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Traditionally, Marrakesh has been the destination of choice for tourists visiting Morocco, but slowly, another alluring scene has been taking root. Fez, which has been called both the “Mecca of the West” and the “Athens of Africa,” has been increasingly growing in popularity. With the 2015 expansion of the city’s airport (set to accommodate five times the current volume), now more than ever, is the time to visit.

Classic Moroccan houses are called riads and dars, and many are being restored throughout the city, offering visitors a chance to stay in an authentic Moroccan space. Riads offer an oasis of calm set against the bustling alleyways of Fez, and are exactly where we recommend staying. Check out our list of the coolest spaces to stay in the city that’s on the cusp of change:

By Claudio Soldi

Dar Sghira

With 40+ five-star reviews, Dar Sghira makes our list as the People’s Choice. A “fantastic oasis in the heart of the medina,” visitors rave about both the space as well as the host.

By HomeAway

Chambre dans Riad

With gorgeous tile detailing in and around the pool, and a dreamy canopy over the bed, we’re in love with this romantic riad. But why limit the party to two? We’re ready to book the whole space to stay with our friends; who wants to join?

By Airbnb

Dar Finn Boutique Riad

As if the intricate common room space wasn’t enough to convince us to plan a trip, we’re also already ready to befriend the owners of this space. The two can arrange guides for you in the city, or if you prefer to explore on your own, promise to point you in the direction of the best local spots.

By Booking

Riad Al Bartal

We love the jungle vibes at this riad, and are particularly impressed by the hanging vines and the flowers on the rooftop.

By Airbnb

Fez Riad

With one of the few riads we were able to find with a shaded rooftop area, we’d be excited to escape the heat with this view of Fez.

By HomeAway

Petit Palace

We can’t get over how equally chic and charming this riad is. The space is inspired by Arab-Andalusian architecture and is located between Batha square and Bab Boujloud.

By Airbnb

Riad Medina

Located in the center of the Fez ancient Medina, this space is the perfect balance of tradition and modern luxury. Be sure to view the listing to check out their jacuzzi room.

By HomeAway

Riad Dar Bab Fes

Fall in love with the warm red and gold tones in this riad, situated next to the famous hotel Palais Jamai and near one of the gates of the Medina.

By Booking

Riad Jamai

We love the way the luscious green plants accent the tiles and high archways in this space. We think this riad would be great for students traveling as part of a class because it has several rooms with a couple of beds, perfect for rooming with a friend.

By Airbnb

Dar Bensouda

Maybe it’s the star-shaped pool in the common room, or maybe it’s the cozy red couches in the Lux Room, but we’re pretty smitten with this particular riad.

By Airbnb

Riad Sunrise

The bold colors in Riad Sunrise offer a dramatic entrance, and we love how the bright detailing is mirrored in the bedrooms. The rooftop offers a spectacular view of the city, enough so that we almost would want to spend our trip just hanging out in our riad oasis.

By Airbnb
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