Fez had enough souks to get the Marrakesh experience, but without the frantic selling techniques of the capital. The mint tea was the best here and it had a great relaxed vibe. The views from the mountain were incredible and there was a lot to see beyond the city walls. You can fly here easily using the budget airlines from England and it’s a perfect place for a long weekend in the sun.
What to eat in Fez
My favourite restaurant was in Hotel Cascade. It was cheap, cheerful and delicious. The main eating area was on the roof but decked out like a hippy living room, complete with sofas. Beautifully aged rugs hung on the makeshift walls and the charming set up was enhanced by the fun hosts. While we were there a thunderstorm hit and they gave us rugs so we could watch the sky crack while eating our tajines. Watch out for brilliantly-located restaurants that serve bad food – we should have known from the empty seats!
What to do
Check out the beautiful, celebrated architecture around the city. The blue gate, the mosques, the schools.
Go shopping. The shop vendors weren’t as fierce as in Marrakesh, so you could mooch around the souks.
Visit the tanneries. It’s where they dye the leather and is completely fascinating. You’ll get to watch the men at work from a viewing platform before checking out the price-hiked shop. Also, check out the copper-bashing section, just follow the banging.
Hike up the hill and stop off for a coffee at the 5-star Hotel Merinides. They even have a lovely pool set into the mountainside. You’ll enjoy an incredible view across the whole of Fez and nearby Meknes.
Accommodation in Fez
Da Hafsa Hostel is definitely one of the best I’ve ever stayed in. It’s like a Moroccan museum inside and the staff are absolutely lovely. It’s in an excellent location near the Blue Gate and just up from the main souk district. We felt very safe and had a brilliantly clean room with an en suite bathroom and TV and paid 1350dh.
What to buy in Morocco
Oh my days. There was so much to spend your money on! We ended up with 2 pairs of converse (100dh each!) earrings (20dh) scarf (200dh, conned!) genie lamp (80dh) 2 tagine pots (20dh) lantern (80dh) silver bracelet (140dh) 4 pairs leather shoes (380dh) leather bag (220dh) hat (40) algan oil (20dh) black hammam soap (20dh). And I could have spent a whole lot more – in fact I will do when I go back next year.
As you’d expect from Morocco, the street sellers were forceful and keen to get you to part with your cash. Using tricks like placing the jewellery around your wrist and leg, giving you the puppy dog eyes and not taking no for an answer obviously worked for them. Be strong!
- Petit taxi 40dh
- 3 nights accommodation at Da Hafsa with breakfast 1350dh
- 4 x tagines 240dh
- Guide to tanneries 30dh
- 2 chicken plat du jours 120dh
- 6 coffees 180dh
- Taxi to the airport 400dh
- 4 x sausage sandwiches 180dh
- Drinks, ice creams, water 400dh
- Total = 2960dh = £232