Fes for 2 — what to see in the city in 2 days
A sizzling blend of history and culture, booking a Fes weekend break is a great option for a romantic getaway.
Located in the north of Morocco, 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. Even for someone who’s not the world’s biggest romantic, you find yourself feeling a little more starry-eyed in Fes.
Fes — a brief background
Fes 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 Fes: Fes el-Bali and al-Aliya.
Both quarters lend their heritage and history to the first inhabitants to Fes. These were the Arab and Andalusian families of Berber descent.
What’s the weather like in Fes?
The climate in Fes, and neighboring cities in northern Morocco, follows a continental trend. This means colder, rainier days in the winter, and a dry, sticky climate throughout summer. Traveling in October is pretty much a perfect time to visit, with the right amount 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.
1. What to do in Fes in 2 days — explore the old medina
If you find getting lost in narrow, winding streets romantic, you’ll have a great time in Fes. Instagram photo opportunities are endless, and there’s seemingly something to capture around every corner.
The labyrinth of the old medina is the main place most people head to. The souk’s a busy and buzzing opera of a scene, with people to the left and right of you selling their goods.
Shopping in Morocco, and in Fes, 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, 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 way to get in some quality time together.
2. Escape the crowds at Dar Batha Museum
We were quite surprised, though happy, to not find many people inside this grand museum in Fes.
Dar Batha Museum is housed in a 19th century summer palace, with a wide collection of Moroccan arts and crafts. Take note, that on our visit, all the descriptions were in Arabic or French. Unless you speak these languages, come prepared with the Google Translate.
My favorite aspect, however, are the gardens outside, arranged in the traditional Moroccan Islamic design. Enjoy the ambience as you walk hand in hand along the tiled paths, admiring the colorful foliage and trees.
“The souk’s a busy and buzzing opera of a scene, with people to the left and right of you selling their goods.”
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
3. Have lunch at Café Clock — what to do in Fes
Finding a good place for lunch in Fes can be difficult, especially when in the old medina. After considering a few options, I highly recommend trying Café Clock. Along with serving seriously good, and quite healthy, food, it’s also a short walk from the famous Blue Gate. Everyone knows this landmark here, so there’s little chance of getting 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 an intimate corner table, and enjoy traditional or international favorites, while taking in the sights of Fes from above.
4. Things to do in Fes — visit the Chouara Tannery
Seeing an outdoor leather factory that smells of cow urine and pigeon manure may not sound very romantic. However, you can’t visit Fes without at least passing by the famous tannery.
This is the place where they produce high-quality leather goods, using the same methods from medieval times. Once finished, the goods are then sold in the market. The products are beautiful, well made, and can be much cheaper than buying in western countries. As I mentioned above, don’t be shy to haggle for a good price. The sellers want your custom as much as you want that leather bag.
Before going, I strongly advise taking a sprig of mint — as most locals advise — and holding it under your nose. The smell’s incredibly overpowering, unpleasant, and may put you off eating anything for a while!
5. A romantic rendezvous in the Ruined Garden
The Ruined Garden is romance personified. As its name suggests, this Fes restaurant has a romantic garden setting, also complete with outdoor seating and soft lighting. The café/restaurant is a Fes favorite. 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.
6. Hammam and spa at Riad Laroussa — what to do in Fes
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 also ideal after experiencing the smells of the tannery!
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.
Set in a 17th century palace, this riad is one that also brings out the romantic vibes. Have a glass of wine at the hotel bar and try some of the finest local cuisine in Fes.
7. A romantic 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 superb Palais Amani.
“We were quite surprised, though happy, to find not many people inside this grand museum in Fez.”
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This stunning 5-star hotel’s also home to one of the best restaurants in Fes. Do each other — and your tastebuds — a favor, 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. You’ll leave feeling as stuffed as the chicken pastilla, but believe me, every calorie is worth it.
Where to stay in Fes — Riad Anata
Make your time in Fes even more memorable, and romantic too, by booking in 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, Riad Anata has the sweetest wine bar in the evening. Grab a glass of wine, chill out on the upstairs terrace and watch the sun set over the rooftops of Fes.
What did you think of Fes? Are you inspired to book a romantic getaway with your significant other? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Welcome to my site! I'm Lisa, founder of Following the Rivera. I write primarily for a ‘flashpacker’ audience; a demographic (late 20s onwards) that enjoys glamping over camping, staying at boutique/luxury boutique hotels, sampling the local food and wine, cultural activities, and indulging in a spot of wellness on their travels. Read more here…