Sightseeing tips about the “Blue Pearl”, the enchanting blue city of Chefchaouen, one of the most exciting and exciting destinations to visit in Morocco

Much sought after by Europeans and Asians who disembark in Morocco, chefchaouen enchants its public with its streets and alleys entirely painted in different shades of blue, which are transformed into an elegant labyrinth with infinite alleys, staircases and centuries-old buildings, inviting visitors to get lost without fear. 

THE Uta-Al Hamman Square It is surrounded by many restaurants and shops. souvenirs, being the ideal point to start exploring the medina of chefchaouen. The place has easy access to other must-see attractions of the destination, such as the Kasbah, one of the first buildings to be built in the city, the souk and the Ras el-Ma waterfall, an area widely used by locals for leisure time.

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chefchaouen also stands out from the others moroccan tourist destinations for its unique setting, formed by the rustic architecture combined with the nature that surrounds it: the small town is surrounded by the Rif mountains in a region suitable for tourists who like to take walks in the open air and keep in touch with nature. Proof of this is the fantastic Talasemtane National Park, a 580 km² protected area that offers great hiking trails with access to charming villages and natural viewpoints.

Despite the very present Muslim culture, Chefchaouen has a more liberal atmosphere than other Moroccan destinations and it is possible to find some markets and restaurants that sell some options of alcoholic beverages (mainly in tourist hotels and restaurants).

Those who visit the destination are fascinated by the surreal air that chefchaouen transmits. Its little houses built on the slopes of the mountain and the labyrinth of its medina full of architectural heritage make Chefchaouen an unimaginable place from the first contact. This is the kind of destiny that can only be understood seen in person (and of course) while walking aimlessly.

Chaouen, as it is affectionately called by the locals, was founded in 1471 by the Berber people to stop the expansion of the Portuguese on the African continent. Over time, the city became a sort of refuge for Jewish people fleeing the Spanish Inquisition at the end of the 15th century and for a long time it was completely closed to outsiders who passed through the region, especially Christians, who could face punishment. of death if they tried to enter the city, a rule that was only finalized when the Spain occupied this region of the country.

The reason why the city's medina was entirely painted blue by the Jews is uncertain, but there are three theories that try to explain the reason for the rather peculiar turquoise tradition: the first says that the blue reproduces the vision of paradise for the Jews. The second would be that blue refers to the color of sacred objects in the Old Testament. The third, a little more skeptical, justifies the coloring only as a “repellent” against insects and offers a feeling of freshness in the hot summer months. Even without knowing the reason, one thing is for sure, walking through the city offers the feeling of being in a small village out of a fairy tale.     

One tip to see the city from another angle is to visit some rooftops available in some cafes and restaurants in and around the medina. THE Coffee Clock is among the best known and offers a terrace with panoramic views of chefchaouen and can be a good stop between one tour and another. Be sure to check out the local handicrafts, which include several items made of wood, wool and leather.  

Things to do in Chefchaouen 

chefchaouen morocco

Streets and alleys of Chefchaouen. Photo: Better Travel Guide

Medina

The medina is the point that concentrates the famous narrow streets painted in shades of turquoise blue, a mandatory stop on your trip. The place is considered the heart of the city, bringing together numerous options of restaurants, hotels, cafes, souvenirs and important attractions of the destination. The ideal is to set aside at least an entire afternoon to enjoy the landscapes and walk without haste, but if you have the opportunity to sleep on the outskirts of the center, it is worth choosing this option.

Kasbah

The Kasbah is a fortified space that is installed inside the medina and was one of the first buildings to be built in the city. The building of Berber origin served to protect against attacks, invasions and even against the cold (which can be very severe during the winter). Now converted into an ethnographic museum, the citadel also houses a small garden and an art gallery. 

Uta Al-Hamman Square

If you're in Chefchaouen and don't know what to do, head to Uta Al-Hamman Square! Located in the main part of the medina, the square is home to many restaurants, cafes and shops. In addition to providing access to the main visitation points of the destination, this is a great place to observe the daily life of chefchaouen, taste some of the typical delicacies of the country or just sit down to chat and drink the traditional Moroccan mint tea.

hammam

The hammam is a traditional Arab bath in which the skin is basically cleaned through steam and exfoliation. Nowadays, going to the hammam has become a tradition that happens at least once a month among Moroccans and Chefchaouen offers two public spaces that can be visited by both locals and visitors.

