HOSTEL: Dar Rabah
Fés is the home to the largest authentic Medina in North Africa, and is known to be the religious and cultural centre of Morocco. With 9604 streets. this city is literally one giant maze. One cannot simply wander aimlessly around, as getting lost can be a genuine fear. I spent 3 nights in Fes, which I felt was definitely long enough, but a lot of people use Fes as a ‘base’ and do all the day trips to the surrounding villages.
The centre of the Fes Medina is absolutely chaotic, and to navigate through it alone would be almost impossible! It costs 200MAD for a 3 hour guided tour, and it is highly recommended! The medina is a the city’s oldest neighbourhood, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Photographers paradise, however, the locals do not like to be photographed. Our guide told us to ask before photographing anyone otherwise they can become aggressive, force you to pay them, or alternatively make you delete the photo. These are a few of the things you will see or experience on a guided tour through the Medina:
The Golden Gates are a 10 minute walk from the Blue Gate, and pass through the Jewish Quarter (Mellah). Although the palace itself isn’t open to the public, it is an iconic spot in Fes, and definitely woth a visit for that perfect instagram shot ☺
After a morning spent in the chaos of the medina, these beautiful gardens were a much needed escape from the hustle bustle of the city! Take a leisurely walk passing the lake, fruit trees, and manicured gardens in this little green oasis.
These 14th century tombs are mostly ruins now, but are the perfect spot for a panoramic view of the city. I believe it’s the perfect spot for a sunset picnic, but unfortunately I only saw it in the miserable drizzle.
Meknes is a gorgeous city, half the size of Fes, and is 60km away. It costs 200MAD (or 20 Euros) per person to hop in a private taxi and make your way to this city slightly west of Fes. The driver will stop at the lakes, Roman Ruins, the city of Idniss, the Meknes Medina, and possibly for some photos of the camels. Meknes seems like a charming historic hideaway. Sadly, during our day trip, the heavens decided to open, so we did not get the opportunity to take full advantage of the city’s beauty. After having a small taster of what Meknes has to offer, I can guarantee I will be back!
HOSTEL: Hostal El Joya
Chefchaoen, also known as Morocco’s Blue Pearl, is nestled at the foot of the Rif Mountains, and is far removed from bustling Fes! The Instagrammable city offers plenty opportunities snap away at every hue of blue imaginable, eat delicious Moroccan food and enjoy the the city’s quiet charm. I hopped on a CTM bus from Fes, which took 5 hours, and cost 75MAD.
I can’t remember the last time I used my camera as much as I have in the past few days – the medina of Chefchaoen is one of the most picturesque places I have ever been to! I was totally mesmerized with the city’s vibrance.
The souks in Chefchauoen are far less chaotic than those in Fes, but it is advised to always negotiate to 30% of the price the shop owners initially say.
A short hike up hill from the Medina will take you up to the Spanish Mosque, which has amazing views of the blue city and surrounding hills. The evening sun illuminating the blue buildings is truly spectacular! You can see the mosque in the photograph below, which was taken from the rooftop terrace of Alladin’s before a moody storm rolled in!
I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves – you can’t visit Chefchauoen without eating here!
Beyond the blue streets, there’s a surplus of mind blowing natural scenery which surrounds the town. Approximately 30 minutes by taxi from the town centre lies a tempting tourist trail which, after a beautiful walk, leads visitors to stunning waterfalls. The crystal blue waters are in keeping with the town’s blue theme, and you can take a dip in the rock pools, or admire the majestic waterfalls.