Heading to Fes? Well, lucky for you we have a little Fes Medina guide waiting for you below. It’s a list of travel tips for Fes and just overall things to know before you visit Fes, Morocco.
Fes Medina Guide: 6 Travel Tips for Fes, Morocco
Jump Ahead To:
1) UNESCO World Heritage Site
Fes, Morocco is a must visit while you are on your Morocco Holiday.
Fes is referred to as the countries cultural capital and once you set foot in the Medina of Fes, you understand why. The entire Medina of Fes (Fez el Bali) is an UNESCO World Heritage site. Yup, the entire thing.
The Medina of Fes was founded in the 9th century and is not only home to the oldest University in the world but it is also one of the last remaining places to be the biggest car-free zone.
The original city walls surround the Medina acting as a time capsule to keep the history of Fes inside.
2) Say Hello
“As-salamu alaykum” is the Arabic greeting. It translates to “peace be upon you” and is the standard greeting not only in Fes, but Morocco.
Don’t be afraid to say As-salamu alaykum to complete strangers! If you make eye contact, say it! If you are walking into a shop or café, say it!
You’ll be pleasantly surprised the reaction you get from the locals – a big smile or possibly a laugh but always a greeting back to you 🙂
3) Watch Out!
If you here “Ballack!” get the “F” out of the way! Ballack is Arabic for “watch out/move.”
Those narrow alleyways have little room for folks to maneuver so the food carts being pushed, the few scooters that zoom through and the donkeys all need their room.
So, when you here “Ballack” step to the side and let people pass….quickly.
4) The Alleyways of The Fes Medina
Remember the Fes Medina we talked about earlier, well let’s talk about it some more. You have two choices when wanting to explore the Medina of Fes
- Pay for a Fes Medina guide
- Don’t pay for a Fes Medina guide and explore the Medina solo
For us, we thought, “Nah, we don’t need a Medina guide. We will figure it out and If we get lost, we’ll ask a local for help or give someone a few dollars to get us back to our Riad.”
That thought was fine and dandy and completely an option for those wanting to “wing it” but for us, we realized how incredibly difficult it would be when we tried going to dinner one night…
A maze doesn’t even begin to describe these alleyways. There are 9,000 of them…yes, 9,000 alleyways that weave in and out over the space of 540 hectares (1,334 acres) and to top it all off, street signs aren’t really a thing.
Guys, we can’t stress enough how happy we were that we booked a guide!!
Our Fes Medina Guide picked us up from our Riad and spent the day walking us through the Medina of Fes. Our Medina Guide, Ahmend, glad took us wherever we wanted to go.
Not only did he make sure we got to the places we wanted to see seamlessly, Ahmed provided history and context to what we’re looking at.
For 600 Dirham ($64), Ahmed spent 8 hours with us. Plus, the 600 Dirham was a group rate. Our group was 4 people and each person paid $16 USD. Not bad, not bad at all.
If you want Ahmed’s information, please find it here: Ahmed Bousfiha at [email protected]
5) Shopping in The Medina of Fes
Never in our lives have we seen so many beautiful handmade items. From leather shoes and bags to hand sewn carpets and handmade ceramics, the Fes Medina is a souvenir shopping haven!
Copper workers craft metal using skills that have been passed down to them from generation to generation. Artists paint by hand intricate designs on ceramic bowls, tagines and cups. The leather workers dye and tan the leather by hand in the hot Moroccan sun.
To say the Fes Medina is a home to handmade crafts is seriously an understatement. You’re witnessing true artists at work.
6) Ask to Take a Picture
We don’t know about you, but when we’re in a new country, we love taking pictures of locals going about their day. Our visit to Fes was no different!
Seeing the artists of Fes practicing their trade to seeing the markets if the Fes Medina come alive, we tried to capture every moment!
However, once we raised our camera’s locals would hold their hand up to block their face and say something in Arabic that didn’t sound so friendly…
We quickly realized pictures weren’t welcomed. Our guide, the same guide we mentioned above, let us know that the locals don’t care that we take their picture but its common courtesy to ask.
Feeling a little stupid, we took the lesson learned and ran with it. The rest of our time, whenever we wanted a picture, we asked, and the locals obliged happily.
Fes is truly a Moroccan gem and in all honesty, an absolute must see when visiting Morocco. From Fes’s historic Medin,a to the general charm and bustle of the city, Fes should be on everyones “must see” list.
For The Budget Conscious: Dar Borj is a cozy family run Dar located in the medina and a few minutes walk from The Blue Gate. With an unbelievable rooftop terrace, enjoy some mint tea and watch the sunset over the media.
For The Luxury Inclined: From an amazing on site spa, to a wonderful bar and lounge to fabulous food and intricate decor and tile work, Riad Fes is a one of a kind accommodation experience in the heart of the Fes medina.
For Something In Between: Riad Fes Al Cazar Suite & Spa is a beautiful riad that is situated in the historic old town of Fes. Featuring a swimming pool and friendly staff, Riad Fes Al Cazar is a great choice for travelers.
For more places to stay in Fes, you can check out the latest places and prices here.
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– Lauren & Jesse Stuart (The Stüs)