The Best Things to Do and See in Fes

Nestled in the heart of Morocco, the city of Fes, often spelled Fez, is a captivating destination that offers a harmonious blend of tradition and modernity. Fes is renowned for its ancient medina, historic monuments, and rich cultural heritage. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the best things to do and see in Fes, providing you with a detailed itinerary for an unforgettable visit.

Explore the Ancient Medina of Fes

The heart and soul of Fes lies within its historic medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site. As you step into this labyrinthine world, you’ll find yourself transported back in time. The medina is a tapestry of narrow winding alleys, bustling markets, and architectural wonders. It’s a place where artisans meticulously craft goods using centuries-old techniques.

Venturing deeper into the medina reveals a captivating blend of sights, sounds, and scents. You’ll stumble upon hidden riads adorned with intricate tilework and lush gardens, offering a serene oasis amidst the bustling streets. These traditional Moroccan houses often conceal their beauty behind unassuming facades, inviting you to explore their inner sanctums. As you navigate the alleys, the call to prayer resonates from historic mosques, infusing the air with spiritual resonance. It’s a place where local craftsmen, known as “maalems,” carry on ancient traditions, from woodworking and metalwork to tile-making and leathercraft. These artisans welcome visitors into their workshops, providing a firsthand look at their meticulous craftsmanship.

Beyond the medina’s historic architecture and artisanal treasures, the souks beckon with a kaleidoscope of colors and scents. The vibrant markets offer a treasure trove of Moroccan goods, from aromatic spices and handwoven textiles to exquisite jewelry and leather products. Navigating this sensory feast, you’ll have the chance to engage in the age-old practice of bargaining, honing your negotiation skills while securing unique souvenirs.

With each step through the medina’s winding passageways, you’ll discover layers of history, culture, and craftsmanship that make Fes’s ancient medina an extraordinary journey through Morocco’s living heritage.

Visit the Royal Palace (Dar el-Makhzen)

While you can’t enter the Royal Palace itself, the grandeur of its architecture and the impressive golden doors make it a must-visit attraction in Fes. The palace showcases Morocco’s rich royal heritage and offers an excellent opportunity for photography. Nearby, the Jewish Quarter (Mellah) provides insights into Fes’s diverse cultural tapestry.

Exploring the vicinity of the Royal Palace adds layers to your understanding of Fes’s cultural mosaic. While the palace’s ornate gates and facades are a testament to Morocco’s royal history, the surrounding area reveals even more treasures. Stroll through the nearby Jewish Quarter (Mellah), which serves as a living testament to the city’s diverse heritage. Here, you’ll encounter historic synagogues, traditional shops, and a unique blend of architectural styles. The juxtaposition of the Royal Palace’s opulence with the Mellah’s understated charm showcases the rich tapestry of Fes’s cultural influences and historical significance. It’s an opportunity to witness the harmonious coexistence of different communities within the city’s vibrant landscape.

Admire the Bou Inania Medersa

The Bou Inania Medersa is a masterpiece of Islamic architecture. This 14th-century theological college boasts stunning tilework, intricate stucco carvings, and serene courtyards. As you explore its corridors, you’ll be immersed in a world where art and spirituality harmonize.

Stepping into the Bou Inania Medersa is like entering a realm where time stands still, and the beauty of Islamic artistry takes center stage. This architectural gem, with its intricate tilework adorned with vibrant colors and geometric patterns, tells the story of centuries-old craftsmanship. The stucco carvings that grace its walls and archways are nothing short of awe-inspiring, showcasing the incredible attention to detail of the artisans who crafted them. As you wander through its hallowed halls, you’ll find yourself in a tranquil oasis where the aesthetics of Islamic art and the contemplative atmosphere of a theological college come together seamlessly. The Bou Inania Medersa invites you to not only admire its physical beauty but also to reflect on the spiritual and artistic significance it holds within the cultural tapestry of Fes.

Experience the Spiritual Al-Attarine Madrasa

The Al-Attarine Madrasa, dating back to the 14th century, stands as a profound testament to Fes’s rich architectural heritage. As you step into this sacred place of learning, you’ll be immediately struck by the breathtaking intricacy of its zellige tilework, a mesmerizing mosaic of colorful geometric patterns that adorns the walls and floors. Each tile, meticulously handcrafted by skilled artisans, tells a story of artistic dedication and cultural significance. The stucco decorations that grace the Madrasa’s interiors are equally awe-inspiring, with their delicate filigree designs and ornate calligraphy, providing a glimpse into the artistic brilliance of the era. It’s not merely an architectural gem but a spiritual sanctuary, offering visitors a serene oasis for reflection and introspection. The tranquil courtyards, adorned with bubbling fountains and fragrant gardens, invite you to pause and absorb the profound sense of peace that envelops this remarkable place. Al-Attarine Madrasa is a living testament to the harmonious blend of art, spirituality, and history, making it an essential stop on your journey through Fes’s cultural treasures.

