10 Best Things To Do In Fes

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

Marrakech may often take the spotlight as Morocco’s primary destination, but for many of our travelers, Fes holds a special place in their hearts, making it a tough choice between the two. With a population of just over one million residents, Fes is one of Morocco’s largest cities, with a history dating back to the 9th century.

What truly sets Fes apart is its distinction as home to the largest medina in Morocco. In fact, prior to the 11th century, Fes was divided into two separate cities, each with its own old medina. One of these medinas, Fes el Bali, has earned the prestigious title of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Stepping into this labyrinthine old city is akin to a journey back in time, where the ambiance resonates with the echoes of centuries gone by.

Fes holds the esteemed position of being Morocco’s spiritual and cultural capital, making it a rich tapestry of history, tradition, and artistic expression. To truly savor all that this city has to offer, ample time is a necessity. Here are nine top recommendations for things to do while touring Fes, Morocco:

1: Fes el-Bali.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

Exploring Fes el-Bali, the old medina, is a captivating journey filled with an abundance of wonders to discover. To make the most of your visit, we recommend considering a day tour, during which you can experience a multitude of enchanting sites. The medina is a mesmerizing maze with over 9,000 narrow streets, making the guidance of a local expert indispensable.

A guided tour through the medina unveils the intricate world of artisans practicing their crafts. You’ll have the chance to observe potters delicately hand-painting intricate designs, weavers crafting exquisite scarves and textiles, and skilled artisans shaping brass and wood into beautiful creations. This immersive experience offers a glimpse into the traditional craftsmanship that has thrived in Fes for centuries.

While wandering through the bustling marketplaces, you’ll be surrounded by a sensory extravaganza, with vibrant displays of spices, home goods, and a cornucopia of delectable foods. Your guide will narrate the history of Morocco, infusing your journey with cultural insights that add depth to your exploration.

This is also the perfect opportunity to indulge in a bit of shopping, where you might find unique treasures to take home, such as handcrafted carpets or intricately designed pottery.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

As you explore, don’t miss the opportunity to savor the flavors of the region at one of the rooftop restaurants. Here, you can sample Morocco’s famous mint tea while enjoying panoramic views of the medina.

Incorporating a guided day tour into your Fes el-Bali adventure is a surefire way to uncover the myriad facets of this historic medina, where every corner is steeped in tradition and beauty. It’s a journey that promises to be both educational and unforgettable.

2: Visit the Oldest University.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

For those with a penchant for religious history, the city of Fes is a treasure trove of remarkable heritage. In this region, you’ll find the world’s oldest continually operating university.

Established in the year 859, the University of al-Karaouine holds a prominent place in history as a leading educational and spiritual center for Muslims. The university was founded by Fatima al-Fahiri, a devout woman, and was financially supported by her inheritance from her affluent father. Fatima’s deep piety is exemplified by the story that she fasted daily until the completion of the mosque.

Having officially gained the status of a state university in 1963, the University of al-Karaouine continues to welcome students to this day. While entry to this historic institution may be restricted for non-Muslims, you can still peer inside and catch a glimpse of its resplendent interior. The university’s architecture and design are a testament to the dedication and reverence with which it was constructed.

This remarkable institution represents an enduring legacy of education and faith, providing a window into the rich religious history of Fes. Even if you cannot enter as a non-Muslim, the opportunity to observe the university from the outside is an opportunity to connect with a centuries-old tradition that has profoundly shaped the region’s cultural and spiritual landscape.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

3: The Tanneries.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

A truly unique and immersive experience for travelers in Fes is to visit the local tanneries. This distinct area of the town is a captivating blend of vibrant dyes, suspended pelts, and sizable vats filled with lye. Fes is renowned for its time-honored leather-making techniques, which have remained virtually unchanged for centuries.

For the best views of the tanneries, make your way to the local leather shops. From these vantage points, you can witness the artisans at work and gain an up-close perspective on the traditional methods employed in leather production. However, it’s important to be prepared for a degree of salesmanship, as there may be some pressure to purchase the finished goods. If you wish to explore the tanneries but are not ready to buy, it’s advisable to politely decline with a friendly demeanor.

It’s worth noting that the scent of the tanneries can be rather intense due to the nature of the tanning process. For a more comfortable experience, consider visiting in the morning when the air is fresher.

