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.
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!
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.
The suites have a terrace with panoramic views of the Rif Mountains.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 !
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.
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!
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.
# 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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
Do not forget the passage in the prison of the Kasbah!
# 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 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 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.
# 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!
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.
A tip, Stop to buy some delicious Moroccan pastries in this store whose name or street I can’t remember. if you stumble upon it by chance, do not hesitate! You can then enjoy them with your tea.
Day 3: Carpe diem in Chefchaouen!
Pick the present day without worrying about the next day! Time is short in Chefchaouen. Life is short so I propose you a moment of well-being in the blue city starting early in the morning with a moment of relaxation!
# Lina Riad & spa
I propose to privatize for only 15 € per hour (per person) the swimming pool of the 5-star hotel Lina Riad & Spa. The 5-star rating corresponds to the Moroccan standing. For your comfort the pool is heated. The price includes the loan of bathrobes, bath towels and a tray of Moroccan pastries accompanied by a delicious mint tea. The spa is very quiet and clean. It is accessible for hotel guests but also for external guests.
This place is ideal for relaxing, meditating and taking care of your body. A real moment for yourself! Other services are available à la carte such as the hammam or a massage. Possibility to sleep there of course but I do not think the night is cheap. It’s up to you to see if your budget allows it.
# Source Ras al Maa
To recharge your batteries and purify your mind, there’s nothing like a walk just outside the medina of Chefchaouen to the Ras el Maa spring. It is located below the historic Bab El Hammar Gate.
You will love listening to the peaceful sound of the water flowing to the washhouses. Indeed, even today, women use spring water to wash their clothes. There are still 2 washhouses in use.
In case of high heat, it is very pleasant and refreshing to walk along the spring. This one comes directly from the mountain of the rif. It’s fresh! On your way, by the river, you will come across art (resembling that of the Picassiette house in Chartres) and an old traditional water mill.
# Sunset at the Spanish Mosque!
I invite you to a pure moment of freedom and escape by taking the height by going to the Bouzafar Mosque, nicknamed the Spanish Mosque. When you go to the source, just continue straight your way and there will begin the small walk.
The mosque is perched on a hill like a watchtower and offers a bird’s eye view of Chefchaouen and the valley.You will climb the steps leading to the mocked and you will understand why Chefchaouen is nicknamed “the Blue Pearl”. Photo lovers will feast. Remember to bring a bottle of water especially if it is hot. The climb can be a bit rough in the heat. Allow half an hour to get there. This is one of the most remarkable viewpoints of the blue city at sunset. The walk is nice and offers many views of the city. The mosque often remains closed.
It remains banal.
The interest is really the spot on Chefchaouen.
Day 4: The local crafts of Chefchaouen
The main attraction of the medina remains the local crafts. On every corner, it’s Ali Baba’s cave! Do not hesitate to haggle your little souvenir gifts before your departure! My favorite shop is La Botica de la Abuela Alladin! it is a very pretty shop of natural and artisanal cosmetics with enchanting perfumes. The store will transport you into its magical universe as soon as it enters! it’s the shop with a thousand scents! It is located in an alley that is right in front of the Kasba.
The typical local crafts that once existed are still practiced today in Chefchaouen.
You will be amazed to see the craftsmen working with wood, leather, metal, basketry, carpets, weaving or the manufacture of bread or Moroccan pastries.Art Gallery stalls even exhibit paintings depicting street scenes from Chaouen.
During our stay, the village of Chefchaouen was preparing the Eid festival. At the end of the day, the smells of hot bread and Moroccan pastries baked in the traditional oven embalmed in the alleys. A real olfactory and gustatory pleasure! Do not hesitate to offer your help. Berbers are adorable and will appreciate your interest in them.
I had the privilege of participating in a homestay cooking class. Hamza, our Airbnb host, introduced us to his wife named Amal and her little boy. We had the chance to be invited to their home to dinner and to make Moroccan sweets for the Eid festival with them. In Chefchaouen, we make beautiful encounters. Hamza and Amal have become our friends to this day.
Ditto, I had the pleasure of playing in the street with children. Authentic sharing as we love them!
