Fez is the religious and cultural centre of Morocco. Founded in 789 AD, its labyrinthine framework makes it one of the most interesting medinas in the country and to walk around it can become an adventure due to the thousand and one streets that form it. Of all the things to see in Morocco, this is one of my Top 5. Today I am going to tell you what are the most important things to do in Fez in 2 days.
- What To Do In Fez In 2 Days
- Fez el Bali
- Fez el Jedid
- Where do I stay in Fez?
- How do I get to Fez?
- Excursions near Fez
What To Do In Fez In 2 Days
Fez is divided into three parts: Fez el Bali, the historical centre; Fez el Jedid, the Jewish quarter and the Royal Palace area and the Ville Nouvelle, the most modern part of the city and where the train station is located.
All the places to see in Fez that I am going to talk about today are mainly in Fez el Bali, although I will say something about Fez el Jedid. I will separate it into sections according to areas, leaving for the end some possible excursions to make from the city as well as advice on accommodation and transport.
Fez el Bali
Bab Boujeloud or Blue Door
The Blue Gate is the main entrance to the Fez medina. Built in 1913, it is named after the blue tile decoration that covers it. Through it you can access one of the most lively areas of the old medina.
Bou Inania Madrasa
Bou Inania Madrasa is one of the most important madrasas in Fez, built in the 14th century. It is still in use today and allows entry to non-Muslims between 9 am and 6 pm for a price of 10 dirham. It is located near the Blue Gate.
Madrassa Al Attarine
This madrasa (place of Koranic studies) was one of the main ones in the city. Built in 1325, it is located in the area of the spice bazaar. It is one of the best preserved madrasas in Morocco.
Mausoleum (Zaouia) of Moulay Idriss
Moulay Idriss, who founded the city in 810, is the most venerated saint in the country and thousands of Muslims come here every year to worship him. Non-Muslims are not allowed to enter the building, but observing it from the door is already a visual delight due to the decoration of the place.
This mausoleum can be distinguished in the distance, in a panoramic view of the city (which I will talk about later), like the enormous green dome that stands out from the network of houses that make up the city of Fez. It is undoubtedly one of the main places to see in Fez in 2 days.
Nejarinne museum of wood arts and crafts
Near the mausoleum and on the Place Nejarinne, you will find this museum of traditional arts and crafts, an old caravanserai for merchants. The rooftop café offers a beautiful view of the medina. The entrance costs 20 dirham and is open between 10 am and 5 pm.
Streets and corners of the Medina
The most attractive thing about Fez, for me, is getting lost in the narrow streets of the old city (which won’t be very complicated, even if you don’t want to, it will happen). Every corner offers interesting images and even more people, like carvers in their workshops or traditional buildings in the medina. To get your bearings again, there is nothing simpler than asking: it is foolproof, it always works and there is no danger.
El Saffarine Square
This is a small triangular square located in the centre of the medina and you can find one of the oldest trades in Fez, that of the boilermakers. In fact, this whole area is surrounded by artisan souks, such as those of dyers and tanners.
In the lower part of Fez, right next to the river that crosses Fez and the Bab Sid L’Aouad gate. This square is a resting place after having walked through the dense network of alleys of the old square. Here you can find several street stalls and a lot of animation of children playing and locals going about their business.
One of the most typical and sought-after images of Fez is that of the Chouara tanneries. Located in the eastern part of the medina, they can usually be seen from an elevated terrace that can be accessed through the factory’s own store (for which, be prepared to receive various proposals for buying leather pieces).
The view of the tanneries is one of the most spectacular in the city, due to the combination of colours of the liquids housed in different circular tanks where the leather is treated. The least pleasant thing is the smell, for which it is advisable to carry a small nose clip. Undoubtedly, one of the classics of everything to see in Fez in 2 days.
Borj Nord is the northern part of the fortification built in the 16th century to protect the city. From this place you can see one of the best panoramic views of the city and you can also visit the Museum of Weapons. It is another place to take into account of everything there is to see in Fes in 2 days.
Not far from Borj Nord are the remains of the Merenid tombs. Here you can find the ruins of these constructions in which the members of one of the most important dynasties of the city, which reigned between the 13th and 16th centuries, rest. From the top of the hill on which this necropolis is located, you can also enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the old city of Fez.
This is one of the gates in the Fez defensive wall, located in the northern area, which gives access to one of the largest squares in the city.
Near this gate (next to the bus station) is the Bab Mahrouk cemetery, which is freely accessible and where the tombs of the Muslim population are located.
Fez el Jedid
Royal Palace of Fez, Dar el Makhzen
The royal palace of Fez is one of the largest and most important in Morocco. Built in the 14th century outside the old medina, it led to the formation of a new medina (Fez el Jedid) to meet the needs of the palace. From the palace it is only possible to see its entrance door (and, depending on the time, at a greater or lesser distance), with its green and blue colours combined with bronze.
Jewish Quarter or Mellah
The walled Jewish quarter, which arose parallel to the Royal Palace, is where the Jewish community was located, although over the centuries it became intermingled with the Moroccan population. The bazaar that can be found here is somewhat more disorderly than that of the old city, but no less interesting. Its traditional premises and more humble architecture are among the most interesting things to see in Fez in 2 days.
Where do I stay in Fez?
Most of the accommodations are located in the area near the Blue Gate, many of them riads converted to hotels and hostels. Most have both private and shared rooms and prices range from 18 to 30 euros.
If you are looking for accommodation in Fez, you can check out this link.
How do I get to Fez?
If you are already in Morocco, the easiest way is by train. From Marrakech the journey takes about 6 hours. An alternative but slower way is to use the bus. For long distances, if you manage to go with a group of people, there are the grand taxis.
By plane there are several low-cost lines operating between Europe and Fez (mainly). From the airport to the city it takes about 30 minutes by taxi. There is also a local bus service to the airport but the frequency is a bit erratic and I didn’t choose to use it.
The car is another interesting option as it gives you the freedom to stop and take pictures wherever you want (and Morocco has some spectacular places). One of my trips around Morocco was like that and it was a very, very good experience.
One of the car rental websites I usually work with (because it is the one that gives me more options in the search) is Rentalcars. You can have a look at the prices by clicking below.
Excursions near Fez
There are two places near Fez that are worth visiting, which would require perhaps one day-one and a half more, in addition to the two places in Fez. They are Meknes or Mequinez and Moulay Idriss and the ancient Roman city of Volubilis.
Meknes is one of the four imperial cities of Morocco. Its origin dates back to the 8th century, with the construction of the kasbah or fortress. Later, the city grew up around it. In 1996 it was named a World Heritage Site. The most representative places are the Lahdim square, where you can find the imposing Bab el-Mansour gate, the biggest in Morocco and North Africa. As in other Moroccan cities, its souk is another major attraction, with the added bonus that here they are not as overwhelming as in cities like Fez or Marrakech. To know more about Meknes, you can go to this entry of my friends Tragaviajes.
Moulay Idriss and Volubilis
Moulay Idriss is a small town north of Meknes where the shrine of the founder of the Idrisid dynasty is located. Nearby are the remains of Volubilis, founded in the 3rd century BC, being one of the best preserved Roman sites in North Africa.
For those who are also looking for this experience, from Fez it is possible to make excursions to the desert of Morocco, being the Erg Chebbi the closest one.
Also, from Fez you can go by bus to the blue jewel of northern Morocco, Chefchaouen.