Fez: Morocco’s cultural and historic center
Hello, wanderers and wonderers! You’ve picked Fez for your next adventure. Excellent choice! With centuries-old palaces, mosques, narrow alleys, and bustling marketplaces, you can never get enough of Fez.
To get the most out of this itinerary, please make sure you read it front-to-back. It is sectioned into three parts: prep, daily itineraries, and an appendix identifying everything you need to print (lodging, train tickets, etc).
A few months before your trip is the best time to secure your flights, tours and accommodations. Take a look at our hotel and activity recommendations for each location and book now to ensure your trip is exactly what you want it to be! This way, you’ll save a lot of time and stress. Plus, you’ll avoid the disappointment of your favorite places and activities being sold out!
A CRADLE OF CULTURE
Get lost in its twisting and chaotic streets of the medieval city and hang out at the Medina watching the local life unfold. Walk around and haggle in the city’s numerous souks, have a cup of tea at one of the terrace-cafes and try the delicious couscous and tajine. Visit the tanneries and smell, watch and feel the ambience of Fez. This is the largest car-free urban area in the world. Exploring the city on foot is probably the best way to discover its traditional and historical charm.
FLIGHTS / TRAIN / TICKETS
Flight costs are annoyingly unpredictable.
You’ll save the most money if you book 3-6 months out. Intercity bus services are frequent and flexible than trains but trains offer more comfort and reliability.
Alternatively, hiring a car is easy and the costs are reasonable. Recommended booking websites and hire companies are listed in Additional Resources.
Go with the flow
Although we advise you to book some of your hotels and excursions before you depart, it’s always good to keep some things spontaneous! Allow yourself the flexibility (and the budget!) to go on an exciting adventure such as a day trip to Meknes or take a relaxing bath and massage at one of the traditional Moroccan baths (hammams).
Better safe than sorry
Give yourself peace of mind, and take out
some travel insurance for your trip. Although Morocco is a safe destination and popular with tourists all over the world, it’s still best to be covered for the unexpected. Be sure to inform your insurance company if you plan to do some adventure sports.
You’ll be happy to hear that U.S. citizens can enter visa-free for up to 90 days. No visas necessary and less airport hassle. The requirements for entry are simple. Make sure your passport is valid for three months after departure and you have two blank pages for stamps.
For this itinerary, allow 6 nights, 7 days.
• ARRIVE: FEZ (FEZ) in the morning of DAY 1
• DEPART: FEZ (FEZ) in the morning of DAY 7
There are plenty lodging options available—hotels, B&Bs,
hostels—just be sure to secure your accommodation in advance. Airbnb is great option if you are traveling as a group.
(See next page for recommendations.)
• Fez, Morocco | DAY 1 - 6, 5 nights
• Fez, Morocco | DAY 6-7 1 night
Some tickets and reservations can be made 1-2 months in advance.
• Transfer from Fez airport to Hotel | Arrival - DAY 1
• Transfer from Fez to airport - DAY 7
PREP - LODGING CHECKLIST
Book yourself a place near the Medina and you’ll be within walking distance of the major attractions and markets Fez has to offer. Here are a few great choices to make narrowing down your options less overwhelming:
• Riad Laaroussa Hotel and Spa
• Riad Fes Maya Suite & Spa
• Dar Golden
• Petit Palais XVII
• Riad Noujoum Medina
• Riad Naila
DAY 1 - 6 | 1 night
DAY 6 - 7 | 1 night
Rabat is the capital of Morocco and is its second largest city. You will find a range of excellent accommodations in Rabat—from the sea facing French-style villas to former palaces transformed into hotels near the old city Here are some of our favorites:
• B&B Hotel Rabat Médina
• Golden Tulip Hotel
• Sofitel Rabat
DON’T FORGET THE ADAPTER!
In Morocco, the common voltage is 220 V. The frequency is 50 Hz. The plugs and sockets are of type C and E. The need for an adapter or converter depends on the voltage, frequency and plugs in the
country where you live. An adapter retrofits your plug to ‘adapt’ to the outlet in the wall. A power converter actually transforms the current to match the voltage coming from the wall. Which one you need will depend on the appliance itself, so make sure to check the voltage on your laptop, hair dryer, phone etc.
INTERNATIONAL VS DOMESTIC
CALL ME ON MY HOTLINE
International: Dial the country exit code (001 in the US, 00 in Europe), then the country code (212 for Morocco), then the number. Drop the initial 0 if there is one.
