In an ideal world, you’d have more than one day in Fes as it’s an amazing city with much to explore – famous for its medieval architecture and vibrant souks.
But if you’re short on time then you can use this 1 day Fes itinerary to plan your day to pack a lot of amazing experiences into one short, but fabulous, day.
The main draw for tourists is the Fes medina, a world heritage site and home to a maze of over 9000 delightfully chaotic alleys and laneways. Getting lost is a part of the course and one of the best ways to experience the medina.
The city itself is ancient, dating back to the 9th century. It also lays claim to having the oldest university in the world (still in use) and the first-ever leather tannery which you can visit providing you can tolerate the stench.
The quaint cobblestone alleys are bustling with activity 24/7. Donkeys plod up and down the streets whilst tradesmen, vendors and tourists weave in between.
If you only have one day in Fes, then I suggest you rise early as there is a lot to see and do. You certainly won’t be bored in Fes and chance are, you’ll be planning a return journey before the day is over.
I’ve put together this one day Fes itinerary to help you get the most out of your day in the beautiful, ancient city of Fes.
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What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Your one day Fes itinerary
- 1.1 Stop One: The Royal Palace of Fes
- 1.2 Stop Two: The Jewish Quarter
- 1.3 Stop Three: Borj Sud Viewpoint
- 1.4 Stop Four: Learn about the art of pottery making and mosaic artistry.
- 1.5 Stop Five: Take a morning coffee in a roof-top cafe
- 1.6 Stop Six: Explore the medina
- 1.7 Stop Seven: Medersa Attarine
- 1.8 Stop Eight: Weaving workshop
- 1.9 Stop Nine: Tanneries
- 1.10 Stop Ten: Rainbow alley
- 2 Other Things to do if you have more than one day in Fes
- 3 Where to eat during your one day in Fes
- 4 Where to stay in Fes
Your one day Fes itinerary
It’s very easy to get lost in the medina and struggle to find your way back out – it’s like a rabbit warren with over 9000 lanes! So I would recommend taking a tour guide with you to make the most out of your one day in Fes. Just make sure they include visits to all the highlights which I will now tell you more about…
Stop One: The Royal Palace of Fes
Start your day in Fes by visiting the Royal Palace (or Dar-el-Makhzen.) Sadly, it is not open to the general public but the 7 golden gates are a spectacle in themselves and a hint of how grand it may be within the palace walls. The palace is still home to the King of Morocco when he visits town.
It gets very busy so if you want a photo without hordes of tourists, then I suggest getting here really early.
Stop Two: The Jewish Quarter
From the palace gates, you can stroll through the Jewish Quarter to admire the different architecture of the homes occupied by the 250 Jewish people currently living in Fes. Beyond the different style of buildings, there’s not a lot more to see here but since it’s right next to the palace, it’s worth a stroll.
Stop Three: Borj Sud Viewpoint
If you haven’t booked a guide, then you will at least need a taxi for this stop. But trust me, it’s worth going out of your way to see! From Borj Sud, you get a brilliant panoramic city view from above and are able to fully appreciate the vast size of the city.
Stop Four: Learn about the art of pottery making and mosaic artistry.
Visit Touhafs pottery for a guided tour and gain a new appreciation for the time and skills involved in creating pottery and mosaics. Watch in awe as you see how quickly potters can conjure up a tagine where the lid is somehow a perfect fit to the bottom of the tagine.
Watch them chip away at the glaze to painstakingly create intricate patterns and marvel at the skill involved to create mosaics. Mosaics are made upside down and so they need to memorise which piece goes where. If they turn it over to learn they’ve put a wrong piece in, the whole thing must be restarted!
There is surprisingly little pressure to buy anything at the end of the tour which was a relief as the vase I enquired about, cost a whopping $700…
Stop Five: Take a morning coffee in a roof-top cafe
Before you enter the chaotic medina, take time out to enjoy a rooftop cafe. You don’t have to look far to find one in Fes. I stopped off in Cafe Rsif for a morning coffee with a city view.
Stop Six: Explore the medina
Now it’s time to enter the medina and explore the labyrinth of 9000 lanes and alleyways. It’s very easy to get lost so I absolutely recommend having a guide. I was with a group of 14 and we had a guide at the front and back to ensure no one got lost in the chaos!
I’d also recommend investing in a theft-proof bag before your trip. Petty theft is common in Morocco and Fes medina is such a busy place that it would be an ideal pickpocket environment. My bag, which is this one, opens only from the back. When the straps are done tightly, no one can access my belongings without my knowing.
You’ll notice there are different sections in the medina. You might find one street just selling leather products, another weaving carpets or dying fabrics. It’s a fascinating place to explore. Just watch out for the carts and donkeys!
Stop Seven: Medersa Attarine
Inside the medina, you will find Medersa Attarine, an old boarding house for university students. This is an absolute must-see in Fes to admire the stunning, intricate architecture.
Stop Eight: Weaving workshop
Ask your guide to show you the weaving workshops. Here you will get shown how locals weave textiles and you’ll have an opportunity to look for the perfect headscarf for your visit to the desert.
Stop Nine: Tanneries
A visit to the old tanneries (also found in the medina) will be one of the biggest highlights of your one day in Fes. Accessed through the various leather shops, you will be led up to a balcony overlooking the whole tannery. You will see all the various vats of coloured dye with leather soaking within it.
It’s pretty stinky (they blame the pigeon poop) so I suggest wearing a scarf over your nose or using some mint leaves to smell. They will usually offer you mint leaves when you arrive.
There’s no fee to visit the tanneries but there will be some pressure to explore their leather shops. It’s best to visit with a guide if you can.
If you are looking for leather products, here is where you will find the best quality. This will, however, be reflected in the price. Make sure you barter!
Stop Ten: Rainbow alley
Finally, makes sure you visit Rainbow alley for a photo. This street is painted in a colourful rainbow. You’ll find carpets, jewellery and trinkets for sale and it’s close to ‘The Clock’ (see below) where you can relax after your busy visit to the medina.
Other Things to do if you have more than one day in Fes
- Have a Hamman spa experience
- Take a Moroccan cooking course
- Take a day trip to Volubilis or Meknes
- Visit the Sahara desert
- Take a day trip to Chefchaouen – the blue city
Where to eat during your one day in Fes
The Clock Cafe
If you’re fed up of Tagine at this point during your trip to Morocco, you’ll be delighted with the menu at this quirky rooftop cafe. I loved trying a camel burger which was absolutely delicious washed down with a banana milkshake. This is the sort of cafe I would make my local if I lived in Fes.
Still loving tagine? If you want some more traditional Moroccan food, you can’t find a nicer place for lunch than inside this fancy riad right in the heart of the medina. You will need your guide to show you how to get there!
Where to stay in Fes
If you decide to stay more than one day in Fes, you may want to consider one of these places to stay in Fes.
Medina Social Club – if you’re on a tight budget, this colourful sociable hostel scores very highly on Booking.com with a score of 9.2/10 and 9.3/10 for location.
Riad Al Makan is everything you imagine a riad to be. Fancy architecture with an opulent downstairs lounge and a beautiful rooftop terrace all fr a very affordable price.
Riad Ibn Battouta and Spa. If you like your hotels with a spa and a city view from the rooftop then check out this very affordable option. It also has a car park if you are driving.
Riad Maison Bleue and Spa. If it’s all-out luxury with 3 rooftop bars and a swimming pool you want, then check out this stunning luxury boutique riad.
Hopefully, you now have a much better idea about how to spend your one day in Fes. If you have any questions about this Fes itinerary, be sure to ask it in the comments below!
Have you been to Fes? What was your favourite bit?
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