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Monday, 1 December 2014 12:00 AM

A Holiday Weekend in Fez, Morocco

Saturday Times article 29 November 2014, by Lesley Thomas

“If you want to have a mini break based in a Moroccan medina, surely you should stay in Marrakesh rather than Fez? Well, I love Marrakesh – but I think I loved it more 15 years ago when it was less swanky and it was cheaper to stay and eat there. Fez is the answer to this little difficulty. It’s at that sweet spot where there is new investment in tourism but it’s not yet too ritzy.

Beautiful, crumbling riads are being bought up and done up by shrew entrepreneurs (French and British as well as Moroccan) and transformed into chic little guest houses and hotels. And yet it still feels a little rough and ready: you sense you are discovering the place.”

For her full article you will need to sign-up for the Times on-line

Naturally Morocco Says …

Fez is a unique city – a maze of small alleys too narrow for motor vehicles to pass through, seemingly unchanged since the middle ages and a thriving medina full of everyday Moroccan life. The north of Morocco is relatively cooler and rainy in peak winter but is gorgeous in spring, early summer and autumn.

Lesley is quite correct that it is a wonderful place to visit and far less tourist than Marrakech, but this is not new - there have been excellent converted riads in Fez for many years now and, although new ones pop up all the time, some of those that have stood the test of time are still the best.

Direct flights from the UK (with Ryanair) have made Fez more accessible, and they have come and gone in the past. Alternatively for longer trips (such as a week), flights into Rabat or Casablanca are also possible direct from the UK and open up an interesting multi destination holiday option.

Fez is not cheap. The major change in pricing in Morocco holidays and short trips over the past 10 years has been a result of exchange rate changes (historically closer to 17 MHD : £1; now around MHD 13.5 : £1) and flights in peak times can be very expensive. Also Fez does not have the huge numbers of riads on offer that Marrakech has, which tends to keep prices down, but Fez does have quality – beautiful riads at reasonable pricing.

Fez is a place to visit for a few days as Lesley says. We suggest a guide for at least half a day so you can work your way around and understand some of the history, and I love getting lost in the medina and then drinking tea at a café watching the world pass by – you can never get truly lost as the medina is set on two banks of a river that divides it and surrounded by a wall, so keep going uphill on the right side of the river and you’ll hit the wall and find your bearings.

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