A visit to the Fes tanneries offers a glimpse into a bygone era, where age-old craftsmanship and traditions continue to thrive. It’s a sensory and visual journey that connects you with the historical and cultural significance of leather production in Fes. So, for travelers seeking a truly unique encounter, a visit to the tanneries is a must-do experience in Fes.

4: Visit the Mellah.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

Fes boasts a distinctive Jewish district within the city known as the Mellah. When you step into this quarter, you’ll immediately notice a marked change in architecture compared to the surrounding areas. The homes in the Mellah feature a unique design with numerous windows and balconies that overlook the streets, creating a picturesque and vibrant atmosphere. Additionally, the Mellah is home to a historically significant Jewish cemetery, adding to its cultural and historical importance.

Exploring the Mellah is a journey into the rich tapestry of Fes, offering a glimpse into the city’s multicultural heritage. To make the most of your visit to this historically resonant part of Fes, hiring a guide is highly recommended. A local guide can provide insightful commentary, helping you understand the cultural significance and historical context of the Mellah.

Whether you’re interested in architecture, history, or simply wish to experience the unique ambiance of this district, the Mellah is a compelling addition to your Fes itinerary. It’s a living testament to the diverse cultural fabric that has enriched Fes over the centuries, making it an essential stop for travelers with an appetite for history and culture.

5: Bou Inania Medersa.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

The Madrasa Bou Inania, with its exquisite architecture, offers a window into the rich history of the Marinid Dynasty in Morocco. Founded in the mid-1300s, this madrasa stands as a testament to the architectural achievements of the Marinid Dynasty, who once ruled the region. Notably, it holds the distinction of being the last madrasa built by the Marinids.

The Madrasa Bou Inania served a dual purpose, functioning as both a mosque and a religious institute. What makes it particularly unique is the presence of a minaret, a feature that sets it apart from other madrasas in the region. Importantly for travelers from around the world, it is one of the few religious sites in Morocco that non-Islamic guests are permitted to visit.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

Stepping inside the Madrasa Bou Inania, you’ll be captivated by the intricate mosaics that adorn its interior. These stunning mosaics are a visual feast for the eyes, showcasing the remarkable craftsmanship of the era and providing a tangible connection to the history and artistry of the Marinid Dynasty.

Visiting the Madrasa Bou Inania is not just an architectural journey but a cultural and historical one, offering travelers a chance to immerse themselves in Morocco’s rich heritage and artistic traditions. It’s a site that beckons exploration and admiration, and its open doors welcome guests to marvel at the beauty of its intricate details.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

6: Take a Cooking Class.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

If you find yourself with some extra time in Fes and a desire to delve deeper into Moroccan culture, why not consider taking a cooking class? cooking class option that allows you to learn the art of preparing an authentic Moroccan dish under the guidance of a local chef.

In this culinary adventure, you’ll not only gain hands-on experience in the kitchen but also explore the fascinating world of Moroccan cuisine. Your journey begins with a lesson on navigating the vibrant markets, where you’ll discover the secrets of selecting the freshest ingredients for your meal.

Beyond the culinary techniques, you’ll also learn about the cultural significance of food in Morocco, providing valuable insights into the customs and traditions that revolve around Moroccan cuisine.

The highlight of your cooking class is, of course, savoring the delicious dish you’ve prepared. It’s a delightful culmination of your efforts, allowing you to relish the flavors of Morocco and appreciate the authenticity of the meal.

When it comes to discovering the art of Moroccan cuisine, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team of Moroccan experts. Whether you prefer a personalized cooking session with one-on-one attention or a group experience at a renowned five-star hotel, there is a wealth of knowledge to be gained about cooking in Morocco.

Our team is here to provide you with all the information you need regarding cooking classes and cooking tours in Morocco. Whether you’re a novice in the kitchen or an experienced cook looking to hone your skills in Moroccan cuisine, we can guide you in finding the perfect culinary experience that suits your preferences and interests.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

With our expertise and local knowledge, you can embark on a culinary journey that will not only tantalize your taste buds but also deepen your understanding of Moroccan culture and traditions. For more information and to explore the diverse cooking opportunities in Morocco, simply contact our team today. We’re here to assist you in creating an unforgettable culinary adventure.

