Known as the cultural capital of Morocco, Fes is one place you’ll definitely want to see. Stroll around the winding streets to explore the famous Fes El Bali walled medina and shop the colorful souks while soaking in the old world charm.
Fes is located just over 300 miles from Marrakech so you can get there via train or plane. And it’s well worth the trip! This UNESCO World Heritage site city is one the most well-preserved old Arab cities in the world and it’s the planet’s largest car-free urban area.
Ready to start exploring? Here’s my experience spending 24 hours in Fes, Morocco.
Stay at Dar Seffarine in Fes, Morocco
On my trip in Morocco, I only had one night in Fes. I stayed at Dar Seffarine and it’s definitely a spot I’d recommend. Located in the the ancient medina, it is a central location and has a traditional Moroccan style that is absolutely stunning.
It’s the oldest hotel in the medina and, with just six guest rooms, it has a very intimate feel– a nice place to escape the busy streets.
Start your day early at Dar Seffarine! They serve a tasty breakfast on the roof. It’s a good spot to linger, take in the sun, and get inspired for a day of exploration.
Visit the Tanneries in Fes
Leather tanneries are a big thing in Morocco and you can’t visit the country without checking out at least one. The tours are fascinating and education but smelly. Seriously smelly!
A lot of places offer you herbs to hold under your nose while you’re walking around, but the smell is still incredibly powerful. It is totally worth it in my opinion though. It is just something you’ll want to be prepared for (maybe don’t plan a visit around mealtime).
Handcrafted leather is a great Moroccan souvenir and, even if you’re not a leather fan, there are a lot of beautiful pieces of handiwork to browse at tanneries and in the souks.
While the tanneries are worth exploring, they are actually more interesting from above. There’s a famous shot featuring a perfect vista of the tanneries.
It took us a while to track down the right angle for the “perfect shot” but it’s actually from the balcony of a place called Shop 64. In a land of winding alleyways and narrow streets, it’s best to ask a local how to get to Shop 64.
We were lucky enough to ask a local guy on the street who knew just where to go, and he promptly lead us up a few flights of stairs to the perfect view of the tannery. Upon entering, you’ll be handed mint– don’t be shy to ask for more if needed!
It’s free to visit, but typically a little tip or small souvenir purchase is a nice “thank you.”
Explore Al Attarine Madrasa
Standing in the heart of the medina, that’s been around since 1325, this madrasa (which is the Arabic word for any sort of educational institution) is a must-see for any visitor of Fes. It is one of the few madrasas open to the public and the architecture is stunning.
It doesn’t take too long to visit, but with such an interesting history- and amazing photo opps- you won’t want to miss Al Attarine Madrasa.
I was blown away by the details in the tile, the architecture and just the serene nature of the courtyard. We were lucky enough to have a few moments alone to take in the sight.
The Markets in Medina
I absolutely love shopping in the medinas of Morocco. Filled with endless lines of color and aromas, these heady markets are unlike anything else that you’ll find in the world. You can bargain with any vendor and get rock bottom prices on great stuff.
The aesthetic of Morocco is one of my faves. I adore the rich textiles like Berber rugs and wedding blankets, and the fab lanterns. It is also an amazing spot to stock the kitchen, with fresh and local spices like saffron, turmeric, and cumin, alongside cool kitchenware like tagines and super chic tea glasses.
Don’t miss the markets in Medina!
Our day in Fes was jam-packed and I felt like we saw a lot of the highlights we set out to see. As with everything in Morocco, it was more spectacular than we expected!