The 15 best free activities in Fes
The 15 best free activities in Fes: Then follow this Top 15 list of free visits, museums and activities to do in Fès, which we’ve created so you can enjoy without breaking the bank.
Fez, one of Morocco‘s most exotic cities, has preserved its authentic charm through the ages, despite all the temptations of modernity.
It has remained unchanged, perpetuating its sublime image as a city like no other. Its minaret, domed roofs and Islamic-inspired architecture are among the most interesting things for visitors to discover.
Fez is a magnificent Oriental city to discover.
Follow the guide, we’ve selected our favorite free activities!
Top free visits in Fès : The medina:
We can’t talk enough about the Fès medina. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1981, and is therefore subject to the organization’s strict regulations. Everything has remained intact.
The medina, the largest in the Arab world, is an absolute must-see on your trip to Fès.
It’s the largest pedestrian zone in the world, where it’s easy to lose yourself in the delights of its winding alleys and colorful, fragrant souks, and to forget yourself while admiring the architecture of its medersas and universities.
A visit to the medina in Fez is a real journey that seems specially designed to seduce visitors into venturing out and getting lost in its cul-de-sacs, and even the GPS on your smartphone can’t help!
Fès el Bali and the blue door:
Fès el Bali is one of the oldest districts in the medina. Within its walls, you’ll find two distinct sections, separated by an undulating river.
In the left zone, you’ll discover the most historic buildings and most of the shopping souks, while the right bank, a little more damaged, abounds in alleyways, an ideal setting for a never-before-seen photo shoot, which you can use to feed your Instagram stories.
It’s also here that you’ll discover the local life that gives this district its very soul.
You’ll also see some interesting monuments like the Al-Andalus mosque, built in 1321 and renowned for its green-and-white minaret.
The central gateway to Fès el Bali is Bab Boujloud. As you make your way towards this immense old gate, you’ll come across a superb panorama of the district’s most popular monument: the minaret of the Bou Inania Koranic school, located just a few steps from the Bab Boujloud gate.
The blue gate is even more fascinating in the fading light of dusk. To enjoy the spectacle even more, sit down to a cup of mint tea on the terrace of the café La Kassbah for a few dirhams.
Visit the Bou Jeloud gardens free of charge:
The 15 best free activities in Fes: For a break from the hustle and bustle of the medina, you can relax in the French-style gardens outside the medina walls, near Bab Boujloud.
Perfectly manicured and landscaped, these gardens provide a vital green backdrop for the city. The best time to do so, like the locals, is at sunset.
It’s an ideal time to stroll serenely along the paths lined with flowers, gently trickling fountains and trees that seem to compose symphonies with the little songs of the birds that have invaded its branches.
This theological school built by Abu Said in 1325 is a perfect illustration of sumptuous Merinid architecture.
Its courtyard is an admirable and vivid demonstration of the sophisticated decoration of the period, with glazed zellige tiling and cedar wood carvings.
If you go upstairs, you’ll discover a labyrinth of cells, which once housed theology students at the Qaraouiyine mosque.
If you climb to the roof, you’ll enjoy a magnificent panorama of the mosque’s Islamic-colored tiles.
Visit the Al Quaraouiyine mosque for free:Built in 857 AD by Tunisian immigrants from the city of Kairouan, the Qaraouiyine Mosque was one of the most illustrious universities of medieval times.
Today, it is one of the most important places of worship in Morocco, with a prayer hall that can hold 20,000 people. With more than 30,000 books, it has one of the oldest libraries in the entire globe.
Non-Muslims are not allowed access to the Fez el-Bali complex, but they can enjoy breathtaking views of the mosque from the rooftops of nearby restaurants.
Just bow your head a little to admire the fountains, ceilings and ceramics.
On Nejjarine Square:
Right in the center of the medina, close to the carpenters’ souk, Place Nejjarine is one of Fès’ most magnificent historic spots.
This square is best known for its typical masterpiece: the Nejjarine water fountain, adorned with sculptures and zellige. In fact, this kind of subtly decorated fountain is usually seen in front of mosques or palaces.
