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How to Make the Most of Two Days in Fes

How to Spend Two Days in Fes

Fes in northern Morocco is an exhilarating place. The old city is made up of 9000 tiny streets, creating a huge labyrinth. Even locals get lost there! Don’t expect to have a relaxing getaway in Fes. Expect more of a buzzing atmosphere. Fes keeps you on your toes and opens your eyes to a whole new way of life. Unless you thrive in chaotic cities, two days in Fes is plenty.

In all honesty, I wasn’t prepared enough for Fes. I had a pretty dangerous and scary experience with an illegal tour guide. I witnessed an elderly drunk pull out a knife on a child. And I also saw three guys dangling someone head first from a story high ledge, although I still don’t know if that was a joke…

BUUUT this shouldn’t scare you off. These things only happened to me because I was NOT prepared at all. As long as you know what to do and what not do before visiting, you’ll really enjoy spending two days in Fes. Who knows, maybe you’ll even want to stay longer! In my experience, it’s all down to the individual and the trip. In any case, there are loads of cool things to do in Fes.

Getting into Fes city centre

From Fes airport, I took a taxi into the new town since I arrived in the evening and there was no sign of public transportation. Remember to always agree on a price beforehand. My taxi fare cost around 120 dirhams (£10).

For a cheaper option, either take the number 16 bus or the airport shuttle bus (20 dirhams/£1.50) to the centre of the new town. Then, you can take a red Petit Taxi into the old town. Always make sure you ask the driver to put the fare on the meter.

Where to stay in Fes

If your budget allows, book your stay in a traditional Moroccan riad. If you’re a budget traveller like me, there are plenty of riad-like hostels. I stayed in Dar Lalla Kenza and absolutely loved it. Having a Moroccan cooked breakfast on the rooftop terrace each morning was incredible.

Things to Do in Fes

Before you do anything, be prepared to get lost. I don’t think there was a moment I wasn’t lost, and it was super stressful. Don’t do what I did and just wing it. Have clear directions on a map, or even better, use Google Maps to navigate.

Also be aware of unofficial tour guides in Fes. Even the children are in on it! Many will harass tourists to agree to a tour and ask for money afterwards. I even got screamed at by an illegal tour guide for declining his offer. Learn from my mistake, and firmly say no straight away.

Once checked into your accommodation, head out into the medina.

How to Spend Two Days in Fes

Day 1

Chouara Tannery

Discover the famous 11th century Chouara Tannery where locals have dyed animal hides in huge stone wells for the past one thousand years. The smell is very pungent, so bring some mint to hold up to your nose. The tanneries are such an interesting part of Moroccan culture to see.

Tip: People will offer you “free” mint to hold to your nose, but will still ask for money afterwards. Only say yes if you’re willing to pay!

How to Spend 2 Days in Fes, Chouara Tannery

Souks

If you need to buy gifts for family and friends, walk around the souks (Arab markets). The most famous is Henna Souk. There is a range of argan oil creams, jewellery, ceramics, sweets and spices.

If it’s obvious that you’re a tourist, vendors will charge you the tourist price. Don’t be afraid to barter. It’s normal and you won’t offend them by doing so. Start off at half of the asking price and bargain from there.

Hammam

Experience a traditional hammam in the heart of Fes. In other words, get scrubbed until you feel like you’ve shed every inch of your skin. You’ll feel brand new afterwards. The most authentic experience is a public bathhouse, although men and women can’t go together. A more luxurious and tourist-friendly option is a private hammam where couples are allowed to go together. Spa Laaroussa is a popular one.

Medersa Bou Inania

Admire the beautiful architecture of Medersa Bou Inania, a 14th century theological university. Entrance cost 20 dirhams. It’s worth paying to see the walls made up of mosaics and ancient wood carvings of Qur’an scriptures.

How to Spend Two Days in Fes, Medersa Bou Inania

Photo credit: Marek Kubica via Flickr

The Blue Gate

Bab Boujloud, “the Blue Gate”, is an architectural masterpiece which marks the entrance to Fes’ old city. It makes for an amazing photo opportunity.

Jardin Jnan Sbil

Once imperial gardens, they’re now open to the public. Enjoy a peaceful break in this small oasis hidden within the giant maze of Fes.

How to Spend Two Days in Fes

Click here for Google Maps directions for your first of two days in Fes.

Day 2

Medersa el-Attarine

Pay a short visit to this old academic institute for more Islamic geometric architecture. Climb up to the rooftop to see Kairaouine Mosque & University. Entrance to the old school costs 20 dirhams.

