Chefchaouen (Morocco Blue City): The Full Guide

Greece is one of many places where white-walled cities are trimmed with blue. Nestled in the Rif Mountains of Morocco, not far from Tangier and Tetouan, Chefchaouen is a hidden gem becoming more popular with off-the-beaten-path visitors.

Not serviced by the train system, renting a car or taking the bus are the main ways to make it to ‘Chaouen’ (as the locals call it).

You’ve probably seen a lot of photos from a city with blue walls on Instagram. It’s a place full of history and many hidden finds. Chefchaouen can surely ‘blue’ you away!

The blue buildings attract travelers to the city, but the laidback lifestyle and mountain backdrops make them fall in love with it. But before you visit, it’s important to know a little bit more in terms of what makes Chefchaouen special, how to visit, where to stay, and the top things to do in this extraordinary place.

Chefchaouen Blue City of Morocco

Getting To Know Chefchaouen

In this section, I am going to go through all the basic information about Chefchaouen including its history, what makes it special? why is it so famous? its exact location and its weather throughout the year.

What is Special About Chefchaouen?

Chefchaouen, which can occasionally go by ‘Chaouen,’ is a small town in Morocco with a pretty cool history. Commonly referred to as ‘Morocco’s Blue Pearl city,’ the town is known for its beautiful color scheme where all the walls are painted all the colors of blue you can imagine. 

The town is towards the top tip of Morocco, not too far from Tangier, in the Rif Mountains. With gorgeous architecture and amazing views, the small town has an even smaller medina that carries that Moroccan country charm. 

Even though the town is in a difficult-to-access spot, it certainly held its own on the trading route between Tetuan and Fez, especially when those pesky Portuguese roamed. The spot in which the town sits has allowed it to have such a unique history and offers visitors unique experiences. 

It was Moulay Ali Ben Moussa who is said to have founded the town in 1471. He was a local leader, and legend says that he was descended from Idriss I, which many believe in having started the first Moroccan dynasty, which means that Moussa would have been a possible descendent of Muhammad, the Muslim prophet. 

The original purpose of the town was as a defense post against the invading Portuguese. Chefchaouen was initially intended as a fortress that would allow the Moroccans to fight for their land. The fortress is now referred to as the Kasbah, and we’ll discuss this later. 

So Portugal was invading Morocco, attacking both the modern cities and the smaller towns. They had started heading down into Northern Africa after the Spanish Inquisition, or ‘Reconquista’ if you’re from Portugal, which was anytime from the 8th to the 14th centuries when Spanish Christians were deeply opposed to every other religion, mainly Muslims. And unfortunately for Morocco, a large population was Muslim. 

Because its population is primarily made up of fleeing religious refugees, Chefchaouen has 12 mosques and has been heavily influenced by European architecture. This makes it stand out amongst the other Moroccan towns and cities, like most of the houses have round tiles that aren’t really seen in Morocco and are more at home in Southern Europe. 

Even though Chefchaouen can be difficult to get to because it is literally in the middle of the mountains, many say it is definitely worth the effort. The town isn’t that big, and you can easily walk around it and see the sights in a day. 

The town is pretty much maze-like, its streets are small, and because all the exterior walls of the buildings are the same color, you can get turned around quickly if you’re not careful. For instance, the doors and the walls are painted blue, so you can easily miss an entrance into a shop or a home as it all blends into the wall. For a non-big city, the shops are eclectic in their range, and many of the bazaars spill out onto the streets with local crafts and souvenirs. 

But why is the city famous?

Chefchaouen is famous for its blue walls, which no other Moroccan town has thought to do. But why are the walls blue? What is the reason behind it? Despite history telling us that originally the walls were white, several theories are floating around about why and when the blue was introduced. 

There are two main theories. The first is that the blue color keeps the mosquitoes away. The second theory is that according to the Jewish tradition, it is believed that the color blue represents the sky which in return reminds people of heaven and God. 

It serves as a reminder to lead people’s spiritual and moral lives. Regardless of the real reason, the color covering the city gives it a special charm, calmness, and joyful spirit. 

