Fez is a fascinating mix of old and new, where ancient sites rub shoulders with contemporary boutique hotels. Step through Bab Boujeloud (the ‘Blue Gate’) and back in time as you enter the Medina. With thousands of winding streets and lively souqs, it’s the place to get lost and find hidden gems. Away from the hustle and bustle, the gardens of Dar Batha or Jnan Sbil are blissful spots to escape and unwind. Finish the day on a rooftop bar, planning the next adventure of your culture-filled city break.
Things to do
Once a summer palace, Batha Museum is now home to a wonderful collection of Moroccan art. Here you can view everything from cobalt Fassi ceramics to intricate zellige tiling. To see the tiles in situ, as well as beautifully carved plasterwork, visit the 14th-century Medersa el-Attarine. After wandering around the central courtyard, hop across to Kairaouine Mosque and University. Said to be the oldest mosque in the world, its striking green roof is an iconic part of the Fez city skyline.
Morning is the best time to travel to the leather souq and Chaouwara Tanneries. That’s when the stone vats are filled with vibrant dyes of red, indigo, and turmeric yellow. You may even catch a glimpse of the tanners working leather with their bare feet. Pick up some traditional babouches (leather slippers) in the Medina, or go treasure hunting for Fassi pottery, colorful carpets, and jewelry. If you find something, be prepared to haggle – it’s a way of life for Fez shopkeepers.
Dive into the Medina and you’ll soon get a taste of Fez’s food culture. It’s here you’ll see – and smell – stalls piled high with herbs, spices, and dates. As you stroll, look out for communal ovens (furan) where locals bake bread. Then visit the honey souq to explore every flavor and shade of this sweet nectar. You’ll have plenty of restaurants to choose from too – ranging from traditional Moroccan to contemporary fine dining.
TO SEE FEZ CRAFTSMANSHIP IN ALL ITS GLORY, PAY A VISIT TO MEDERSA BOU INANIA. IT’S AN EXQUISITE EXAMPLE OF ZELLIGE TILEWORK AND INTRICATE LACERIA – KNOWN AS ‘THE CARPENTRY OF KNOTS’.