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Escorted Rail Tours to Fez

A mix of North African, French and Jewish cultures

Fez was founded by Moulay Idriss I more than 1,200 years ago and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited medieval settlements in the world. Morocco's second largest city is divided into distinct parts, including the typical old walled city (Fes-el-Bali) and a French-built new town area (Ville Nouvelle). There is also a Royal city area and the world's first example of a 'Mellah' - a walled Jewish quarter - called Fes-Jdid.

Fes-el-Bali enjoys UNESCO World Heritage status and has an entirely car-free Medina. Rather than having been designated as a pedestrianised area, the twisting streets and alleys are simply too narrow for cars to pass; even horse-drawn carriages are too wide. You are likely to see pack mules carrying goods - the only viable transportation system in this part of the city, which hasn't changed for centuries.

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Shopping and bartering

While Fes-el-Bali doesn't have a big open space like Marrakech, it is still alive with street markets and craftsmen selling their wares. There are certainly fewer street performers and entertainers, but you'll certainly come across food stalls and clothes markets - on one corner a stall owner selling caged chickens and turkeys, the next corner a trader with a huge collection of leather slippers for sale.


The colourful tanneries of Fez are one of the city's most familiar and photographed sights and are well worth visiting. You can watch barefoot dyers wading through mud pits to dip animal hides into large cauldrons of pigment - the smells from the tanneries could generously be described as 'interesting', but it is a fascinating sight to behold.

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