The Weather In Chefchaouen City

Chefchaouen blue city is blessed with wonderful weather, but it can get quite chilly, especially in the evenings. It even sometimes snows a few times a year! Generally, In Chefchaouen, the summers are short, warm, arid, and clear, whereas the winters are long, cold, wet, and partly cloudy.

Around the year, the temperature typically ranges from 38°F to 86°F and is rarely below 30°F or above 92°F. The warmest months are July and August; the coldest months are January and February; and the rainiest are January, February, November, and December.

Chefchaouen’s Location

Chefchaouen blue city of Morocco is located in the far north of Morocco, on the beautiful Rif Mountains, and is fairly remote. It’s only about 3 hours away from Tangier city and 3 to 4 hours if you are traveling from Fes.

Chefchaouen Travel Guide: Everything Explained


If you are planning to travel and explore chefchaouen then don’t worry I got you covered. In this section, I will go through and discuss how safe is the city, what do you need to bring as well as the top things to do and see. Let’s Go!

Is Chefchaouen safe?

Chefchaouen or Chaouen has always been one of the safest destinations in Morocco, which one can visit in absolute peace as it has never witnessed any incident against travelers. In truth, Chefchaouen is a safe place to visit both morning and night. There’s only small crime (scams and pickpockets), and you’re unlikely to be assaulted or seriously hurt as a tourist in the country.

Many travelers who are familiar from earlier visits to the city will go about their day at a steady and relaxing pace, refusing to speed up even after night falls and covers the entire city in darkness. There is rarely any crime, and the safety there is virtually unmatched. Even though Morocco is generally a safe country to visit, women walking alone are likely to receive unwanted attention from men, so try and dress properly.

As Moroccans will probably tell you when you arrive, pickpockets are the other danger to watch out for, as in any crowded place. Don’t hang walk around with your phone in your hand, and consider putting it on a lanyard so that it can’t be expertly fished out of your pocket while you’re engrossed in a pile of wares. 

The same goes for your wallet – don’t keep it in a back pocket, where thieves can nab it without you realizing it. Keep your eye on your bag or purse, and if you’re entering a jam-packed street or alley, it’s probably best to wear your backpack in front of you, even though you’ll look silly.

If you have to ask for directions, ask a shopkeeper who can’t leave their shop. But under no circumstances accept the offer of someone in the street to walk you to your destination. While you’re likely to be helped, treated to tea or a meal, or even hosted for free in smaller towns in Morocco, mass tourism has created an ugly reality in some old medinas, especially Chefchaouen. 

Development of tourist lodgings has sent rent prices sky high, driving out residents and small businesses like butchers and tailors from neighborhoods until all that’s left is a hollow facade and an ecosystem consisting of hotels and guesthouses, restaurants, souvenir shops, and tourists – and people who, left with few other options, try to prey on those tourists.

If you’re first arriving at your hotel and are seen with bags, you’re likely to be approached by someone who will ask you where you’re staying and try to show you the way. Be polite but firm about not accepting their help.

How To Get To Chefchaouen city?

The most important thing to know is that the town is very hilly, and the main way to explore the blue streets of Chefchaouen is by foot. This means it is not accessible for many people, as a certain fitness level would be needed for all the stairs and steep pathways.

It’s a real cat-and-mouse maze of small staircases and tunnels. If you want to visit any attractions near Chefchaouen, such as the Rif Mountains, it would be best to take a taxi for ease.

There are no airports near Chefchaouen, which helps the town from being overcrowded or affected by mass tourism. The only way is to arrive by road, whether in a taxi, car, or bus. The two nearest towns are Tangier, along the Mediterranean Coast, Rabat, and Fes, further south. 

Here are several ways you can get to Chefchaouen Morocco’s Blue City:

From Tangier (2-3 hours)

The most comfortable way to get from Tangier to Chefchaouen is by hiring a private transfer. You can also rent a car and drive, take a “grand taxi” (long-distance shared taxi), or take a bus.

