Where to stay in Fes for first time: 2 Safe areas

Fes is one of my favorite destinations in Morocco, along with Marrakech, Casablanca, and Rabat. In today’s article, I will help you to find the safe places to stay in Fes for first-time visitors.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safest areas to stay in Fes for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Fes and recommend some of the best hotels in Fes for visitors with various budgets.

Before get into the detail of the main topic, let’s look at some facts about Fes:

Fez, also spelled Fes, is one of the oldest and most fascinating cities in Morocco. It is a must-visit destination for those interested in exploring Morocco’s rich heritage as it is the cultural and spiritual heart of the country.

The old city of Fez is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is home to the world’s oldest university, the University of Al Quaraouiyine. The medina is a maze-like, bustling area with narrow alleys, traditional markets (souks), and numerous historical monuments.

Bab Bou Jeloud, also known as the Blue Gate, is one of the main entrances to the old city. It is an impressive gate that features blue and green ceramics, and it serves as a popular starting point for exploring the medina.

Fez is renowned for its leather products, and the Chouara Tannery is one of the oldest tanneries in the world. You can observe the traditional leather-making process, where workers dye and process hides.

Other must-see attractions in Fes include Bou Inania Madrasa, Attarine Madrasa, Dar Batha Museum, and Merenid Tombs.

The city is known for its delicious Moroccan cuisine. Tajines, couscous, and pastries are among the local specialties you can enjoy in the city.

Is Fes safe to visit?

Yes, Fes is generally a safe destination for tourists. But, like any other tourist destination, there are tourist scams and pickpockets. It’s always essential for travelers to be aware of your surroundings, safeguard your belongings, and stay in well-lit areas and travel in groups, especially at night.

Morocco is a conservative country with a predominantly Muslim population. It’s important to respect local customs and dress modestly, especially in more traditional areas.

The maze-like streets can be challenging to navigate, and it’s easy to get lost. You should stick to the main streets when you’re unsure of your location. The smaller alleys in the Medina can be confusing, so using larger streets as reference points can prevent you from straying too far.

Where to stay in Fes for the first time?

The best and safest areas to stay in Fes for first-timers and tourists are Fes El Bali (The Medina/ Old Fes) and Ville Nouvelle (New Fes). It is recommended to always stay alert, take care of your belongings, and avoid walking alone at night to have a safe and enjoyable trip in Fes.

Fes El Bali is the historic Medina of Fes and is a popular area for first time visitors. Staying in the old city puts you close to landmarks such as the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque, Bou Inania Madrasa, and the tanneries.

Ville Nouvelle (New Town) is known for its modern amenities and is generally considered safe. It’s a good choice for those who prefer a more contemporary atmosphere. The layout of the new city is more organized and less labyrinthine than the old city.

During my trip to Fes, I stayed in the old town at the Hotel & Spa Dar Bensouda. It was a beautiful accommodation with a great sunset and sunrise views from the rooftop. It was an easy walk to all the attractions in Medina. Staff was super welcoming and helpful.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Fes for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the safe areas to stay in Fes first time
Map of the safe areas to stay in Fes first time

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Fes, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Fes have been carefully selected by me from well-known and secure booking sites such as booking.com, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. 

If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

2 Safe areas to stay in Fes for first-timers and tourists

1. Fes El Bali (The Medina/ Old Fes)

Fes El Bali, the old city of Fes, is one of the best areas to stay in Fes for the first time. It is a captivating and historic destination that provides an authentic Moroccan experience. 

Fes El Bali is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is considered one of the world’s best-preserved medieval cities. It has a rich history dating back over a thousand years, and walking through its narrow, winding streets feels like stepping back in time.

The medina of Fes El Bali is a labyrinth of narrow alleys and streets, where you can explore traditional souks, artisan workshops, and historic sites. Due to the maze-like layout, it’s advisable to have a map or consider hiring a local guide to explore the medina.

The medina is known for its vibrant colors, unique architecture, and the intricate mosaic work found on buildings and fountains.

You can visit the Al-Qarawiyyin Mosque and University, Bou Inania Madrasa, and the Chouara Tannery, one of the world’s oldest tanneries, where you can see the traditional process of leather production.

Fes El Bali is home to many traditional Moroccan riads, which are historic houses with interior courtyards converted into guest accommodations. Staying in a riad provides an authentic experience and a glimpse into traditional Moroccan living.

In Fes El Bali, you can find numerous local eateries serving traditional dishes such as tagines, couscous, and pastries.