Domestic: If you’re calling from one number to another within the Morocco, simply dial the phone number, including the initial 0 if there is one. No country code needed.
PACKING MADE SIMPLE
PACK FOR SUCCESS
• Traveling light is always ideal. Roll your clothes to save space and avoid creases. If you want to take it to the next level, use vacuum compression bags to maximize space.
• Choose your footwear wisely. Bring breathable footwear like flip-flops and sandals. Pack a pair of casual shoes or sneakers for semi-formal occasions and traveling out of the city.
• Try to blend in as much as possible. Flashy outfits might make you stand out as a tourist and attract unwanted attention from vendors.
• Pack your shampoo, toothpaste and any other liquids in ziplock bags in case they spill in transit. However, these are items you can always acquire once you’re in Morocco.
• Don’t forget your sunscreen, aftersun and sunglasses. The sun is quite intense in most parts of the Morocco, so take care of your skin.
• First aid kit. Although it is always advisable to take a travel insurance that covers any accidents during your trip, it’s always better to have an emergency kit in your suitcase.
• Remember your camera, charger, memory card and power adapter.
Be well equipped to capture all of the beautiful sites when wandering the city.
• Be sure to have cash on hand—it’s not uncommon to find cash-only restaurants and shops, even in major cities.
• Morocco - Travel Guide & Offline Map | Morocco offline map, attractions, and restaurant suggestions
• Tripadvisor | an excellent resource for finding off-the-beaten-path restaurants and things to do. However, all reviews are subjective, so don’t obsess over scores
• Whatsapp | free text messaging to other Whatsapp users
• Google Maps | an absolute must for navigation—GoogleMaps can estimate travel times on foot or by taxi, and keep you updated about the opening/closing hours of local attractions
• skyscanner.com | easy to use website for finding low air fares
• google.com/flights | helpful fare prediction technology
• www.oncf.ma/ | official website to book train tickets online
• http://www.ctm.ma/ | Bus booking website
• https://www.suntransfers.com/airports/morocco | Morocco airport shuttle service
• https://www.taxismaroc.com/en/ | find taxis and car hires
For re-posts of your shots, @tag and use the following hashtags:
• Morocco| @visit_morocco_ #morocco #moroccotravel
• Fez |#fez #fezmorocco #feztravel #fezcity
• Rabat | #rabat #rabatcity
• Travel Noire | @travelnoire #travelnoire
• US Embassy Rabat | Km 5.7, Avenue Mohamed VI Souissi, Rabat
10170, Morocco | (212) 0537 637 200
let the journey begin!
DAY 1 - ARRIVAL
Welcome to Morocco! Your tour starts in Fez, a World Heritage Site often referred to as the cultural capital of Morocco! To visit Fez is to make a jump in the past and getting lost in the tortuous lanes of the Medina. Go on a shopping spree at the souks and admire the intricate works on the Karaouyine Mosque and other sacred buildings.
Fez airport is located about 9 miles to the south of the city. If you don’t have much luggage, you can take a public bus to the city center. This is the cheapest option to reach the city. For more flexibility, take a fixed-price taxi from the taxi stand outside the airport. Check into lodging to being your experience!
EXPLORE THE MEDINA
Start your adventure by exploring the Medina. Discovering the Medina is an adventure in itself because it is not revealed to the traveler in a hurry. You have to learn to appreciate this place, to understand its codes, to let yourself be carried away by the sound, the smells, the heat that emerges from the stalls. The Medina of Fez is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and houses the oldest university in the Muslim world. The main sites to visit are the Madarsa, palaces, mosques and fountains dating back to the 13th and 15th centuries.
WALK THROUGH THE SOUKS
The souk of Fez have existed for centuries and they seem to have evolved very little with time. As Fez is a city of craftsmanship, you will get plenty of souvenirs to bring back home—such as pottery, ceramics or jewelry, dates, fish, spices, copper vases, carpets and musical instruments. Carry cash and learn the skill of bargaining!
MET Š ERRF ĪN (PLEASED TO MEET YOU!)
964,891 FEZ RESIDENTS
Fez Medina is one of the UNESCO World Heritage site of Morocco. It has over
10,000 streets and is the largest car-free urban area of the world.