These baths have different environments for men and women (or simply different hours) and usually charge a symbolic price. This is one of the most traditional experiences in Morocco, and it can be a valid option if you have a rainy day at the destination or just want to see this local curiosity up close.

viewpoint

The viewpoint is the point of the city that offers the best view in all of Chefchaouen. The location is close to the Hotel Atlas and is a great point to enjoy the unforgettable sunset of the destination.

spanish mosque 

Located a 45-minute walk from the city center, the Spanish Mosque is at one of the highest points in the city, on top of a hill allowing for breathtaking views of chefchaouen. Entrance to the mosques is not allowed for tourists, so the observation is made only from the outside. Other mosque options to see in Chefchaouen are the Sidi Ali ben Rachid Mosques, the Onsar Mosque and the Sidi Buhansa Mosque.

Ethnographic Museum 

Despite being small, the Ethnographic Museum has a good collection of traditional artifacts from the city. The museum is housed inside the kasbah in a picturesque building dating back to the founding of Chefchaouen.

Waterfalls d'Akchour 

The trail leading to the Cascades d'Akchour is approximately a 30-minute taxi ride from the center of chefchaouen. Access is guided by a nature trail that offers great views of the region and curious points such as the Ponte de Deus, a natural stone arch crossing a river. The waterfalls form a charming circuit that deserves to be enjoyed calmly. The Great Cascade ends the path with its incredibly crystalline waters. 

Bab El-Sor Square 

The square offers a great view of the upper part of the city and the Rif Mountains. The site also houses a tiled fountain and is surrounded by a number of cafes and restaurants.

How to get to Chefchaouen 

Morocco

Photo: Better Travel Guide

It is not possible to fly or take the train to Chefchaouen, the closest airports are in the cities of Tangier, Fez and Tétouan. The city is located in the middle of the road that connects Tangier and Fez, making it a great stopover option for those traveling in this region of the country and who want to make an integrated itinerary. 

Chefchaouen can be reached by taxi or local bus from Tangier (2.5h), Tétouan (1.5h away) and Fes (4h away). You can check the timetables here.

Best time to visit Chefchaouen 

chefchaouen morocco

Photo: Better Travel Guide

Due to its geographical location, Chefchaouen is influenced by the Mediterranean and the Sahara Desert, presenting a slightly wetter winter with mild temperatures and extremely dry and hot summers.

The best time to visit chefchaouen it is before or after summer, to catch very pleasant temperatures and blue sky days. The months of July and August can be too hot for a pleasant stay.

Where to stay in Chefchaouen 

Morocco

Photo: Disclosure

chefchaouen has a wide range of hotels across the city with different categories to suit all types of budget. 

One option to have more privacy and tranquility is to stay around the city, close to nature and at the same time, close to the city center. THE Dar Ba Sidi & Spa It has rooms with a privileged view of the city, leisure spaces with a swimming pool and its own restaurant specializing in Moroccan cuisine.

If you are looking for options within the Chefchaouen medina, the Lina Ryad & Spa it's the Riad Hicham are luxurious and cozy options ideal for couples. already the Hotel Parador has more relaxed environments ideal for families and larger groups.

THE Booking.com offers more than 200 options for accommodation in Chefchaouen. See all available hotels on Booking.com here.

chefchaouen, in Morocco, has great accommodation options on Airbnb. The platform that offers house, apartment and room rentals can be much cheaper than a hotel. And if you haven't registered yet, you can use this discount code.

* This trip was made at the invitation of the Official Delegation of Tourism of Morocco together with the GTA – Global Travel Assistance who ceded the travel insurance to the columnist of Guia Viajar Melhor.

Read too:

» What to know before going to Morocco: how to go and other tips
» 10 beautiful cities to visit in Morocco
» 9 amazing restaurants to visit in Morocco 
» The film sets of Ouarzazate, Moroccan Hollywood

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