Day 5: Hiking in Akchour
I invite you to discover the magnificent Rif Mountains in Akchour. The site is located 30km from Chefchaouen. It would be a shame to miss this pleasant and beautiful hike. The mountains, rivers and waterfalls are splendid!
In one day, it is quite possible to hike the small waterfall, the large waterfall and the famous Bridge of God! It is a natural arch formed by erosion in a spectacular gorge. The hike is 16km in total. We started it at 11am for a return at 6pm at a good pace. I promise you a nice moment of escape and a good and pure breath of air for your lungs.
# The Bridge of God
The walk to the Bridge of God is in the opposite direction from that of the large and small waterfall. Upon arrival at the dam, located just after the car park that will cost you 10 dirham, turn right and follow the hiking trail which is unmarked.
The hike to the Bridge of God starts here. Two routes are possible. One of the paths goes to the right of the restaurant and goes up to the heights. In this case, you will get a view that overlooks and offers a panorama of the Bridge of God and the Valley of the Rif. The walk is not recommended with small children. The other way is to go up the river of the rif to the bridge of God. This solution makes it possible to find yourself at the foot of this splendid arch as long as the water level should not be too high. Unfortunately, we had not been able to use the river because of the water level and the current. In addition, we had in our possession all our photo material. Bring water shoes if you plan to go through the river. Also take into account that many rocks need to be climbed to get you to the arch.
# Waterfall hike
For the hike to the small and large waterfall, you will have to turn left of the dam. The banks of the source of the rif are well appointed with plastic tables and chairs feet in the water! Well, I find that they are not very aesthetic and spoil the landscape a little…
Do not forget your swimsuit because it is possible to swim. The water from the Rif Mountains is fresh and invigorating! In normal times, the walk is also lively with traditional restaurants everywhere. Possibility to make a stop and enjoy a delicious tagine always feet in the water.
Unfortunately for us, everything was closed due to Ramadan. We were still able to enjoy an exceptional view of the small waterfall by drinking a mint tea and a squeezed orange juice.
The advantage is that we avoided the crowd of tourists! The hike offers a diversity of landscape. We even met monkeys!
We were very surprised because we didn’t expect it. I admit that I was a little scared at the time, not knowing how they would react to our presence! They were numerous and stared at us all. I even almost turned around. Don’t laugh! Finally, we passed quietly without any reaction from them and continued our way to the great waterfall. The ride does not require a guide. Lovers of walking and nature will be delighted. Don’t forget to put on a good pair of sneakers! The reward will be there when you arrive with the appearance of the great waterfall. You will discover this wonder in a very lush vegetation!
You will be immersed in a little corner of paradise and will be in osmosis with nature. Ideal to recharge your batteries and recharge your batteries.This hike to the Akchour waterfall offers a real moment of disconnection and escape. On the way back to Chefchaouen, stop absolutely to buy a delicious hot bread baked in the traditional oven.I had the pleasure of helping a family bake their bread.
The old lady was very happy to tell me “trabaja” in Spanish, or “work” in French! I enjoyed this experience in the company of this family. Their bread out of the oven was hot and crispy. A real moment of pleasure for the taste buds! The bread will cost you 5 dirham. If you want to discover even more activities and places to visit in Chefchaouen and its surroundings, we invite you to click on the banner below:
And that’s it, it’s the end of our discovery of Chefchaouen and its surroundings. It’s time for us to go back to Tangier and take our return flight. I hope you enjoyed this trip with me. I look forward to seeing you soon for new adventures with a new Myoxybubble destination!
Feel free to leave your comments on this article and share your own experiences (the form can be found a little further down).
Need advice to organize your trip? Contact me !
There is not much choice, We advise you to rent a car from Tangier. We have not studied the possibility of going there by bus but it can be a solution. We preferred to rent a car for 2 reasons: the late arrival time of our flight and the fact that we could move to Akchour.
The currency is the dirham: 1 € is equivalent to about 10 MAD.
CB is not accepted everywhere, especially among small merchants. It is best to withdraw money at the airport.
Before you go
Do not forget to check that your passport or ID is still valid.
For electrical outlets, they are identical to those in France.
Don’t forget your sunglasses, sunscreen and hat.
Take some warm clothes because the night is cool in this mountainous region.