Marvel at the Iconic Bab Bou Jeloud Gate

Bab Bou Jeloud, often referred to as the Blue Gate, is an enduring emblem of Fes’s rich cultural heritage and history. This architectural marvel stands as a testament to Moroccan craftsmanship and design, boasting brilliant blue and green ceramic tiles that create an enchanting visual spectacle. As you approach this iconic gateway, the intricate geometric patterns and vibrant hues transport you to a world where art and architecture converge. Stepping through Bab Bou Jeloud is like crossing a threshold into the pulsating heart of Fes’s medina, where centuries of history and culture converge. It marks the beginning of a captivating journey through narrow alleys, bustling markets, and architectural wonders, inviting you to explore the vibrant tapestry of this remarkable city.

Discover the Serenity of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun

The Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss, located in the town of Moulay Idriss Zerhoun, Morocco, holds immense historical and religious significance. Named after Moulay Idriss I, the founder of the Idrisid dynasty and a revered Moroccan saint, this mausoleum is a magnificent example of Moroccan Islamic architecture, featuring intricate tile work and carved woodwork. Its annual festival, the “Moussem of Moulay Idriss,” draws pilgrims from across Morocco who come to offer prayers and seek blessings. While non-Muslims are typically not allowed inside the mausoleum, they can explore the surrounding area and appreciate its cultural and historical importance. This site serves as a reminder of Morocco’s early Islamic history, adding depth to the country’s rich heritage and traditions.

Savor the Flavors of Moroccan Cuisine

Savoring the flavors of Moroccan cuisine in Fes is a culinary adventure that should not be missed. Fes offers a diverse and rich palette of traditional dishes, each a unique sensory experience. Delight in the slow-cooked goodness of tagine, where aromatic spices infuse tender meats and vegetables. Sample couscous, a fluffy semolina dish paired with savory sauces and succulent vegetables. Explore the layers of sweet and savory in pastilla, a delightful pastry. Local restaurants and bustling market stalls are the perfect places to indulge in these iconic Moroccan delicacies, immersing yourself in the distinctive tastes and fragrances of Moroccan gastronomy.

Shop for Treasures in the Vibrant Souks

One of the best things to do and see in Fes is exploring the vibrant souks. Shopping in the bustling markets of Fes is a sensory-rich and immersive experience that allows you to explore a world of traditional Moroccan crafts, unique products, and local culture. Fes is renowned for its bustling markets, or souks, each specializing in specific types of goods, including spices, textiles, leather goods, pottery, jewelry, and art and crafts. Bargaining is a customary practice, so prepare to engage in friendly haggling to arrive at mutually agreeable prices. Pay attention to the quality and authenticity of the products, and consider exploring local markets for unique finds. Guided shopping tours are also available to help you navigate the labyrinthine streets and discover the best souvenirs. Shopping in the souks is not just about acquiring beautiful items; it’s an opportunity to immerse yourself in Morocco’s rich culture and craftsmanship, making it an unforgettable shopping adventure and one of the best things to do and see in Fes.

Immerse in Traditional Music and Dance Shows

To truly embrace Moroccan culture, immerse yourself in the mesmerizing world of traditional music and dance performances. Fes unfolds its cultural treasures through a myriad of venues where these artistic expressions come to life. Among the enchanting experiences you can discover are the hypnotic sounds of Gnawa musicians, whose rhythmic melodies transport you to the heart of Morocco’s spiritual heritage. The soul-stirring beats and captivating chants of the Gnawa musicians evoke a trance-like ambiance that’s both captivating and spiritually resonant.

In addition to the musical marvels, Fes showcases the graceful movements of Moroccan dancers who embody the essence of the country’s rich traditions. Their performances, characterized by intricate choreography and vibrant costumes, offer a visual and sensory feast that connects you with Morocco’s deep-rooted cultural heritage. These music and dance shows serve as a captivating bridge to the heart and soul of Fes, allowing you to immerse yourself fully in the rhythms and expressions that define this enchanting Moroccan city.

Explore Beyond the Medina: Ville Nouvelle

While the medina unquestionably serves as the heart and soul of Fes, the city reveals its dynamic modern facet in the bustling district known as Ville Nouvelle. This contemporary district offers an enticing contrast to the historical charm of the medina. In Ville Nouvelle, you’ll discover a vibrant tapestry of modern life, with a plethora of contemporary restaurants, cafes, and shops lining its streets. It’s the perfect opportunity to savor international and Moroccan cuisine with a modern twist, indulge in a rich espresso at a stylish café, or explore boutique shops featuring a fusion of local and global products.