The medina is a shopper’s paradise, with bustling souks offering spices, textiles, ceramics, and traditional crafts. This area is a hub for traditional Moroccan arts and crafts, including pottery, metalwork, and handwoven textiles. You can visit artisan workshops to see craftsmen at work.

Best places to stay in Fes El Bali for first-timers:

Mid-range ($$): Riad Sidrat Fes, great 4-star absolutely stunning accommodation in central location, right in the heart of the Medina, easy access to great shops, restaurants, and hammams. It has beautiful rooms, quality breakfasts, and free one way airport shuttle services. The hotel can help with booking guides and tours.

Mid-range ($$): Riad Damia, beautiful 4-star hotel located in a nice safe location, close to the entrance of one of the Gates of the old city, 10 mins walk from the Blue Gate. Easy walking distance/ short taxi ride to main sights. It has airport shuttle service, excellent breakfast, family rooms, and 24-hour front desk. There is free parking, which is a bonus for those who drive.

Luxury ($$$): Riad Braya, 5-star well maintained Riad in a good location in Medina, close to the blue gate and many restaurants nearby. The hotel’s rooftop has the beautiful view of Fes at night. It has an indoor swimming pool, wonderful breakfast, and 24-hour front desk.

Luxury ($$$): PALAIS LARAICHI Riad la porte bleue suites, 5-star beautiful clean riad, conveniently located at the edge of the Medina, close to must-see attractions such as the Blue Gate, Bab Bou Jeloud Fes, Medersa Bouanania, and Batha Square. It is easily accessible by car, and the parking is nearby.

Budget ($): Riad Soultana, a sustainable guest house in a safe area of the Medina near Royal Palace Fes,  close to all the action, 5 mins from parking and blue gate entrance. Easy to find in the medina labyrinth without being scammed by local guides and easy to get to from taxi dropoff. You can enjoy your breakfast on the rooftop terrace over sunrise.

Budget ($): Dar Borj, great accommodation in a central location near the best entrance to the Medina (Bab Boujloud). It has the stunning view of Medina from the terrace. Nice breakfast is served in the rooftop restaurant (be prepared to climb steps for breakfast).


2. Ville Nouvelle (New Fes)

Ville Nouvelle, or the New City, is the modern part of Fes. Ville Nouvelle features modern infrastructure, wider streets, and a more organized layout. It is characterized by colonial-era French and Spanish influences in its architecture.

Ville Nouvelle is a commercial and business hub, offering a range of shopping opportunities, including modern malls, boutiques, and international brand stores. The area has a variety of restaurants, cafes, and eateries serving both Moroccan and international cuisine.

The New City is known for its vibrant nightlife with bars, clubs, and lounges where locals and tourists gather for entertainment after sunset.

Boulevard Mohammed V is the heart of Ville Nouvelle and is lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a popular place for strolling, shopping, and people-watching.

Ville Nouvelle is well-connected, and it serves as a transportation hub with the Fes train station and bus terminal, making it convenient for travelers arriving or departing.

Best places to stay in Fes in Ville Nouvelle for tourists:

Budget ($): Hôtel Royal Urban Concept, popular accommodation near Fes Train Station, only 10 mins walk away. It has paid airport shuttle services, family rooms, and 24-hour front desk. The old Medina is also 30 mins walk away (10 minutes by taxi). Also close to the Imam Ali mosque, Borj Fez Mall, many markets and restaurants.

Mid-range ($$): Nour Plazza Hotel, 4-star hotel that has an outdoor swimming pool, free parking, a fitness center, and  a terrace. Lots of amenities and cafes can be found nearby.

Mid-range ($$): Riad Dar Ziryab, 4-star traditional Moroccan accommodation conveniently located in the modern part of town, 5 mins taxi ride from Fes-Ville Nouvelle Train Station. It has an outdoor swimming pool,  air-conditioned guest rooms, a garden, and a hammam.

Luxury ($$$): Palais Medina & Spa, 5-star hotel located next to  Fez Borj shopping center and Carrefour hypermarket. It is in between Fes Old Town and New Town. It is a 30 mins walk to Medina. It has stunning views of the Jbel Zalagh Hill and the Old Medina. It has 2 swimming pools, free parking, and very good breakfast.


In conclusion, Fes El Bali (The Medina/ Old Fes) and Ville Nouvelle (New Fes) are the best places to stay in Fes for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas for visitors but, like any other city in the world, it’s essential to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings to have a safe holiday.

You can continue reading other popular destinations in Morocco:

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Fes. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

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