Visiting Fez, Morocco | A 3 Hour Pit Stop to Stretch Our Legs

When planning where to go after the Sahara Desert we went back and forth between visiting Fez, stopping in Meknes before Fez, or just going straight to Chefchaouen (the iconic blue city). With the unexpected colder temperatures, we decided to skip Fez and go straight to Chefchaouen. However, we had a three-hour “bus layover” to explore Fez, and get a feel of what visiting Fez would really be like.




Starting off our time in Fez was ummm.. interesting to say the least. Our bus got into the city around 4 AM, quite a few hours earlier than expected, leaving us cold and stranded. We went into the bus station to get away from all the taxi drivers, and before we knew it the worker was shutting the metal grates and locking us in the station with him and three other travelers.

{Traveler’s Tip… If you’re arriving in Fez from Merzouga (the desert) you’ll be getting in really early! Be sure to arrange with your accommodation for you to arrive in the wee hours of the morning, or just sleep at the bus station!}



At first, we didn’t really know what we should do, but after hearing the worker snoring, we decided to lay down and go back to bed too! We woke up just a few hours later and were ready to walk the two miles over to the CTM station to catch our next bus, only stopping once for coffee at a typical “men only” cafes.
Don’t worry they aren’t really men only, there are just never any women in them, and we asked if it was okay for me to be in there before going in! 😉

Our plan was to catch the 8 AM bus out of Fez to Chefchaouen, but after getting to the CTM bus station, we learned it was full. In fact, all the buses for the day were full. But the kind man told us to just show back up around 10:30, and he’d get us on the next bus out of there. We thought it was strange, but went along with it, and enjoyed our 3 hours visiting Fez.

{Traveler’s Tip.. CTM is a company that runs buses straight to Chefchaouen from Fez. The road is windy towards the end, so be prepared for some motion sickness if you get car sick! Book early to ensure you get a seat!}



Most travelers go to Fez and visit the very well-known tannery (where leather is dyed).  If we’re honest here, this ended up being a complete mess. It’s become such a touristic place to visit that there are loads of people waiting around all the small alleyways wanting to lead you to the tannery. I’m convinced they wait just beside where you can see and distract you to make you pay them to “guide you” the rest of the way.

After getting completely lost in the small alleys, and getting bombarded by too many people wanting to “help” – for a fee… we gave up trying to see the tanneries and decided to walk around on our own instead.

We learned our lesson …

It’s not always the best thing to rush into something trying to find that “one thing”… sometimes it’s nicer to pave your own path and not get caught up in what you “should do” in a city.

After we gave up trying to find “the tannery”, we just stumbled upon one that was more authentic, and the workers were so friendly too. They wanted to tell us all about the tannery and talk to us about the rugs they had hanging around – and weren’t interested in making a quick buck off us. They were just so happy we were interested in them!


{Traveler’s Tip… If you want to see “the tannery” go into it not under a certain time frame, and try to ignore how annoying the people are trying to give you a tour. Just simply wander around the city, and if you stumble upon it, great, if not.. that’s great too – just be sure to enjoy your time!}



Getting back to the CTM bus station, the man that promised us a seat was a bit nervous about our return. We sat and chatted with some other travelers and were shooed out the door to catch the bus. We found our seats in the far back row of the bus and quickly realized why they were open.

The seats were completely flooded – and there was a waterfall coming from the roof!

The man who sold us our tickets was out of sight, leaving us to sit and wait until we got to the main bus station to do anything about it. After talking with multiple different workers, showing the flooded seat over and over again to people, and nearly getting our camera knocked out of our hand by a guy who thought we were reporters filming him, we were told to gather our belongings and just wait. We were completely kept out of the loop with what was going on, and before we knew it, our bus just left without us!

The workers explained we’d be getting on the next bus to Chefchaouen and that everything would be fine. Thank the Lord they were telling the truth. About an hour after the whole fiasco, we were sitting comfy on dry seats and on our way to the blue city!


We were glad we had such a short time in Fez, because it really was just a chaotic day, however, we think if we had more time in the city, we could have really enjoyed exploring all around. Have you been to Fez before? Fill us in on what we missed in the city!



Recommended Gear for Visiting Fez, Morocco

Travel Bag:
We always travel with this backpack. It doesn’t really look like a backpacker’s bag, has so many compartments to store and hide your belongings, and the zippers can connect to each other making it difficult for someone to just unzip the bag while you’re walking around.

Camera Set Up:
All photos in this post were taken with this camera using mainly this lens, and occasionally this one. You can check out a full list of our camera gear here.

Water Bottle:
It’s actually safe to drink the water in Morocco, though you can buy water for extremely cheap prices if you buy the big bottles, and it tastes a bit better. Buying a big bottle and then refilling this water bottle each time you leave your accommodation will save you some cash! And the best part is, this bottle keeps liquids cold for 24 hours and hot for 6 hours – so your water will stay cold all day, or you could fill it with hot Moroccan tea to go!



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