Fez is an extremely challenging destination for travellers with impaired mobility or sight. No transport is wheelchair-accessible, and the medina streets are steep, winding and extremely narrow in parts, with uneven cobbles and lots of debris. One creative solution we've known some intrepid travellers to use: tour the medina on a hired donkey. Discuss it with your hotel (a few of which have lifts).
Dangers & Annoyances
Fez is generally safe and well policed, but the medina's maze can sometimes make hassle feel more threatening than it is.
- At night in the medina, don't walk alone without a clear destination. Ask for an escort from your hotel or restaurant if you're not certain of your way.
- Phone snatchings have occurred on broader streets outside the medina (where thieves can easily grab and run, unlike inside the medina).
- Young men will often say a street is 'closed'; sometimes it's a dead end, but often they're just steering you out of residential areas and back to shops.
Faux guides tend to congregate around Bab Bou Jeloud, the main western entrance to the medina, although crackdowns by the authorities have greatly reduced their numbers and hassle. They're a bit more intense in the Jewish quarter, where tourist police don't visit as much.
The pressure to buy in Fez can be immense, but the process needn’t be a battle – indeed, it’s best treated as a game, and mental preparation helps. Carpet sellers especially are masters of their game, and once you sit down to mint tea and suggestions that you might resell one on eBay to fund your trip – well, it might be easier if you just didn't enter the shop at all. It’s also worth remembering that street touts, intense as they can be, are just doing the only job they've got. Also, any time you enter a shop with one, your lower threshold for bargaining rises to cover their commission.
On the train to Fez, strangers boarding at Meknes may befriend you. Some are just nice people; others may be touts, who claim to be students or teachers, and just happen to have ‘brothers’ who have hotels, carpet shops or similar.
Emergency & Important Numbers
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Hotels, restaurants and cafes typically all have wi-fi. There are a few internet cafes around Batha, including one on Rue de la Poste; these places can also print boarding passes if your hotel is not able to do it for you.
Fez is generally more conservative than other cities in Morocco and this applies to LGBT+ life as well. There is virtually no visible queer life in the medina, and only a bit in the Ville Nouvelle. Proceed with discretion.
In the Ville Nouvelle, banks (with ATMs) are found on Blvd Mohammed V. In the medina, there are several banks at Place R'cif, plus some useful ATMs:
Société Générale Just outside Bab Bou Jeloud.
Al Barid At the Batha post office.
Al Barid Just north of Medersa Attarine, close to the covered souqs.
Banque Populaire Midway down Talaa Seghira.
Tip waiters up to 10%. For taxis round up to the nearest dirham. Porters can be tipped Dh10 to Dh25 depending on how far they go.
Most businesses in the medina (including Fez El Jdid) close on Fridays, though a few will open after lunchtime. In the Ville Nouvelle, Sunday is more typical for closures.
Near every major mosque, and in many other locations, are usually staffed public toilets. They're kept fairly clean (though there may only be a squat option), and the attendant should have paper. The typical fee is Dh1, though tourists may be asked for as much as Dh5.
There is no tourist office in the medina. You can pick up a decent free map of Fez at Délégation Régionale de Tourisme and book official guides. Staff speak English.
Carlson Wagonlit Behind the Central Market and useful for flights and ferries.
Travel with Children
The medina is not easily negotiable by buggy (stroller). If you're travelling with a toddler, you may simply have to carry your tired child – or, in a pinch, hire a porter with a barrow (empty ones wait at parking areas). Some hotels have lifts, but overall they're not common. One perk of the medina is that children don't have to look for car traffic – but do teach them to listen for 'Balak!' (donkeys coming through). Kids can run around and meet their Moroccan counterparts at Jnan Sbil and on the promenade of Ave Hassan II in the Ville Nouvelle. Older animal lovers may like to see the veterinary work at the American Foundouk.