Fes – The Oldest City In Morocco. Useful Travel Tips.

Fes is located in the northeastern part of Morocco and is considered by many the cultural capital of the country, the second largest with a population of over one million people; it is surrounded by hills it is centered around the Fez River. 

Ever since its founding in the 8th and 9th centuries, it has been a significant cultural and political settlement. Nowadays, the city is formed of two medina quarters, Fes el-Bali and Fes Jdid, and the modern urban area founded in the French colonial era. 

If you’re planning on visiting Fes anytime soon, and also have a taste for historical sites and buildings, there are a lot of things to do and see in this wonderful city. 

How many days to spend in Fes?

You should spend at least three to four days in Fes to be able to explore everything it has to offer. From delicious food places to stores, shopping centers, ancient sites, or just relaxing by the pool, give yourself some time to fully immerse in its amazing culture. 

What time of the year is best for visiting?

The best time to go to Fes is between the months of April and October, as those are the warmest months (and very popular for tourists). July is the driest month, and February and March-the rainiest. I don’t mind the heat, in fact, I love warm weather so I didn’t have a problem visiting in August, but you should book your trip according to your weather preferences. 

Where to eat in Fes?

As much as I like fancy restaurants, when I travel I always prefer to eat in small, local places such as little corner restaurants in the medina or food stalls. It’s much more cost-effective, you are maybe helping a family to stay in business, and you will have more of the taste of homemade traditional Moroccan dishes. The food in the food stalls is generally fresh and safe, but it’s always good to be careful.

How to get around?

-Taxi: a very popular way to explore the city is by hiring a taxi to take you to places

-Bus: using public transportation is a great way of fully living the experience in Fes

-Rent a car: car rentals will cost you up to 100 MAD per day

Is it safe?

Fes is generally safe but doesn’t hurt to be careful. Always watch your bags and belongings, don’t wear too much jewelry, and don’t wear excessive outfits. It is a modest culture and you don’t want to attract too much attention. Also, pickpockets are real and there might be people who want to get something from you, but as long as you remain respectful and mind your business, there shouldn’t be any problems. 

How to dress in Fes?

I’m sure a lot of people ask themselves this question, women especially. It is encouraged to cover your knees and shoulders, but I was wearing short-above-the-knee dresses and didn’t have any issues. There are a lot of tourists and it’s acceptable to dress differently than the locals. If you want to visit a mosque, however, they will provide you with a full body covering inside of it. 

How expensive is it?

Depending on which country are you visiting from and what is your currency, Fes is generally cheap. You can find amazing deals for restaurants and accommodation way less than you would find in different parts of the world, such as Canada or the US. Try to book ahead of time, since it’s always a good chance to find something affordable. 

Tip:  almost everything in Fes is negotiable, that’s why in the medina shops the prices are not always posted on the items. So make sure you have your negotiation skills ready! The vendors might want to sell you different items, so don’t ask too many questions or spend too much time if you’re not planning to buy the item you’re inquiring about. 

My experience:

I loved visiting Fes. I felt as if I was exploring an ancient culture and site, like a world that stays the same, faithful and true to its origins and ways of being and living. Not so many places stay unchanged, especially with all the development that goes on in every part of the world. 

We actually visited an underground shop that was selling beautiful plates and cups, hand-crafted and painted, that was built in the 1500s, but most of them are even older than that since the medina was the place from where the city expanded. I felt as if I was going back in time. 

When you go to the Medina in Fes, you feel like some things don’t need a shift, and that we can still be witnesses to a world that has existed since history was still being written down. Happy traveling, friends!

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