Best Things to Do in Fes, Morocco: 12 Must-See Attractions

by Flora
here are the best places to visit in Fes
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Are you planning to visit Fes, Morocco soon? Here are some of the most fun and unique things to do in Fes. These intricate sights, activities, and attractions are sure to make for a memorable vacation experience.

Fes offers a multitude of things to do—the enchanting Moroccan city where time seems to have stood still. As you wander through the labyrinthine streets of the ancient Medina, you’ll feel as if you’ve stepped into a living museum, where the air is thick with the scent of spices and leather, and the distant sound of prayer calls adds an ethereal layer to the city’s already mystical atmosphere.

But Fes is more than just a relic of the past; it’s a vibrant city teeming with life and culture. From the awe-inspiring architecture to the bustling energy of the souks, Fes offers a travel experience like no other. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply an adventurer at heart, this city has something for everyone.

So, why should Fes be on your travel bucket list? For starters, it’s home to one of the world’s oldest universities and is considered the spiritual and cultural heart of Morocco. Plus, it’s a haven for artisans, boasting an array of traditional crafts that are still practiced today. And let’s not forget the mouthwatering Moroccan cuisine that awaits you at every corner.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the best things to do in Fes, Morocco,. So grab your map and your sense of wonder—it’s time to explore the magical world of Fes!

The top places to visit in Fes right now
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Best Places to Visit in Fes

Ready to jump into all the coolest things to do in Fes? As noted above, there’s something for everyone at this enchanting vacation spot. So keep reading to discover all these unique Fes places to visit.

Are you looking to immerse in traditional Moroccan culture by exploring bustling markets and savoring local cuisine? Or would you prefer to uncover centuries of history through intricate architecture and crafts? Whatever you’re planning, these must-sees in Fes can accommodate your needs. Here’s all the best attractions in Fes that you should know about.

1. Medina of Fes

Fes places to visit often start with the Medina, and for good reason. This UNESCO World Heritage site is the heart and soul of the city. As you meander through its narrow, winding streets, you’ll encounter a sensory overload that’s nothing short of magical. The aroma of freshly baked bread mingles with the scent of incense, while the vibrant hues of handwoven textiles catch your eye at every turn.

But the Medina isn’t just a feast for the senses; it’s a living, breathing history lesson. Here, you’ll find the Al-Qarawiyyin University, the oldest existing educational institution in the world. Imagine walking the same cobblestone paths that scholars and theologians have tread for centuries!

The Medina is not just one of the coolest things to do in Fes, it's a journey through time.
The Medina is not just one of the coolest things to do in Fes, it’s a journey through time.

Now, if you’re a shopaholic, brace yourself. The Medina is also home to countless souks, each specializing in different crafts and goods. From intricately designed ceramics to luxurious carpets, the shopping opportunities are endless. And don’t even get me started on the food stalls—your taste buds are in for a treat.

So, what are you waiting for? The Medina is not just one of the coolest things to do in Fes; it’s a journey through time and culture that you simply can’t miss.

2. Bou Inania Madrasa

When it comes to Fes attractions, the Bou Inania Madrasa is a must-see. This 14th-century Islamic school is an architectural masterpiece, boasting intricate tilework, carved cedar panels, and a stunning minaret that can be seen from various points in the city. It’s not just a place of learning; it’s a work of art.

As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by a courtyard that’s a kaleidoscope of colors and patterns. The level of detail in the stucco and tile work is mind-boggling. It’s like stepping into a living canvas, where every inch tells a story of craftsmanship and devotion.

When it comes to the best things to do in Fes, the Bou Inania Madrasa is a must-see.
When it comes to the best things to do in Fes, the Bou Inania Madrasa is a must-see.

The Bou Inania Madrasa is a place where you can feel the pulse of Fes’s rich history and religious significance. The madrasa has been a center of Islamic learning for centuries, and its walls have heard countless prayers and scholarly debates.