Place Nejjarine is the stronghold of craftsmen. It would be interesting to stop here and watch these craftsmen at work, true magicians who transform everything with their hands.
Trays, lamps and other kitchen accessories seem to spring from their hands and come to life before your very eyes.
Don’t forget to take a cup of mint tea and enjoy it in the sunshine. Just let yourself go, and strange as it may seem, you’ll be totally immersed in this world of hammering.
The 15 best free activities in Fes: Right in the center of Place Nejjarine, surrounded by boilermakers’ workshops, you’ll find the Musée Nejjarine, housed in an old fondouk converted into a museum of Moroccan woodworking arts and crafts.
Here you’ll discover the rooms, with their engraved doors and mashrabiya windows, where traders once slept on their journeys into town.
The museum boasts a magnificent collection of wooden objects, designed with a skill and artistry that only the craftsmen of yesteryear could master. Admission to the museum doesn’t cost much, but it’s well worth the visit.
Once you’ve finished your investigation, climb to the roof of the fondouk, where a tea room has been set up. Order a mint tea and enjoy the breathtaking panoramic view of the old town, and especially of the Merinid tombs.
The Chouara tanneries:
This is a must-see in Fez. You may be bothered by the foul smell, but there’s a simple way to alleviate it: fresh mint sprigs offered by a friendly employee, which you put under your nose.
The almost thousand-year-old Chouara tanneries are tucked away among Fez’s various buildings and monuments.
You can’t access the vats, but you can contemplate them from the terraces of the surrounding shops. These stores also offer a bird’s-eye view of the city and are a great place to take photos.
The stores sell babouches, jackets, handbags and various leather goods, as well as tourist items.
These workshops can be found all over Fès. Carpet-making is part of Morocco’s cultural heritage, and Moroccan carpets have a very good reputation.
They are handmade by 3 or 4 women in small workshops. These women carry on the tradition of their mothers and foremothers.
They sit on low stools in front of the vertical loom and imitate the motions they have been taught.
It can take several months to make a carpet, depending on its size. Here, you’ll also learn that a quality carpet is one that has already been washed and has kept the brilliance of its colors.
Therefore, if your carpet seems to have been used previously, don’t be alarmed because it has. But best of all, the carpet you buy in Fez will stand the test of time, dirt and vacuuming.
Fès el Jedid:
The 15 best free activities in Fes: The Merinids built this “New City” in the 13th century, when they realized that Fès el Bali was running out of space for their palaces.
The Royal Palace, rather imposing and majestic, takes center stage here (although not accessible to the public), while in the background, mosques and Koranic schools populate the alleyways.
This part of the city, situated between the hustle and bustle of Fès el Bali and the European-style Ville Nouvelle, is an enchanted interlude. There’s a sense of tranquility, a welcome lull between these two fast-paced worlds.
The old Mellah (Jewish quarter) is located in Fès el Jedid, to the north of the royal palace.
This compact-looking district is made up of narrow streets dotted with fine (albeit badly deteriorated) examples of the early 20th-century houses that once housed Fès’ Jewish community.
Of course, don’t miss a visit to the renovated Aben-Danan synagogue.
On the outskirts of the Mellah, you’ll find the Jewish cemetery, one of the city’s quietest and most serene places, and a Jewish museum containing a rich array of objects highlighting the life and culture of Moroccan Jews.
The Batha Museum is housed in a Spanish-Moorish summer palace built at the end of the twentieth century.
The museum’s collection features a selection of traditional Moroccan crafts: finely crafted wooden doors, wrought iron, embroidery, carpets and jewels.
The museum’s star attraction is the room displaying the famous cobalt-blue Fassi ceramics.
The original ornamentation of the monument and the fascinating courtyard garden, full of shady trees and beautiful palms, form a truly idyllic oasis in the heart of the city.
Panoramic view of the city from the Borj Sud:
The 15 best free activities in Fes: We’re going to round off this roundup of free things to do in Fez, or almost, by admiring the city from above, this time from the other side.
Borj Sud, a huge cemetery wrapped in a white shroud, offers an ineffable, breathtaking view of Fez.
From here, you can clearly see the contrast between the medina and the modern city, with its more or less intact walls.