10 unique things to do in Fes – Morocco

10 unique things to do in Fes, Morocco

 

The ancient city of Fes is a unique destination on its own.  You will be greeted by donkeys with carts in narrow winding alleyways, ancient traditions and a city smothered in character and culture.  It’s not only home to the largest Medina in the world, but also the oldest running university too.  If you are looking for an ancient, thriving Moroccan city that’s still steeped in tradition, I would choose Fes.

Often people tilt to either really loving Fes or really hating it, but it turned out to be my favourite city when I visited Morocco despite me having one unpleasant experience.  Whilst walking through the Medina a kid threw a rock at my eye, but luckily for me, I had sunglasses on so there were no injuries.  Little incidents like this shouldn’t put you off from visiting though.  I travelled as a solo female through Morocco and I’m going to be completely honest here, for me it was the hardest country to travel through as a solo woman, however, I had a fantastic time and met some beautiful kind people.  Now I know what to expect I would happily go back for another visit.  If you are going to travel through Morocco I would highly recommend reading my 6 tips for travelling as a solo female.  This article refers when travelling through India, but I would give all the same advice to someone travelling through Morocco too.  Here are 10 unique things to do in Fes – one of the most interesting cities in the world.

 

10 unique things to do in Fes - Morocco

  1. Visit the famous Tannery

Visiting the Tannery is one of the most popular things to see in Fes.  It’s listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This ancient process still runs today as they use natural dyes from flowers to dye the leather.  Beware, it is super pungent but usually, your guide will give you a bunch of fresh mint to stick under your nose to stop the smell making you want to projectile vomit everywhere.  You can visit on your own through one of the leather shops but just beware that the salesman will give you a tour and expect a little tip in return.  I did a walking tour (250RAD) with the uncle of the family I was staying with in Fes.  This way he came with me and made sure I didn’t get ripped off or made to feel uncomfortable.  You can book a tour with him by contacting juriste.nabil@gmail.com.

 

10 unique things to do in Fes - Morocco

  1. Walk through the largest Medina

As mentioned earlier, the Medina of Fes is the largest in the world.  I stayed in a homestay inside the Medina and this was a fantastic experience.  Being right amid the Medina was something special.  Winding alleyways filled with shop owners, animals, colourful materials and street food.  It was like a carnival for all my senses.  I would recommend spending the day getting lost in the Medina, exploring all that it has to offer.  If you can, find a vantage point at one of the cafes so you can get a real taste of how far the Medina stretches.

 

10 unique things to do in Fes , Morocco

  1. Blue gate

The Grande Porte Bab Boujloud (The Blue Gate) is the gateway into the Medina.  Its famous for its beautiful ornate blue mosaics and on the other side it is decorated green.  The blue side of the gate represents the colour of the city Fes.  The city of Fes is known for its pottery, which is beautifully decorated with intricate blue designs.  The green side of the gate, which faces the Medina is green to represent the colour of Islam.

 

10 unique things to do in Fes - Morocco

  1. Stay at Dar El Mathaf

My favourite experience of Fes was my accommodation run by a local friendly family.  I highly recommend staying here if you would like an authentic experience and an insight into daily life in Fes.  The family were like an open book, I asked many questions and now I consider them my family of Morocco.  One of the best parts was the breakfast which was laid out every morning.  Fresh mint tea, pastries and lots of other delicious goodies.  A big thank you to Nabil,

 

  1. Oldest university in the world – University Karueein

Fes is also famous for having the oldest university in the world, which was founded in 859 AD.  The University of Karueein is also a UNESCO site.  Again, the architecture and beautifully decorated facades will blow you away.  The university is still running today with students coming from Central Asia, West Africa and various parts of Morocco.  It is still very traditional as students gather in semi-circles around a Sheik (a leader in the Muslim community), and all students must have memorized the complete Quran.  This is one of the architectural highlights of Fes.

 

10 unique things to do in Fes - Morocco 10 unique things to do in Fes - Morocco

  1. Madrasa Bou Inania

If you are absolutely in love with all the buildings in Morocco, then this needs to be at the top of your list.  The Madrasa Bou Inania is a fine example of the intricate Moroccan architecture and design.  This is the only religious building that is still in use that non-Muslims are allowed to enter in the city of Fes, so it’s always a stopover for tourists.

