While the title of Morocco's capital belongs to Rabat, it is Fes, and its magnificent 9th century Medina, that will capture your heart. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Medina of Fes is one of the last places in the Arab world where ancient traditions have endured. This Medina, or Fes el-Bali, is made up of a seemingly endless network of narrow winding streets and alleyways where donkeys, mules and pedestrians compete for the right of way, and where you can duck in and out of fragranced restaurants, traditional boutiques, and antique shopping souks. Historically, Fes was an ancient seat of learning, and its 9th century Qaraouiyine Mosque is considered to be the world's oldest university. Whilst non-muslims cannot enter this building, you can see the the beautiful Medersa Bou Inania, a 14th century religious building, and the Medersa el-Attarine, where students of the university once lived and studied. Spend some time touring the attractions of the city, from the Royal Palace with its imposing golden gates to the unmistakable Bab Bou Jeloud 'blue' gate. Then visit the Batha Museum, home to exhibitions on Moroccan crafts, art, and jewellery, and set inside a palace. Outside the city lies the fertile, verdant lands of the Tazzeka National Park, and the lovely town of Taza, which together make a great day out.
While Fes attracts visitors all year round, the climate varies across the seasons. In general terms, it's cool and wet in winter and hot and dry from June to September. In the height of summer, temperatures can peak at around 36°C. January is the coolest month when temperatures can dip to lows of 6°C. This is a year-round destination, as the weather here is always pleasant, even when there's a spot of rain, but to enjoy Fes at its best, plan your trip for May/June or September/October.
The food scene in Fes is exciting, spanning everything from Medina street food through to creative fusion cooking enjoyed in the smart restaurants of the Ville Nouvelle. However, it's classic Moroccan dishes such as harira soup, baghrir (Berber pancakes) and lamb tagine where the real taste of the region can be appreciated. Fes is enjoying something of a food renaissance. Fassi cuisine is delicious and best enjoyed on a roof terrace in the company of a glorious sunset or in a candlelit courtyard of a traditional riad.
You will need a valid passport to travel to Fes, but a visa is not required to enter Morocco. It's advisable to carry some ID with you at all times during your visit. See GOV.UK for more advice on passports, visas and your travel arrangements.