Chefchaouen, the blue city

Chefchaouen

travel as a coupleLow budgetMorocco flag

Travel made in April 2022 Duration: 5 days

Welcome to Chefchaouen !!

Welcome to myoxybubble Chefchaouen ! I invite you to stroll and lose yourself in this wonderful blue labyrinth. At nightfall, this maze lights up with all fire. You will be transported by magic like a thousand and one nights. A pure weekend of escape awaits you! You will think of yourself as Princess Jasmine or Prince Aladdin.

in the land of Aladdin

Chefchaouen is a small Moroccan town located in the Rif Mountains. The locals named her Chaouen. It attracts many tourists from all over the world with its alleys with different shades of blue. Azure blue and “majorel” blue dominate this blue dream. You won’t be bored in Chaouen! Many tourists are passing through for the day, on an excursion from Fez, but it deserves a small extended stay. This Moroccan blue pearl is full of attractions!

Our itinerary:

You can click on all the photos in this article to view them in large format

Chefchaouen, the blue city! 

Day 1: On the way to the Blue City!

The blue city is deserved! It begins with a short journey, landing first in Tangier, a city in the very north of Morocco. We advise you to go through the Sixt car rental agency located on site at the airport. We paid 120€ for 4 days. No major problems encountered at the restitution. From Tangier, plan 2 hours drive to Chefchaouen. If you drive at night, watch out for pedestrians because the roadsides are not lit. It’s dangerous. Otherwise, the road is wide and beautiful. You’re finally there! Welcome to Chefchaouen!

# Where to stay in Chefchaouen?

Without hesitation, I recommend the hotel Riad El Palacio & Spa located in a quiet area in the heart of the medina. The latter is placed near all the places to visit in Chefchaouen.

hotel Riad&spa Chefchaouen hotel Riad&spa Chefchaouen

The suites have a terrace with panoramic views of the Rif Mountains.

hotel Riad&spa Chefchaouen hotel Riad&spa Chefchaouen

The rooms are spacious and have a typical Moroccan decoration made with taste. They have all the necessary comfort and in particular a king size bed with good bedding, air conditioning, heating or hot water. The hotel is extremely clean!

riad&spa Chefchaouen suite riad&spa Chefchaouen suite riad&spa Chefchaouen suite riad&spa Chefchaouen suite

Every morning you will enjoy this breathtaking view overlooking the Rif Mountains, while having your hearty and delicious traditional breakfast from the hotel’s rooftop.

breakfast at the Riad&spa hotel in Chefchaouen breakfast at the Riad&spa hotel in Chefchaouen view from the Riad&spa hotel in Chefchaouen on the Rif Mountains

The Riad is beautiful, completely new and very clean. The central patio is just beautiful with its sparkling white!The moldings look like lace. A glass dome lets in the light and illuminates the Riad.

hotel Riad&spa in Chefchaouen hotel Riad&spa in Chefchaouen hotel Riad&spa in Chefchaouen hotel Riad&spa in Chefchaouen

The staff, especially Hamza, is very helpful, good advice and always smiling. Room service is available. In the evening, we were delivered to our room a delicious mint tea accompanied by succulent Moroccan pastries made by his wonderful wife Amal.

hotel Riad&spa in Chefchaouen 

We highly recommend your stay at Riad El palacio & Spa! Count 50 € to 60 € per night. The benefits are higher than those indicated.

Day 2: Discover Chefchaouen!

# Why is Chefchaouen blue?

Originally the houses of the small village of Chefchaouen were whitewashed. The white color preserved the houses from the hot weather. Only downside, this white color reflected a lot of light and was too dazzling. The blue color would soothe the eyes and also keep mosquitoes away. When we ask the Berbers, several stories about the city and the origins of this blue exist. At the time, the Spanish Jews would have found refuge in Chefchaouen and would have painted everything in blue in their image. Azure blue and “majorel” blue dominate this blue dream !

the blue city of Chefchaoun the blue city of Chefchaoun  the blue city of ChefchaounChefchaouen

Indeed, in Judaism, blue represents freedom, the sky, the sea but also hope. Smalt blue is the mineral pigment used to repaint the Blue Pearl.

malt blue in Chefchaouen malt blue in Chefchaouen

Today, men and women, regardless of their religion, still maintain this tradition by frequently renovating the blue of their house tarnished by the sun. I had the pleasure of participating in this custom!

paint the blue pearl of Chaouen paint the blue pearl of Chaouen paint the blue pearl of Chaouen paint the blue pearl of Chaouenpaint the blue pearl of Chaouen

Chefchaouen is the most touristic city in northern Morocco. It attracts many travelers looking for a change of scenery! The blue city is very photographed because very instagramable. Some locals charge a visitation fee of 5 dirhams to access their private property.

Chefchaouen the blue city Chefchaouen the blue city Chefchaouen

# Outa El Hamam Square

Outa El Hamam Square is the main and historic square of the old town, facing the Kasbah of Emir Moulay Ali Ben Rached. You can not miss it with its central fountain.

Outa El Hamam Square Outa El Hamam Square

The square is very touristy and lively with its restaurants and bars (which are not cheap). Many touts will try to invite you to take a seat for a meal. Go your way to find a typical and less touristy restaurant in the heart of the medina. On the other hand, do not hesitate to sit on the terrace to sip a delicious mint tea and enjoy the atmosphere reigning on the square!Its name, Outa El Hamam, according to historical documents, was borrowed from the Moorish bath (hammam), which in the past made the place famous.

# Visit of the Kasbah

The Kasbah, as mentioned earlier, is located in the main square of the old town.

