50 shades of blue: Chefchaouen

In the north of Morocco lies the city of Chefchaouen, the blue pearl of the country and my favorite destination so far in this new journey of mine. If you’re a fan of the color blue, this city will definitely amaze all of your senses.

You see, all of the medina (old city) area of Chefchaouen is painted in many different shades of blue that serve as the backdrop of little town perched between the mountains of northern Morocco.

Want to know why this is my favorite destination so far? Come and join me!

Blue door at Chefchaouen

Knock, knock! Who’s there?

Why is Chefchaouen blue?

The city of Chefchaouen (or simply Chaouen as the locals call it) was painted blue by the Jewish refugees of the 30’s. The reason for this (besides the religious one) was to cool down the heat of the summer months and also as a mosquito repellent.

When sleeping in one of the many rooftop’s hostels, it is very important to choose one that is painted blue since you don’t want your stay to be ruined by mosquito bites!

The medina (old city) is fairly small and you can go from one end to the other in less than 20 minutes (even less if you go north to south since it’s a trek down). While most people only stay one night in Chaouen before getting bored and going elsewhere, I spent 4 days relaxing and chilling out in this amazing city.

The reason why I love Chefchaouen so much?

It’s the most peaceful Moroccan city I’ve ever visited so far. Other than the persistent kief (cannabis) salesmen, all Moroccan inhabitants of this town are friendly towards tourists and would never think of pulling the schemes that are common in Fez and Marrakech.

The blue city of Chefchaouen

Rooftop view of the blue city

Things do to and see in Chefchaouen #01: Get lost in the medina.

The best way to explore every corner of Chefchaouen is to actually get lost in Chefchaouen. There’s nothing like walking in circles for hours only to realize that  you never left the center of the medina.

The fact that the streets are the same color doesn’t really helps a lot to be honest! How cool is that?

The Medina of Chefchaouen

Can you count the many shades of blue?

Things do to and see in Chefchaouen #02: Befriend the locals.

Contrary to Marrakech and Fez, the local people of Chefchaouen are friendly people without any evil intention in their hearts. If you ever get lost or are in the need of something, just ask a random local and he’ll help you with a big smile on his face.

If you want to experience the real Moroccan hospitality Chefchaouen is the place to be.

Folkloric Moroccan at Chefchaouen

I would kill for a hat like that. He looks so pimpin’!

Things do to and see in Chefchaouen #03: Go to the city walls outside the medina.

For one of the best panoramic views, go north of the medina and enjoy the view from outside the old fortifications that once protected the city from invaders. The best part? You’ll find tons of goats, dogs and sheeps that you can actually befriend.

This is an extremely local spot so I would definitely recommend it for escaping the main parts of the medina.

Outside the walls of Chefchaouen

Befriending the dogs outside the city walls

Things do to and see in Chefchaouen #04: Have lunch at the main plaza.

Options for food during Ramadan are kind of limited so your one and only choice will be to have lunch in one of the similar looking restaurants in the main plaza. Prices and quality are the same from one to the next one so at least pick one with a nice terrace view.

Also, you can enter the kasbah (castle) to get some nice views but it’s definitely not worth the entrance fee (10DH) since you can get similar views from any hotel/hostel.

The main square of Chefchaouen

The one and only square of the city where everybody eats

Things do to and see in Chefchaouen #05: Enjoy the waterfalls of Chefchaouen.

Be warned, these aren’t real waterfalls such as the ones of Ouzoud. Instead, this is more like a basin where women wash clothes and carpets while the men play football soccer and take a dip in the water.

If you want to make some real loyal friends, try playing with the Moroccan kids. You’ll be surprised to find out that they will not ask you for money.

The waterfalls of Chefchaouen

The smallest yet liveliest waterfalls I’ve ever seen in my life

Things do to and see in Chefchaouen #06: Visit the blue graveyard.

If you know me, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of picturesque graveyards so when I was walking along the highway, you can understand my great joy at finding a bunch of blue tombs that overlook the old city. The fact that they were unmarked only increased my curiosity and fascination.

