The city of Fez is a beautiful place filled with many sights that will make it well worth your time. It is the second-largest city in Morocco (after Casablanca). Fez is a less popular destination for travelers visiting the country of Morocco. This is unfortunate because Fez holds secrets from the old world that you can still discover today.
WHERE IS FEZ LOCATED?
Fez (or Fes) is in northern inland Morocco. It lies northeast of the Atlas Mountains and is at the crossroads of all of Morocco’s major cities - Tangier, Casablanca, Rabat, and Marrakech.
WHAT TO DO IN FEZ?
The beautiful city of Fez is an excellent destination for travelers who are seeking a culture rich, historic and religious experience. You will love the traditional marketplaces, the Grand Mosque and much more awesome attractions. Here are the places you must go to for an unforgettable visit!
THE BORJ NORD
If you are a lover of historical monuments, The Borj Nord is a monument to be discovered absolutely. Built in 1582, commissioned by the Saadian Sultan Ahmed al-Mansur, this fort has an architecture inspired by the Portuguese ramparts of the 16th century. The North Borj was at the time a surveillance post but also and above all a cannon factory - one of the largest on the planet. Today, the fort has become a historical monument with a breathtaking view and houses a weapons museum.
JAMAA EL QUARAOUIYINE
One of Africa’s largest mosques is located in Fez, called Quaraouiyine. Non-muslims cannot enter, but there is plenty to see on the outside of the place, built in 859 AD. While initially just a mosque, it was eventually built out to include a university, and it can now hold 20,000 people. Interestingly, this mosque and university were founded and built by a woman, and its library is the oldest one in the world!
The Mellah is another name for the Jewish Quarter in Fez, Morocco. A walk through this historic neighborhood lets you glimpse the atmosphere of the old city. It's No longer a home for the Jewish community, but its beautiful buildings are a must-see.
THE BAB BOUJELOUD
Another impressive structure to see is The Bab Boujeloud (Blue Gate). It marks the entrance to the old city, and if you're a photophile the iconic blue gate will give you some fantastic photos.
If you’re looking to discover the secrets of Fez, be sure to check out the Marinid Tombs. Located on the hills above the Medina, no one really knows who is buried there. It’s a great spot to go if you have kids and gives you amazing views of the Medina and the surrounding mountains.
THE CHOUARA TANNERIES
Morocco is known for its leather wares, and many of these goods are made in Fez. The Chouara Tanneries are the center of this production. While you can’t get into pits themselves, all the stalls around the tanneries that sell the finished goods have terraces with views of the Tanneries below.
WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT
To get some drinks, mingle and see a stunning view of the Medina, go to the Sahrai Hotel and head to the Terrace. You don’t need to stay at the hotel to get to the bar. Other hotels in Fez have similar rooftop bars and restaurants that you can try.
THE RUINED GARDEN
Sit in the picturesque outside area of The Ruined Garden, surrounded by birds and water features. They serve healthy but delicious food that ranges from traditional to contemporary.
Café Clock offers more westernized fare, and is famous for their camel burger. Not only can you eat here, but you can take cooking classes, too! The cafés allow you a chance to get away from the energy of the Medina for a bit, so you can recharge and rest in the air conditioning.
If you want to eat where the locals go, try Grillade Adil. Their grilled options are full of flavor and come with fries and many sauces to try.
To try some street food fare, go to Tarbouche Fez. Perfect for a quick lunch, you can get burritos, pizzas, nachos, and Moroccan salads here. Tarbouche Fez is a cozy spot in the heart of the Medina.
SHOPPING IN FEZ
Fez is one of the best places to get handcrafted leather goods (as you can see from exploring the Tanneries). Where else can you go and watch your handbag or shoes being made from the very beginning?
The tanneries use natural dyes to color the leather: poppies for red, henna for orange, they use saffron for yellow, blue is made from indigo, and mint leaves for green. And If you forgot to pick up slippers, we have Moroccan slippers in many different styles.
Moroccan carpets and spices are other items you will find when shopping in Fez. You’ll discover Amazigh and Arabic carpets and rugs, some are overpriced, and some are reasonable, so know your pricing before you go. As far as spices, stock up on ras-el-hanout, turmeric, and paprika.
You can find beautiful Moroccan pottery and dishes, using the famous blue color in Fez (make sure they are stamped “Fez”). Other local crafts to pursue are Moroccan embroidery, Moroccan metalwork, and zellige tilework. Don’t forget to look for an actual “Fez” (a tarbouch)!
FIND HISTORY AND OLD WORLD RICHES IN FEZ
Much of the city still echoes the old world, so take the time to explore this fascinating place. From the religious buildings and ancient architecture to the rambling streets of the Souk in the Medina, your senses will always be filled with something new and beautiful. Come home with a piece of the city by purchasing a leather item or some spices. Fez is a city you will always remember.