Recently The View from Fez decided to look at what travel agents were saying about visiting the Fez Medina. To our horror (disgust?) we discovered that many companies and internet sites were suggesting it is a "one day or half day destination"!
This is typical:
The Fez MedinaGiven that the Fez Medina has over nine thousand alleys, hundreds of extraordinary buildings, superb madrassas, libraries and craft centres, such a claim as made on the website quoted above is downright misleading.
The narrow winding streets are a maze for the unwary, and taking a half or full day guided tour may be the best way to see all the sights the Fez medina has to offer on your holiday in Morocco.Traditional craftsmen still make and ply their wares in one room workshops, and overburdened donkeys are still the only form of transport that can be used in the Medina.
So if you are travelling to Morocco and your itineray says" Day 6 : FEZAfter breakfast, your day will be devoted to the visit of Fes, the Religious capital of the country : The Medieval medina with its attarine & Bouanania Medersas, the Nejjarine Fountain. The Moulay Idriss Mausoleum and the Quaraouine mosque.
Moroccan lunch at a traditional restaurant in the medina. Afternoon , visit of Fes Jdid. Dinner & accommodation at the hotel."... it is time to have a long talk to your travel agent.
Fez, as the oldest intact medina on the planet, deserves more than a one day guided tour. This is a place to savour, to experience, to discover, bit by bit. There is music, food and Moroccan culture to be explored and the very minimum time should be a week.
Fez is a living working city - and fascinating
The use of a guide may give you a sense of the place, but in order to fully appreciate the medina, to shop without hassles and to discover both the fine cuisine and the delightful street food takes time.
There are other ways of seeing the Medina without guides. There are six thematic itineraries signposted through the medina, allowing you to visit the medina on your own according to your interests. Each of the themed excursions has a different color, have been You just have to follow signs of one color depending on the theme you have chosen.
Sitting in a cafe, watching the world go by, is a time honoured tradition in Fez and one not simply reserved for the locals. Yes, come to Fez, but take time to explore the city and you will be well rewarded.