Visit the Oldest University in the World

UNESCO claims the University of Qarawiyyin (al Karaouine) in Fes as the oldest university and library in the world. How cool is it that a woman founded this educational institution?! Nowadays, it functions as a Mosque, so you can only see the courtyard if you’re not a Muslim.

Remember to dress respectfully. People are expected to cover their shoulders and legs as well as take their shoes off. Girls should cover their head with a scarf.

Merenid Tombs

The 14th century ruin tombs are perched on a hill overlooking Fes. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset and escape the crazy city.

How to Spend 2 Days in Fes, Merenid Tombs

Borj Nord

Visit the arms museum at the fortress of Borj Nord. If museums aren’t your thing, go to the roof for a panoramic view of the ancient city. This one of the best lookout spots in Fes!

Take photos outside the Royal Palace

Unfortunately, members of the public can’t enter the palace. However, the huge walls of the palace make for amazing photos. It’s the perfect place for photographers to take shots of the seven iconic golden gates.

Jewish Quarter

If you have more time, wander the streets of Bab Mellah (the Jewish Quarter), full of Moorish architecture. Points of interest are the Aben-Danan Synagogue and Jewish cemetery. It may be more interesting to have a tour guide to tell you about the history.

How to Spend Two Days in Fes

Watch a belly dancing show

Although belly dancing is an Indian art form, it has spread to Arabic countries including Morocco. Be aware that if a tour guide offers you this kind of entertainment, it will most likely be a tourist trap. I personally didn’t go to a show. However, I’m sure there are traditional belly dancing performances in Fes if you search hard enough.

Click here for Google Maps directions for your second day in Fes.

Day trip to Azrou

If two days in Fes is too much, take a day trip to Azrou. The small town is south of Fes in between the Middle Atlas and High Atlas mountains. It only cost me 35 dirhams (£3) for a one and a half hour taxi ride!

Azrou is the perfect place to have a really traditional Moroccan meal since it’s non-touristy. There were only 5 tourists in total when I visited! Then take a 20 minute taxi ride to Cèdre Gouraud Forest, “Cedar Forest”, where you can see Barbary Apes roaming freely. Again, there are barely any tourists there, which makes the forest really peaceful.

How to Spend Two Days in Fes

I hope you find this guide for two days in Fes useful!

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How to Spend Two Days in Fes Morocco

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32 Comments

  • Reply
    Amy Poulton - Page Traveller
    September 23, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    I’ve heard such conflicting things about Morocco, but I still really want to visit. Thanks for sharing – love the photos!

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 23, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Yeah it can be a bit chaotic at times, but whatever you hear definitely shouldn’t deter you from travelling there! Thanks for reading Amy!

  • Reply
    Carmelatte
    September 23, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I would love to visit this amazing place!

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 23, 2017 at 9:35 pm

      It’s got such character, you should visit for sure!

  • Reply
    Carrie
    September 23, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Whoa, I spent three days in Fes and still missed at least half the stuff in this itinerary. I had no idea there was so much to do. I stayed in a hotel where I could climb out my window onto the roof with an amazing view of the gardens; seemed like it was the only way to enjoy them without getting hassled by fake guides!

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 24, 2017 at 3:41 pm

      Yes there is so much to do! Your hotel sounds so amazing, which one was it? Yeah the fake guides got pretty exhausting for me too! Glad I’m not the only one!

  • Reply
    Brianna
    September 25, 2017 at 1:35 am

    Morocco sounds like a really amazing, yet challenging place to visit. I keep going back and forth on whether I should visit Marrakesh or Fes. But its sounding like maybe I should just go to both places.

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 25, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      You’re right, it is challenging but definitely worth seeing! I haven’t been to Marrakesh so I can’t say but if you have time, why not go to both?! I’d recommend Chefchaouen over Fes though.

  • Reply
    Kelly // Tiny Trips & Tips
    September 26, 2017 at 10:26 am

    Hi Chloe! I write mostly about short trips on my blog, and would love for you to do a guest post on Fes if that interests you? Let me know 🙂

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 27, 2017 at 11:42 am

      Hi Kelly, thanks so much for reading and taking time to read my post on Fes. Right now, I have a huge backlog of work so I’m not currently taking on new guest posts, but I’d definitely be interested in the future. Please send an email to journeywithchloe@gmail.com for future collabs. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Claudi
    September 27, 2017 at 5:09 pm

    Fes seems to be an really interesting city. The incidents you mentioned in the beginning of your post are things that can happen to you everywhere in the world. Everywhere you go you have to be aware and vigilant. I am happy it didn´t scare you that much and glad you enjoyed your trip,

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 28, 2017 at 10:59 am

      Interesting is an understatement lol. Yes, I completely agree with you, it could happen anywhere! That’s why we always have to be street smart. In a way, it’s a good thing those incidents happened to me, because I think it always teaches you something so you can be aware in future situations. Thanks for reading Claudi!