One standout attraction in this area is the Borj Nord Museum, a cultural gem that provides panoramic views of the city from its elevated vantage point. The museum not only offers a fascinating journey through Fes’s history and culture but also a breathtaking vista of the city’s rooftops, minarets, and landscapes. It’s a juxtaposition of past and present, where you can witness the coexistence of tradition and modernity within the captivating cityscape of Fes. Ville Nouvelle invites you to step outside the historical boundaries of the medina and explore a thriving urban center where tradition seamlessly meets innovation, enhancing your Fes adventure.

Practical Tips for Your Fes Adventure

Embarking on your Fes adventure is an exciting journey, but it’s important to be prepared for the unique challenges that come with navigating this captivating city. Fes’s medina, with its labyrinthine streets and alleyways, can be enchanting yet bewildering. To make the most of your exploration, consider some practical tips.

Firstly, hiring a local guide can be an invaluable investment. These knowledgeable guides not only help you navigate the intricate layout of the medina but also provide insights into the city’s history, culture, and hidden gems. They can lead you to lesser-known attractions and offer a deeper understanding of the city’s rich heritage.

Alternatively, if you prefer a more independent adventure, GPS navigation apps can be your digital compass through the medina’s maze-like streets. These apps help you pinpoint your location and guide you to your desired destinations, ensuring you never lose your way.

For convenient transportation within the city, taxis and horse-drawn carriages are readily available. Taxis can take you to various neighborhoods and attractions within Fes, offering a comfortable and efficient way to get around. Horse-drawn carriages, known as “caleches,” provide a unique and leisurely mode of transport, allowing you to take in the city’s sights at a relaxed pace.

As you embark on your Fes adventure, remember that it’s essential to respect local customs and traditions. Dress modestly, particularly when visiting religious sites, and be mindful of local customs and etiquette. Engaging with the warm and hospitable locals can also enhance your experience, providing opportunities to learn more about their way of life.

By taking these practical tips to heart, your Fes adventure is sure to be a memorable and enriching experience, where the enchanting past and vibrant present of this Moroccan gem unfold before you.

Best Time to Visit Fes

Fes experiences a Mediterranean climate, making spring (March to May) and autumn (September to November) the best times to visit. Summers can be scorching, while winters can get chilly. Planning your trip during these temperate seasons ensures a more comfortable and enjoyable visit.

Is there much to do in Fes?

Fes, Morocco, a city steeped in history and culture, offers a treasure trove of experiences. Explore the UNESCO-listed medina, visit iconic landmarks, savor Moroccan cuisine, shop in vibrant souks, and immerse in traditional music and dance shows. For a modern touch, discover Ville Nouvelle and its contemporary amenities.

How many days do you need to see Fez?

To get a good experience of Fez, it’s recommended to spend at least 2 to 3 days exploring the city. This allows time to visit the main attractions, savor Moroccan cuisine, and immerse yourself in the local culture. However, if you want a more in-depth experience and plan to explore beyond the city, you may consider staying for 4 to 5 days or longer.

What is Fes known for?

Fes, Morocco, is renowned for its historic UNESCO-listed medina, a labyrinthine world of winding streets, centuries-old architecture, and bustling markets. It’s celebrated for its exquisite Islamic architecture, with landmarks such as the Bou Inania Medersa and Al-Attarine Madrasa showcasing breathtaking tilework and stucco carvings. Fes is also home to the University of al-Qarawiyyin, recognized by UNESCO as the world’s oldest continually operating degree-granting university. This institution, founded in 859 AD, underscores Fes’s rich educational heritage. The city’s cultural significance, spiritual sites like the Mausoleum of Moulay Idriss II, and culinary delights, including tagine and couscous, make Fes a captivating destination where history and tradition come alive.

Why is Fez Morocco popular?

Today, Fes, Morocco, stands as a vibrant regional capital and a significant city within the country’s political landscape. It has retained its historical importance, with many influential families from Fes continuing to hold key positions in Morocco’s political elite. Beyond its political significance, Fes has also emerged as a major tourism destination, drawing visitors from around the world who are captivated by its rich historical heritage and cultural treasures.


Fes, with its rich history and vibrant culture, is a city that captivates the soul of every traveler. Whether you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply soaking in the local atmosphere, Fes has something to offer every visitor. So, pack your bags, and get ready to embark on a journey through time in this enchanting Moroccan city. Your adventure awaits in this captivating Moroccan city, where history and culture converge in a mesmerizing tapestry of experiences.


  • No comments yet.
  • Add a comment