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Fes Travel Guide

About Fes

Bordered by the foothills of the Atlas Mountains and located on the crossroads of ancient caravan routes, Fès (also spelt Fez) is one of the world's best-preserved medieval cities. Over 1,000 years old, this hub of 1 million people is the most ancient and impressive of Morocco's four imperial cities.

While Fès has three distinct parts, most tourists stick to the walled-in medina of Fès el-Bali (Old Fès). This UNESCO World Heritage site is a labyrinth of narrow and twisty high walled alleys where getting lost is all part of the experience. Here, donkeys and bicycles jostle for space on cobblestone lanes where stall vendors beckon you to venture into their cupboard-sized shops.

Be sure to peruse some of the many markets full of dried fruit, leather goods, ceramics, textiles and pottery. Nearly everything is made by hand within yards of the shops – you'll see the one-room workshops crammed into the slender streets, with craftsmen toiling away inside them from morning until night.

South of the medina, Fès el-Jedid is the 13th-century 'new' town built by the Merenid rulers. Today, their Royal Palace is still occasionally used as a residence by the King of Morocco. The area is also home to the Jewish quarter of the Mellah, which has a distinct architectural style, with tall houses rimmed by ornamented balconies looking down onto the streets.

The Ville Nouvelle is the city's modern centre, where wide tree-lined boulevards speak to the early 20th century French presence. This is prime cafe territory and a good place to come if the tight weave of the medina's lanes are beginning to grind you down. When you've rejuvenated with a mint tea, the medina will draw you back into its folds—wander down skinny alleys where the scent of freshly cooked tagines wafts in the breeze and the beguiling call to prayer echoes out over the high walls.

Key facts

A digital image at https://illuminoto.com

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City Highlight: Fès (or Fez)

Bustling markets, vibrant history, and the walled-in medina of Fès el-Bali make Fez a prime spot for adventure-seeking travellers

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Featured Hotels


Riad Fès

This sumptuous property offers rooms and suites with traditional furnishings, zellig floors, plaster-decorated walls, and exquisite Moroccan fabrics. There is an amazing rooftop bar, plunge pool, restaurant and spa plus fabulous views of the medina and Atlas Mountains. This is a fantastic place to envelop yourself in old world opulence.

Riad Tizwa

This inviting and cosy riad offers homely touches such as coffee delivered to your door each morning and breakfast served at any time of the day. There’s a large roof terrace to slouch out on after exploring the dusty souks and the staff go out of their way to help.

Dar Seffarine

Behind high walls and a discrete doorway in the oldest part of the medina is Dar Seffarine, a beautifully renovated 750-year-old riad that has been restored to its former glory. Guests here are treated like long-lost friends by the sociable owners, who host evening drinks and organise nightly dinners.

Riad Salam Fes

This gorgeously restored riad in the center of the medina offers luxury and charm at a fair price. Rooms are individualised and elegantly decorated, and the food is a must-try. Head up to the rooftop patio for a beautiful view.

Dar Fes Medina

A ten-minute walk from the main door of the medina, this guesthouse is a step outside the central hustle and bustle, but the charm of the architecture, gardens, and home-cooked food make a stay well worth it. The hotel staff are eager to make travellers comfortable and help them navigate Fes—and is always ready to share their tasty mint tea and cookies. 

Dar Finn

Moroccan craftsmanship meets minimalist contemporary styling at Dar Finn, where the light-filled rooms come with stained glass windows, gorgeous original tile floors, and dinky balconies overlooking the internal courtyard. A rooftop bar, plunge pool and shaded garden make this riad an oasis within the medina.