If you’re wondering what to do in Fes that combines both beauty and cultural depth, look no further. The Bou Inania Madrasa offers a mesmerizing blend of both, making it one of the best places to go in Fes for any traveler keen on diving deep into the city’s heritage.

3. Al-Attarine Madrasa

Are you on the hunt for the best things to do in Fes? The Al-Attarine Madrasa is a hidden gem you won’t want to miss. Nestled in the heart of the city, this Islamic school is a marvel of Moroccan architecture. The madrasa is named after the nearby Al-Attarine Souk, a bustling spice and perfume market, which adds an aromatic backdrop to your visit.

As you walk through the intricately carved wooden doors, you’ll find yourself in a courtyard that’s a feast for the eyes. Geometric patterns in zellige tiles, ornate stucco, and cedar woodwork create a harmonious blend of art and spirituality. It’s a place where every corner whispers tales of history and devotion.

Don't miss the hidden gem, Al-Attarine Madrasa.
Don’t miss the hidden gem, Al-Attarine Madrasa.

What sets the Al-Attarine Madrasa apart is its intimate atmosphere. Unlike larger, more touristy sites, this madrasa offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Fes. It’s a spot where you can pause, reflect, and soak in the beauty around you.

The Al-Attarine Madrasa is an experience that captures the essence of Fes in every intricate detail.

4. Dar Batha Museum

Are you thinking about where to visit in Fes to discover Moroccan art and craftsmanship? Dar Batha Museum is the answer. Situated in a former palace, this museum is a treasure trove of Moroccan art and craftsmanship. From ceramics and woodwork to textiles and manuscripts, the collection is as diverse as it is captivating.

The museum is set amidst a lush Andalusian garden, offering a serene contrast to the bustling streets of Fes. As you wander through the rooms, you’ll be struck by the intricate details that adorn each artifact. It’s a journey through Morocco’s rich history and cultural heritage, one that leaves you with a profound sense of awe.

Dar Batha stands out with its emphasis on Fes-specific artistry
Dar Batha stands out with its emphasis on Fes-specific artistry

What truly sets Dar Batha apart is its focus on Fes-specific artistry. The museum houses some of the finest examples of Fassi craftsmanship, making it a must-see in Fes for anyone interested in local culture. Whether it’s the vibrant hues of the ceramics or the delicate calligraphy in ancient manuscripts, each piece tells a story of the city’s bygone eras.

Next time you’re looking for unique things to do in Fes, make sure a visit to Dar Batha Museum is on your radar. It’s a narrative woven through the threads of time and talent.

5. Ancient Tanneries

One of the coolest activities to engage in when you’re in Fes is a visit to the ancient tanneries. The tanneries in Fes have been operating in much the same way for hundreds of years, and it’s a sight to behold.

The first thing that hits you is the smell—pungent, earthy, and entirely unforgettable. But don’t let that deter you. The tanneries offer a distinctive glimpse into an age-old craft that has defined Fes for centuries. Men stand waist-deep in stone wells filled with dyes, meticulously treating and coloring leather as their ancestors did.

A must-try activity in Fes is visiting the ancient tanneries.
A must-try activity in Fes is visiting the ancient tanneries.

You’ll find yourself mesmerized by the kaleidoscope of colors, from deep indigo blues to vibrant yellows. It’s a photographer’s dream and an essential place for anyone with an appreciation for artisanal crafts. The tanneries are more than just a place; they’re a living, breathing testament to the city’s rich history.

Make sure the ancient tanneries are high on your list if you’re planning about Fes places to visit. It’s an experience that captures the essence of Fes in every sense—visually, olfactorily, and emotionally.

6. Royal Palace

Ah, the Royal Palace of Fes, or Dar el Makhzen, is one of those best places in Fes that you simply can’t afford to miss. From the moment you lay eyes on its grand golden gates, you’ll be captivated. Unfortunately, the interior isn’t open to the public, but the exterior alone is worth the trip.

The palace is a sprawling complex with a history that dates back to the 14th century. It’s not just a building; it’s a symbol of Morocco’s rich cultural heritage. The intricate tilework, the expansive courtyards, and the towering walls tell tales of dynasties past.

