The Fez medina is the largest medina in the world and is a UNESCO world heritage site. It may not seem like an ideal place to get lost, but that’s the best thing to do here. Just be sure to do it safely with our tips for staying safe in the Fez Medina.

Satying safe in the Fez Medina

Thumbs up from a friendly local

A mule pushes its way through the narrow, dusty streets of the Fez medina to shouts of “Balak!” (look out!) from an old man with a stick. Stalls sell everything from carpets to camel meat and the vendors beckon you to come closer as you walk past. It seems the place is populated exclusively with tour guides, as every second person offers their services to you as you stroll through.

Tips For Staying Safe In The Fez Medina

Note The Nearest Gate

Donkey coming through the Bab Rcif Gate

Donkey coming through the Bab Rcif Gate

Surrounded by an old fortress wall, entrance to the medina is through one of the twelve gates. It’s a good idea to write down the name of the gate you started at so that when you get lost, you can find your way back. If you are having problems finding your way, we recommend asking shopkeepers, as they will not ask you for money. Alternatively one of the local children will point the way for a dirham or two.

Don’t Entertain ‘Guides’

Tanneries where leather is treated in the Fez Medina

Tanneries where leather is treated

Every man and his dog is a potential tour guide inside the medina. ‘Guides’ will approach you time and time again, offering to show you the leather, ceramics and woodcarving workshops. Use your common sense in these situations. These are unofficial guides so negotiate a price before starting off. Guesthouses can organise official guides if that’s more your style.

Bring Toilet Paper And Hand Sanatiser

Bab Bou Jeloud gate by night, Fez Morocco

Bab Bou Jeloud gate by night

When nature calls in the medina, best head for one of the restaurants or cafes near Bab Bou Jeloud. This is the main cluster of restaurants inside the medina, and they have toilet facilities. Most will have squat toilets with no toilet paper, so bring your own and some hand sanitiser to clean up with before getting back to your tagine.

Wear Shoes

Stitching shoes by hand in the Fez Medina

Stitching shoes by hand

Flip-flops are without a doubt our footwear of choice but inside the medina, it’s better to wear shoes. The winding streets are narrow, with people, mules and porters wheeling carts all vying for space. Your toes are at the mercy of the medina traffic, so protect them and wear shoes while you’re exploring.

Dress Appropriately

A man prepares for prayer at the Mosque of al-Qarawiyyin

A man prepares for prayer at the Mosque of al-Qarawiyyin

Ladies, comments will be passed as you walk by in French, Spanish, English, Arabic and/or Berber. Dress appropriately and you make your medina experience more pleasant. Try to avoid figure-hugging clothing of any kind, the looser the fit the better. Definitely wear long pants and tops should cover your shoulders and not be low-cut. Simples.

Haggle Hard

The carpet lined streets of the Fez Medina

The carpet lined streets of the Fez Medina

Haggling is a way of life in Morocco. Learn to haggle quickly as without this skill, Morocco will be twice as expensive! A good rule of thumb is to start at a third of the price offered and work from there with a view to meeting halfway. Some vendors have fixed prices, so take each transaction as it comes.

Smile!

Berber man sitting outside his home in the tanneries

Berber man sitting outside his home in the tanneries

No matter what happens never forget to smile. Perhaps you get lost, or you get scammed, maybe you just can’t take another guides proposition. Whatever the case may be, breathe, smile and be polite. Getting angry will get you nowhere. If you smile you will get a smile back.

Staying Safe In The Fez Medina

The quiet streets of the Medina after closing time

The quiet streets of the Medina after closing time

The Fez medina is a fantastic place to get lost. It offers amazing opportunities for exploration, adventure, culture, crafts and culinary treats. However, be sure to stay safe. If you get a bad feeling about something or feel you are being treated unfairly, just politely decline and walk away. Shops in the medina start to close up about 9:30 pm so start to make your way to your gate by then. Once the lights go out, the narrow winding streets become even more of a maze than before and can be quite intimidating. Most guesthouse owners will advise you to be back at your guesthouse by 10:00 pm and we agree.

Our Experience In The Fez Medina

The city of Fez is definitely worth a day or two of your time for exploration and getting lost in the medina is a wonderful experience. Before visiting Fez, we had romantic notions of this Imperial City, which, for us, it didn’t live up to. Fez is home to the largest intact medina in the country but little else.

The Mighty Fez Medina

The Mighty Fez Medina

During our time in Fez, we felt most people were out to cash in on the tourist dollar. At one restaurant, the waiter handed us one menu, which seemed expensive and after telling the waiter this, he gave us the local, ‘non-tourist’ menu and the prices were half. We let our guard down and made the mistake of following an unofficial guide and got bullied into paying more than we were happy to – we quickly realised that the price of everything in Fez is double for non-locals. Speaking with other travellers, they left Fez with a similar bad taste in their mouth.

With that said, Fez is worth a stop and none of the other medinas came close in terms of twisting streets, blind corners and possibilities for exploration. Our advice: dive in and see where it takes you.

For more inspiration to visit Morocco, check out our epic photo post!

If you have any other tips to add or would like to share your experience of Fez, let us know in the comments below.

