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Fez

  • morocco travelAccommodation and budget hotels : there are several small guesthouses close to Bab Bou Jaloud at the entrance of the old medina. Prices are similar : 80-100 Dh per double and bargaining is not possible. The new town is about half an hour walk away (or 10 Dh taxi), and there is no reason to stay there.
    • Hotel Cascade : is the best situated and most popular of the box-room budget hotels around Bab Bou Jaloud, it has excellent views over the entrance of the medina, rooms cost 100 and 120 Dh/double.
    • Hotel Erraha : cheapest at 80 Dh/double
    • Hotel Taala : 120 Dh / double
    • If you look a bit longer around in small alleys close to Bab Bou Jaloud you will also find unofficial homestay options for 80-100 Dh (sometimes cheaper). If you are lucky you can sleep in one of the superb palace houses with decorated rooms and pilars around a patio for less than 100 Dh/dbl. Some of the touts can also guide you to one of these homestays.
    • Pension hotel Dalila, Bab Oued Zhoun 26, telephone 055-740657, mobile 061-495750, [email protected] The Moroccan owner of has lived for 18 years in Sweden. This hotel is a good mid range budget choise if you have been allready once in Fez or would like to discover some deeper parts of the medina. It is situated right outside the medina, very close to the tanneries, a long way from the touristic Bab Bou Jeloud. The souq of Fes around the tanneries is still very authentic with lots of handicraft people working in tiny factories as they did in medieval times. It takes a while uphill before you reach Bab Bou Jeloud, but as the alleys are going downwards on the way back, you can get in 20 minutes back to the hotel. All rooms are different, so you better try to get a look at as much as possible free ones. Some have toilet in the room, others have their "private" toilet (with key) in the hall. The two best double rooms (with double bed) are room 10 and 9, they have a very nice balcony with tiles overlooking the square (most of the other rooms have no windows). Both cost 250 Dirham and are really worth it especially room 10 which is the biggest of the two. Rooms prices are 110 for a single room, 200 dirham for a double room and 300 dirham for a triple. The two balcony rooms (10 and 9) cost 250 dirham. The hotel also has a private parking.
    • Traditional Riads in Fez: there are a lot less of those luxuriously restored Moroccan palaces in Fez than in Marrakesh (see list of riads in Marrakesh), in Fes you could check Ryad Mabrouka and Dar El Ghalia.
  • Internet : there is one place behind Bab Bou Jaloud for 10 DH/hr and a few places at 7 Dh/hr in the new town
  • Visiting the tanneries of Fes : You will be approached by boys and fake guides proposing you to show you the tanneries. The only thing they will do is showing you the entrance and walk up the stairs of one of the large leather shops overlooking the leather dying souq. They will get a percentage on what you buy or if you don't buy anything the shop owner will ask you to pay him a tip (a few dirham). You really don't need them, except for the usefull knowledge that their sudden presence in the streets means that you are very close to the leather shops and the tanneries. Shop keepers are friendly and not pushy, but they will of course appreciate it if you have a short look at their products. They (and not the fake guides) will give you an expanation about the work of leather colouring and dying. Finding the tanneries of Fez has become a lot easier with the recently installed well indicated walking routes. The tanneries are along the light blue route, which starts at Bab Guissa, there is a special board with explanation about the Tanneries, so you cannot miss them following this route.
  • Safety in the medina - hustlers : you will meet now and then boys offering to show you the way to one of the more difficult to find places of interest in the medina of Fez. Thanks to the new well indicated walking routes these boys are now less needed, but their presence will still give you a welcome hint that you are approaching the tanneries, a hidden mosque or a rooftop viewpoint. It's up to you to give them a few dirhams (they are very happy with 5) to show you the shop that has the viewpoint or to try to find it yourself. Sometimes it is just a lot easier to spend these few dirhams and not lose the time searching yourself. The shops in the less touristic parts of the medina (further from Bab Bou Jeloud) close around 8.30pm, so you better get out before as after closure of all shops the alleys are getting filled with streetkids and unemployed young adults smoking kif, not a very safe situation.
  • Restaurants in Fez :
    • Restaurant des Jeunes : next to the popular backpackers hotel Cascade, at the entrance of Bab Bou Jeloud. They have most probably the cheapest salad/soup, couscous/tajine, fruitsalad menu, at 35 dirham, but portions are also smallest (the fruit salad is a sliced orange) and you have to pay extra for the coffee or tea. Just behind the corner, a bit deeper inside the medina, there are several other places offering seemingly the same menu for 70 dirham. We could bargain the price down to 40-50 dirham at all of them.
    • Restaurant Guemmoun : one of the restaurants behind the corner of restaurant des jeunes; 50 dirham for a menu of soup or salad, couscous or tajine, pastry and coffee or tea. Portions were a lot larger and better quality than the ones of the menu of restaurant des Jeunes, a proof that paying more really can give you more.
  • Square next to Bab Bou Jeloud: In the early evening, when it just gets dark, there is a bit of entertainment on the square close to Bab Bou Jeloud. Allthough with five entertainers or so it is still very far from the Jemaa El Fna square in Marrakesh. Some of the entertainment is also quite low, like that old man torturing a monkey with a stick for a group of laughing kids.
  • Change money, banks and ATM cash points:
    • There is a Cirrus/VISA ATM in the new town.
    • If you are prepared for half a day searching through small alleys you might also want to try the VISA ATM which is hidden somewhere deep in the centre of the old souq, there are a few arrows when you are close to it.
    • The Bank Populaire, close to the Al Andalous mosque also has an ATM.
    • Also the Post Office, next to the Dar Batha museum, has an ATM
  • Public transport in Fez
    • Petit taxi Bab Bou Jaloud - trainstation : 9 Dh
    • Train Fez - Rabat : 72 Dh, 2class airco. Be careful to get out during the 1 minute the train stops at "Rabat Ville", if you miss it (as we did) the next station is Mohammedia (one hour furher and you will have to pay extra to the conductor)


Fez (Fes) Medina walking routes

morocco travelWalking routes through the souq : The medina of Fes is extremely large, but fortunately there are since the summer of 2005 well indicated walking routes which are of great help. There are 6 routes well signposted with arrows in different colours. Each route has its theme. At important monuments and points of historical interest there is an information board in English, French and Arabic. Unless you have a very detailed map of the medina (do they exist ?), you will often use this boards to find your way back to Bab Bou Jeloud, the touristic heart of the old town, with its restaurants serving couscous and tajine at competitive prices (35 dirham for a menu including salad or soup and dessert) to westerners. With your own car or taxi you could drive to the parking at the Er-rsif square, where one of the routes starts.