Fes contains an abudance of impressive architecture, but the UNESCO protected old city, Fez el Bali, is more than fine buildings: it’s a medieval city in motion, offering the last chance to witness a 12th century lifestyle other than in a museum. Fez, Meknes, Moulay Idriss and Volubilis are close to the fertile lowlands south of the Rif mountains and the lakes and the cedar forests surrounding Azrou and Ifrane.
Nothing appears to have changed for centuries in Fez, it's medina has been continuously occupied since the 10th century. One can walk from one end to the other and yet barely scratch the surface. Narrow lanes lead off in every direction, swarms of people and donkeys fill the alleys and everywhere are stalls selling spices, food, leather and other crafts. Craftsmen sit in cramped corners, their crafts and tools unchanged over the centuries.
Located along the Atlas Mountains, Fes has a seasonal climate, shifting from cool in winter to hot days in the summer months of July-September. The nights are always cool (or colder in winter), with daytime temperatures in the winter months of around 16 °C (61 °F).
However long you plan to spend in Fes, we highly recommend having a guide for at least one day to explore the medina, the tanneries, where age-old methods are still used to colour wool and leather, the basis of the city's income for almost a 1,000 years, the traditional pottery factories as well as the Dar Batha Museum and mosques.
The Merenid Tombs outside the city walls offer a spectacular overview of the ancient maze of streets pierced by white minarets. Give or take a few satellite dishes dotting the rooftops, this is Fes as it looked more than a thousand years ago. As darkness falls, hundreds of swifts fly home to roost in the city walls as the lights flicker on far below.