Morocco is a fascinating country, and Fez is the cultural and spiritual center, as well as the ancient capital. The old walled medina dates back to the ninth century, and is filled with alluring shops, palaces, ancient mosques and many other attractions. Vehicles are not allowed, and the narrow, maze-like streets offer days of exploratory walking in a truly medieval setting. The surrounding city has a wide variety of hotels and restaurants, and the food and hospitality are excellent.
Exploring the Medina
Entering the medina is like taking a giant step backward in time. Hundreds of narrow passages create a mystical maze that is both fascinating and somewhat intimidating. The immense variety of local people scurrying around the busy city add greatly to the entertainment factor. Many of the highlights are carefully hidden, and a tunnel-like alley is often the trail to an ancient temple, or gigantic palace. Some of the main tourist routes are marked, but the old city is large and very confusing. Exploring alone is an interesting challenge for an adventure traveler, but a guide can be very helpful. Fez is a great place to shop and there are many incredible sights, so plan to spend two or three days.
Buying a Carpet
Morocco is very famous for fine carpets, and this is a good place to find one. They come in a large variety of sizes and prices that will fit almost anyone's budget. Purchasing a carpet is considered a very important transaction, and is a great way to experience the local culture. A good shopkeeper will be very cordial and treat his clients to large portions of Burber Whiskey (a sweet mint tea) while the transaction is taking place. Bartering with the right attitude can be very entertaining, and you'll have not only a souvenir to cherish but a great story to tell.
Dining and Entertainment
Fez offers a wide variety of restaurants with many French-influenced menus, and the food is interesting and very good. There are also some dinner theatre venues that include local music and dance along with the meal. These tend to be a bit pricey, but the entertainment can be a great cultural experience
Other Nearby Attractions
The Sahara desert is a fascinating place to spend a few days, and the journey from Fez goes through the rugged Atlas mountains. This eight-hour ride is recommended only for hardy travelers, but the scenery is truly spectacular. There are a few villages along the way, and this remote range offers many opportunities for adventure. Reaching the dunes will require hiring a guide or sharing a jeep-style taxi, but the small oasis villages offer a unique culture and a stunning environment.
The Grand Taxis are old Mercedes sedans that are used as collectivos. They are somewhat notorious for being a bit overcrowded and driving at high speeds, but they are much more comfortable than the buses, and are a crucial part of the Morocco experience. The trains in Morocco are a great way to travel, with a variety of seating classes.