Fez is the second-largest populated city in Morocco, with only Casablanca having a larger population. Making it larger than Marrakech and the capital city of Rabat.
Making it busier.
I’m not going to try and play it down. Fez medina is chaotic. You thought Marrakech was busy? Wait until you experience what Fez has to offer.
Despite the initial sensory overload that you inevitably experience in Fez, the city has a lot of fascinating places to explore.
Why Fez, Morocco?
There are a number of reasons why you might want to visit Fez, Morocco. I’m going to explore some of the main reasons in detail in this blog post, however, I will give you a few quick reasons why you might want to consider Fez for your next trip.
- Fez medina is the largest medina in north Africa.
- The oldest university in the world is located in Fez.
- It is considered the gateway to Africa from many European countries (due to its northern location in Morocco).
Getting To Fez
Flights To Fez From Europe
Direct flights to Fez run regularly from many European countries including France, Spain, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands.
The majority of these flights are operated by popular European budget airlines Ryanair and Easyjet.
If you’re flying in from Europe and you don’t have the option of flying direct to Fez, you will find that there are many connecting flights to Fez from most cities in Morocco.
If you’re heading to Fez from Marrakech then you can easily hop on a train that will cost 190dh and will have you in Fez in approximately 6 hours 34 minutes… unless your train breaks down as mine did.
There are numerous trains that operate this route throughout the day. Personally, I would recommend paying an extra 50-60dh to get a seat in first class.
Considering the journey time and extra comfort and privacy you get in first class, it is definitely worth it in my opinion.
From Casablanca Or Rabat
Both Casablanca and Rabat are on the train route from Marrakech.
Casablanca to Fez costs 130dh and takes approximately 4 hours 2 minutes.
Rabat to Fez costs 100dh and takes approximately 3 hours and 5 minutes.
You can also catch a bus from either Casablanca or Rabat to Fez, however, it takes considerably longer and there is no difference in cost.
From The Sahara Desert
Most tours to the Merzouga desert originate in either Marrakech or Fez. Both options face a long bus journey (560km and 480km retrospectively).
However, most trips to Morocco include a tour to the Merzouga desert. Meaning the majority of tours will offer transport to/from Marrakech or Fez. You can even start in Marrakech and finish in Fez.
Independent Moroccan bus companies will also run buses to/from Fez from the Merzouga desert. However, expect a 12+ hour journey time.
Where To Stay In Fez, Morocco
Backhome Hostel Fez
During my 3 night stay in Fez, I stayed at a hostel in the city centre. ‘Backhome Fez’, in my opinion, was a good place to stay in Fez. I stayed in an 8-bed mixed dorm room for £5 per night.
The hostel was empty. I was the only person staying there, despite the incredible reviews on both google and hostelworld.
The guys who worked in the hostel were great guys, they even gave me a free tour of Fez in their car.
The hostel provided free breakfast at 9 am and a bathroom in the dorm room.
However, the reason I said this hostel was good and nothing better than that was its location.
The location in reference to the medina was perfect.
the bad side of fez
However, the hostel is down a dark narrow alley.
There is nothing else down there apart from the hostel and what can only be described as a clown who calls himself “Pablo”. His name was Muhammed because I asked his dopey big brother what his actual name was.
These two clowns try and intimidate anyone who walks down the alleyway, he even pulled out a blade to show me “he is a big gang man, like the real Pablo”… his words, not mine.
When you read reviews online you will notice other people mention this, which can be incredibly off-putting for a solo traveller or women.
There is actually a suggestion online that there a lot of fake positive reviews about the place to drown out the negative ones.
I personally really enjoyed my stay, however, you may want to consider somewhere else if you don’t feel comfortable with the situation I described.
What To Do In Fez
Explore The Largest Medina In North Africa
As mentioned at the beginning of the post, Fez is home to the largest medina in north Africa (and potentially in the world but that is still debated).
The medina has over 9,000 narrow streets that are all contained within the medina wall that runs around the entire perimeter.
The medina is home to many shops, cafes, Mosques, riads and incredibly the oldest university in the world (University of Al-Karaouine).
Check Out The Worlds Oldest University
If you’re a non-Muslim, you won’t be able to enter the university as it also a Mosque. However, you can stand outside and admire the architecture.
Even though you might not be able to enter the grounds, it is still an amazing feeling to know you are at the location of the oldest university in the world.
Get High… Above The City, At The Fez Viewpoint
The viewpoint in Fez is one of the less known areas for tourists. Mainly because of its location. It’s located a 50-minute walk away from the blue gate of Fez. The majority of tourists won’t visit due to its distance away and it is located outside the walls of the medina.
Most tourists stay within the walls of the Fez medina.
However, if you can get a taxi ride there or fancy a walk then I highly recommend a visit as the viewpoint offers stunning views over the medina.
Have A Tour Of The Famous Tanneries
The tanneries in Fez are some of the most well known and oldest in the world.
Given that, there are a lot of young lads who hang around in this area offering “tours”.
Yes, you will get a tour off them, however, it will likely be through a family-run shop that suddenly locks its doors once you’ve entered and won’t let you leave until you buy something.
For some strange reason, the price of items usually jumps up by 300-500%l… interesting.
If you haven’t figured out by now, my sarcasm is telling you not to take one of these “tours”. They’re a scam.
Instead, ask a local who you trust, whether that be your riad owner or a coffee shop worker.
I was fortunate enough to get a free tour from my hostel. They took me to a shop that had a rooftop overlooking the tanneries.
When I asked the shop owner how to find his shop so I could tell you guys he said “number 14, simple as that”.
So apparently that should help you.
Fez isn’t everyone’s cup of Moroccan tea.
Most people will say you either love it or hate it.
I disagree. I wouldn’t say I love it, but I also wouldn’t say I hated it.
Personally, I enjoyed my time there and I’m glad I got to experience some of the oldest and most famous landmarks in Morocco.
However, I could understand if it is seen as “too much” for some travellers, as the medina is very intense.
Hey! I’m Aaron Jarvis. I’m a budget backpacker and online content creator.
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