Weird Welcome in FEZ.
2 Morrocan guys were standing Head-to-Head in front of us. Screaming like everybody was watching. Adrian was looking at me and we both knew the guy with the blue t-shirt would punch the other one now…
The first steps in FEZ. We were looking for a taxi to go from the bus station to the Medina. The taxi drivers jumped on us and started screaming. There were literally starting a fight just because they both wanted to drive us. The thing is – one of this guys was actually a private driver who is charging 3 times more…
We wanted to share a small taxi with two other girls we’ve met on the bus. In Morocco, all petit taxi just take 3 people max. Since we were 4 we needed to split up.
So we got another petit taxi, we agreed with the driver to pay 30 MAD (even though it shouldn’t be more than 20MAD), and this cab driver asked us to pay 40 MAD because he didn’t understand our location! Didn’t make sense but…
Again, what can we do?
Now let’s start with the beautiful things about FEZ!
The city of Fez – Morocco’s third largest city – was founded in the 9th century and is now home to over one million people. The city has a distinct traditional character, especially the medina called Fes el-Bali.
Fes el-Bali is a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1891 (yap!) when you come inside you straight away understand why. It ranks among Morocco’s best-preserved cities, with tiny dusty streets, mosques, fountains, markets… Fes el-Bali is also the world’s largest car-free urban area. You come across donkeys carrying all the supplies…
WHAT TO DO IN FEZ
> Wander Through The Medina
The Medina can be a real labyrinth. Spices, fruits, leather bags, jewelry, Babouches (slippers), carpets… you can find everything in the Medina of FEZ. Don’t be shy to haggle! That’s how it’s working here in Morocco.
PS: If you REALLY need to find your way, we do recommend to use Maps.me, the app was working pretty good, “even in the darkest streets of the medina” – no I mean it’s working offline as well. So you just download the map before and then your good to go 😉
> Chouara Tannery
There are three tanneries in the Medina of FEZ, Chouara Tannery is the biggest.
Enter a leather shop to get a nice view over the tannery. As you head up, they give you sprigs of mint to place under your nose, this helps you “against the bad smell”. I actually didn’t use it, it was not a strong smell for me! Weird 🙂 Maybe because the tannery wasn’t busy due to the Eid holidays (holidays after Ramadan) in Morocco.
You do not need a guide to visit the tannery and usually, the visit is free of charge. You even can walk between the vats but the guys around the tannery were so “annoying” that we only watched it from a viewpoint.
Did you know that they first passed the animal skin though vats of cow urine and pigeon poop? And then they use natural colors to dye the skin: indigo for blue, poppy flower for red, henna for orange, cedarwood for brown, mint for green…
> The Impressive Gates
Bab Boujeloud (the Blue Gate) and Bab Rcif (R’cif Gate) and are two famous entrances of Fes El-Bali.
At night, families are meeting at the Rcif place, women are mainly sitting on the benches while the kids are playing and running around everywhere. This place is also a good spot for trying some street food.
> Merenid Tombs
Guys, this is THE Perfect spot to watch the sunset! These 14th-century tombs are mostly ruins but the view over the Medina is just gorgeous! It’s also a perfect spot to realize how big the Medina is. Do not miss it 😉
> Walk into the Jnan Sbil Garden
The garden Jnan Sbil is a perfect gateway when you need a break from the busy Medina. It’s so calm and relaxing, enjoy trees, shade, and calmness. The cats love hanging out here…
> Go to the Barber (For Guys Only ha)
We came across this hairdresser a few times, Adrian really wanted to go to the barber! So he did it 😉 The guys told us earlier “pay what you want”, so we gave 50 MAD (less than 5 euros!) Can you imagine?! In Germany or France, it would be at least 30 euros! Usually a local pays about 30 MAD for haircut and beard shaving.
WHERE TO EAT
> Restaurant Le Tarbouche.
We do recommend to eat the restaurant “Le Tarbouche”. The staff is very friendly and the food is so good that we ate there 3 times! The Moroccan salad is seasoned with taste, the curry chicken burger is really tasty, the chimichanga is delicious and so on! Prices are also very affordable, 2 meals for 2 people (drinks included) we paid about 120MAD. Perfect!
The restaurant is located rue Talaa Kebira (see map here).
See the TripAdvisor Profile here.
> Nagham Cafe is located at the Blue Gate (49, Place Iscesco Kasbat Boujloud). We tried the vegetarian couscous and a chicken meal (served with fries, rice, and salad). With 2 drinks we paid 135MAD, which is a pretty good price. This restaurant is also a good place to have a drink, it has a really nice view over the Medina.
See the TripAdvisor Profile here.
> Try The Street Food.
At night the place R’cif is very lovely. The locals meet there to eat, talk, children play everywhere, it’s nice to watch.
We also liked to try the street food, the “Moroccan Döner/Kebab” doesn’t cost more than 20 MAD.
We bought a big bag full of nuts (almonds, nuts, and cashew nuts) for 50 MAD (probably too expensive for Morocco, but still an unbeatable price for us), the kind of “nougat” is also delicious, you can get a big portion for 10 MAD, and the fruits are so cheap! We bought a half kilo of nectarines and of strawberries for 5 MAD (less than 50 cents)!
DO NOT EAT HERE
> Restaurant Rcif (I’m not sure 100% about the name, but it’s located outside of the Medina, next to the Gate Rcif) – But anyway the food wasn’t too bad but it was definitely too expensive for the quality and the service!
They do have a bakery, the bread is really good though! And the pastries look delicious 😉
So- if you’re traveling on a budget, do not eat there, just take away some sweets 🙂
> Casa Aya Medina
Casa Aya Medina is a beautiful Riad located in the western end of the medina, at a walking distance between the main shopping pedestrian street, and Bab Ain Azliten, one of the entrance gates through the old city. We spend one night in this guesthouse. The decoration is really charming, and the breakfast served with the Moroccan crepes, yogurt, coffee (as much as you want, and this is something I love!) fresh pressed orange juice, was perfect! The only bad point was the bed sheets which were really old!
> Riad Sunrise
We couldn’t have asked for a better stay at Riad Sunrise! We stayed there for 3 nights. The Riad is just gorgeous! The roof terrasse offers an incredible view over the Medina of Fez. The breakfast is also really good, Moroccan cakes, bread, and crepes served with tea, coffee, and orange juice. Beautiful Moroccan decoration, friendly staff, perfect location in the Medina, we loved it!
See the Facebook Page of Riad Sunrise here.
HOW TO GET AROUND FEZ?
We came from Chefchaouen to FEZ with the bus company CTM. The drive is about 4 hours and the bus ticket was 80 MAD per person.
We took the same bus company for the ride from Fez to Rabat and we paid 85 MAD per person (3 hours drive).
With a petit taxi, the ride from the Medina (Gate Rcif) to the CTM Bus station costs around 20 MAD.
HOW LONG TO STAY IN FEZ?
3 days spend in FEZ sounds enough to explore the old city and surroundings.
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Amandine & Adrian @whynotabroad