If you’re traveling in Morocco and only have 24 Hours in Fes then it’s important to know what to see and where to eat. Morocco Travel guide books such as Lonely Planet, Frommers and Rough Guides can be the perfect travel companion for those who desire to see and do the status quo in Fes however first hand experience from a foreigner living in Morocco can offer more off the beat experiences. When starting a 24 hour spin around the old medina, Fes El Bali, you can brave it alone or higher a local, expert Fes historical guide. Either way a Fes tour can be fulfilling in this ancient city which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. If you brave it alone to discover what’s behind the ancient medina walls of Fes, these travel tips of what to see and where to eat will make it worthwhile.
Enter here, the Bab Boujloud Gate- The Blue Gate of Fes which will take you on an unforgettable journey of historical and spiritual sites along with great eats.
24 Hours in Fes, Travel Tips On What To See & Where to Eat:
Sites to Visit in Fes:
1. The Medersa Bou Inania: An (Islamic school) founded by Abu Inan Faris that is highly decorated from floor to ceiling. The medersa is one of the few religious places in Morocco that is accessible to non-Islamic tourists.
2. Kairaouine Mosque: Morocco’s second largest mosque was built by Fatima in 857. The Kairaouine Mosque became the home of the West’s first university and the world’s foremost center of learning at the beginning of the second millennium
3. University of Al-Karaouine: Founded in 859, this university is one of the leading spiritual and educational centers of the Muslim world and is considered the oldest continuously operating institution of higher learning in the world.
4. Zaouia Moulay Idriss II: A zaouia (shrine) dedicated to and the tomb of Moulay Idriss II, who ruled Morocco from 807 to 828 and founded the city of Fès for the second time in 810. This is one of the most spiritual sites in Fes and in fact in all of Morocco. A walk just outside the mosque, zaouia entrance evokes feelings of ancient times and watching men and women pile in for prayer is magical.
5. Dar Batha: A Hispano-Moorish palace dating from the end of the 19th century that houses admirable collections of traditional art from Fès. Dar Batha boasts a wonderful Andalusian garden with hanging fruit trees and the Fes Festival even uses this wonderful place as a music venue each June.
6. Weavers Cooperative: The Weavers Cooperative is located in a residential neighborhood off a main shopping street. Theworkshop specializes in weaving the ﬁnest jellaba fabric, made of silk and wool threads imported from Italy. The shop also makes a quality jellaba fabric from locally spun, textured wool thread called hubba –sometimes referred to as couscous, because it’s nubby texture resembles Morocco’s national semolina dish of the same name.
7. Tanneries: The Chourara or the Tanner’s Quarters is the most lively and picturesque souks in Fès. The Tanneries are often located near watercourses like the Wadi Fès and at a distance from residential areas due to the strongly unpleasant smells they produce. Make sure to ask for mint when you enter to mask the smell.
8. Carpet Demonstration: Antique and Modern Carpets is one of the places in Fès el Bali where you can see a Berber carpet demonstration. You will be offered mint tea and follow your guide up a coil of stairs to a small area to watch carpets being made by young girls who come from the mountains to show tourists how Berber carpets are made. Make sure to negotiate before you buy.
9. Potter’s Cooperative: A visit to the Potter’s Cooperative is a must. Also known as Place el-Seffarine, this kisseria is the most important center for the production Fasiss style ceramics, brass-ware and silverware in Morocco. If you have more then 24 hours in Fes then consider taking a zellij or pottery making workshop.
10. Outdoor Spice Markets: Visit an outdoor spice market where loads of fabulous spices can be purchased from spice merchants. From Cumin to Saffron to Ras El Hanout for great prices. The Fes spice market is fun to shop at and spices also make for great gifts.
10. Jewish Mellah: Explore its ancient history and small streets that garner it’s charm alongside an old synagogue and the burial site of a famous Jewish woman who was executed because she refused to bow to Islam. Visit the Mellah’s white washed cemetery which is one of the most beautiful in the world. The first official mellah was established in the city of Fes in 1438. In the first half of the 14th century, the Merinides founded, alongside Fes, the town of Hims, which was initially allocated to the archers and the Christian militia. In 1438 the Jews were driven from the old part of Fes to Hims, which had been built on a site known as al-Mallah, “the saline area”. Ultimately, the term came to designate Jewish quarters in other Moroccan cities.
Shopping in Fes:
From tile work to pottery to the Kisseria’s filed with wonderful colored Baboosh slippers, Fes is the place to get your shopping on. Don’t miss out on the high quality leather goods, Moroccan baboosh and other hand made pieces unique to Fes.
Where To Eat in Fes:
Café Clock ticks to the rhythms to multiplying metronomes. Mike Richardson, the man behind Clock’s mechanics restored a 250 year old courtyard house and brought to Fes a cultural zone that many are desperate to set their watches to. This eclectic café-cum-restaurant offers delicious breakfast, lunch and dinner. Stop for tea and scrumptious homemade cakes (especially the lemon tart) on the roof terrace with its stunning view of the Bou Inania minaret, browse in the book exchange and view the art-filled walls. Try the crunchy salads, camel burgers or fresh fish. Cafe Clock also boasts a wonderful cooking school. If time allows consider taking a cooking class. Either way don’t forget to have a latte there if you’re visiting in winter and if you’re a vegetarian, try their chickpea burger.
Address: 7 Derb el-Margana The Medina
Restaurant Nejarine: Opened in 2006, Jalil Laghmri’s restaurant is the perfect spot for an authentic Moroccan feast in the medina for lunch or for dinner. As the name suggests, this 100-year-old building is located just steps from the Nejjarine Museum of Wooden Arts & Crafts. Guests can dine in either a covered courtyard of Fassi zellij and intricately carved and painted cedar, or in any of the three large salons surrounding the courtyard, furnished with Moroccan-style lounges and silk cushions. The four-course meals include a delicious meze of Moroccan salads, tagines, or chicken or pigeon pastilla, accompanied with couscous and followed by fresh fruits and mint tea. For a breath of fresh air, head up to the rooftop terrace for a fantastic medina view. Classy ambience and great food!
Address: Nejarine, Medina
FES EST GESTES- SALON DE TEA
This tea house, restaurant and art gallery offers a charming place to relax for lunch, brunch or dinner in their garden, salon or library. Set in a colonial house and garden, Fes Est Gestes hosts cultural events, exhibitions of painters and events concerts throughout the years. The staff is attentive and the service good. There is a range of several course dinners offered along with a la carte. This is also the perfect place for tea and biscuits / cookies while exploring the medina, Fes El Bali with a historical guide or on your own.
Address: 39 Arsat El Hamoumi – Zita
For more information about Travel and Tours to Morocco plus highlights on Moroccan culture visit Morocco’s Imperial Cities, Seaside Resorts,Sahara Desert, Berber villages, A Taste of Morocco, Magical Kasbahs, Ruins & Waterfalls, Absolute Morocco, The Best of Marrakech, Fes, and Ouarzazate
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