  • Reply
    Leah
    September 27, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I’m dying! I was in Morocco for the first time in August and I didn’t get to Fes. It was on my short list, but didn’t make the final cut. Bookmarking this for my return trip to Morocco, a place I just loved.

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 28, 2017 at 10:56 am

      I’m sure you still had a great trip anyway Leah! I hope you get to go back soon, thanks for reading.

  • Reply
    Lien
    September 27, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Good selection of activities in Fes as I almost followed the exact same schedule as you 🙂 I especially loved the blue gate and souks 😀

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 28, 2017 at 10:56 am

      Haha really? Yes I loved the souks too and the blue gate is so impressive! Thanks for reading Lien!

  • Reply
    Nuraini (Teja)
    September 28, 2017 at 2:27 am

    It’s been a long while since I went to Morocco. I was there with my parents and they had a Moroccan guide throughout. I think we were mostly insulated from the chaos because we had a local person with us. I really liked the medina of Fes, and how the narrowness of the alleys and the buildings all clustered close made for a surprisingly cool microclimate when it’s so blazing hot outside the medina.

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 28, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Maybe the key is to have a local person with you then! I love how you phrased the medina as a microclimate, and I’m glad you had a good experience in Fes.

  • Reply
    Amanda Koh
    September 28, 2017 at 6:18 am

    I’ve been to Marrakech once and you’re totally right about everything! We nearly got scammed by an illegal tour guide and a policeman (not sure if legit) came and stop him. But he also tried to bring us some “legit” places so we got confused :/ but it was still an exciting cultural experience! 🙂

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 28, 2017 at 10:53 am

      It’s sad that the same thing happened to you too Amanda, it really hurts the image of for Morocco tourism… I’m glad you still had a great experience though!

  • Reply
    Jackie
    September 28, 2017 at 8:11 am

    I absolutely LOVED Fes and now you have me wanting to go back to visit! I also experienced my first hammam in Fes and it was life changing LOL. I totally missed the belly dancing show though!! A lovely excuse to have to go back!!

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 28, 2017 at 10:52 am

      I’m glad you had a great experience in Fes! It really is all down to the individual. Haha I know what you mean! Thanks for reading Jackie!

  • Reply
    Ana
    September 28, 2017 at 11:56 am

    I keep reading so many conflicting things about Morocco. However I am really looking forward in doing a trip there. But more and more I’m thinking of doing an organized tour rather than a planned trip with a friend. At least it will save me the headache with the “Youssef” of the place.

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 28, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      It is a really diverse country and it’s not really developed its tourism so that’s why you can experience bad situations with unofficial tour guides. You could do an organised tour for Morocco but I’m sure a planned trip would also be just as good as long as you’re aware of what to do and what not to do. You could even arrange an official tour guide instead of an organised tour. If you’re going to the desert, you’ll need to book a tour anyway though. Up to you!

  • Reply
    Shelbi
    September 28, 2017 at 2:18 pm

    I am obsessed with the architecture and design off all the buildings and landscaping. It is completely another world!

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 28, 2017 at 5:27 pm

      It is definitely another world! The designs are incredible!

  • Reply
    Tatum Skipper
    September 29, 2017 at 3:41 am

    I feel terrible by saying I had never even heard of Fes! At first I thought you misspelled it…oops. Anyways, I definitely know more about it now,and am in love with how beautiful it is! From the architecture to the animals haha

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 30, 2017 at 9:49 pm

      Haha there are two ways to spell it: Fes and Fez 🙂 I hadn’t heard of it before last year so don’t worry!

  • Reply
    Jasmina
    September 30, 2017 at 2:55 pm

    I vist Marroco earlier this year and loved it, what I can’t really say for my partner. He did not enjoy it at all. Reading this make me want to go again and explor more 😍 It’s just different from what we used to and I love it. Thanks for sharing x

    • Reply
      journeywithchloe
      September 30, 2017 at 9:48 pm

      Ohh why did your partner not enjoy Morocco? I’m glad you had such a good time!!

      • Reply
        Jasmina
        October 1, 2017 at 6:03 pm

        He just thought people were completely over the top, very pushy and rude when you do not buy someting from them. It did not bordered me, culture is just so different and county is very poor. I can’t wait to go back, but it will be with my friends lol xx

        • Reply
          journeywithchloe
          October 9, 2017 at 5:00 pm

          I can see why he thought that, I got the same feeling, but I also understand your point of view because the country is very poor so I see why people act like that… Enjoy your next trip to Morocco with your friends!!

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