Note that traffic and transit may be crowded around late March/early April; this is the time of the Semana Santa (Holy Week) vacation in Spain when northern Morocco is crowded with Spanish tourists. Public transit throughout the country is often disrupted during the month-long Ramadan fast.

The drive from Tangier to Chefchaouen takes a little over two hours. Be cautious if you self-drive, as mountain roads are steep, and drivers may be erratic.

If you want to take a grand taxi, you should be prepared to share the vehicle with up to four or five other passengers. Having small bills on hand is useful, as some drivers may claim to have stayed the same.

Grand taxis generally congregate in a taxi rank and leave once all seats are occupied. Taxi ranks can be found outside major transport hubs, such as train stations, bus stations, and airports.

CTM and Nejme Chamal operate buses from Tangier to Chefchaouen. CTM buses can be booked in advance and leave from the private CTM Bus Station. Two CTM buses leave per day. Nejme Chamal buses leave from Tangier’s main bus terminal (Gare Routière).

From Fes (3-5 hours)

To get to Chefchaouen from Fes, you can book a private transfer, drive, take a grand taxi, or take a bus. Trains do not run on this route.

The drive from Fes to Chefchaouen takes under four hours along highway N13. CTM runs five or six buses per day between Fes and Chefchaouen.

Other private bus companies also run on this route; however, departure times and bus/driver quality can be unreliable. If you wish to take the bus, booking CTM tickets in advance is a good idea.  

From Rabat (4-5 hours)

The best way to get from Rabat to Chefchaouen is by driving, private transfer, or grand taxi. The drive from Rabat takes about 4 hours along highway N1.

This route has tolls, so plan to have a small amount of cash in hand and try to bring exact change—short-changing at toll booths is a common scam.

There is also the option of taking a bus. There is only one CTM bus daily. Some local bus companies also operate on this route.

How Many Days are Enough in Chefchaouen?

Chefchaouen Morocco

Chefchaouen is a small city with amazing views: two days is enough to see the main attractions. However, many people come here to relax in one of the hammams or hike in the nearby mountains, so you should allow yourself some extra days. 

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.

Here are how you would spend your 2 days trip in Chefchaouen city:

1st Day

At the bottom of the medina is the Plaza Outa el Hammam, the main square 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.

2nd Day

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 see 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 of the town as the sun sets behind the mountains.

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 the rock arch called “The Bridge of God.” Meanwhile, if you’re feeling energetic, you could do both. Otherwise, plan on spending at least a half day on the journey to either destination. 

What’s The Best Time To Visit Chefchaouen?

The best time to visit Chefchaouen city is during spring and autumn. You have enjoyable temperatures from March to May and September to November.

As it is higher and between the mountains, it is also more bearable in the summer with less scorching temperatures. Moroccans from all over the country often spend their summer holidays in these regions. During winter, it can get freezing.

What To Pack When Traveling To Chefchaouen?

Knowing how to pack a backpack for a long trip ain’t easy. But treat this as a packing checklist, and tick off each item as you go. When packing for a vacation, the most important things to remember are the length of your trip, the weather, and any non-standard clothing or gear you might need.

Here are what to pack for Men traveling to Chefchaouen:

  • Socks
  • Sleepwear
  • T-shirts
  • Casual Shirts
  • Jeans should be well-fitting and not torn
  • Shorts
  • Sweaters
  • Coats
  • Laundry Kit
  • Umbrella
  • Hiking Boots
  • Sneaker

Important Tip: Avoid clothing with unnecessary branding, logos, or designs that may not be appropriate or possibly offend.

Here are what to pack for Women traveling to Chefchaouen:

  • Dress for the Weather: In the winter, you’ll find temperatures from 40-70 degrees Fahrenheit; in the hottest summer months, days range from 70-100 degrees. At any time of the year, bring warm layers for the evening.
  • Think Loose and Flowy: All things lightweight and full coverage is ideal—loose trousers or maxi skirts are perfect. A tunic dress or shirt with leggings or a full kaftan is great too. Not only does full coverage allow you to dress conservatively in Chefchaouen, but it will also protect you from the sun.
  • Bring Practical Shoes: Closed-toe or comfortable shoes are must-haves for long days of exploring. It’s also handy to have flats or sandals for running around the riad or taking short walks.
  • Wear a Scarf: Whatever you wear, have a lightweight scarf with you. You can use it to cover up before going into a mosque or keep the sun off your skin when you’re overheating. Moroccan scarves are also gorgeous souvenirs, so plan to buy one there! You’ll find them in pretty much any city or town, so you don’t need to bring your own if you don’t want to.
  • Use Sun Protection: The sun in Chefchaouen can be intense throughout the year. Bring sunglasses, a hat, and sunscreen.

