditional Moroccan wooden artifacts, including intricate carvings, furniture, and musical instruments. As you explore the museum’s three floors, you’ll be amazed by the skill and artistry displayed in every piece.

The rooftop terrace offers panoramic views of the medina, providing a serene setting to appreciate the beauty of Fes. A visit to the Nejjarine Museum is a journey into the heart of Moroccan woodworking traditions and a unique opportunity to admire the city’s craftsmanship.

13. Take a Time-Out from the Hustle amid Bou Jeloud Gardens

bou jeloud gardens

Bou Jeloud Gardens, also known as Jnan Sbil, offer a tranquil oasis in the heart of the bustling medina. This lush green space is a haven of peace, perfect for a leisurely stroll or a moment of relaxation.

The gardens feature beautifully manicured lawns, colorful flowerbeds, and ancient trees that provide shade from the Moroccan sun. Take a seat on one of the benches or find a spot by the fountain, and let the peaceful ambiance rejuvenate your senses.

Bou Jeloud Gardens offer a refreshing break from the city’s vibrant energy, allowing you to recharge and appreciate the natural beauty that Fes has to offer.

14. Visit the Imperial City of Meknes

Imperial City of Meknes Morocco

A short distance from Fes lies the imperial city of Meknes, a UNESCO World Heritage site and a treasure trove of history. Known as the “Versailles of Morocco,” Meknes boasts impressive architectural wonders, including grand palaces, majestic gates, and monumental mosques.

Explore the intricate mosaics and ornate decorations of the Moulay Ismail Mausoleum, or wander through the bustling Medina of Meknes, which offers a vibrant atmosphere and a chance to immerse yourself in local culture.

The imperial city of Meknes is a captivating destination that transports you back in time, offering a glimpse into Morocco’s royal past and architectural splendor.

15. Day Trip to Taza & Tazzeka National Park

Taza & Tazzeka National Park Morocco

Embark on a day trip from Fes to the charming city of Taza and the nearby Tazzeka National Park. Taza is known for its picturesque setting, with its old medina nestled amid rolling hills and lush valleys.

Explore the narrow streets, visit the historic sites, and savor the local cuisine. Just outside the city, Tazzeka National Park awaits with its stunning natural landscapes, including cascading waterfalls, dense forests, and hiking trails.

Enjoy a refreshing hike, immerse yourself in nature, and marvel at the breathtaking scenery. A day trip to Taza and Tazzeka National Park is an opportunity to experience the beauty of Morocco’s countryside and indulge in outdoor adventures.

Best Time to Visit Fes

The best time to visit Fes is during the spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) seasons. These months offer pleasant temperatures, with average highs ranging from 20 to 25 degrees Celsius (68 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit). 

The weather is generally mild, making it ideal for exploring the city’s historical sites, wandering through the medina, and enjoying outdoor activities.

Additionally, visiting during these seasons allows you to avoid the peak tourist crowds and the intense heat of summer. However, Fes can still be visited and enjoyed throughout the year, with each season offering its own unique charm and experiences.

How to Reach Fes

1. By Road

Fes is well-connected to other cities in Morocco by a network of roads and highways. You can reach Fes by taking a taxi, private car, or bus. Several bus companies operate routes to Fes from major cities like Casablanca, Marrakech, and Rabat. The journey by road offers scenic views of the Moroccan landscape and allows for flexibility in travel schedules.

2. By Train

Fes is served by a reliable train network, making it convenient to travel to the city from various destinations in Morocco. The ONCF (Moroccan National Railways) operates regular train services to Fes from cities like Casablanca, Marrakech, Tangier, and Rabat. Train travel provides comfort and the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful countryside during the journey.

3. By Air

Fes is home to the Fes-Saïss Airport (FEZ), which offers domestic and international flights. Several airlines provide connections to Fes from major cities such as Casablanca, Marrakech, Barcelona, Paris, and Istanbul. Upon arrival, you can easily reach the city center by taxi or shuttle services available at the airport.

Where to Stay

  1. Riad Fes: Located in the heart of the medina, Riad Fes is a luxurious and enchanting accommodation option. This traditional Moroccan riad boasts exquisite architecture, elegant rooms, and a serene courtyard where guests can relax. The riad offers impeccable service, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, and a restaurant serving delectable Moroccan cuisine.
  2. Palais Amani: Palais Amani is a magnificent boutique hotel that combines Moroccan elegance with modern comfort. Situated within a restored 17th-century palace, the hotel features beautifully appointed rooms, a tranquil courtyard, and a rooftop terrace offering sweeping views of Fes. Guests can indulge in the spa, savor gourmet meals, and partake in cooking classes and cultural experiences.
  3. Dar Roumana: Nestled in the ancient medina, Dar Roumana is a charming riad that offers a peaceful and authentic stay. The riad features tastefully decorated rooms, a rooftop terrace with breathtaking views, and a restaurant serving Moroccan and international dishes. With its warm hospitality and serene ambiance, Dar Roumana provides a memorable retreat in the heart of Fes.

