Lose Yourself in the Ancient Medinas of Fez, Morocco

Lose Yourself in the Ancient Medinas of Fez, Morocco

Founded in 1859 and featured in Travel and Leisure’s Best Places to Travel in 2015, Fez has been called the “Mecca of the West” and the “Athens of Africa.” It is Morocco’s second largest city and home to more than a million people.

Fez, with its ancient walls and narrow winding streets, is among the best preserved cities in the Arab world. Its largest medina, or old town, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and possibly the biggest car-free urban area in the world.

One of the world’s oldest shopping bazaars is also located in Fez, and as the handicraft capital of Morocco, shoppers will find quality leather goods, ceramics, brassware, drums and other musical instruments.

The modern conveniences of any 21st century metropolis, including a new high capacity airport, as well as bus, train and taxi services, are available in Fez. Traveling there is comfortable and easy.

Flying to Fez on an Award Ticket

None of the three major airline alliances fly to Fez, so it is not as straightforward as going to Marrakesh or Casablanca. The best option is to fly to Casablanca and take a train to Fez. It’s probably the cheapest and the most pleasant way to get to this fascinating city.

The train between Casablanca and Fez costs about $15 and takes four hours. It’s a modern train, and the seats are comfortable. You can even opt for a first class seat. Although they are only slightly better, they only cost slightly more.

Typical street market in the old medina of Fes, Morocco, Africa
A street market in Fez

AAdvantage miles and the oneworld alliance

Etihad Airways is an American Airlines partner that flies to Casablanca via Abu Dhabi, and Qatar Airways is a oneworld alliance member that flies to Casablanca via Doha. Both are incredible airlines that provide excellent service even in coach.

You can also fly to Casablanca on oneworld member Iberia via Madrid.

One-way flights between the U.S. and Casablanca cost:

  • 37,500 miles in coach
  • 75,000 in business
  • 100,000 in first

If you have a hard time finding a flight, try breaking your trip into segments. For example, you can look for a flight from the U.S. to Doha, and then from Doha to Casablanca.

It’s probably easiest to research flight information using British Airways website, and then call American Airlines to book. If the flight is not available on AA.com, they will waive the $25 phone booking fee.

 Traditional leather tanneries in the medina, Fez
A traditional leather tannery in Fez

MileagePlus miles and the Star Alliance

The following Star Alliance airlines fly to Casablanca:

  • Egypt Air via Cairo
  • Lufthansa via Frankfurt
  • TAP Portugal via Lisbon
  • Turkish Airlines via Istanbul

A one-way flight between the U.S. and Casablanca costs:

  • 40,000 miles in coach
  • 80,000 in business
  • 160,000 in first

Delta SkyMiles and SkyTeam

The following SkyTeam members fly to Casablanca:

  • Air France via Marseille, Paris and Toulouse
  • Alitalia via Rome
  • Saudia via Jeddah and Riyadh

A one-way flight between the U.S. and Casablanca costs:

  • 30,000 miles in coach
  • 62,500 in business

First class seats cannot be booked with SkyMiles.

Gate to ancient medina of Fez
The gate to Fez’s ancient medina

The cheapest economy and business class tickets are available using Delta SkyMiles. For not much more though, you can fly in greater comfort with superior service on Etihad or Qatar Airways.

You can get to Fez with miles from any of the major airline alliances and explore the twisting paths through the old medinas and haggle for handcrafted souvenirs.

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