The Kasbah of Chefchaouen The Kasbah of ChefchaouenThe Kasbah of ChefchaouenThe Kasbah of Chefchaouen

This city was built to resist foreign attacks in the foothills of the Rif Mountains.The Kasbah means in Berber “the horns”. This fortified enclosure in ochre colors has seven doors. At the time, the city was strengthened thanks to the arrival of Jews and local populations.

The Kasbah of Chefchaouen The Kasbah of Chefchaouen The Kasbah of Chefchaouen

The latter have multiplied the construction of mosques in the city including that of El-Masjid El-Aadam. It was built with a magnificent octagonal minaret, inspired by the Golden Tower of Seville, right next to the Kasbah.

El-Masjid El-Adam Mosque

The visit to the Ethnographic Museum of Chefchaouen, located inside the Kasbah, is included in the entrance fee. You will not benefit from a guide for your visit. Explanations of Andalusian craftsmanship are displayed on explanatory signs in Arabic, Spanish and sometimes even French. Climb to the top of the tower, it offers a beautiful panoramic view of the mosque and the blue city!

tour of the Kasbah of Chefchaouen tour of the Kasbah of Chefchaouen tour of the Kasbah of Chefchaouen view of the blue city from the tower of the Kasbah of Chefchaouen

For information, at the time, the city welcomed a population composed mainly of Andalusians and then Moriscos and remained forbidden to Christians under penalty of death. the visit will cost you 60 dirhams.The entrance to the Kasbah overlooks an inner courtyard.It has been decorated with a beautiful Andalusian garden composed of orange trees and other floral varieties. It is beautiful, nice and very well maintained. This garden allows you to take a welcome fresh break.

garden of La Kasbah in Chefchaouen  garden of La Kasbah in Chefchaouen

Do not forget the passage in the prison of the Kasbah!

kasbah prison in Chefchaoen kasbah prison in Chefchaouen kasbah prison in Chefchaouen

# Chefchouaen and Ramadan

Chefchaouen, and the rest of the Muslim world, was in the middle of Ramadan during our weekend escape in the Blue Pearl. During Ramadan, it’s drumbeating every night in Chefchaouen to wake people up! This drum call helps warn the city’s fasters that it’s time to eat one last time before dawn. This is the last meal of the night. This call takes place only at night during the entire Ramadan period. The time of fasting is determined by the dawn of the day and the fall of the night. Muslims are also punctuated night and day by the siren of the call to prayer. There are 5 prayers a day and the schedules change with the moon. Muslims pray at dawn, midday, afternoon, sunset and nightfall. Prayer is always turned towards Mecca to the east. In this year 2022, the end of Ramadan in Chefchaouen took place on May 2nd. It always ends with the festival of Eid al-Fitr. Ramadan lasts 29 or 30 days. It ends when the crescent moon is visible in the sky. This phenomenon depends on the position of the moon and the sun. On my birthday, 28/04/2022, Muslims celebrated the night of the 26th to 27th day of Ramadan. It’s the night of fate (and couscous)! It is in memory of the night when the Prophet Muhammad would have received the revelation of the Qur’an by the archangel Gabriel, in July or August 610.

# Where to eat in Chefchaouen?

I challenge you to find in this blue labyrinth that is the medina, the restaurant Chourafa.The latter is well hidden in a corner of a small narrow alley.

The Chourafa restaurant in Chefchaouen

The restaurant has a typical Moroccan decoration. It feels like home!We were greeted by the boss who was sitting at a table and getting ready to have his meal. We were charmed by his kindness and generosity. He absolutely wanted us to taste the mollusk of the day on his plate. It was difficult for us to refuse a bite even if it was embarrassing. At Chourafa, the fish is fresh! So we took a seat and ordered fish skewers (at the price of 245dh) accompanied by Harcha (semolina bread) and black olives.

The Chourafa restaurant in Chefchaouen The Chourafa restaurant in Chefchaouen The Chourafa restaurant in Chefchaouen

The service is impeccable and the dishes remain hearty and delicious! At Chourafa, you’re in for a treat! I also recommend the restaurant Assaada. This one is reduced to a small room very basic. You will eat copiously a good couscous for a derisory sum (8 € for 2 people).The service is satisfactory and the quality/price ratio unbeatable on Chefchaouen!You will also enjoy a beautiful view of a minaret. The restaurant is simple but clean.

the restaurant Assaada the restaurant Assaada

# Rooftop Vancii hotel

Head to the rooftop of the Vancii hotel in the medina of Chefchaouen. You will enjoy an incredible view of the blue city. It also offers direct views of the Kasbah and the Rif Mountains. The decoration of the rooftop is enchanting and typically Moroccan. It’s worthy of a thousand and one nights!

Hotel Vancii

Be careful, no parasol! Grab a hat or choose a schedule where it’s not too hot. The hotel is very beautiful, the staff nice and helpful. If you want to sleep there know that it is very well located, close to outa El Hamam square, Ras El Maa water source and Mohammed V square. I recommend without hesitation.

# El Haouta Square

El Haouta Square is a charming square frequented by Berbers. Unlike Outa El Hamam Square, it is not touristy. This square surrounded by several cafes is mainly occupied by men. Do not hesitate to enjoy this quiet and peaceful place by taking a seat on the terrace to sip once again a mint tea facing the Fuente El Haouta! It is a pretty blue and white fountain with four faces located right in the center. It is still functional. Indeed, Islam attaches great importance to providing fountains to quench the thirst of the people and to practice ablutions. Upon arrival, you will appreciate the visual of the square with its cobblestones forming patterns on the ground.

El Haouta Square