11 Best Things To Do In Fes, Morocco

A visit to Morocco would not be complete without some fun in Fes.
It is the world's largest stone-walled city, a straggly labyrinth of narrow streets and alleys that have existed for centuries. Within its imposing walls, this lively city harbours a wealth of cultural treasures and living traditions, a testament to Morocco's rich history.
As part of our Morocco Highlights trip, you can explore Fes for a day to see ancient medinas, historic madrasas, and bustling markets.
Here are our top 11 things to do in Fez!
Fes Morocco
Welcome to Fes!

Explore the Medina of Fez

Step into the Medina of Fez, and you're stepping into the heart of Moroccan history!
Here, you can wander through a maze of alleys so narrow that no car can pass, where the air is filled with the scent of spices and the sound of craftsmen at work.
The Medina of Fez is the world's largest car-free urban zone, a UNESCO World Heritage site that has preserved the rhythm of life as it was in the 9th century.
You have plenty to see, from the ancient Chouara Tannery, operating for nearly a millennium, to the bustling souks that offer everything from exquisite textiles to handcrafted jewellery.

Snap a Selfie At Bab Boujloud

Pause for a selfie at Bab Boujloud, Fez's ornate gateway, to soak in Moroccan architectural brilliance and historical resonance.
Also known as the Blue Gate, it was erected in 1913 during the French Protectorate as the entrance to the ancient medina.
The gate blends a Moorish design with vibrant mosaics - especially the exterior that dazzles with blue tiles to symbolise the city, while the interior's green tiles reflect the colour of Islam. It is a cultural landmark and opens up easier access to the medina's main arteries, Tala'a Kebira and Tala'a Seghira.
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A colourful tannery in Fes.

Visit the Chouara Tannery

Are you a fan of leather - and leather dyeing? If so, make time to visit the Chouara Tannery.
Founded in the 11th century, this is the oldest tannery in the world. Spend some time here and you take home beautiful history and an expensive skill; what's not to like?
From a rooftop, you will observe the craft with natural dyes - indigo for blue, poppy for red, and saffron for yellow - colours that reflect centuries of Moroccan culture. You'll witness tanners using age-old techniques to produce high-quality leather goods, a craft that has defined Moroccan culture for ages.

Explore Bou Inania Madrasa

In Fes, plan to visit the Bou Inania Madrasa to discover one of Fez's architectural gems.
Built in the 14th century, this historic madrasa showcases the height of Marinid craftsmanship, including detailed woodwork, stucco, and colourful zellij tiles that adorn its interiors.
Its minaret stands out in Fez's cityscape, while each room and courtyard offers a glimpse into the past, from scholars' debates to the daily rituals of student life.
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The beautiful courtyard of Al-Qarawiyyin University in Fes.

Pass By the Al-Qarawiyyin University

Deep in the heart of Fes, Al-Qarawiyyin University is a must-visit. It is the cradle of knowledge as it predates even the most ancient European universities.
It was established in 859 by Fatima al-Fihri initially as a mosque, then evolved into a renowned educational hub with a diverse curriculum, from Islamic studies to astronomy and languages​.
You'll fall in love with this institution's architecture, especially the green-tiled roofs visible across Fez's skyline. If you make it inside, pass by the university's library and see rare manuscripts, including a 9th-century Quran.
Although access is restricted for non-Muslims, you can still appreciate the essence of Al-Qarawiyyin's scholarly spirit and its architectural majesty through its exteriors and from vantage points around Medina​.

Visit the Royal Palace of Fez

Of all the things to do in Fez, Morocco, visiting the Royal Palace, Dar el Makhzen, ranks high on any list.
Although entry into the palace is restricted, the area around the gates, patrolled by Royal Guards, is accessible and offers a great opportunity for photography. The gates are guarded 24/7, but as long as you respect the boundaries and focus your photography on the gates without capturing the guards or beyond, you should have no issues​
Constructed between 1969 and 1971, these gates are adorned with intricate designs, and geometric patterns, and surrounded by beautiful blue mosaic tiles and carved cedar wood​.
The Royal Palace has been the residence of the Moroccan Royal Family since independence in 1956, a place of significant events, including royal weddings, and the birthplace of the late King Hassan II. Today, it is the residence of King Mohammed VI and his family​.
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The Jnan Sbil Gardens in Fes.

Spend time in Jnan Sbil Gardens

When in Fes, explore Jnan Sbil Gardens, which span 7.5 hectares near the old city. It's a key green space with over 3000 plant species, including Andalusian, Mexican, and Bamboo Gardens. The gardens feature colourful fountains and make a peaceful spot for relaxation, especially at dusk.
It is also a historical site, featuring ancient norias (water wheels) that highlight the sophisticated water management of past civilisations. Besides being a tranquil escape, Jnan Sbil Gardens also hosts the annual World Sacred Music Festival, which offers a cultural immersion unlike any other.
It is open daily except for Mondays.

Visit Al-Attarine Madrasa

This is a madrassa in Fez built in the 14th century by Marinid Sultan Abu Said Uthman II. Located near the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque, you'll love the detailed Islamic art and architecture, including carvings in wood and stucco, elaborate tilework, and captivating calligraphy.
The madrasa's layout features a symmetrical courtyard centred around a marble fountain that leads to a prayer hall with a domed ceiling.
Initially serving as a religious school, it played a crucial role in supporting the educational activities of the nearby Al-Qarawiyyin University.
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Beautiful Moroccan pottery.

Learn pottery In Poterie de Fes

In Fes, the Poterie de Fes is popular for its distinctive pottery, characterised by its fine, grey clay and vibrant cobalt blue decoration, known as le Bleu de Fès. This tradition showcases the city's unique blend of Andalusian Arab and Amazigh influences, and artisans employ ancestral techniques to produce decorative ceramics.
You can visit workshops like Art de Poterie ACH Fes for insights into the pottery-making process, from preparing and shaping the clay on a potter’s wheel to glazing and firing the final product. Want to buy a few keepsakes? You can visit local shops in the medina for quality tableware or travel to the industrial quarter of Ain Nokbi to see potters at work.
Some shops also organise shipments for larger purchases!

Visit the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts

Located in an 18th-century fondouk in Fez, this museum showcases the evolution of woodcraft across centuries. Exhibits range from Quranic boards to intricately carved doors, furniture, and musical instruments from the 14th to the 18th century.
What's even better? The museum is located near the spice and perfume market if you want to drop by. Also, the museum's rooftop café offers panoramic views of the medina, though photography of exhibits is restricted to certain areas.

Watch the Atlas Sunset From A Rooftop

Watching the sunset from a rooftop in Fes offers stunning views over the ancient city.
Many riads and dars in Fes come with rooftop access, where you can relax with a cup of mint tea and watch as the sky changes colours above the Medina. This moment becomes even more special as the call to prayer echoes throughout the city.
Not staying in a place with a rooftop? No worries, most cafes and bars offer great views and a comfortable spot to enjoy the sunset!
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There are many wonderful things to do in and around Fes!

Conclusion

As we conclude our exploration of Fes, it's clear that this Moroccan gem offers a captivating blend of history, artistry, and culture.
From strolling the alleys of the medina to crafting pottery at Poterie de Fes and spending time near royalty, each experience invites you to the country's tradition and community.
Ready to go to Fes? Why don't you start with any of our Moroccan trips and save a day for this beautiful town?

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