When considering things to do in Fes, don't miss the Royal Palace
When considering things to do in Fes, don’t miss the Royal Palace

Now, you might be thinking, “What’s so special about a palace I can’t even enter?” Well, it’s all about the atmosphere. The area surrounding the palace is a hive of activity. Local artisans sell their wares, children play in the streets, and the air is filled with the scent of Moroccan spices.

So, when you’re thinking of Fes things to do, don’t overlook the Royal Palace. It’s a feast for the eyes and a journey through time, all rolled into one. Trust me, your Instagram will thank you later.

7. Dar Tazi

Attending a Sufi music concert at Dar Tazi is a soul-stirring experience you won’t forget. In the heart of the city, Dar Tazi is a charming garden venue that hosts the Fes Festival of World Sacred Music. Even if you’re not visiting during the festival, the venue often has smaller events that are just as captivating.

The atmosphere is electric. As the sun sets, the garden transforms into a mystical space, lit by hundreds of twinkling lanterns. The air fills with the haunting melodies of Sufi music, and for a moment, you’re transported to another world. It’s not just a concert; it’s a spiritual journey.

Attending a Sufi music concert at Dar Tazi is an unforgettable, soul-stirring experience.
Attending a Sufi music concert at Dar Tazi is an unforgettable, soul-stirring experience.

What makes this experience even more special is the venue itself. Dar Tazi is surrounded by lush gardens and intricate architecture, offering a serene backdrop to the musical extravaganza. It’s a harmonious blend of nature and culture, a true reflection of Fes’s diverse heritage.

8. Café Clock

When crafting your itinerary for Fes, make sure not to miss out on exploring its vibrant culinary offerings. And what better place to start than Café Clock? This trendy café is more than just a place to grab a bite; it’s a cultural hub that offers cooking classes, storytelling sessions, and live music.

Imagine this: You walk into a beautifully restored 250-year-old courtyard house, where the aroma of freshly ground spices fills the air. You’re greeted with a menu that’s a fusion of traditional Moroccan and modern international cuisine. From camel burgers to vegetarian tagines, there’s something for everyone.

Cafe Clock offers a diverse menu, from camel burgers to vegetarian tagines, catering to every palate.
Cafe Clock offers a diverse menu, from camel burgers to vegetarian tagines, catering to every palate.

But the real treat? The cooking classes. Led by local chefs, these classes are a hands-on experience where you’ll learn to make Moroccan staples like couscous and mint tea. You’ll even get a tour of the local market to pick fresh ingredients. It’s not just about eating; it’s about understanding the culture through its flavors.

If you’re wondering where to go in Fes for an authentic culinary experience, Café Clock is your answer. It’s more than a mere meal; it’s an expedition through Morocco’s opulent culinary terrain. It’s easy to see why this is among the best Fez things to do!

9. Jardin Jnan Sbil

Ah, the allure of a lush garden in the midst of a bustling city! Jardin Jnan Sbil, formerly known as Bou Jeloud Gardens, is one of those unique places in Fes where you can escape the city’s hustle and bustle. Imagine strolling through meticulously landscaped grounds, where palm trees sway gently in the breeze and fountains add a melodious backdrop.

This is a slice of paradise that dates back to the 18th century. The garden is a blend of both Andalusian and Moorish architecture, featuring a variety of plants, both exotic and native to Morocco. Picture yourself sitting by the pond, feeding the ducks, or perhaps enjoying a quiet moment in one of the garden’s secluded corners.

Bou Jeloud Gardens in Fes is a unique escape from the city's hustle and bustle.
Bou Jeloud Gardens in Fes is a unique escape from the city’s hustle and bustle.

What sets Jardin Jnan Sbil apart is its commitment to sustainability. The garden employs eco-friendly practices, including a water recycling system that sustains its lush greenery. It’s a perfect spot for eco-conscious travelers looking for coolest activities in Fes.

10. Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts

Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts is a hidden gem that deserves a spot on your list of Fes attractions. Housed in a beautifully restored fondouk—a historic inn for traders—the museum is a treasure trove of Moroccan craftsmanship. From intricately carved chests to traditional musical instruments, the exhibits here are a testament to the skill and artistry of local artisans.

The museum itself is a work of art. The central courtyard, adorned with a stunning mosaic fountain, is a perfect example of Moroccan architecture at its finest. As you wander through the various rooms, you’ll encounter an array of wooden artifacts, each with its own story to tell.

Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts is a hidden gem that should be on your list of Fes attractions.
Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts is a hidden gem that should be on your list of Fes attractions.

But what really elevates the experience is the museum’s rooftop terrace. Offering panoramic views of the Medina, it’s the perfect place to pause and soak in the city’s ancient charm. Trust us, this is one of those unique things to do in Fes that you won’t want to miss.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply someone looking for cool destinations in Fes, the Nejjarine Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into Morocco’s rich cultural heritage.

11. Dar Zarbia

Dar Zarbia, a traditional Moroccan carpet shop is an experience that immerses you in the rich tapestry of Moroccan culture—literally! Located in the heart of the Medina, Dar Zarbia is a labyrinth of colors, patterns, and textures that will leave you spellbound.

As you step inside, you’re greeted by the warm smiles of the artisans who’ve dedicated their lives to this craft. They’ll guide you through the intricate process of carpet-making, from the initial design sketches to the final hand-knotting techniques. It’s a hands-on experience that allows you to appreciate the labor and love that go into each piece.

Dar Zarbia is a mesmerizing labyrinth of colors, patterns, and textures that captivates.
Dar Zarbia is a mesmerizing labyrinth of colors, patterns, and textures that captivates.

The real magic happens when you sit down for a traditional Moroccan tea ceremony with the shop owners. As you sip on the sweet mint tea, you’ll hear stories about the history and significance of Moroccan carpets, making your visit truly unforgettable.

12. The Scenic Routes of Fes on a Horse-Drawn Carriage

Ah, the romance of a horse-drawn carriage ride! If you’re looking for the best things to do in Fes, then this is it. Imagine being whisked away through the narrow, winding streets of the Medina, the clip-clop of hooves echoing on the cobblestones. It’s like stepping into a time machine, only this one is adorned with plush velvet seats and intricate wooden carvings.

Your journey starts at the Place Boujloud, where you’ll find a lineup of carriages waiting to take you on an unforgettable adventure. The drivers, dressed in traditional Moroccan attire, are not just skilled at navigating the labyrinthine streets but are also fountains of local knowledge. They’ll point out hidden gems and historical landmarks, adding layers of context to your ride.

Experience the romance of a horse-drawn carriage ride! It's one of the best things to do in Fes.
Experience the romance of a horse-drawn carriage ride! It’s one of the best things to do in Fes.

As you pass through the Bab Mahrouk, an ancient city gate, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of Fes that are simply breathtaking. The carriage will then take you through the Jewish Quarter, or Mellah, where you can marvel at the rare architecture that tells tales of a diverse cultural history.

So, when you’re considering Fes places to visit, don’t overlook this charming experience. It’s the perfect way to see the city from a different perspective, and it’s an activity that will make your trip to Fes truly memorable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Best Things to Do in Fes

Looking for more content on the top things to do in Fes? Here are some popular questions (and answers) I get that will help you plan your trip to Fes:

What’s the best time to visit Fes?

The best time to visit Fes, Morocco, is during the spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) when the weather is pleasant and temperatures are moderate. This allows you to explore the city’s rich history and culture comfortably without the extreme heat or cold of summer and winter.

