7 Things to Do in Fes

If you are considering visiting Morocco and want to visit a city that truly captures the spirit and culture of the country, visit Fes. The city of Fes, Morocco’s third largest city, is home to over one million people. It was founded in the 8th century, and still has a distinct traditional charm to it. During our visit, we went on a half-day tour of Fes with Morocco Easy Tours.

Here are seven things to do in Fes:

1) Visit the Palais Royale / Royal Palace

We started our tour with a stop at the famous Royal Palace. Although, it isn’t open to the public, its majestic doors are enough to attract plenty of visitors. There are 7 stunning brass doors that mark the entrance to the palace. Surrounding the doors are beautiful tile work “zelligi” and carved cedar wood. The current King of Morocco stays in the Royal Palace during his visits to Fes. I can only imagine how beautiful the palace is on the inside!

Our wonderful guide Hassan!

2) Walk through the iconic Bab Bou Jeloud/ The Blue Gate of Fes

The Blue Gate of Fes’ lofty entryway with its elegant mosaic tiles is the most recognizable portal to the old medina, Fez el-Bali. The side of the gate that welcomes visitors is blue, which symbolizes the color of Fes. When you pass through the entryway, you’ll see the side that faces the medina is green-the color of Islam.

3) Explore Fes el-Bali/ Old Medina of Fes

Roaming through the alleyways of the old medina was my favorite part of the tour. The old medina is the largest surviving medieval city in the world. It is also an urban car-free zone, where cars are replaced by donkeys transporting goods. Once you pass through the Blue Gate, you will come across two main alleyways into the medina, the Tala’a Kbira and Tala’a Sghira. However, it really doesn’t matter which one you take. With 10,000 alleys and over 20 entrances and exits, as a visitor, getting lost in the old medina is inevitable.

We arrived early morning, the shopkeepers were preparing for their day by washing the ground. One thing our guide Hassan emphasized as soon as we entered the medina, was that the medina isn’t just filled with souks (markets), it’s a place where over 150,000 people live. I really enjoyed being guided through the medina with Hassan because he was born and raised there and provided us with  a lot insight into its history, that we wouldn’t have received exploring on our own. I also loved watching him interact with his friends. It seemed like Hassan knew 90% of the people there!

4) Visit Al Karawiyyin of Fes: The Oldest University in the World

Al Karawiyyin is located in the old medina, and is home to the oldest university in the world, dating back to 859. It was founded by Fatima al Fihri, who spent all of her inheritance on this endeavor. It was originally created as a mosque, with a madrasa, an associated mosque school. Its initial focus was religious instruction and Qu’ran memorization, but later the curriculum expanded into Arabic grammar, music, Sufism, medicine, and astronomy. In 1963 it joined the modern state university system. The school educates students from all over the world.

5) Visit the Chouara Tannery

Fes is well known for its leather products and is home to three ancient leather tanneries. The Chouara Tannery, the largest and the oldest, is close to 1,000 years old. What makes Chouara so fascinating is that high quality leather goods are all created manually, without the need of modern machinery. The process hasn’t change much since the medieval times. The stone vessels are filled with an array of dyes and various liquids. The men stand waist deep in the dyes, working under the hot sun, looking after the hides that are soaked in the vessels.

6) Explore the Art Naji Ceramic Factory

Art Naji is a ceramic pottery shop and factory. Throughout my time in Morocco, I saw exquisite ceramic work everywhere. It was a fun experience to go to this factory and see how these masterpieces are created manually. The fact that whole production process, cutting tiles, chipping mosaic and paintwork was done without machines gave me a higher level of appreciation for their craftmanship.

7) Catch a Sunrise

After a half-day of exploring the Fes medina and surrounding areas, there was nothing better than getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a sunrise on the rooftop of my riad. The panoramic view of the city was incredible and it provided me with a meditative space to reflect on my experience.

Fes, stay magical!

Have you visited Fes? What was your favorite sight? If you are planning a visit, what are you looking forward to seeing?

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This Post Has 24 Comments

  1. Catherine Mikton

    I visited Fes over 25 years ago. Seems like nothing has changed! Such a beautiful city. I really enjoyed your post and would love to find out more about the ceramics factory. Gorgeous photos too!

    1. Jewels Rhode

      Thanks Catherine! Visiting the ceramics factory was a treat!

  2. Francesca Pineda

    Love it!! The tannery is a must go see! Hope to get there soon

    1. Jewels Rhode

      Thank you!! The tannery was awesome! I hope you make it there soon too!

  3. Carrie Mann

    I had no idea people lived in the medina — that’s fascinating! Sounds like you had a really good guide and great experience. Could you share where you found the guide?

    1. Jewels Rhode

      Hassan was awesome! He is with Morocco Easy Tours. I had an awesome time with that company and highly recommend them!

  4. Brianna -

    So did you prefer Fez or Marrakech? I’m constantly decided between which one to visit. How long is the trip between the two cities?

    1. Jewels Rhode

      That’s a tough choice. I was only in Marrakech for one day. But I did leave Marrakech wanting to explore more of the area. It’s a 5.5 hour drive between the two cities. If you are limited on time, I would explore Fes for a more traditional feel of Morocco.

  5. Lucy Frank

    Your photos are incredible. I have wanted to go to Morocco for so long

    1. Jewels Rhode

      Thank you!! I hope you make it to Morocco soon. It was on my bucket list for a while too!

    1. Jewels Rhode

      Hahah! The great thing about Morocco is that it’s affordable to travel to. 🙂

  6. Ana Rozanova

    It seems like a truly magical place! I am so fascinated by Moroccan design and patterns.

    1. Jewels Rhode

      Me too! I loved the Moroccan designs. I would love to build my future home in a similar fashion!

  7. Anisa &

    Wow great list. Morocco is definitely on my bucket list so will make sure I go to Fes. With the architecture and amazing tile work, what a great place for photography!

    1. Jewels Rhode

      Fes is a photographer’s dream 🙂

  8. Toni Frazer

    I have always wanted to visit Fez since Rory Gilmore wanted to go in Gilmore Girls haha. It looks like such a cool place. I constantly see Fez on Instagram. This just makes me want to add it to the list even more!

    1. Jewels Rhode

      Hahah yesss Rory!! It really is a cool place. Definitely worthy to be on your travel list 🙂

  9. Dina Weiler

    Stunning pictures! I’d love to visit Marocco soon!

    1. Jewels Rhode

      Thank you! I hope you get to visit!

  10. Olivia Colleen

    Wow. Fes is so beautiful. I love the intricate designs and colours of all the buildings. The tannery is especially intriguing.

    1. Jewels Rhode

      It’s truly a stunning place. I loved the tannery, I’ve never witnessed anything like that before!

  11. Aarti Kamath

    Not sure when I would travel here… But I did love the vibe you have mentioned. How was the ceramic factory?.. Did you buy a lot?

    1. Jewels Rhode

      The ceramic factory was really cool! They walked us through their whole process. I did a lot of shopping in Morocco, but I didn’t buy anything there.

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Jewels Rhode

Frequent Flyer. Chief Enjoyment Officer. Helping you make your travel dreams a reality!