Fez city break — making time for romance in the Moroccan city
A sizzling blend of history and culture, booking a Fez city break is a great option for a romantic getaway.
Located in the north of the country, it’s around a 3-and-a-half-hour drive if coming from Marrakech. From Rabat or Casablanca, it’s around an hour-and-a-half by car. Though I’m not the world’s biggest romantic, I couldn’t help but feel a bit more starry-eyed in Fez.
A brief background
Fez was originally the capital city of modern Morocco until 1912, before handing over the title to Rabat. Today, it’s the capital of the Fes-Meknes administrative region. There are 2 old medina quarters in Fez: Fes el-Bali and al-Aliya. Both quarters lend their heritage and history to the first inhabitants to Fes, namely the Arab and Andalusian families of Berber descent.
The climate in Fez, and neighbouring cities in northern Morocco, follows a continental trend. This equates to colder, rainier days in the winter, and a dry, sticky climate throughout summer. Travelling in October is a pretty much perfect time to visit, with the right about of heat and light breeze too.
Make your romantic break even more memorable with a personal tour guide. These tours are all conducted by a local expert and can just be for 2.
Fez city break
To make your time in Fez that more memorable, and romantic too, take a peek at Riad Anata. This gorgeous boutique hotel’s in a quieter part of the old medina, and perfect to return to after a long day of exploring. As well as offering individually-designed rooms, the hotel has the sweetest wine bar in the evening. Take my advice: grab a glass of wine, chill out on the upstairs terrace and enjoy the moment. My post offers more detail on what you and your significant other can expect from this hidden luxury gem.
Explore the old medina
If you find getting lost in narrow, winding streets romantic, you’ll have a great time in Fez! There are endless opportunities to snap away for the lovers — and photography lovers too. The labyrinth of the old medina is the main place most people head to. It’s a busy and buzzing opera of a scene, with people selling their goods in the souks, and the sound of constant chatter everywhere.
Shopping in Morocco, and in Fez, is a lot of fun. From Moroccan spices to leather goods, it’s the place to buy a few mementos. Don’t be afraid to bargain for a better price, especially as some places are willing to reduce the price by 50%. This may sound a lot, but many locals will tell you it’s normal.
Another tip from a local, is for the woman to look unhappy during the bartering of the price. A little underhanded maybe, but if the stall owner sees an unhappy woman, he may lower the price even further!
If, however, all this noise sounds a bit too much, fear not. The medina has plenty of quiet lanes, that you can also get away from the crowds if desired. Plus, getting lost in the medina is a sure way to create memories the two of you will always remember.
“The medina has plenty of quiet lanes, that you can also get away from the crowds if desired.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
“I strongly advise to take a sprig of mint — as most locals advise — and hold under your nose.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
“The food’s exquisite, particularly the chicken pastilla, the wine’s superb, and the atmosphere’s dining perfection.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
Lunch at Café Clock
Finding a good place for lunch in Fez can be difficult, especially when in the old medina. After considering a few options, I’d highly recommend trying Café Clock. Along with serving seriously good, and quite healthy, food, it’s a short walk from the famous Blue Gate, meaning you can’t get lost.
The restaurant itself is very chilled-out, something that’s evident from the relaxed seating arrangements. Don’t be fooled by the entrance either, as Café Clock may look tiny from the outside, but it actually has 3 floors. Saying this, there are a lot of stairs, but the effort’s worth it to get to the terrace. Find a cosy corner table, and enjoy traditional or international favourites, while taking in the sights of Fez from above.
Fez city break – Chouara Tannery
You can’t visit Fez without passing by the famous tannery. It’s where they produce high quality leather goods, using the same methods from medieval times. Once finished, the goods are then sold in the market. Granted, being surrounded by the smell of cow urine and pigeon manure isn’t that romantic. However, it’s worth catching a glimpse of the industry, if only for a few minutes.
Before going, I strongly advise to take a sprig of mint — as most locals advise — and hold under your nose. The smell’s very overpowering, unpleasant, and may put you off eating anything for a while!
Escape the crowds at Dar Batha Musuem
We were quite surprised, though happy, to find not many people inside this grand museum in Fez. Dar Batha Museum is in a 19th century summer palace, with a wide collection of Moroccan arts and crafts. I should point out that the descriptions are all in Arabic or French, so come prepared with the Google Translate!
My favourite aspect, however, is the stunning gardens outside, arranged in the traditional Moroccan Islamic design. Enjoy the ambience as you walk hand in hand along the tiled paths, admiring the colourful foliage and trees.
A romantic rendezvous in the Ruined Garden
The Ruined Garden has a romantic garden setting, and is extremely intimate with outdoor seating and soft lighting. The café/restaurant is a Fez favourite; dinner reservations fill up very quickly here, and it’s easy to see why.
It’s not only the scenic garden that’s a draw for visitors, but the food too. The restaurant specialty’s the dark chocolate and espresso mousse. It comes with the added Moroccan twist — a pinch of the local spice, Ras el Hanout.
Hammam and spa at Riad Laroussa
If you’ve never had a private hammam before, trust me, your body will thank you after. Riad Laroussa offers the ultimate spa experience, and is a relaxing antidote, especially after experiencing the smells of the tannery!
“We were quite surprised, though happy, to find not many people inside this grand museum in Fez.”
FOLLOWING THE RIVERA
They provide guests a private spa experience followed by an authentic hammam and massage. Unwind in a Carrara marble Moroccan steam room, and treat yourself to a couples’ massage and body scrub.
Dinner at Palais Amani
I’ve saved the best till last, because let’s face it, it’s how every romantic city break should end. Wind up your time in Fez by booking a table for two at the jaw-droppingly beautiful Palais Amani.
This stunning 5-star hotel’s also home to one of the best restaurants in Fes. Do each other — and your tastebuds — a favour, by going the entire 3 courses. The food’s exquisite, particularly the chicken pastilla, the wine’s superb, and the atmosphere’s dining perfection. On top of this, you get to dine among a mini orchard of orange trees, and the backdrop of a trickling fountain.
What did you think of this post? Would you like to go, or have you been to Fez? Let me know in the comments section below!
For fellow boutique hotel enthusiasts, the superb Riad Anata could be the perfect place. It’s chic hotel in a quiet part of the old medina, yet close enough to see the main attractions.
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