Where to Eat

  1. Café Clock: Located in the heart of the medina, Café Clock offers a unique dining experience with a blend of Moroccan and international flavors. Known for its camel burgers and famous chocolate beetroot cake, the café also hosts cultural events and workshops, making it a vibrant hub for food and culture enthusiasts in Fes.
  2. Restaurant Nur: Situated in a beautifully restored riad, Restaurant Nur delights visitors with its traditional Moroccan cuisine and elegant ambiance. The menu features a variety of flavorful tagines, couscous, and grilled meats, all prepared with fresh, local ingredients. With its attentive service and charming courtyard setting, Restaurant Nur provides an exquisite dining experience in Fes.
  3. Ruined Garden: Tucked away in the medina’s labyrinthine streets, Ruined Garden offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. This hidden gem features a serene garden setting, where guests can enjoy a delightful fusion of Moroccan and Mediterranean dishes. With its relaxed atmosphere and organic ingredients sourced from their own farm, Ruined Garden promises a memorable dining experience in Fes.

Travel Tips & Suggestions

  1. Explore the Medina with a Guide: The medina of Fes can be maze-like, so hiring a knowledgeable guide will help you navigate the narrow streets and discover hidden gems.
  2. Dress Modestly: Fes is a conservative city, so it’s respectful to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites and entering the medina.
  3. Haggle in the Souks: Bargaining is a common practice in Fes’s vibrant souks, so don’t be afraid to negotiate prices to get the best deals on handicrafts, spices, and textiles.
  4. Try Local Cuisine: Indulge in Fes’s culinary delights, such as the famous Moroccan tagines, pastilla, and traditional sweets like msemen and chebakia.
  5. Visit the Tanneries: Don’t miss the iconic tanneries of Fes, where leather is dyed using traditional methods. Be prepared for strong odors and consider taking a sprig of mint to mask the smell.

Conclusion – Things to Do in Fes

In conclusion, Fes is a captivating destination that seamlessly blends history, culture, and vibrant experiences. From exploring the enchanting alleys of Fes el Bali to admiring the architectural splendor of Medersa Bou Inania, every moment in Fes is filled with wonder.

Don’t miss the chance to visit the neighboring imperial city of Meknes or immerse yourself in the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. Plan your visit during the pleasant spring or autumn seasons and explore this Moroccan gem at your own pace.

Fes welcomes you with open arms, promising an extraordinary journey that will leave a lasting impression. So pack your bags, follow the scent of spices and adventure, and let Fes weave its magic around you.

FAQs – Things to Do in Fes

What are the best things to do in Fes?

In Fes, you can explore various sites. You can visit the iconic Medersa Bou Inania, and immerse yourself in the bustling medina souqs. Don’t miss the vibrant Fes tanneries or the peaceful Bou Jeloud Gardens. You can also venture to the neighboring imperial city of Meknes or experience the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. Fes offers something for history enthusiasts, food lovers, and art aficionados alike.

When is the best time to visit Fes?

The best time to visit Fes is during the pleasant spring (April to May) and autumn (September to October) seasons. The weather is mild, perfect for exploring historical sites and wandering through the medina. These months also help you avoid the peak tourist crowds and the intense summer heat. However, Fes can be enjoyed throughout the year, with each season offering its own unique charm and experiences.

How can I reach Fes?

You can reach Fes by road, train, or air. Fes is well-connected by a network of roads and highways, allowing you to travel by taxi, private car, or bus. The city is also served by a reliable train network operated by the ONCF, offering connections from major Moroccan cities. Fes-Saïss Airport (FEZ) provides domestic and international flights, with several airlines offering connections to and from various destinations.

What are some must-visit attractions in Fes?

Some must-visit attractions in Fes include the enchanting alleys of Fes el Bali, the architectural splendor of Medersa Bou Inania, and the bustling medina souqs. The Fes tanneries are famous for their age-old craftsmanship, while the Bou Jeloud Gardens offer a peaceful oasis. Consider exploring the neighboring imperial city of Meknes and experiencing the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music for a well-rounded Fes experience.

Is Fes suitable for solo travelers?

Absolutely! Fes is a great destination for solo travelers. The city is relatively safe and offers a wide range of activities and attractions to explore on your own. From wandering through the medina to savoring the local cuisine, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in Fes’s rich culture and history. Joining guided tours or group activities can also be a fantastic way to meet fellow travelers and enhance your experience.

Are there any day trips from Fes worth taking?

Yes, there are several day trips from Fes worth considering. Meknes, a neighboring imperial city, offers grand architecture and a vibrant medina. Taza and Tazzeka National Park allow you to escape into natural beauty with breathtaking landscapes and waterfalls. Additionally, Sefrou, a picturesque town near Fes, showcases unique Moroccan and Andalusian influences. These day trips offer a chance to explore beyond Fes and discover the diversity of the surrounding region.

Can I find accommodations in traditional Moroccan riads?

Fes is known for its beautifully restored traditional Moroccan houses called riads, which now serve as accommodations. Staying in a riad hotel allows you to experience the city’s rich architectural heritage, with intricate tilework, ornate carvings, and serene inner courtyards. Many riads offer luxurious amenities and an authentic atmosphere, providing a memorable and immersive stay in Fes.
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