Fez the city which will cast a spell on you
The medieval city of Fez in Morocco has sights and sounds that can really cure that sickness most active travelers dread about boredom. If the weather is fine and your mood is up for some real adventures, then get out of your Fez hotel room and witness the city’s breathtaking attractions like the Madrasa Bou Inania and the Jewish Quarter. Stop by at the medina to shop for Moroccan items that you can give away to your friends back at home. Stand in awe as you watch the Moroccan artisans traditionally process leather at the city‘s tanneries. Also, a lot of exciting activities and exhilarating hotspots await outside your Fez hotel, so there is no way for you to be under the vicious claws of boredom. Here are our 8 favorite places to visit in Fez.
The many tanneries of Fez
When you come near one of the tanneries in Fez, there is no way you can miss it. Sellers of leather goods are jumping on you to welcome you on their roofs. There you’ll have a beautiful view of the colored baths in which the leather hides are softened or dyed into a new color. Of the two tanneries we visited, we can highly recommend Sidi Mussa. This tannerie is a little bit of walking from the Medina of Fez, but it’s definitely worth the search. You get a beautiful view of the hardworking professionals and in the meantime you are guided in French, Spanish, Italian or English about the work that is happening below you. After having pinched your nostrils on the rooftop, to soften leather, pigeon droppings are used, and this sometimes leads to smelly situations, you’ll get another guided tour through a huge store full of leather items. Not so keen on buying a souvenir? Then just give a small tip as a thank you for the tour and awesome view.
The Bou Inania Madrasa
In between the narrow streets of Fez you would never expect it, but there are some gorgeous treasures hidden behind all those façades! One of these is the Bou Inania Madrasa. A Medersa or Madrasa is a former Islamic school. A few decades ago the smartest students were trained here to become a jurist, imam or another notable. Fortunately for the tourists, these old schools are no longer in use and can now be completely explored by all travelers. Now you can enjoy the marvellous architecture and the beautiful interior of this gorgeous building. Mosaics brighten up the space in flashy and sober colors, while beautiful woodcarving elevates the gates and other passages into precious works of art.
Explore Fez from up high
Fez is gigantic, and the real size of this city of millions can really only be seen when you look at this imperial city from up high. That can be done from a roof terrace in your hotel or Riad, but if you want to get the most impressive view, you need to walk to the hills just behind the city. Near the Gare Routière (central bus station) you’ll get the most beautiful views of the imperial city! Fez is beautiful during the daytime, but at sunset this Moroccan spot becomes even more enchanting!
Bab Mellah, the Jewish quarter
The Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish quarter of Fez is only a step away from the ancient Medina, but gives you an insight into the entire history of this vibrant city. The Bab Mellah in Fez was the first Jewish district in Morocco. After WW II, many of its inhabitants fled to better places, but to date, many Jews still live with their Muslim brothers without problems. Be sure to take a look at the Dahan Synagogue and the Jewish Cemetery (which you can also see from the roof of the synagogue). It’s nice to see how different the architecture of this population is compared to the dominant Arab architecture and culture.
The Royal Palace of Fez
The Dar El Makhzen or the Royal Palace of Fez is located directly opposite to the Jewish neighborhood. Previously, it served as a residence for the Sultan, later for many government officials and today, the Moroccan king also regularly moves to these rooms. Unfortunately, you can’t enter the palace as a visitor, but it still looks spectacular from the outside! It’s mainly the richly decorated Moorish gate that gets all the attention. Don’t forget your selfie stick!
The Jnan Sbil gardens
Just outside of the Medina there lies a beautiful paradise hidden. The Jnan Sbil Gardens are an oasis of peace in the always busy Fez. This park is beautifully decorated with colorful flowers, beautiful palm trees and a whole collection of cacti and other tropical plants. The showpiece of this impressive park is the main square, where it’s also very pleasant to sit down, relax and unwind. Picking oranges, standing on the grass or trying to cool yourself with the refreshing water is not allowed! The many park overseers are better trained than guard dogs and they don’t mind to send a strict whistling signal into your direction when a violation has been seen.
Fez’s medina has many beautiful gates, but one that you must see is the Bab Boujloud. This gorgeous blue gate leads you straight to the heart of the medina. In the evening it gets very busy near this gate, but at this time you can also snap the best pics of this impressive monument.
Explore the medina and… Get lost!
We believe the medina of Fez is Morocco’s largest one. A giant maze of never-ending streets, from narrow to wide, ending on cute squares or dark cul-de-sacs. The medina is really an attraction in itself, and you can only really see what’s going on here by spending a few hours getting lost in the labyrinth of alleys. Every so much steps your mouth will drop open or your eyes will keep blinking.
Where to stay
Palais Amani is a luxury riad in Fez. Enviably located on the outskirts of the historic Medina and a stone’s throw from the Golden Triangle, this inviting hotel is housed in a renovated palace and offers guests a sublime experience amidst stunning surroundings. Fez itself is a vibrant tourist hub whilst the nearby Atlas Mountains offer ample opportunities for adventure. The beautifully appointed guestrooms at this boutique riad benefit from an elegant Art Deco style, spacious interiors and a comprehensive list of amenities. The traditional Arabian design is complemented by flatscreen TVs, BOSE sound systems and free WiFi. Many guestrooms overlook the riad’s magical gardens; an oasis of serenity filled with fountains, citrus trees and a tiled courtyard. An afternoon of indulgent pampering at the Palais Amani hotel spa can be followed by a refreshing cocktail high above the medina on the sun-splashed rooftop bar. The critically-acclaimed gastronomy team prepares a wide range of exquisite Moroccan dishes throughout the day that can be enjoyed on the terrace or in the dining room.