French & Arabic: Most widely spoken languages
Thank you means Shukrun
10.3 MILLION VISITORS TO MOROCCO IN 2016
789 AD The year Fez was founded.
National drink = Sweet mint tea
National food = Couscous
Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Morocco as the weather is pleasant and there are fewer crowds.
The Moroccan Dirham is the official currency of Morocco.
1 USD = 9.5 Moroccan Dirham
Don't overlook the high-quality carpets and rugs produced in Morocco. You can even find beautiful local-made ceramics and jewelry.
make sure to set your watch to GMT+0
RULE OF THUMB
Restaurants | There is no “rule of thumb”. Tip 5%-10% of the bill for good service.
Cabs | Taxi drivers don't expect tips, but they appreciate the ones they get.
MORNING & AFTERNOON
VISIT THE TANNERY
The tanneries of Fez consist of many stone vases filled with a wide range of dyes and various liquids spread like a large palette of watercolors. Dozens of men stand up to the waist in dyes and work under the hot sun. The tanneries process the skins of cows, sheep, goats and camels, turning them into high-quality leather items such as bags, coats, shoes and shoes. All this is done by hand, without the need for modern machinery, and the process has changed very little since the medieval times, making these tanneries absolutely fascinating to visit. To get the best views of the tanneries (to take pictures in particular), you have to access the surrounding leather shops on terraces. Just go into one of the shops and ask for a visit, and the seller will give you insight on how the skins are processed and tell you which dyes come from which plants. Pigeon feces and cow's urine produce a pungent smell so the guide will certainly provide you with fresh mint sprigs to help you overcome the smell.
Head to the Seffarine Square where you will find many craftsmen working on copper to make teapots, trays, perfume burners. The craftsmen shaping and polishing the pots, plates and buckets are best viewed from Cremerie la Place while sipping on an iced mint tea.
A stone's throw from the north gate of the Medina (Bab Boujloud) is one of the most beautiful gardens in the city—Jnan Sbil Garden. This green space reflects the Arabic-Andalusian tradition and is the oldest public garden in the city. The garden housed numerous plants imported from all over the world, as well as fountains, canals and windmills. It’s an excellent place to get away from the hustle-bustle of the Medina and relax amidst lush greenery.
Have lunch at Cafe Clock, which is known for its excellent camel burgers. This place is a lot more than just good food. Through wall exhibitions, traditional terrace and intriguing collection of books in its library, Cafe Clock fuses the rich tradition of the country with modern Moroccan culture.
After a delectable lunch amidst traditional Moroccan elements, visit the Dar Batha Palace and Museum. The palace was built by Hassan I because he longed to unite the two cities that make up Fez, namely Fez-el-Baki and Fez-el-Djedid. This palace was then transformed into a crafts museum where you can discover pottery and ceramics of the 13th-century as well as embroidery and jewelry of the Middle Ages. Don’t forget to take a picture of the richly decorated portals and the huge padlocks that close the doors for the night.
from Fez to Meknes
Today is a great day to jump on a train or hire a car to Meknes—the twin city of Fez that made the ancient capital of Morocco. Meknes is often overshadowed by Fez and Marrakesh but it deserves a place in your Moroccan itinerary as it isn’t short of historic treasures and is more peaceful than Fez.
ARRIVAL IN MEKNES
Trains from Fez to Meknes leave every hour and is probably the cheapest transport option (costs $2-$3 each way).
Alternatively, hiring a car will allow you more comfort and the flexibility to stop on the way. It’s a 45-minute trip and you'll have full control of your return. Make sure you reach Meknes early in the morning to be able to visit historical sites located nearby.
VOLUBILIS AND MOULEY IDRISS
Both Volubilis and Moulay Idriss are magnificent sites located close to Meknes. Hiring a guide after arriving in Meknes is the best way to explore these areas. The guide will narrate you the stories from the medieval times and open a vista into the past. First, you will stop at the ancient Roman ruins in Volubilis, where you will explore the 2000-year-old ruins and get an idea of the life during the Roman Empire.
Continue to Moulay Idriss, the holy part of Meknes, where you will have a magnificent view of the Medina. Here you will see the walls with monumental gates dating from the seventeenth century. Stop at the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail, one of the few mosques that non-Muslims are allowed to visit in Morocco.
Exit through the famous Bab Mansour El gate to the vast Hedim Square. On the other side of the square, the Museum of Moroccan Art, Dar Jamai offers a wide variety of handicrafts.
