BEST 5 THINGS TO DO IN FES:
Fes is a special city in Morocco, like a magical place! It’s recognized by UNESCO as a really important site, and it has the oldest and biggest medina in North Africa. This city used to be the capital of Morocco, and many people think it’s still the heart of the country’s culture. When you visit, go inside the old walls of the medina – it’s a bit chaotic but amazing! You’ll find spice towers, handmade crafts, bathhouses, and places where they make leather. The past feels alive here, so spend a day or two enjoying all the cool things Fes has to offer!
1. THE MEDINA OF FES:
The medina of Fes, known as Fes el Bali, is super old – it goes back to the 9th century and is the biggest in North Africa! It’s a big deal, so UNESCO calls it a World Heritage site. The cool thing is, when you stroll through the narrow lanes of the medina, you feel the ancient vibes still intact. Fes is proud to have the largest car-free area in any city globally!
But, be warned – those narrow streets can make you get lost easily. We got lost a few times ourselves! Make sure you know which signs to follow before leaving your riad or hotel. Even Google Maps might struggle in this maze. If you can, pick a hotel inside the medina to avoid problems – some gates close after 7 pm, and it can be tricky getting back to a hotel outside the walls.
2. BOUINANIA MADRASA:
The Bou Inania Madrasa is a famous old building in the middle of the medina. Built in the 14th century as a school, it’s not a school anymore, but you can check out its amazing design. Walk around its beautiful marble courtyard, see the detailed wood carvings, and admire the green mosaic tiles.
Next door, there’s a mosque with a stunning green tower that you can spot from anywhere in the medina. This madrasa is the fanciest school in the city! Make sure you don’t miss it – it’s a great thing to do in Fes. The good part is, it’s easy to find as you wander through the medina. Even if you’re not Muslim, you can go in – not all places in Fes allow that. Go early or late for a quiet visit; we went around 4 PM, and it was almost empty!
Don’t miss the famous Fes tanneries – they’re world-renowned! Picture lots of pits with different-colored dye, all used to color animal skins. It’s a unique part of Fes culture and a must-see in Morocco. Just a heads up, the smell is strong!
Locals might offer “free mint” to help, but we’ve heard of people paying later. So, it’s a good idea to bring your own mint or a scarf. If the smell is too much, find a nearby roof terrace for a high-up view of the tanneries – a different way to experience it.
4. KAIRAOUINE UNIVERSITY:
The Kairaouine Mosque is super old – it’s considered the world’s oldest university and the second-largest mosque in Morocco. It’s a big deal in Fes, especially for the religious folks, so only Muslims can go inside.
Even though tourists can’t enter, you can peek through some entrance gates. Check out the beautiful marble courtyard, fountains, arches, tiles, and carvings. You might catch a glimpse of people praying in this ancient building that’s still a working university!
5. AL ATTARINE UNIVERSITY:
This small madrassa is a hidden gem – its beauty goes beyond its size. The courtyard at the center is lovely, adorned with geometric tiles on the walls and floor. The intricately carved wooden doors transport you to medieval Morocco.
Don’t miss the stunning minaret above! This tranquil spot, not far from the Kairaouine Mosque and Chouara leather tannery, is a great escape in bustling Fes. It’s a fantastic thing to do if you have time! The madrassa is open from 8 AM to 6 PM (always check for religious holidays and events, as times may change). Entrance is 20 Dhs (2 USD).