Even though it’s a relatively small settlement, there are quite a few amazing things to do in Chefchaouen, Morocco’s blue city. Located in the Rif Mountains, in the northwestern part of the country, this small town of Morocco stands out due to its intense shades of blue.
Chefchaouen was founded in 1471 by Jews and Moors who fled Spain. Initially, it served as a fortress, so you should not be surprised to see the city surrounded by the high walls of the former fort.
I included Chefchaouen in the 10-day Morocco itinerary, and I enjoyed walking through the labyrinthine streets inside the medina. Chefchaouen must be put on the list of places to see in Morocco!
Why is Chefchaouen painted blue?
The most intriguing feature of the city and the one that attracts tourists like a magnet is the blue color of the buildings. It’s unknown what the exact cause of coloring buildings with these shades is, but there are several theories.
One of them is that the locals decided to use blue to paint the entire city of Chefchaoun because mosquitoes are not attracted to this color at all. Another theory refers to the resemblance to the sky or the sea.
Another reason is related to the Islamic religion. According to Muslims, blue represents happiness and optimism. Indeed, there are other variants related to the reason behind the coloring of the Chefchaouen in blue, but one thing is sure.
This intense blue of Chefchaouen is not so easy to maintain. The locals have to reapply the paint at least twice a year to keep the intensity that brought them fame abroad.
What I use every time I travel:
- To book hotels: Booking.com
- To book tours: GetYourGuide.com
10 Amazing things to do in Chefchaouen
1. Stay in an authentic riad
Riyadh is not just the capital of Saudi Arabia. This word is also used to describe typical Moroccan homes or hotels.
If you visit Morocco, my advice is to stay in these hotels because they are extraordinary. Their interior courtyards, traditional ornaments, authentic furniture, and in some cases, small indoor pools make up a dreamy decor that you should not miss.
When talking about where to stay in Chefchaouen, my recommendations are the following:
- budget: Dar Swiar – beautiful view, air conditioning, terrace, excellent location
- mid-range: Dar Aldea– air conditioning, private bathroom, delicious breakfast, excellent location, terrace
- luxury: Résidence Hoteliére Chez Aziz–superb view, air conditioning, private bathroom, parking, WiFi, room service, delicious breakfast
PIN IT FOR LATER ⇓
2. Walk the labyrinthine streets of the medina
You may not have as many chances to get lost here as you would in the medina of Fes, but the streets of Chefchaouen are certainly winding. I no longer take into account how much they resemble each other, the predominant color being, surprisingly, the intense blue.
A day in Chefchaouen or a maximum of two should be enough to cross all the streets and to tick all the tourist attractions in the blue pearl of Morocco.
3. Take a guided tour of the medina of Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen is the kind of destination you don’t need to spend a lot of time. Even if one day would, in theory, be enough to explore the blue city long and wide, it would be best and most efficient to do so on a guided tour.
In general, such a tour includes a guide who can tell you all the exciting things about the destination. Any information that would improve your knowledge is well worth it.
4. Take Instagrammable pictures
Without a doubt, Chefchaouen is one of the most colorful and Instagrammable cities in Morocco, or maybe even in the world. Blue streets and buildings, contrasted with green plants, flowers, multicolored carpets, and cute cats, are the best background for beautiful photos.
Every street corner, intersection, and door can be a perfect opportunity for another good picture to upload on social networks. There are even a few places where, for a fee, you can take great photos.
We can conclude that Chefchaouen is a mini paradise for both influencers and the most passionate photographers.
5. Play with the cats
The adorable cats are part of the typical landscape of the city. You will see them everywhere, and they immediately stand out, in contrast to the intense blue of the buildings. They are friendly and eager for a bit of attention, so don’t hesitate to cuddle them a little.
Fortunately, I have not seen cats in Chefchaouen that look sick or uncared for, unlike other places in Morocco, especially in Marrakech. That reminded me of Istanbul and the care the locals have for these lovely animals.
6. Visit the Kasbah Museum
Among the reasons why it is worth visiting Chefchaouen are not necessarily museums, but one of them, in particular, is worth a little bit of your time, especially since it’s easily accessible from the medina.
Also known as the Ethnographic Museum, the Kasbah Museum is located in Plaza Uta el-Hammam, right next to the Great Mosque in Chefchaouen.
But it will be easy for you to recognize it in the blue landscape of the city since it has a gray-brown color.
The Kasbah Museum was built under the command of Moulay Ali Ben Moussa Ben Rached El Alami, the founder of the city of Chefchaouen, who is said to be the descendant of the Prophet Mohammed.
It is worth coming here if you want to visit a beautiful garden and enjoy a collection of musical instruments, weapons, traditional costumes, and many ceramic objects.
7. Admire the doors of Chefchaouen
In addition to the intense blue of the walls, the buildings in Chefchaouen have some gorgeous doors, which maintain the same color. They are made of wood or iron, have various patterns, and are colored in multiple shades of blue.
They look a bit like the doors of hobbit houses, and they seem to hide a mysterious world behind them. The blue doors in Chefchaouen are also very Instagrammable, each of them having a different design.