RETURN TO FEZ
If you are taking a taxi on your way back to Fez, the driver can take you to see the view of the Medina from Borj North or South by request. After a memorable day in Meknes, it is now time to get some rest and recharge yourself for the remaining of your Moroccan adventure!
THE KARAOUIYNE MOSQUE
This mosque and university, the oldest in the Arab world, was founded in 859 AD. Even though entry is forbidden to non-muslims, it still remains a spiritual high place. Discover its exteriors and details that adorn its walls, 270 columns and 24 doors that surround the interior courtyard.
TOUR THE MADRASAS
A madrassa is an old Koranic school that serves as a boarding school for students. In Fez, they are numerous and all are prestigious, especially in terms of their decorations and architecture. Most prominent of them is the Al-Attarine Madrasa facing the Karaouiyne Mosque. Feast your eyes upon the beautiful calligraphy and mosaics. Bou Inania and Seffarine madrasas are other impressive and old madrasas of Fez that are reminiscent of the traditional houses of Morocco.
GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH ANCIENT FASHION
The Bath Fashion Museum is an interesting place to visit, even if you are not particularly interested in fashion. You will explore the history of clothing throughout the ages, as well as the accessories such as bags and jewelry. There is also a wedding dress that traces the story of a young girl of the nineteenth century. Don’t miss the ceramic room that houses some of the most beautiful pottery by the craftsmen of the city.
Start your sixth day by paying a visit to the Royal Palace—the oldest and probably the most prominent palace in Morocco. Built in the 14th century, it is locally known as Dar El Makhzen. Even if entry is not allowed, it is worth visiting to discover its gigantic esplanade with huge bronze doors that are framed by ceramic tiles.
Right next to the royal palace, you will visit the old Jewish quarter (Mellah) that houses the Ibn Danan Synagogue, many shops and traditional houses. This Jewish locality has existed since the 14th-century as a refugee for jews and has seen several anti-Jew violence. The houses with open balconies overlooking the streets provide a beautiful contrast to the traditional Moroccan architecture. The Jewish cemetery (outside the Jewish quarter) also deserves a visit for its bright white graves.
Spend your last evening in Morocco sipping on a drink while listening to live music and watching the beautiful sunset over Medina.
Mezzanine Lounge is one of the most popular bars located at the heart of the city. It serves a wide range of drinks, cocktails, local and international bites. On the first floor, there is a beautifully decorated living room and on the second, a terrace from where you can see the wall of the Medina and Jnan Sbil Garden.
farewell to enchanting Morocco!
MAKE THE MOST OF THOSE PRECIOUS LAST MOMENTS
Choose to fly out of Fez in the evening so that you can savor your last day. Was there something you read about that didn’t have time to do or see? Get out there and do it! You may have just enough time to make one last memory or see one last attraction. But, beware of traveling too far out of the city; missing your flight home is not how you want to end your magical trip! Check out the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts if you haven’t done so already. Used as a storehouse and resting place for traveling merchants during ancient times, the building is wonderfully restored and houses a range of traditional artifacts including craftsmen’s wooden tools, ancient musical instruments and prayer beads. There’s also a rooftop cafe that offers splendid views of the Medina.
ADDRESSES & CONTACT INFO
RESTAURANTS & BARS
Avenue Ben Mohamed EL Alaoui,
1, Takharbicht Laayoune Place Rcif,
Fez 30200, Morocco
Phone: +212 5357-40037
2 Derb Sayour | Rhabet Zbib, Rcif Médina,
Fez 30200, Morocco
Phone: +212 618-453738
L'Amandier Palais Faraj
Palais Faraj, Bab Ziat | Medina de Fez,
Fez 30000, Morocco
Phone: +212 5356-35356
30 Derb el-Amer, Zqaq Roumane
| The Medina,
Fes 30110, Morocco
Phone: +212 5357-41637
CTM Bus Station
Gare routière CTM, Atlas, En
Face Du Tribunal 1ère Instance
Fez Railway Station
New town, Fez, Morocco
There is an airport bus that goes nonstop from Fez city center to Fez airport—you can catch it for 4 Dirham, and it will take you directly to the terminal door. Make sure you leave at least 3 hours in advance to give yourself enough time for check-in and boarding. You can pass the time waiting at the airport by browsing through all of the amazing photos from your journey through Morocco.