Sometimes during your travels, you will visit a wonderful place but still you wished you never came there. Fez in Morocco is such a place. The Medina (old town) is wonderful and there are so many things to discover. Unfortunately the locals are making this place a nightmare to tourists.
Just let me explain a bit more first about Fez. The Medina of Fez is founded in the 9th Century. You are able to visit leather tanneries and the Medina contains more than 9000 narrow streets. This all together gives you a maze which is wonderful to navigate through. I personally have a good sense of direction, but I still had sometimes difficulties in finding the way.
This is also immediately the point where some locals are making advantage of tourists and destroying the amazing feeling of what you can have from Fez. Everywhere people are telling you that roads are closed, you need to follow them and they will bring you to places you don’t even want to go.
If this behavior was a sign of hospitality than it would have been fine. However they are quiet harsh and trying to force you to join them. If you tell them that they can tell you the way but you will find it on your own because you want to explore around a bit, they will answer you that they live in that direction so it’s fine and they insist to bring you there.
When you finally arrive somewhere where you don’t even want to go in the beginning, they will ask you for money because they brought you there. Some of those locals can get quiet aggressive if you don’t give them any tip. But still you need to remember here, you are here a tourist and Moroccans will not fight with you because if they get caught by police the consequences are too high for them.
Most remarkable situation was when we just wanted to walk around in the Medina. Someone insisted to bring us to a tannery and we didn’t even want to go there. We didn’t visit a tannery yet, and he insisted it is free don’t worry, you need to trust Moroccans. So we thought let’s go in that direction. We knew how to walk and we told him that we knew how to go, however he wanted to bring us there.
In the end we reached the tannery, and the tannery had a sign outside saying, free entry. So we visited the tannery, inside the tannery an old guy walked around with us. In the end the old guy insisted to get some money from us. I made him aware of the sign outside that the place is free to visit. He then ended up with a fight with the person who brought us there.
When the old guy was gone and we were back on the main street another guy approached us with the guy that brought us to the tannery. He claimed to be his brother and insisted that we gave his brother a tip for the fact he brought us to a place we didn’t even want to go in the first place. Always insist in those situations that you will not pay.
Unfortunately those situations happen all the time when you walk around in the Medina. Because of this you don’t want to talk to people in Fez anymore and are not willing to browse that much in the shops. People feel very pushy and doesn’t give you a moment to explore the Medina in a relaxed way. They are constantly trying to get money out of you.
Still Fez is beautiful and I recommend it to visit, but it could have been such a better place if the locals are not destroying the experience to tourists. Do you have any similar kind of experience in other places you have visited, let me know here in the comment section.