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Travel and Leisure

Fez, the cultural city of Morocco, discover its attractions

If you have decided to visit Fez while Travelling In Morocco, you have to know that it is possibly the most chaotic city in all of Morocco. Fez is located between Tetouan and Meknés and is one of the so-called imperial cities of the country. In this city, we will find the largest Medina in the world, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and also with the largest pedestrian zone, so it is a city that deserves to be visited without a doubt.

VISIT FEZ, THE BEST OF THE IMPERIAL CITIES

Our arrival in Fez was a bit curious since, in a roundabout on the outskirts, a man on a motorcycle knocked on the window and asked us where we were going and began to guide us, with no option to choose, to get to the hotel we had booked, a hotel in the Medina of Fez called  Riad Kettani. The truth is that the traffic was horrible and we probably would have gotten lost before reaching the city.

After a bizarre story, we were guided to what was supposed to be the closest car park to the hotel. Our first impression was that we were in a war zone. It was getting dark and the area gave the impression of being in the worst place in all of Fez. The area was littered with debris, dirt, animal hair, half-built houses, and even a burned-out bus. We began to fear for our safety.

SAFETY IN FEZ: IS FEZ A DANGEROUS CITY?

The truth is that Fez is reputed to be the most dangerous city in all of Morocco, although like everywhere you have to use common sense and be careful where you go. We had read that it is not advisable to go out on the streets at nightfall and we attest that it is preferable to stay in the Riad (Hotels). The city has nothing to do with other cities that we have visited in Morocco.

Despite everything, a guide friend of the motorcyclist guided us on foot to the hotel. We left the rental car in that parking lot and left the suitcases to two boys who took them up in a car through the Medina with us until they reached the Riad, safe and sound, but not before discussing with the luggage carriers because they demanded more money. We did not have loose on top but you also have to be careful because they will always try to get more out of you.

HOTELS IN FEZ: RIAD KETTANI

If you are looking for hotels in Fez, the Riad Kettani is a beautiful hotel, with a fabulous internal courtyard. It is run by a French woman and the place is measured in detail. The truth is that the feeling once inside, with its large doors is that of being in an oasis within the chaotic city. When night falls you feel that you are in the only safe place that can exist and a kind of World War Z is happening outside. All the fruit of imagination, of course 🙂

THE MEDINA OF FEZ, THE LARGEST MEDINA IN THE WORLD

Do you like intrepid adventures with surprise endings? Well, deciding to walk without a guide through the Medina of Fez and believing that you can orient yourself will be your greatest adventure (and possibly your last). The Medina of Fez keeps under its high walls from the 8th century more than half a million inhabitants distributed in its 300 neighborhoods connected by 9,000 alleys, which will seem practically the same to you. We got lost a few times to go from the parking lot to the Riad, a distance of fewer than 5 minutes on foot but which can be distressing when one realizes that one has passed through the same place twice and is giving a kind of circle between alleys. And we had a map!

VISIT FEZ WITH A GUIDE

Without a doubt, the best thing is to visit the Medina of Fez with a guide.  It is recommended to ignore the false guides who try to sell you a tour of the Medina because, in the end, it can turn into eternal visits to the stalls, shops, and restaurants of your friends. It is advisable to hire an official guide from the hotel or even before arrival via email. Before the guide, you can always warn that you do not want to buy anything and a little leave your interests on the tour. Surely in the Riad where you are staying, they will have someone with your language and they will be able to organize a tour of the most emblematic places of this great city. We paid 160 dirhams for a guide who showed us all the incredible places that the great Medina of Fez hides.

LA MEDERSA ATTARINE

The Medina has several madrassas or Medersas, schools of religion around the Koran that have a unique architectural value. The Medersa Attarine or Al-Attarine Madrasa was one of the most important Koranic schools in Morocco located in Fez. This madrasa in Fez can be easily visited in small groups. It has a courtyard inside with a marble fountain in the center and is made up of cedarwood ornamentation, stucco, and mosaics with phrases from the Koran. A place made for study and prayer that will not leave you indifferent.

The University of Qarawiyyin or Al-Karaouine is the oldest university in the world and you will find it here in Fez.  Many times you will find it under the name of  Al Karaouine Mosque since it also houses a mosque, however,  non-Muslims are not allowed to enter either, so its beauty can only be seen from the outside.

CURTIDURÍA CHOUWARA: THE CURTIDORS 

If we pay a visit to Fez and don’t visit the  Chouwara tannery, then you haven’t seen Fez. There is nothing more obligatory than going up to a viewpoint of the tannery shops and with a mint branch in your nose (the smell is nauseating), enjoying the set of colors and tradition that is breathed in the environment (among other things that breathe). The image is amazing and the truth is that it is surprising how in the 21st century we can continue to enjoy images like these.

TALAA SGHIRA COMMERCIAL STREET

In Fez, you will find yourself many times walking through the shopping streets of the Medina full of stalls and shops of all kinds. Possibly they will take you to the Talaa Sghira shopping street, the so-called sister of Talaa Tabira street or possibly you will pass through these streets several times if you get lost as many times as we did 😀

BAB BOU JELOUD ARCH: MAIN DOOR OF THE MEDINA OF FEZ

Passing through the well-known Bab Bou Jeloud arch that leads to the Medina, we will find different market stalls, restaurants, and shops. Right in this area, we bought a kind of Moroccan pancake called M’semen for less than 1 dirham which, despite being bathed in oil, was quite good. As we had worked up our appetite we decided to sit in a nearby restaurant, which does not attract much attention and we did not expect much but in the end, it turned out to have a pretty good kitchen. The Berber omelet is recommended. Very good!

Looking for your Morocco tours to visit Fez?

If you are looking to travel to Morocco and visit Fez, you can book your Morocco tours from any meeting point. Even more, offered at very decent prices with local guides. Morocco is worth it and will amaze you!

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