Sitting cosily in the northern part of Morocco is the city of Fes, a former capital of the sunny nation. Fes is a living, breathing entity of Moroccan culture in its purest form but also the universal western style of peace and acceptance. Fes is present in UNESCO’s World Heritage for its historic roots. It houses the world’s oldest continuously functioning university, the University of Al Quaraouiyine. It is also a major centre for leather tanning since medieval ages. The practice has not changed much since its evolution. It is said that the creator of this city, Idris I, laid the foundations of this city with a silver and gold pickaxe. Thus, Fes was destined for prosperity right from the time of its creation. The Arab influence on this quaint Moroccan town is easily seen through the buildings and layout. The old city or medina is a complex web of lanes, each selling colourful art or exotic creations made by the local artisans. Fes has museums specially dedicated only to its artistic traditions. Shopaholics will have a marvellous time here. The souqs deal with leather and ceramic artefacts, natural cosmetic products, carpets and other textiles as well. Another factor that makes the city attractive is its architectural opulence. Most of the buildings here follow the traditional methods of construction, each more splendid and intricate than the other. This pattern is seen in hotels as well. If you feel like relaxing, pay a visit to the hammams in the medina or walk along in one of the many gardens in town. Keep in mind that despite its non-conservative approach, Fes is still a different environment than that of Europe or America. The rules here are still conservative, though not strict. Respecting local traditions is also a way of understanding the city. It may be a shock to your senses, but it will be a pleasant one. Embrace the sensual parade and you will have a lot to take back from Fes.
Essential travel information and Fes tips for your visit
- Time zone: UTC +00.00
- Currency: Moroccan Dirham
- Language: Arabic
- Electricity: 220-240 volts, Type C Europlug, Type E and Type F Schuko.
- Internet: free Wi-Fi is available in most hotels; some cafes have started offering hotspots as well.
- Security: Police: 19, Ambulance / Fire Brigade: 15
- Roadside assistance: 177
- Tourist traps: Shopkeepers in Fes have a way of luring tourists into their shops and pressurizing them to make purchases. Avoid encouraging anyone except your licenced tourist guide to lead you in the marketplace. It is best to ignore the public when touring Fes. Do not strike up any conversation with those willing to ‘help’ you out. Firmly decline any help except from completely reliable sources.
- If you are travelling with kids, you are likely to experience a friendlier nature of Moroccan hospitality in Fes. Your kids are likely to be admired by locals and you may be invited into shops for tea or refreshments. This is safe as Morocco is a very family-oriented country and will not harm children or other families.
- Dress conservatively.
- Women should avoid roaming alone, especially at night. If you can, wear a headscarf when outdoors. Harassment is widely prevalent; ignore any rude calling or remarks. However, if anyone tries to handle you physically, you can alert locals to come and help you.
- Tipping: It is customary to tip in Fes. Tips can be anything from 5 to 100 dirhams, depending upon the service. You can leave 10-15% of your restaurant bill as tip.
The best tours and activities in the city, guided by experts to give you a local insight to the best of Fes