Fez, often considered the cultural and spiritual heart of Morocco, enjoys immense popularity for a variety of compelling reasons:

  • Historical Significance: Founded in the 8th century, Fez is one of the oldest cities in Morocco and has been the country’s capital at various points in history.
  • Medina of Fez: The city’s ancient medina, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is one of the largest and best-preserved medieval Islamic cities in the world. Its labyrinthine alleys, bustling souks, and historic buildings offer a glimpse into a bygone era.
  • Spiritual Importance: Fez is a significant religious center with numerous mosques, Islamic schools, and the famous Al-Qarawiyyin University, considered the oldest existing educational institution in the world.
  • Architectural Marvels: The city is renowned for its stunning Islamic architecture, including intricate tile work, carved wooden details, and grand archways, as seen in buildings like the Bou Inania Madrasa and Dar Batha Museum.
  • Artisan Crafts: Fez is a hub for traditional Moroccan crafts, including leatherwork, ceramics, and metalwork. The city’s tanneries, where leather is dyed in an array of vibrant colors, are particularly famous.
  • Culinary Delights: The city offers a rich culinary scene that reflects its cultural diversity. From traditional tagines to street food like maakouda (potato fritters), Fez is a food lover’s paradise.
  • Cultural Festivals: Fez hosts several annual events, such as the Fez Festival of World Sacred Music, which attract international visitors and showcase the city’s cultural richness.

Is Fes safe for tourists?

Yes, Fes is generally considered safe for tourists. However, like any destination, it’s important to take standard precautions. Stay in well-traveled areas, be cautious of pickpocketing, and respect local customs. It’s advisable to check travel advisories and consult recent reviews for the latest safety information before your trip.

How many days do I need in Fes?

To experience Fes thoroughly, plan for at least 2 to 3 days. This allows you to explore the labyrinthine medina, visit historic sites like the Bou Inania Madrasa and Al-Attarine Madrasa, and immerse yourself in the city’s vibrant culture and cuisine. Additional days can help you delve deeper into its uniqueness.

Visit Fes, Morocco, in spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) for pleasant weather with moderate temperatures, making it an ideal time.
Visit Fes, Morocco, in spring (March-May) and fall (September-November) for pleasant weather with moderate temperatures, making it an ideal time.

Can I drink tap water in Fes?

In Fes, it’s generally recommended to avoid drinking tap water. Stick to bottled water to prevent potential health issues. This precaution applies to most places in Morocco. It’s wise to also use bottled water for brushing teeth and washing fruits and vegetables to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

What’s the local cuisine like in Fes?

Fes offers a rich culinary experience. Traditional Moroccan dishes like tagine (slow-cooked stews), couscous, and pastilla (a savory pie) are prominent. Try local street food like bissara (bean soup) and harira (soup), and indulge in sweets like pastries and nougat. The city’s cuisine showcases a blend of flavors and influences.

Is Fes worth visiting?

Absolutely, Fes is a must-visit destination for anyone intrigued by history, culture, and architecture. It’s a living museum, offering a glimpse into medieval Islamic life. From the bustling medinas to the intricate zellige tilework, Fes captivates your senses and offers an unparalleled Moroccan experience. It’s a journey back in time you won’t want to miss.

What is the #1 tourist attraction in Fes?

The medina of Fes is the top tourist attraction. A UNESCO World Heritage site, its labyrinthine streets, historic architecture, bustling souks, and cultural richness draw visitors. The medina also houses notable landmarks like Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University, making it the heart of Fes’s charm and heritage.

Concluding Thoughts on Visiting Fes

There you have it, folks! A comprehensive guide to the best places to go in Fes that promises an unforgettable Moroccan escapade. From the labyrinthine alleys of the Medina to the soul-stirring Sufi music, Fes is a city that captivates your senses and leaves an indelible mark on your soul. It’s no wonder this is a top destination in Africa!

Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or someone simply looking to immerse yourself in a new culture, Fes has something for everyone. So why wait? Pack your bags, book that ticket, and get ready to explore this Moroccan gem that’s as timeless as it is modern.

Remember, the real magic of Fes lies in its ability to transport you to a different era while keeping one foot firmly in the present. It’s a city where tradition and modernity coexist in a beautiful, harmonious blend, making it a must-see in Fes for any traveler.

So, go ahead, let Fes enchant you. You won’t regret it.

the top things to do in Fes for all types of travelers
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