Morocco is a beautiful country with a rich history situated on the northwest coast of Africa.
Unfortunately, many foreign tourists flock to the area to visit cities like Casablanca and Marrakech but miss out on what some consider to be the true jewel of Morocco – Fez (or Fes).
Fez is a city full of important historical sites pertaining not just to the history of Morocco but also to the history of Islam and the history of international trade, especially for spices.
Read on to learn more about some of the best things to do during a visit to Fez, what Fez is famous for, and some things to avoid during your time as a tourist in Fez.
What Should You Do in Fez?
Fez, unlike other popular destinations like Casablanca, is not located on the coast of Morocco but still has some beautiful scenic areas to hike in as well as an endless supply of historical monuments and museums. Here are just a few highlights of this wondrous city:
- Borj Nord Arms museum
- Mount Zalagh
- Jnan Sbil Gardens
- Quaraouiyine Mosque
- Mellah (also known as the Jewish Quarter)
Most of the attractions in Fez are related to history, but there are wonderful restaurants to sample local cuisines. Other points of interest are mostly scenic, so if you’re looking for some heart-racing action, Fez may not be the place for you.
What is Fez Most Famous For?
Fez was once the capital of Morocco (Marrakech is the new and current capital) but retained its title as a great city and has upheld its reputation as a center for commerce and trade.
With that in mind, Fez el-Bali, the old town or medina of Fez, is often considered to be the most famous part of Fez.
The medina is recognized as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site for being one of the oldest and best preserved Arab-Muslim towns.
The winding maze of interconnected, narrow streets hides a wealth of shops and stores stocked with goods. But, as impressive as the streets are, within the world-famous medina is the iconic Chouara Tannery which still operates as it once did as early as the 12th century.
How Long Should You Visit Fez for?
This question is highly subjective because it depends on what you enjoy the most as a tourist. For example, if you thoroughly enjoy stepping back in time and exploring history at your own pace, you might feel that a full week in Fez isn’t enough to explore everything.
Others might find that a single night or two with structured guides is enough to satisfy them and hit all the major attractions. However, most people feel that two or three days is enough time to experience the best Fez offers without feeling rushed.
What Food Should You Try?
Morocco and Fez, in particular, are havens for foodies who enjoy trying new dishes from unique cultures. Although you can sample many of the following dishes across the country, Fez is one of the best areas for experiencing these foods:
- Tagine – a sweet-spicy stew slow-cooked and served in an earthenware pot
- Harira – a traditional soup of lamb, tomatoes, lentils, and several spices eaten to break fast after observing the Muslim month of Ramadan
- Bastille – a flaky meat pie street food that can be made with pigeon or seagull meat (chicken is available for less adventurous people)
Are There any Things You Should Avoid Doing in Fez?
Fez is a wonderful place to visit, but just like anywhere else in the world, you need to be careful of a few things to prevent angering locals or broadcasting yourself as a target for pickpockets and scammers.
Western clothing can be particularly revealing in Fez, especially for women. Avoid showing too much skin across the body but keep yourself comfortable for the temperatures you will experience.
Avoid disrespectful practices and topics like politics or religion as you would elsewhere in the world. Photography can make locals prickly and result in fines if you take pictures of people or places without permission.
Final Thoughts on What to Visit in Fez
Fez has plenty to offer for tourists looking to enjoy another country’s culture and history, but if there was one thing that you absolutely must do in Fez, it would be the old medina.
Not only can you haggle over great souvenirs, but you can also take tours to find the most interesting places within the maze of stores as well as delicious sample renditions of Moroccan cuisine along the way.