Fez is an extremely challenging destination for travellers with impaired movement or sight. Its streets are steep, winding and extremely narrow in parts, with uneven cobbles and lots of debris. None of the available public transport is accessible to people in wheelchairs, though we have known of disabled travellers who have hired donkeys to carry them around the medina. Discuss this with your hotel.
Dangers & Annoyances
- It’s not really safe to walk on your own in the medina late at night, especially for women.
- Knife-point robberies are not unknown.
- Hotels and many restaurants are usually happy to provide an escort on request if you’re out late.
- Fez has long been notorious for its faux guides (unofficial guides) and carpet-shop hustlers, all after their slice of the tourist dirham.
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.
Even many official guides will suggest visitors turn their tour into a shopping trip, and the pressure to buy can be immense. Fez’ carpet sellers are masters of their game. If you really don’t want to buy, it might be best not to enter the shop at all: once the parade of beautiful rugs begins, even the hardest-minded of tourists can be convinced to buy something they didn’t really want (honeyed words suggesting that you could always sell the carpet later on eBay at vast profit should be treated with extreme scepticism). It’s also worth remembering that any time you enter a shop with a guide, the price of the goods immediately goes up to cover their commission. Shopping in Fez needn’t be a battle – indeed it’s best treated as a game – but it’s worth being prepared.
Beware the touts who board trains to Fez, often at Meknès. They can be very friendly, approaching you claiming to be students or teachers returning to Fez – they’ll often have ‘brothers’ who have hotels, carpet shops or similar.
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Ambulance & Fire||15|
There are plenty of banks (with ATMs) in the Ville Nouvelle along Blvd Mohammed V. In the medina, there is an ATM at the Batha Post Office and at banks around Place R'cif. Other useful banks include the Banque Populaire on Talaa Seghira and Société Générale at Bab Bou Jeloud.
Tip waiters up to 10%; for taxis round up to the nearest dirham; and porters can be tipped Dh5 to Dh15 depending on how far they go.
There is no tourist office in the medina. You can pick up a good-quality free map of Fez at Délégation Régionale de Tourisme and book official guides. Staff speak English.
Carlson Wagonlit is behind Central Market and is useful for flights and ferries.