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Adventuring into Fez Morocco’s medina – the BIGGEST car free urban area in the world

3 things to expect in Fez Morocco

Fez was Morocco’s capital up until 1925 and remains the country’s second largest city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Its old part of town has barely changed since Medieval times – save for some satellite dishes added to the roofs of the buildings!

Watch my video and check out this list to know what to expect in Fez Morocco.

1. You’ll get lost

Fez Rooftop

Even the roofs look like a maze.

Everyone’s afraid to get lost in Fez. It has 9,000 pedestrian streets in its old medina, most of them tiny and twisted.

But its street mazes are also part of Fez’s charm. Being car-free, the medieval roads have kept their street life’s tradition and culture intact.

People will often say you need a guide to avoid the “danger” of losing your way. But as long as it’s daylight, you’ll probably do just fine (and have more fun) on your own.

2.You’ll shop ’till you drop

With all the variety, you can’t get tired of exploring the goods on offer in Fez. The Medina is organized into quarters with areas for carpenters, clothes, fabrics, leather goods, carpets, lamps and lighting fixtures, trinkets and a whole lot more.

Berber carpets on display in the Fes medina

Berber carpets can take women up to a year to make (the women make the carpets because they’re supposed to have more patience than the men). The men stick to the blankets which have simpler designs.

You just have to make sure your haggling skills are up to par because you’ll be needing them. In fact, the haggling will likely wear you out more than anything else in Fez. Even if you’re just looking, some merchants are so pushy you may come to develop a fear of glancing at any merchandise for more than a moment or loitering more than a few seconds near a shop or stand.

My advice: look at it like a game. Try not to let yourself get frustrated. When a merchant names a price, cut it down to 50% or less and go from there. If they’re difficult, start walking away to see if the price drops. If they’re REALLY difficult, run and don’t look back.

And never follow anyone who promises to have what you’re looking for “just nearby.” They’ll lead you on a wild goose chase and waste your time.

I also sometimes like to strike up a conversation and ask them about their job, their family, life and what they do for fun. This usually makes them as well as their prices a bit friendlier.

When you do find a merchant with fair prices who doesn’t hassle you, buy EVERYTHING.

Fes Medina Morocco

Haggling for tea pots

3. You won’t get tired of the sights!

Even if you’re lost, keep in mind which landmarks to look out for. You don’t want to miss these:

The Nejjarine Fountain

An old fountain used by ancient traders. To date, it is still fully functional.

An old fountain used by ancient traders. To date, it is still fully functional.

The fountain played a very important role in Moroccan history. During the 18th century, people would stop there with their camels and horses on a break from their long travels. The water from the fountain remains drinkable to this day.

Traditional Pharmacies

It is a must that you witness how to make traditional medicines and oils

Traditional medicines and oils at the local pharmacy

I love these traditional pharmacies where mysterious products are showcased in glass jars without branding or commercial packaging. In most of them you can also see how women make argan oil, a quintessentially Moroccan product. The extraction from the fruit is painstakingly slow, so they need a lot of patience.

Tannery

The fascinating tannery in Fez

Fez’s tannery has barely changed since Medieval times.

This is my favourite site in Fez. In fact, it’s one of the most unique places in the world I’ve ever seen.

The one thing people complain about is the smell. I was lucky it didn’t stink that much on this particular visit as they weather wasn’t that hot. But I remember the stench being much worse on my first visit in September.

Even then, I still loved the view!

Bou Inania Madrasa

IMG_3579 IMG_3564

The Madrasa Bou Inania in Fez Morocco is one of the few religious places in Morocco that is accessible for non-Islamic visitors. Its interior is stunning.

A photo posted by Dalia (@gettingcloseto) on

A photo posted by Dalia (@gettingcloseto) on