At the time of writing, the airport of Fes-Saïss (FES) is served by the
Royal Air Maroc
Air Arabia Maroc
Morocco has a very good railway service, the ONCF, operating between the station at Fes’s Nouvelle Ville and all the larger cities. Click here for the railway timetables.
The airport is located about 15km/10 miles from the city. We would be happy to arrange for a driver to transport you to the hotel (an additional charge applies).
There are two types of taxi in Fez: Petit taxi are government-regulated metered taxis, easily spotted for their red colour, which ply the (navigable) streets of Fez and Ville Nouvelle.
Grands taxis are six-seater sedans which provide transportation to and from the airport, and can be chartered for longer trips.
Visitors from certain countries require a visa to enter Morocco. A general guide is available here but please check with the Moroccan embassy or consulate in your country of residence well before departure.
The Moroccan Dirham (MAD) is a restricted currency and can only be purchased or sold in Morocco. Our hotel can change smaller amounts for you at a reasonable rate, and there are ATMs available within a short walk. Please note that you may be asked to show exchange receipts if you wish to convert Dirhams to another currency at the end of your stay. Major credit cards are accepted in the larger shops and restaurants only.
Local time is GMT, the same as the United Kingdom. Daylight savings time begins June 1 and ends at the beginning of Ramadan, when it switches to GMT + 1hr.
Algila Fès, Fez, Morocco, Intimate, beautifully restored traditional ryad in the heart of the medina in Old Fez Most Fassis (Fez residents) speak Moroccan Arabic as well as some French. English is widely understood. Click here for a glossary of terms relating to the sights and culture of Fez, or here for a list of Moroccan dishes.
The Moroccan electrical system is aligned with Continental Europe’s, 200 volts/50Hz.
European two-pin round plugs are standard.
We strongly advise visitors to purchase health/travel insurance prior to departure. There are generally no vaccinations required to enter Morocco and none advisable but please check with your local health provider. We do not recommend drinking the water from taps and suggest caution when sampling food sold in the street and in smaller restaurants.
A tip of 10 % is customary although many restaurants include a service charge in the bill. Please do not give money to children unless they help you with directions, in which case a 5-10 Dirham tip is appreciated.
Violent crime is not a serious problem in Fez, but as in any city walking alone in the streets at night is not recommended.
Women are advised to dress fairly conservatively in Fez. Short skirts, bare midriffs and strappy or decolleté tops are to be avoided, particularly during Ramadan (see below).
The left hand is considered unclean: use your right hand to give and receive things.
Homosexuality is a criminal offence in Morocco.
Moroccan Festival and holidays
Most of the main festivals and holidays in Morocco are related to the Muslim faith and based on the lunar calendar, which shifts by nine days every year. The following are the festivals based on the Gregorian calendar:
January 1 - New Year’s Day (Ras l’âm)
January 11 - Proclamation of Independence (Takdim watikat al-istiqlal) marking the day that in 1956 Sultan Mohammed V declared Morocco’s independence from France.
May 1 - Labour Day (Yaûm Al-Âmal)
July 30 - Celebration of the Throne (Eid Al-Ârch), commemorating the accession of King Mohammed VI to the throne of Morocco in 1999.
August 20- Revolution of the King and the People (Thawrat al malik wa shâab) - commemorates the popular uprising following the deportation of Sultan Mohamed V (grandfather of king Mohamed VI) by the French colonial authorities.
August 21- Birthday of King Mohammed VI and Youth Day (Eid Al Milad)
November 6 - Green March (Eid Al Massira Al Khadra) - marks a 1975 mass demonstration against the Spanish claim on the Western Sahara region.
November 18 - Independence Day (Eid Al Istiqulal), Morocco’s National day
Click here for the specific dates of events scheduled according to the lunar calendar. Some of the most important are:
Islamic New Year (Ras as-Sanah al-Hijriyah)
Birthday of Prophet Muhammad (Mawlid) - usually celebrated in a carnival manner with processions in the streets and a multitude of decorations.
Ramadan - see below
Eid ul-Fitr - marks the end of Ramadan. Everyone puts on their best clothes for the day, which begins with communal prayers in the early morning, followed by feasting, visiting relatives and friends and exchanging gifts of clothes and money.
Eid ul-Adha - marks the date of the Prophet Abraham’s sacrifice of his son Ismael to God, and the acceptance of a ram as a substitute. Cows and sheep are sacrificed with much feasting.
Ramadan is an annual, month-long period of religious observance during which practising Muslims fast and refrain from drinking, smoking or sex from dawn to dusk.
The dates of Ramadan vary according to the moon, shifting backwards by about eleven days each year.
Travellers are effected in the following ways:
• Schools and businesses (including banks) open a little later to allow time for a nap after the early morning prayer, and close earlier to let people get home to break their fast. They close for the three-day Eid celebrations at the end of Ramadan.
• Most restaurants and cafés in the areas frequented by visitors are open during the day but there will be no Moroccan customers until the sun sets, when they arrive in droves and often in family groups with children.
• Public transportation operates normally but becomes very crowded just before sunset.
• Bars, excluding those in hotels, are closed from three days before Ramadan begins until three days after it ends. Shops will not sell alcoholic beverages.
• Out of respect, avoid eating, drinking or smoking while walking in the street, and dress even more conservatively.
Book and Links
More complete information about the sights in Fez is provided in Bab to Bab, Walks in the Medina by Hammad Barrada, available locally and, at the time of writing, at Amazon UK.
An excellent informal source of information about Fez, including upcoming events, is the blog The View From Fes. The Morocco tourism website is helpful for official information.
Embassies and Consulates
• In Fez
Consulate General of France, Avenue Abou Obeida Ibn Jarrah: +212 535 94 94 00
• In Morocco
Canada (also responsible for Australia), Rabat: +212 37 687 400; www.dfait-maeci.gc.ca/morocco/menu-en.asp
France, Rabat: +212 537 219 730; www.ambafrance-ma.org/
Ireland, Casablanca (consulate): +212 522 27 27 21
Italy, Rabat: +212 37 706 597; www.ambrabat.esteri.it
South Africa, Rabat: +212 37 706 760
United Kingdom, Rabat: +212 37 63 3333; ukinmorocco.fco.gov.uk/en
USA, Rabat: +212 37 76 2265; http://rabat.usembassy.gov
USA, Casablanca: +212-2-220-4127; http://casablanca.usconsulate.gov/
• Moroccan representation abroad
Australia 17 Terrigal Crescent, O’Malley, ACT 2606; Tel. +61 (0)2 6290 0755; www.moroccoembassy.org.au
Canada 38 Range Road, Ottawa: +1 613 236 7391; www.ambamaroc.ca
Ireland 39 Raglan Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4; Tel. +353 (0)1 660 9449.
Italy Via Lazzaro Spallanzani, 8/10, 00161 Rome; Tel. +39 06 4402524 - 587;
South Africa 799 Schoeman Street, Cnr Farenden Street, Arcadia; Tel. 0083 +27 (0)12 343 0230.
United Kingdom 49 Queen’s Gate Gardens: +44 (0)20 7581 5001; www.moroccanembassylondon.org.uk
United States 1601 21st Street, NW Washington D.C.; Tel. +1 202 462 7979