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Brian Barry
Brian is a travel writer, photographer, blogger, travel addict and adventure junkie. Being outdoors, getting off the beaten track and outside his comfort zone is what makes him tick. Brian's the dreamer in the relationship; when he's not travelling, he's dreaming about it! Keeping fit, cooking, music and red wine take up the rest of his time.
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wanderingon37.6K followers☘ Irish Travel Couple - Brian & Noelle 🌍 Nomadic for 10+ years 🏞️ Hiking, Adventure & Inspiration ✈ Independent Travel 📍Edinburgh 👇🏻Travel Tips & Blog
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\"No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.\"⁠ — Nelson Mandela⁠ ⁠ \"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.\"⁠ — Martin Luther King Jr.⁠ ⁠ “Never look down on anybody unless you\'re helping him up.”⁠ — Jesse Jackson⁠ ⁠➳⁠ 📷 Views from the first floor of the Hagia Sophia Museum looking towards The Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey 🇹🇷⁠ ➳⁠ We understand that being white and therefore, inherently privileged, we can never truly understand this struggle, however, we completely stand with the movement and the idea that all human beings everywhere in the world should be treated equally and have the same chances and opportunities in life.⁠ ⁠➳ Unfortunately, this isn\'t the case and the thought that someone can be treated differently simply because of the colour of their skin absolutely breaks our hearts.💔⁠ ⁠➳ In our privileged position, we need to learn about and educate ourselves about these issues in every way we can and do our best to change the views of those around us.⁠ ⁠➳ To quote another great changemaker, Mahatma Gandhi, you need to “be the change that you wish to see in the world.” ⁠ It starts with you, to move in the world with love and respect for all.⁠ ❤️✨✌ #BlackLivesMatter⁠
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“Because when you stop and look around, this life is pretty amazing.” —Dr. Seuss » Brian standing in absolute awe at the El Castillo pyramid at Chichen Itza!🗿🇲🇽 » Built by the Mayans sometime between the 8th and 12th centuries, Chichen Itza is a huge complex of Mayan ruins located on the northern half of Mexico’s beautiful Yucatan Peninsula.🗿🇲🇽 The complex is an inscribed UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. » Built from limestone, El Castillo stands at a height of 30m including a 6m temple on top. Each of the pyramid\'s four sides has 91 steps up it, making 364 steps total, with the temple topping the pyramid considered an additional step totalling 365, each step representing a day in the calendar.📆 El Castillo is also known as the Temple of Kukulkan as it served as a temple to the Mayan feathered serpent god Kukulkan, or Quetzalcoatl.🐍 » We visited this time last year, however, the spring and autumn equinoxes are the best days to visit to see the “descent of Kukulkan\".🐍 » According to legend, twice a year when the day and night are in balance 🌗, the pyramid is visited by its namesake Kukulkan.🐍 Thanks to the crafty and mathematically brilliant architecture of the Mayans combined with the natural rotation of the Earth on the equinox, an amazing eerie image of a giant snake crawling down the temple is created. Kukulkan returns to earth to provide blessings for a full harvest and good health before bathing in the sacred waters below and continuing on his way to the underworld. » If you can\'t visit on either equinox, don\'t worry! The phenomenon is recreated nightly during the Light and Sounds Show at 7pm in winter and 8pm in summer. » We love doing things independently as much as we can when we travel. As Chichen Itza is located just a couple of hours drive away from Playa del Carmen (and Cancun) we rented a car and drove there ourselves so we didn\'t get to stay for the light show as we had to drive back.🚗 » What\'s your travel style? Are you a DIY person or do you prefer to go on an organised tour? Let us know in the comments below!💬👇 » #WanderingOn #LiveToTravel #Mexico #ChichenItza #SevenWondersOfTheWorld
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“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” — Kristen Butler » The sun sets over Edinburgh from Calton Hill, one of the seven hills of Edinburgh.🌆 » Set right in the city centre, Calton Hill is unmistakable with its unfinished Athenian acropolis poking above the skyline, giving Edinburgh it\'s nickname, the \"Athens of the North\". » It\'s a popular sunset spot as it\'s easily accessed - it only takes about five minutes to get to the top of the hill from two staircases on either side, or you can drive up and park - and it offers panoramic views down the length of Princes Street and of Edinburgh Castle.🏰 There are also great views of the coloured cliffs of the Salisbury Crags, Arthur\'s Seat, and the slopes of Holyrood Park.⛰️ » On the last night of April, up to 12,000 people take to Calton Hill for the Beltane Fire Festival, an ancient Celtic fertility festival. 🔥 Traditionally, Beltane was the start of the pastoral summer where animals were taken from their winter shelter to the fields and \"Beltane\" is the Gaelic word for May. » In Edinburgh\'s revivalist celebration of Beltane, three hundred or so voluntary performers from the Beltane Fire Festival Society celebrate the ending of the \'dreich\' (Scottish slang for dreary and bleak) Scottish winter and the hoped-for season of warmth and new growth with drumming, fire performance, revelry, and a ritualised procession around Calton Hill. 🔥 As well as the fiery displays, acrobatics, pulsating drums, and body-painted theatrics, the Beltane Fire Festival Society retell an immersive story for the crowd. » The revival of this festival started in 1988 as a free event but is now ticketed. There is also a Samhuinn (Samhain) Fire Festival on Halloween night which traditionally marked the beginning of winter in the Celtic calendar. 🎃 We hope to catch the Samhuinn Fire Festival festival later in the year! » Have been to any interesting cultural festivals? Let us know!💬👇 » #WanderingOn #LiveToTravel #EdinburghScotland #CaltonHill
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