 

10 unique things to do in Fes - Morocco

  1. Marvel at the beautiful hotel riads

The gorgeous riads in Morocco are one of the most popular reasons why tourists come here.  They are doused in detail, colours and beautifully complex designs that will leave you astounded.  I didn’t stay in a hotel that had a riad because they were too expensive to stay in, so instead, I visited some of the hotels during my time in Fes to admire them.

 

10 unique things to do in Fes - Morocco

  1. Bou Jeloud Gardens

If you want a break from the chaotic Medina, then make sure you come to the Bou Jeloud Gardens located just outside of the Medina.  It’s the perfect place to sit down, relax and collect your thoughts of Fes so far.

 

10 unique things to do in Fes - Morocco

  1. Merenid Tombs

Situated at the top of the hill overlooking Fes is the Merenid Tombs, which hold the remains of the Royals members dating back to the 13th century. Although the tombs are not that impressive due to poor care and looting, the view you are rewarded with is quite special.  You should definitely make a trip up here during sunset.

 

10 unique things to do in Fes - Morocco

  1. Do a day trip to Chefchaouen

You may have seen the blue city of Chefchaouen all over your Instagram and Facebook feed in the past year due to its increasing popularity.  I opted to do a day trip from Fes (3 and a half hour drive one way!).  Although the drive was long I managed to sleep most of the way there and back and spent a few good hours touring around the small city.  It sure is the prettiest city in Morocco by far, if you’re a lover of blue then this place is made for you.  With its increasing popularity tourism is by far the biggest business here along with marijuana.  You may see on your drive towards Chefchaouen fields and fields of marijuana.  This is totally normal and although it’s not legal, officials turn their back at that sort of thing.  I can highly recommend eating at Beldi Bab Ssour whilst in Chefchaouen.  The food is delicious, fresh and homemade.

 

Make sure you put Fes on your Moroccan bucket list.  Don’t forget to explore every inch of Fes and really enjoy the experience and chaos of this beautifully traditional city.

 

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10 unique things to do in Fes, Morocco

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10 Comments

  1. November 12, 2017 / 9:06 am

    Fes looks like the Morocco of my dreams. There are bright colorful buildings and a long Arabic tradition. This is really cool. I would absolutely love to go.

  2. November 12, 2017 / 3:00 pm

    This is the perfect timing for this post. I’m actually just about to book flights to meet up with friends who are about to start traveling through Morocco, we are planning on spending NYE in Marrakesh. I’m going to be there into the new year and want to explore a bit of Morocco so this post will come in very handy indeed. I would love to visit the Medina and the oldest university in the world. Do you have any posts on Marrakesh?

  3. November 12, 2017 / 5:11 pm

    We spent 3 weeks in Morocco a few years ago and Fes was one of the highlights of our trip. The hotel riads are out of this world, you could build an entire IG around them lol. We have to go back soon.

  4. November 13, 2017 / 1:24 am

    I was in Fes this past summer and apparently, I missed all of this lol. This is so beautiful. Now I need to make a return trip.

  5. November 13, 2017 / 5:34 am

    Nice post! I didn’t know that University Karueen is the oldest one in the world! My wife and I both love visiting universities, so we’d definitely go there when we travel to Fes. And the blue city of Chefchaouen is just WOW!

  6. November 13, 2017 / 3:30 pm

    Love your honesty! I love Morocco but as a female I didn’t safe at all times! I went to Chefchaouen this year and thought it was one of the most prettiest places I have been to, but I love blue! The city of Fes, looks very interesting, so I think I will have to go there next.

  7. November 13, 2017 / 4:48 pm

    I was aware of the tanneries but had no idea Fez has the largest in the world. This would be a great place to spend a few days and also visit Chefchaouen. Great information!

  8. November 14, 2017 / 12:28 pm

    Good for you for going solo! I’m not sure I could do it! I’ve had friends who visited and came back with great stories so its definitely a place I’d like to visit. Especially the Madrasa Bou Inania – the architecture looks amazing.

  9. November 14, 2017 / 9:38 pm

    From your post; i can say i would love visiting Fes as well as spending time here. Those intricate designs are worth praises and i loved the architecture too. Largest Medina in Fes is something new for us. Its always great to meet lovely people while travelling and you met them. Great pictures too.

  10. November 15, 2017 / 7:53 am

    Oh wow, the blue city of Chefchaouen would be my first stop. I love your shot of the goats walking around leisurely! How interesting to learn about the marijuana business. Would you recommend staying there or is doing a day trip from Fes enough? Morocco is on my list and you’ve just added one additional fascinating city!

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