Who was worthy enough to be buried facing such amazing view? Sadly, it seems this is a secret lost to the sands of time now.

Chefchaouen, 50 shades of blue

The most beautiful graveyard ever?

Things do to and see in Chefchaouen #07: Enjoy the sunset

Last, but certainly not least, you can take the 20 minute hike from the waterfalls to the so-called Spanish Mosque to enjoy the sunset of this fascinating blue city. Sunset takes place roughly at 19:45 during the summer so you can actually hear the lovely sound of the mosques as the last shade of orange vanishes in the city of blue.

If you ever are in the need of finding a place that will inspire you to wonder about life itself, there’s no other place as the blue city of Chefchaouen.

Trust me, it’s hard not to fall in love with a place like this one.

Sunset at Chefchaouen

Sunset at Chefchaouen from the Spanish Mosque

Practical information about travel to Chefchaouen, Morocco

The only way to reach Chefchaouen is by bus. There are many daily connections to and from Morocco’s main tourist destinations such as Marrakech, Fez, Rabat and Tangier. You can either take the tourist bus company (CTM) or take the local ones in order to reach your destination, just remember to wake up early since most CTM buses leave Chefchaouen at 07:00.

In the end, I departed Chefchaouen with a big hole in my heart. This is the real Morocco. This is the real place where you can stay forever and be sure that you are in a land of kindness, smiles and yes, excellent food.

Have you ever been in such a magical place as this one? Would you like to? Share your thoughts and let me know what you think!

50 shades of blue at Chefchaouen

50 shades of blue at Chefchaouen

July 21st, 2014|Categories: Africa Travel|Tags: |
Raphael Alexander is a Nomadic Digital Marketer and Travel Influencer who overcame the chains of the local economy and found a way to achieve his dream of having a professional life while traveling the world non-stop. His goal in life is to inspire the people of the world to unleash their full inner potential. A perfect day for him includes exotic animals, ancient pyramids, breath-taking waterfalls and tasty tacos. Lots of tacos.

11 Comments

  1. Jess July 21, 2014 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    Ohh that looks so gorgeous… the different shades of blue really photograph so beautifully!

  2. Mama Zen July 22, 2014 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Spectacular photos!

  3. Gran Canaria Local July 22, 2014 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    Our favourite Moroccan city is Tangiers. However, it’s the only one we’ve been to. We’d dearly like to return, especially after reading all about Chefchaouen. Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Suki August 26, 2015 at 11:15 am - Reply

      Funniest post ever.

  4. Ria July 23, 2014 at 3:25 am - Reply

    I’ve never been to Morrocco but its on my to go list one day, sooner than later I hope! Love all the pics and makes me more inspired to get myself to gear and go! Great images!

  5. Ryan @Treksplorer July 23, 2014 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Sounds like we had similar experiences in Chefchaouen, Raphael. We stayed for 4 nights as well and it was definitely the most hassle-free and easy-going of all the places we visited in Morocco. We also felt very safe walking around the medina after dark (can’t say we felt the same about Tangier or Fez). Would recommend it to anyone going to Morocco!

  6. Marysia July 27, 2014 at 8:33 am - Reply

    I loved this city, it was so calm and so relaxing, same as arty Asilah!

  7. Sigrid Van Paemelen September 27, 2014 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Great! This is the Jodhpur of Morocco 🙂 I didn’t visit Chefchaouen, but felt the same friendly atmosphere in Moulay Idriss, the Mecca of Morocco 😉

  8. nadia June 29, 2015 at 12:55 pm - Reply

    What a lovely post on such a beautiful place! Thank you for sharing your experience and love for Chefchaouen, Raphael. It really does make one pack bags and leave immediately 🙂

  9. Imad Nohad May 20, 2016 at 6:18 pm - Reply

    Chefchaouen sure is a beautiful city. One of the highlights of Morocco.
    It sure needs to be promoted for international tourism.
    Great post about the city by the way.

  10. ALIX May 31, 2016 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    « The blue pearl of morocco » Yes! I’ve been there 3 years ago and it’s my favorite place ever seen.

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