We are please to be able to offer to arrange bespoke, private, guided day trips from Fes out into the surrounding, very beautiful, countryside. Day trips start at 120 euros per day (that’s for the vehicle, not per person) including the services of an English, French and Arabic speaking guide in an air conditioned SUV/4x4, and fuel. Here are some of our suggestions however …….as these are bespoke they can be tailored to your requirements.
Volubilis is an extraordinarily large and complete Roman city, once the capital of a sizeable Roman province, Mauretania Tingitana. Founded in the 3rd century BC by the Phoenicians, the town was lost by Rome in 285AD to Berber tribesmen, who nevertheless continued to speak Latin for centuries afterwards. The ruins are famous for their amazingly vibrant mosaics, which are sadly completely exposed to the elements. Its relaxed atmosphere is part of its charm, and a visit is often as much nature ramble as history lesson.
Meknes, nearby is a Berber town (Fes is predominantly Arab). It’s cheerful and relaxed atmosphere are reminiscent of Marrakech before the jet set arrived, and it’s central square, with street food and traditional entertainment (best seen after dusk), is the closest approach to Jma el Fna.
The food market is compact and beautiful, but the city is overshadowed by the vast Imperial City constructed by the violently cruel but successful Sultan Moulay Ismail in the 17th Century. Unusually, many of the Royal sites can be visited, including the huge subterranean prisons, the granaries, the Imperial Stables, and remarkably the old tyrants mausoleum, which is one of the rare religious buildings open to non Muslims in Morocco.
DAY TRIPS FROM FES
Fabulously photogenic and often voted the most beautiful town in Morocco, Chechaouen nestles below a ridge in the Rif mountains, north of Fes. The town has a wonderfully relaxed attitude, and is famous for its artisans, specialising in textiles and leather.
There’s good mountain food and even fresh fish, brought over the mountains from the nearby Mediterranean.
Only an hour south of Fes, the Middle Atlas swiftly climbs to seven thousand feet. Up in the mountains you visit the remarkable hill station of Ifrane, summer home to much of Morocco’s ruling elite, and very popular amongst the Moroccan people for its near – and in fact rather odd – pseudo Swiss feel. Azrou, by contrast, is a little Berber market town and a center for local, Middle Atlas carpets, rugs, and brass.
Up above the towns, we’ll explore the cedar forests, where there are colonies of Barbary Apes. Neither tame, nor timid, the apes are a delight to behold. They aren’t aggressive and will often hand feed, and you can observe full, socially sophisticated family groups, from tiny infants to alpha males.
The Middle Atlas, Ifrane, Azrou and the Barbary Apes from 120Euro (per vehicle)
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