Important Tip: the only advice that should a women apply especially solo-travelers is to avoid showy clothes, things like short skirts or leggings will only put you in trouble.

Here are what to pack for your baby & children when traveling to Chefchaouen:

  • Diaper bag
  • Diapers – a little extra especially depending on your chosen destination
  • Wet wipes
  • Changing sheet
  • Blankets – At least two
  • Disposable plastic bags
  • Disinfectant/Sanitizer
  • Liquid hand wash for yourself
  • Child’s toiletries, including toothpaste and brush- small packs
  • Tissues
  • Toys and small books – Pick your favorites.
  • Clothes, socks, and shoes depending on the season: One outfit for a day, and in cold weather, instead of putting on one thick sweater or jacket, always use layers of clothing. Check the nose tip and hands of the baby to see if the layers are enough. Baby shouldn’t feel too hot also.
  • Caps, mittens, and boots: necessary in case of a baby below 1 year.
  • Towels/bathing suit & washable bibs
  • Sunhats and sunscreen (advised by the doctor) because of the sun in Chefchaouen.
  • Feeding sets – lightweight
  • Carry snack food as well as any supplement or formula that you give
  • Medical kit: You can check with your child’s doctor if he can provide you with the list of medications that you should carry for the child depending on their age. Our doctor always did this, and in times of emergency, we would take medications based on the prescription given.
  • Take childproof rooms or carry socket protectors or painter’s tape to cover the switches.

Top Things To do while visiting Chefchaouen

When planning your trip to Morocco, the small town of Chefchaouen is a gem that deserves a spot on anyone’s Morocco itinerary. Whether you’re traveling with your family, planning a romantic trip with your loved one, or visiting on business, there are plenty of fun things to do in Chefchaouen that you shouldn’t miss out on during your stay! 

1. Akchour waterfalls

Must-see when in Chefchaouen is the waterfalls and the natural bridge of Akchour. Located in the Rif Mountains, 29 km from Chefchaouen, this is a prime gateway to a day of hiking and swimming.

You can take a grand taxi from Chefchaouen to Akchour – a 40-50-minute ride that winds up the mountainside. It is best to leave for the morning falls to avoid the heat and make the most of your day. 

The falls of Akchour are a series of small waterfalls running through a beautiful gorge. You can walk along the riverbank past turquoise swimming holes and sparkling falls while soaking in the beauty of this hidden paradise. Many pools are great for swimming, diving, and cliff jumping. Small restaurants and cafes are scattered along the river so you can stop for a refreshing meal or drink.

Farther upriver, you will reach a section of the river you can only continue through by wading or swimming through a series of natural pools. Come ready to swim and ensure any valuables are kept in a waterproof bag, and you can enjoy a peaceful but adventurous stint in nature. 

For a more challenging hike, consider following the trail to the top of the Bridge of God, a natural bridge arching 45 m (80 ft) above the river. This trail splits from the riverside trail early on, continuing uphill and to the right, while the hike to the falls forks to the left. The trail is not marked, so you must consider your surroundings to stay on the correct trail. 

Also, remember that the trail to the Bridge of God is often steep and narrow, with no guardrails or protection, so it may not be suited for all hikers. For those up to the challenge, however, the hike to the Bridge of God provides a breathtaking view of the Rif Mountains valley and the village of Akchour.

2. Wander The Blue streets

A visit to Chefchaouen would be incomplete without a walk through the winding blue streets of the city. Relatively small and quiet, Chefchaouen is an easy and comfortable place to explore.

