Chefchaouen bleu City morocco

Chefchaouen is somewhere where you can enjoy a real, authentic experience of Morocco, with traditional markets, hammams, and restaurants to enjoy. It’s ideally placed for venturing out into the countryside too; as well as the beautiful Rif mountain range you have the Jebel Bouhachem Nature Reserve on your doorstep, and the Talassemtane National Park on the other side of the town. Whether it’s the influence of being surrounded by nature, the cool blue walls or the natural hospitableness of the Moroccan character, Chefchaouen is famous for being a friendly, relaxed place to visit. It’s certainly somewhere you don’t want to miss on your next visit to Morocco.

Chefchaouen is known to be one of the most peaceful and safest places in Morocco. Nestled in the Rif Mountains the city attracts all types of travelers. Let us take a look at what it is that attracts everyone to this city.

Discovering Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen means “two horns”—a reference to the twin peaks that tower over this small hillside town in northern Morocco. Locals call it Chaouen, but many travelers know it affectionately as “The Blue City.”

And rest assured that foreigners have discovered the place. Chefchaouen has seen a spike in tourism in recent years, thanks, at least in part, to the dreamy images shared by travelers on social media. And yet the town retains a laid-back authenticity. Maybe it’s the surrounding landscape, or maybe it’s the calming blue tones, but the atmosphere in Chefchaouen feels more relaxed than what you’ll likely experience in Marrakech or Fes.

The region has always been sacred to Muslims due to the presence of the tomb of Moulay Abdessalam Ben Mchich, patron saint of the Jebali Riffian tribesmen. In the late 15th century, the region experienced an influx of Muslim and Jewish refugees from Spain. And until the recent wave of tourism, Chefchaouen has been mostly untouched and isolated. Use the following overview to seize the day—and get some great photos while you’re at it—in this fascinating destination

Chefchaouen is small: two days is enough to see the main attractions. However, many people come here to relax in one of the hammams (jacobs) or hike in the nearby mountains, so you may want to allow yourself some extra days. For more information on how much time to spend in this region and other parts of Morocco,

You’ll spend most of your time in the compact medina. You could easily spend half a day wandering the alleyways, taking photos of brightly colored pots juxtaposed with the blue walls. But there are some key sights worth seeking out.

At the bottom of the medina is the Plaza Outa el-Hammam, the main square, which is named for the number of hammams that used to circle it. Here, you’ll find a range of restaurants and cafés perfect for people-watching.  After a cup or two of mint tea, venture to nearby leather, carpentry, and textile shops. Many travelers say they prefer the experience of shopping here, in contrast with Fes or Marrakech: the prices are generally a bit better and shopkeepers are more relaxed.

One shopping experience not to be missed is a visit to Hat Man. At this funky emporium located toward the top of the medina on Rue Targui, you can buy hand-knitted hats in many shapes, sizes, and colors. For gourmet souvenirs like goat butter and local mountain honey, head to Plaza Hata, then admire the colonial architecture in elegant Plaza el Makhzen.

After a lunch of tagine (a North African stew made with stewed meat and vegetables) at one of the town’s various traditional eateries, head to the Grand Mosque and Kasbah. The Grand Mosque, built by Moulay Mohamed in 1560, is the city’s oldest and largest place of worship. Like all Moroccan religious sights, non-Muslims are not allowed to enter. However, it’s still a building worth admiring from the outside.  At the Kasbah (old fortification), you can visit a garden, a museum, and some of the old prison cells used during Spanish rule. Make sure you head to the roof for a fantastic view of the boldly-hued buildings and town below.

Next, head over to Ras el Ma spring, the town’s primary water source, and find a quaint riverside café where you can pause to enjoy another cup of tea. You may even catch a glimpse of local women washing their clothes in the water. Then, follow the path up the hill for half an hour to reach the white Spanish Mosque. From this vantage point, you can savor one last view over the town as the sun sets behind the mountains.

On your second day, take a short drive to the starting point of a hiking trail. You can choose between hiking along the river to the Cascades d’Akchou waterfall, or to the rock arch known as “The Bridge of God.”  If you’re feeling energetic, you could do both. Otherwise, plan on spending at least a half-day on the journey to either destination.

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