Top Things to Do in Fes, Morocco
Located on the crossroads of country’s some of the most exotic tourist locations, Fes offers a long list of must-see attractions. There are century-old shopping centers called the medina and crumbling relics of Merenid tombs.
Touring the city becomes easy with a range of conveyance options. You take a public transport or rent a private vehicle to go about the exquisite sites of Fes.
We have enlisted some of the must-visit attractions and things you can do in the city and created this guide of 21 top things to do in Fes. The guide is based on the feedback of more than 1750 return travelers who have visited the city more than once.
This list is updated quarterly.
The Oldest University in The World
Fes is the home to world’s oldest existing, operating, and first ever degree-awarding educational institution, the University of Al Quaraouiyine. Founded by Fatima al-Fihri in 859 AD, the university reflects the century-old Moroccan architecture. This prestigious center of science and technology is also one of the largest in North Africa and has one of the world’s oldest libraries in the world. The collection of around 4,000 manuscripts, 9th century Qur’an and the earliest of hadiths makes the library a must-visit place.
Chaouwara Tanneries of Fes is one of the most iconic sights in all of Morocco that offers its visitors an elusive insight of the process of producing leather with the help of medieval-age methods. The place has a pungent smell that can quickly be associated with leather and color dye. The tanneries went a year-long restoration from 2015-16 without upsetting the ancient look and ambience of the venue. The best time to visit Chaouwara Tanneries is in the morning.
Stroll through the Fez, Medina
A leisure rumble across this century-old market of Fes feels like taking walk through 1,300 years of Moroccan legacy. There are vendors and artisans lined up in the narrow streets filled with locals and tourists. Amid the market’s crowd and small shops are café, ancient mosques, madrasas, and architectural gems exemplary of Islamic style that you can feast your eyes on.
Borj Nord Arms Museum and the Merenid Tombs
Borj Nord or Burj al-Shamal is a fort in the city that was modeled after the Portuguese Forts in the 16th century and is a fabulous example of military architecture. Today the fort is open to its visitors as Museum of Arms. A short hike on a hill from the museum and you will reach the Merenid Tombs. The crumbling sight of tombs is also a famous lookout point over the city.
A beautiful landscape with olive groves and wild lavender, the Mount Zalagh is a tranquil place to take a stroll. Away from the noisy city and over-crowded lanes, this place is a perfect picnic spot to spend time with friends and family. A short trek will take you to the verdant forests and olive orchards. Walk a little further and you will be able to see the traditional berber adobe.
Located in the Medina, near the Al-Qarawiyyin, this madrasa is an existing educational institute dating 1323-5. It is open for the non-Muslims and in case there is a guard, it also offers a sneak-peak into the student quarters upstairs, upon request. These 1,000 year-old madrasa has stunning elaborate interior that is worth a visit.
Dar Batha Museum
Built in 19th century near the old university in the medina, this museum is a treasure box holding traditional artefacts, collection of ceramics and much more.
Medersa Bou Inania
Another ancient old madrasa in the Medina, Medersa Bou Inania has splendid and elaborate interior. Founded in 1351–56 AD, this madrasa is known for its lovely Marinid architecture.
From pottery to mosaic art, Art Naji brings forth the traditional Moroccan craftsmanship. Popular for the Zellij craft, the place is a gateway into the years-old art and craft of the city of Fes.
Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts
A restored former fondouk, this museum is an 18th century building transformed into a museum of art and craft. You can go here to marvel at the artefacts including craftsmen’s tools, prayer beads, ancient chests, and musical instruments.
As mysterious as its name, this garden is nothing conventional. It belongs to the riad Idrissy and holds the remnants and legacy of the merchants who left the city during the last century. There are many café and food hubs in the garden to savor the Moroccan taste. Its lovely weather makes the garden an excellent place for a walk.
Jnan Sbil (Bou Jeloud Gardens)
These verdant and lush gardens are like breath of fresh air away from the dusty and sandy winds of the desert. As old as a century, this place is filled with flower-beds, trees, bird-filled lake, and fountains. There is also a lounge in the garden beside the lake.
Henna Souk is one of the oldest marketplace in the Medina. Located near in Talaa Kebira, this souk is crowded with shops selling ceramics and traditional cosmetics, including henna.
Shop for Moroccan Carpets
Moroccan carpets are famous for their handmade intricate designs and colorful finish that reflects the old history of the place. There are several shops across the medina, and the city in general from where you can by the Moroccan carpets.
Tazekka National Park and Taza
Founded in the year 1950, this Tazekka National Park has a wide variety of African flora and fauna including the North African boars, porcupines, small-spotted genets, hares, red foxes, barbary leopards, and Algerian wolves. At a little distance from the park is the city of Taza. It occupies the corridor between Rif and Middle range of the Atlas Mountains. The city is a host to Great Mosque and the enlivening Grain Market and the Souks of jewelry and tapestry.
Day Trip to The Charming Sefrou
Sefrou is a charming town known for its annual Cherry Festival. This small Berber town is just 30 km of Fes that once hosted Morocco’s largest Jewish communities. The place has several attractive sights that you can visit. The medina, waterfalls, Mellah, and garden of Al Kanatir Al Khairia are some of them.
Day Trip to The Nomad Caves (Bhalil)
Dive into the nomadic caves of Bhalil and dwell into their 4th century ambiance to go back in time. If you go a little further, you will witness some of the villagers using some of the caves as their primary rooms.
Moulay Yacoub Station Thermale & Spa
Just 25 minutes from Fes is the Moulay Yacoub Station Thermale & Spa center which allows you to trek, largest medina of Morocco, the Royal Golf of Fes and even the ski resort of Ifrane.
Cooking Class at Café Clock
Located in the heart of Fes, Café Clock is a socializing hub where the locals mingle with the tourists. The café organizes cooking courses where you can learn the recipes of some of the delicious authentic Moroccan dishes including the famous Tajine.
Fes Festival of World Sacred Music
Organized in the month of June, the Festival of World Sacred Music brings to you the spiritual rhythms and hymns from around the world. It is a 10-day celebration that was started by Moroccan scholar and philanthropist Faouzi Skali in 1994. Art and film exhibition, Sufi nights, and excursions to Roman ruins of Volubilis is a part of this festival.
Mellah (Jewish Quarter)
Inhabited by 3,000 remaining Jews in Morocco, the old structures in the Jewish Quarter brings the history of Jews in Morocco back to life. House with large windows and open balconies create loud contrast against the small windows and closed balconies of Muslim houses.