Walking into the old medina in Fez is like stepping back in time and being swept up in an ocean of movement all at once. The thousands of ancient, narrow streets, lined with tiny shops, tall houses and markets, weave and wind their way around, filled with the bustle of locals going about their daily lives, donkeys transporting goods, traditional artisans at work. Fez houses the oldest, continuously inhabited medieval city in the world, Fez el-Bali, founded in 789 AD, alongside the 13th century ‘new’ city of Fez el-Jedid and the more modern, European-built quarter, the Ville Nouvelle – a whole world of discovery awaits you here!

WHERE TO STAY

> DAR ROUMANA

This traditional, welcoming riad is one of our favourites in Fez. Each of its rooms is a work of art in itself, beautifully decorated with the work of local craftsmen, and its spacious roof terrace boasts great views over the old town and the Middle Atlas mountains. We also particularly enjoy relaxing with a book in the cosy library after a busy day exploring the medina. Prices for a double start at £60.

> RIAD LAAROUSSA

We love the level of detail found this graceful 17th century palace: from each individually designed room, to the intricate zelige (tile work) in the central courtyard, to the traditional, candle-lit Moroccan hammam. The staff team are hospitable, welcoming and accommodating and will make your stay here a truly memorable one. Rooms start at £80 for a double.

> RIAD FEZ

Discover how the old nobility of Fes used to live in this superbly restored ‘riad de luxe’. Combining the contemporary with the oriental, the rooms are sumptuous and perfect for romantic get aways. Facilities include a stunning pool and spa, fitness centre, panoramic roof terrace, restaurant, wine bar and lounge, options for in-room breakfast and complimentary mint tea throughout the day. Service is excellent and the staff are warm and friendly. Prices for a double room start at…

> DAR FINN

Dar Finn was lovingly restored over three years of hard work and the results are stunning: intricate tilework, plaster carvings, painted cedar ceilings. The beauty of the original building has been combined with modern comforts to create a relaxing and luxurious boutique riad in the old medina of Fez. Add all this to the excellent service, delicious food and amazing views and you might not want to leave! Prices for a double start at £60.

WHAT TO DO

> MEDINA WALKING TOUR

Step through Bab Boujloud and plunge into the world of Fez’ old medina: a riot of colours, smells, sights and sounds. Wander along the narrow alleyways, then step through a large, ornate wooden door and find yourself in an astonishingly different world. Discover riads built around courtyards that reach to the sky; exquisite gardens and age-old medersas; industrious craftsmen creating treasures. Visit the tanneries and see first hand how the world-famous leather goods are made. And relax as you sip mint tea in a roof-top café and survey this ancient, still-living world: this is a walking tour you will never forget!

> COOKERY CLASS

What better way to discover the real Morocco than to spend a day with a local family learning to prepare food, visiting the souks and communal bread ovens, and eating together with your hosts the dishes that you have cooked. Arranged by our partners, Plan-it Fez, a five hour cookery class experience can include: preserving lemons, preparing chermoula (a speciality marinade), learning how to make a seasonal tagine of your choice and, of course, Moroccan mint tea.

> VOLUBILIS & MEKNES

A short transfer from Fez will take you to monument-rich Meknes and the neighbouring Roman ruins at Volubilis. The imperial city of Meknes was chosen by sultan Moulay Ismail as his capital and still houses the ruins of his vast palace including the well-preserved Bab el-Mansour (victory gate) and a series of underground vaults. Much of Moulay Ismail’s city was created from the marble stones of Roman Volubilis, which now lies in impressive ruins set between a fertile, green river valley and the ridges of the Zerhoun mountains.

> MIDDLE ATLAS DAY TRIP (CEDAR FORESTS)

A perfect antidote to the sensory hustle and bustle of Fez, take a peaceful day out in the nearby Middle Atlas. Breathe in the clear air of the foothills and take a shady walk in the dense cedar forests which are home to the endangered Barbary monkeys. And, if you’ve not yet had your fill of souks, take a walk round the largest local market held in Azrou every Tuesday, and barter for some vibrant Berber rugs.

FEZ

Altitude : 410m
Best time to visit : year round
Population : 1.1 million
Temperature range : 10-40°C
Infrastructure : range of accommodation
Environment : medieval city

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