7: Tour The Museums.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

If you’re seeking a peaceful respite from the bustling streets of Fes, the city offers a selection of three main museums to explore. Each of these museums provides a unique cultural experience:

  1. Nejarine Museum of Wooden Arts and Crafts: This museum is a true gem, renowned for its impressive collection of wooden artifacts. What’s particularly captivating is the building itself, which is a masterpiece of architecture and design. Be sure to visit the rooftop café, where you can enjoy a moment of tranquility while admiring the surrounding beauty.
  2. Dar Batha Museum: Dar Batha Museum is a celebration of Fes’ traditional blue pottery, which has gained international recognition. The museum houses a splendid assortment of these distinctive ceramics, showcasing the artistry that the city is famous for. Additionally, you can explore a diverse array of other artworks that provide insights into Moroccan culture.
  3. Belghazi Museum: The Belghazi Museum is the third option for travelers with an appreciation for art. What sets this museum apart is the unique opportunity for visitors to purchase some of the art on display. This palace-like museum offers a blend of historical and contemporary works that can be a meaningful addition to your collection or a memorable souvenir.

These museums not only offer a retreat from the bustling city but also a chance to immerse yourself in the rich cultural and artistic heritage of Fes. Whether you’re captivated by intricate wooden crafts, traditional pottery, or contemporary art, these museums provide a window into the creative spirit of Morocco and the city of Fes.

8: See the Tombs.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

For one of the most breathtaking views of Fes, make your way to the Merenid Tombs, perched atop a hill just outside the city. While the tombs themselves may not be the primary attraction, the panoramic view they offer of the city below is truly unparalleled. This is a destination that should be at the top of your list when traveling through Morocco and exploring the captivating and ancient city of Fes.

The Merenid Tombs serve as a vantage point that allows you to fully appreciate the grandeur and historical richness of Fes. The cityscape unfolds before you, with its labyrinthine medina, distinctive architecture, and the mesmerizing play of light and shadow. This elevated perspective provides a unique and awe-inspiring way to connect with the soul of Fes.

This viewpoint is not to be missed, and it’s a place where you can capture the essence of the city through your lens or simply absorb the breathtaking scenery in person. It’s a reminder of the enduring history and timeless allure of Fes, a city that continues to captivate the hearts of travelers from around the world.

9: Borj Nord.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

Borj Nord, an ancient fortress in Fes, stands proudly on a hilltop, offering commanding views of the medina and the iconic Bab Boujeloud. Constructed in the late 16th century by Sultan Ahmed Al Mansour, its original purpose was to oversee the activities of the city’s inhabitants. In recent years, it has been transformed into an arms museum, opening its doors to the public in 2016.

Today, Borj Nord houses a diverse collection of approximately 5,000 weapons, artfully displayed across 13 rooms. The range of weaponry is extensive, encompassing swords, firearms, muskets, and various arms from different periods and regions of Morocco. A notable highlight is the colossal 12-tonne cannon, famously employed in the 16th-century Battle of Three Kings.

Once you’ve had your fill of admiring these historical arms from various eras, don’t miss the opportunity to ascend to the northern tower. From this elevated vantage point, you can relish one of the most spectacular panoramic views of the Fes medina. The vista is nothing short of breathtaking, offering a sweeping view that encapsulates the charm and history of this ancient city.

A visit to Borj Nord is a journey through time and an opportunity to appreciate both the military heritage of Morocco and the timeless beauty of the Fes medina. It’s an experience that combines history, culture, and stunning vistas, making it a destination that you will treasure long after you leave.

10: Take a Day Trip.

10 Best Things To Do In Fes

Fes offers a variety of enticing day trip possibilities for those seeking to enhance their Moroccan adventure.

At Altni Tours, our team is dedicated to tailoring your experience to match your specific interests and desires. Simply share your preferences with our salesperson, and they will be eager to provide personalized recommendations for your day trips in Fes. With its rich history, artistic heritage, and diverse attractions, Fes caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences.

We are committed to creating custom experiences for our travelers, ensuring that your time in Fes is not just a visit but a journey tailored to your individual preferences. If you wish to personalize your Fes experience, please don’t hesitate to inform us, and we will be delighted to craft an itinerary that aligns with your desires, guaranteeing a memorable stay in this enchanting city.

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