Fez Travel — With Caution
As I stepped off the plane in Fez, I felt like I was in another world. The women were dressed in hijabs, and were staring at me in my jeans and long sleeve shirt. Getting to my riad was not that difficult. I asked one of the agents in the airport, and they explained to my driver where I was staying the night. Riads are the hotels or hostels in Morocco, and they are normally owned by Westerners. Be prepared to pay about 20 to 30 euro a night.
Fez is one of the oldest Muslim cities in the world, and is divided into two parts: Old Fez or “Fez Medina” and the New Fez. Fez Medina is a crumbling but beautiful center of tiny stoned streets and mosaic walled houses. It is a UNESCO center, and there are lots of historic things to see.
As a woman traveling alone in Morocco, it is a very good idea to stick with your guide from the riad where you stay. The police are very keen on catching illegal guides. However, usually the tour guide from the riad will take you around to many places of business in the area for you to look and buy. They may pressure you, especially if you are alone. I took the bait and ended up buying two rugs for a total of 500 dollars. It was not worth it.
The Moroccan women wear head dresses, and while it’s definitely not required of Westerners, I adorned one for a couple of days. It is a very Muslim country, and although its in Africa, it has an Arabic feel. As a woman, especially with blonde hair you will receive less attention if you dress on the more modest side. I also noticed that women are not allowed in the coffee shops, only men.
I did not have a problem with thieves, but as usual, hold on tight to your belongings. There are many beautiful places and things to see in Fez, Morocco. The people smoke shisha, and are usually very friendly.
If you like to take photos, the kids will do handstands for you if it means they can get some candy money. If you are respectful of the culture, you will have a wonderful time. It’s a unique place with very hospitable people.