Fès-Meknès Travel Guide

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Fès-Meknès Travel Guide

Morocco, a land of vibrant culture, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes, has always been a destination that beckons travelers from around the world. Within this diverse country, the region of Fès-Meknès stands out as a treasure trove of historical significance, architectural marvels, and the essence of Moroccan tradition. If you’re planning a trip to Morocco, Fès-Meknès should undoubtedly be on your itinerary. This travel guide will help you navigate this captivating region and make the most of your visit.

Getting There


By Air:


The most convenient way to reach Fès-Meknès is by flying into Fès-Saïss Airport (FES) or Meknès–Menara Airport (RAK). Several international airlines operate flights to these airports, making it relatively easy to access the region. From the airports, you can take taxis or shuttle services to reach your destination in Fès or Meknès.

By Train:


Morocco boasts an extensive railway network, and you can catch a train to Fès or Meknès from major cities like Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat, and Tangier. Train travel in Morocco is comfortable and offers scenic views of the countryside.

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Exploring Fès


Fès: An Overview


Fès, often referred to as the cultural capital of Morocco, is a city that takes you back in time with its labyrinthine streets, ancient architecture, and deeply-rooted traditions. The city is divided into two main parts: Fès el-Bali (the old city) and Fès el-Jdid (the new city). Here are some must-visit attractions in Fès:

Medina of Fès el-Bali:


This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a maze of narrow alleyways, bustling souks (markets), and historic monuments.


Visit the Al Quaraouiyine University, one of the oldest continuously operating degree-granting universities in the world.
Explore the tanneries of Fès and witness the traditional leather-dyeing process.

Bou Inania Madrasa:


Admire the stunning architecture and intricate tile work of this 14th-century religious school.

Bab Bou Jeloud (Blue Gate):


This iconic blue gate serves as the entrance to the old city and is a great spot for photos.

Dar Batha Museum:


Discover a collection of Moroccan art and artifacts in a beautifully restored palace.

Taste Moroccan Cuisine:


Don’t miss trying traditional dishes like tagine, couscous, and pastilla at local restaurants.


Discovering Meknès


Meknès: An Overview


Meknès, often overshadowed by its neighbor Fès, is a city with its own unique charm and historical significance. It’s known for its well-preserved imperial architecture and tranquil atmosphere. Key attractions in Meknès include:

Place El-Hedim:


A lively square where locals gather, surrounded by cafes and restaurants.

Bab Mansour:


Admire the grandeur of this monumental gate, considered one of the most beautiful in Morocco.

Heri es-Souani:


Explore the massive granaries and stables built by Sultan Moulay Ismail.

Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail:


Visit the final resting place of this influential Moroccan ruler.

Meknès Medina:


Wander through the medina and discover its quiet charm and authentic atmosphere.

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Travel Tips


Dress Modestly: Morocco is a conservative country, so it’s respectful to dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites.

Learn Some Basic Arabic or French Phrases: While many Moroccans speak English, knowing a few phrases in Arabic or French can enhance your experience and communication.

Negotiate Prices: Bargaining is common in Moroccan markets, so don’t hesitate to negotiate prices when shopping.

Try the Local Tea: Moroccan mint tea is a cultural staple, and trying it is a must.

Respect Local Customs: Be mindful of local customs and traditions, especially during religious festivals and prayer times.

Fès-Meknès is a region that captures the essence of Morocco’s past and present. With its historic cities, vibrant culture, and warm hospitality, a visit to this region promises an unforgettable journey through the heart of Morocco. Whether you’re exploring the ancient medina of Fès or discovering the hidden gems of Meknès, you’re sure to be enchanted by the beauty and charm of Fès-Meknès.

Day Trips from Fès-Meknès


While Fès and Meknès themselves offer a wealth of experiences, the region also serves as a gateway to several remarkable day trips and excursions that can enrich your Moroccan adventure. Here are a few worthwhile day trips:

Volubilis and Moulay Idriss:


Located about an hour’s drive from Fès, Volubilis is home to ancient Roman ruins, including well-preserved mosaics. Nearby, the town of Moulay Idriss is a sacred pilgrimage site and a charming, blue-and-white hillside town.

Ifrane and Azrou:


Known as “Little Switzerland” due to its alpine-style architecture, Ifrane is a picturesque town worth exploring. Nearby Azrou offers opportunities for hiking and meeting local artisans.

Middle Atlas Mountains:


The Middle Atlas Mountains are a scenic escape from city life. You can visit cedar forests, spot Barbary macaques, and take in the natural beauty of the region.

Séfrou:


This town is known for its annual cherry festival and is a peaceful place to enjoy a slower pace of life compared to the bustling cities.

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Where to Stay


Fès and Meknès offer a range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences. Here are a few recommendations:

Fès:


Riad Accommodations: Staying in a traditional riad (a Moroccan guesthouse) in the medina is a unique experience. Riads like Dar Seffarine and Riad Fès offer authentic, comfortable lodgings.

Luxury Hotels: For a more luxurious stay, consider accommodations like Riad Fès – Relais & Châteaux or Palais Faraj Suites & Spa.

Meknès:


Riad Meknès: This charming riad is a great choice for experiencing the city’s hospitality.

Hotel Transatlantique: A classic hotel with modern amenities and a central location.

Safety and Practical Tips


Health Precautions: Ensure you have travel insurance and are up-to-date with recommended vaccinations before traveling to Morocco.

Currency: The Moroccan dirham (MAD) is the local currency. ATMs are widely available in cities, and credit cards are accepted in most establishments.

Transport: Use reputable taxis or arrange transportation through your accommodation to avoid scams.

Respect Local Customs: Be mindful of local customs, especially during Ramadan, when eating, drinking, and smoking in public can be seen as disrespectful.

Safety: Morocco is generally a safe destination, but like anywhere else, be cautious with your belongings and avoid poorly lit areas at night.

Fès-Meknès is a captivating region that invites travelers to immerse themselves in Morocco’s rich heritage and vibrant culture. From exploring ancient medinas to savoring Moroccan cuisine, every moment in this region is an opportunity to create lasting memories. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a unique cultural experience, Fès-Meknès promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Morocco.