The imperial city of Fez is considered Morocco’s cultural and spiritual capital and makes for a fascinating city break. Sarah Gilbert looks at how to spend 24 hours here.
It’s also home to Fes el Bali, the world’s largest medina, with more than 9,000 alleyways and countless monuments, mosques and souks to explore.
And it’s now easier for clients to pair Fez with ever-popular Marrakech, with hour-long flights from Air Arabia linking the two cities. So what is the best way to spend 24 hours here?
Clients can explore the medina starting at the Bab Bou Jeloud’s blue gate, and wander down the Talaa Kebira – one of the medina’s two main arteries – to the Medersa Bou Inania, complete with dazzling zellige tiles, ornate stucco and hand- carved cedar wood.
Stop to peek through the doorway of the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque (closed to non-Muslims) then head to the iconic Chouara Tanneries to see the age- old leather-tanning process.
This is the ideal time for clients to take a sightseeing break with an alfresco lunch in the Ruined Garden, a leafy oasis in the medina with a menu of Moroccan tapas such as zaalouk (smoky aubergine and tomato salad), tasty tagines and hand-rolled couscous.
Or they can take a class at Fez institution Cafe Clock’s cooking school, where they’ll learn to rustle up three traditional dishes after shopping for fresh ingredients in the souk.
Recommend time in the souks to shop for leather coats, bags and babouches (traditional slippers), Berber rugs, ornate lanterns, aromatic spices and blue-and-white Fassi pottery.
For fixed prices and a contemporary take on traditional crafts recommend Medin’Art, the medina’s first concept store.
And trade-friendly Plan-it-Morocco (plan-it-morocco.com) has just launched a half-day Souk Treasure Hunt, perfect for groups and families.