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The bustle of Fez’s medina can become a bit much after a few days, but the emptiness of the sublime Moroccan countryside is easily accessible. Rent a car in the Ville Nouvelle or hire a grand taxi to get outside of the city center for a breath of fresh air and a glimpse of Morocco’s equally intriguing rural scene.

Day Trips from Fez


Home to Morocco’s most well-to-do university, Al-Akhawayn, Ifrane is like a slice of Switzerland in North Africa. Cedar forests and lakes abound, and there’s even a ski mountain. In the summer, lakeside walks and lolling at cafés are popular pastimes.

Less than 40 miles south of Fez.,
Tags: family | outdoors | day trip

Lac de Sidi Bourhaba

A freshwater nature preserve just inland along Morocco’s Atlantic coast, Lac de Sidi Bourhaba is a forested area rife with walking trails. A major stop-off point for migrating birds between Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, the lake here is considered Morocco’s best birdwatching domain (spot black-shouldered kites and barbary partridges).

About 80 miles west of Fez, 011-212-37-74-72-09, www.spana.org.ma (French only)
Tags: hiking | day trip | wildlife | bird-watching


Often considered more accessible to outsiders than Fez, the smaller imperial city of Meknes is home to impressive souks, mosques, and museums – all on a manageable scale.

37 miles southwest of Fez,
Tags: history | day trip

Moulay Yacoub

The sulfuric odors are as strong as the alleged healing benefits at these natural thermal pools, where the water bubbles up from 4900 feet below the surface. This is the ideal antidote to the Fez medina’s grit and grime.

14 miles northwest of Fez,
Tags: family | day trip

Route des Lacs (Lake Circuit)

Exit the road a few miles north of Ifrane for a 40-mile tour of Morocco’s most scenic lake country. Spot bountiful birdlife, picnicking Moroccan families and adventuresome mountain bikers.

Roughly 30 miles south of Fez,
Tags: views | mountain biking | outdoors | day trip | lake


Annexed to Rome in 44 A.D., Volubilis was originally settled by Carthaginian traders in the third century B.C. The Roman ruins here – ancient steam rooms, temples, and tiled mosaics – are Morocco’s biggest archeological drawcard.

Less than 50 miles northwest of Fez.,
Tags: architecture | history | day trip | ruins

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