8. Try traditional Moroccan food
Tagine is probably the most famous dish in Morocco, and you will find it at almost every restaurant in Chefchaouen. Moroccan cuisine is one of the best in the world, although it is not necessarily my favorite.
With a wide variety of tastes, spices, and unique combinations of ingredients, you will indeed be pleasantly surprised by the Moroccan dishes. So, don’t hesitate to enter a restaurant and try the most popular dishes.
9. Buy Moroccan souvenirs
If you are looking for the most beautiful souvenirs in Morocco, then Chefchaouen is the perfect place to do that. You are probably wondering why the shopping experience in the medina of Chefchaouen is more pleasant here than in other cities in Morocco.
Well, the reason is as simple as can be. In Chefhcaouen, I have not seen insistent sellers trying to convince you to buy something from them. People do their job, being kind, but without becoming persuasive.
Besides, Chefchaouen has attractive goods from an aesthetic point of view, and the sellers are willing to negotiate.
10. Visit the Great Mosque of Chefchaouen
The oldest mosque in Chefchaouen dates back to the 15th century. Although the access of non-Muslims is forbidden inside, the mosque has a charming appearance on the outside, and it is worth making a short stop here.
Even if it has the Moroccan architectural style, the mosque stands out due to the octagonal minaret, which has been reconsolidated over the years.
How many days do you need to visit Chefchaouen?
Even a day or just a few hours are enough to visit the blue pearl of Morocco. It is a relatively small town, and you can easily walk all the streets in only one day.
However, if you want to enjoy the intensely blue and the lovely cats longer, and maybe even go hiking on the surrounding hills, you can spend two days or more in Chefchaouen.
How to get to Chefchaouen?
- Casablanca to Chefchaouen
The distance from Casablanca to Chefchaouen is about 5 hours. You can get here either by car or by bus, and the ticket can cost up to $ 20 per way. The bus will take you there in about 7 hours.
- Fes to Chefchaouen
From Fes, the distance is reduced by half, and also the price of a ticket; the trips are three times a day. There is also a day tour from Fes, where you have enough time to discover the city and even have lunch on a terrace with beautiful views.
- Tangier to Chefchaouen
Tangier is located at a distance of 2 hours and 15 minutes by car. However, the bus takes three hours, is twice a day, and the ticket price is between $ 4 and $ 7. Or you can opt for a day trip from Tangier to Chefchaouen, with Akchour waterfall included.
When is the best time to visit Chefchaouen?
From the point of view of precipitation, you don’t have to worry. It rains pretty rarely in Chefchaouen so that you can visit almost anytime. If you are afraid of suffocating heat and high humidity, then try to avoid the summer months. July and August are by far the hottest.
The weather is enjoyable in spring and autumn, so I recommend you to visit Chefchaouen either between April – May, or September – October. The busiest months are April and July, and the weakest chances to see many tourists in Chefchaouen you will have in January, November, and December.
Is Chefchaouen worth visiting?
Given that I spent so much time on the road to get here, I think it’s worth visiting Chefchaouen, especially if you spend several days in Morocco.
The city is charming and unique, and I am sure you would like to visit it, even if you will do it only once in your life.
Is Chefchaouen safe?
Of all the places I visited in Morocco in 10 days, Chefchaouen seemed the safest and most peaceful. The medina is smaller than other medinas of the big cities, and the locals are much friendlier.
There is not much agitation in the city. Throughout the visit, I had the feeling that I am there on a Sunday, at noon, where everyone sleeps. This is how quiet it was. The safety of the city is generally confirmed by most tourists who visit Chefchaouen.
What to do in Chefchaouen at night?
Chefchaouen is not necessarily a destination where you can have fun at night. But you can walk through the medina after dark, to avoid the heat and to observe the beauty of the streets in this part of the day as well.
Evenings in Chefchaouen are also perfect for the famous hammam baths or a delicious Moroccan dinner. Otherwise, you don’t have many other activities that you can do in Chefchaouen at night.
The most Instagrammable places in Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen is one of the most photogenic locations in the world, without a doubt. Absolutely every corner, but also every street seems to be a photographer’s heaven.
Moreover, the locals understood the importance of photos for the city’s promotion, so they arranged unique places in Chefchaouen to welcome tourists eager to take the most beautiful pictures.
Although absolutely every piece of Chefchaouen is Instagrammable, for better orientation, especially if you don’t have a lot of time, try to get to these places:
- Callejon El Asri
- El Ouahabi House
- Place El Haouta
- Place Bab Souk
- Blue Street
- Square at Riad Dar Laman
- The Arch
Fun facts about Chefchaouen
Besides the apparent beauty of the places I visit, I like to discover fun facts about them, fascinating things about their history. Here’s what I found out about Chefchaouen:
- The name Chefchaouen means “two horns” in the Berber language
- Chefchaouen has a population of about 40,000 people
- was founded by Mulay Ali Ben Rachid, considered one of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad
- one of the main occupations of the locals is the manufacture of natural leather products
- there are many cannabis plantations around the city
- just 20 minutes walk from the city center, there is a small but beautiful waterfall, Ras el maa