Best of Fès

Fès is the most authentic of Morocco's Imperial Cities, as well as being the country's religious and cultural centre. After a short flight of just over 3 hours, you are suddenly transported into another era and into one of the world's most ancient and fascinating mid evil medinas, which is now designated as a world heritage by UNISCO.

Fès is separated into three parts, Fès el Bali (the old, walled city), Fès-Jdid (new Fès, home of the Mellah), and the Ville Nouvelle (the French-created, newest section of Fès).

The Medina of Fès el Bali, the largest of the two medinas of Fès, is believed to be the largest contiguous car-free urban area in the world. Hidden away in a labyrinthine maze of winding alleys are souks selling spices, metalwork, silks, furniture makers and herbalists. Dominating all of these are the ancient tanneries where the same techniques and natural dyes - cobalt, pomegranate bark, saffron, henna and poppy - have been used for centuries.

Here you can discover such treasures as the green-tiled Karaouine Mosque, founded in 859 and home to the world's oldest university; the el-Attarine Medersa - an Islamic school established in 1320; the Royal Palace; the Nejjarine Fountain; the Dar Batha Palace Museum ; the 17th century Danan Synagogue and in the Andalusian quarter, the splendid El-Sarij Medersa, the old Muslim seminary.

Discreetly hidden behind high, nondescript sun-baked walls are a host of glorious Fassi palaces and mansions, many of which have now been sensitively converted into atmospheric riads offering unique accommodation and serving delicious, traditional Moroccan dishes.