Here you can find elegant architecture, picture-perfect streets of blue, and countless interesting shops. Whether your goal is to wander, shop, or take photos, this is the place for you. 

3. Watch the sunset and sunrise

Sunrise and Sunset in Chefchaouen are magical times of the day in this city. Add this as one of the things to do on your Chefchaouen itinerary.

Wake up in the early morning, get to the rooftop of your riad, and enjoy the most magical sunrise you will see during your trip.

4. Hike To The Spanish Mosque

Once back in Chefchaouen, consider taking a short, uphill walk to the Spanish Mosque that overlooks the city. Built in the 1920s but now abandoned, the Mosque’s hilltop grounds give you a full view of Chefchaouen and the surrounding valley. The overlook is a great way to appreciate the stunning blue and white colors that make Chefchaouen so distinctive. 

Many prefer hiking to the Mosque for a sunset view of the city. If you choose to do so, try arriving 15-30 minutes before sunset to claim a spot on the edge of the hill for an unobstructed view.

However, mornings and early afternoons also allow for a pleasant walk and a beautiful view of the city. 

5. Shopping in the Old medina

Visit the narrow blue, twisting streets of the Medina and its souks! The souks may be smaller than other Moroccan cities like Fes, but it remains a popular shopping destination.

This is because it offers many native handicrafts that are not available anywhere else in Morocco, such as wool garments, woven blankets, and woven baskets.

6. Explore Craftsmanship

Many of the small streets in Chefchaouen are occupied by little people that sell local crafts, arts, clothes, and traditional souvenirs. It’s a treat for the eye to see all the colorful wares displayed against the blue walls.

It can sometimes feel claustrophobic as there isn’t much space to walk when all the wares are out, but it is a sensory experience to wander through all the little people. You’ll also come across many workshops where you can see the locals craft their goods.

7. Visiting The Kasbah Fortress Museum

The Kasbah, located at the center of the Medinah, is a fascinating historical site. For a small entrance fee, you can explore Kasbah’s beautiful garden, an ancient prison, an art gallery, and the impressive Portuguese tower.

In addition, a flyer provided at the entrance and various plaques and exhibits throughout the Kasbah give an interesting overview of the blue city’s complex history.

8. Spending a night in a Riad

Chefchaouen has many great accommodation options. Try and stay a night in a traditional riad for the most authentic experience. Most of the riads range from budget to high-level luxury.

Many riads on the more luxurious end will also have spas to enjoy! Be aware that staying inside the medina can be a bit more expensive, however, there are some good options here too.

9. Plaza Uta El-Hammam

Many things happen around the hustle and bustle of the main square of Chefchaouen, Plaza Uta El-Hammam. Overlooked by the mountains, shaded by trees, and strung by lights, the square is surrounded by shops, cafes, and restaurants.

Plaza Uta El-Hammam is based in the center of the town, which makes it an excellent spot to sit, inhale the mountain air and watch the world goes by after a sightseeing tour of the vibrant city. In the afternoon, locals and tourists gather to chat and relax. 

As the sun goes down, the street food stalls are set up, offering all types of snacks and street food. The restaurants and cafés in the square offer traditional Moroccan dishes and some western food.

10. Try Delicious Moroccan Food

You can find many fantastic restaurants during your stay. In the main square of the Medinah, a line of friendly servers waits on the street to lead you to a restaurant and hand you a menu.

While it is easy to settle for the convenience and eagerness of these restaurants, it is best to dine closer to the edge of the Medinah.

By escaping the main tourist center, you can find high-quality meals for a much lower price. 

11. Enjoy and chill in the nature

The truth is the entire town is packed full of hidden gems and beautiful natures, and one of them is Ras El-Ma waterfall. Translating as “the head of the water,” Ras El-Ma is located just beyond the Northeastern gate of Chefchaouen medina.

This is the point where the fresh mountain water trickles its way into the blue town and where the local women gather to do their washing and have a friendly moment.

As an alternative to the remote and bigger waterfalls of Akchour, these refreshing falls are much more convenient for escaping the heat and getting a dose of nature!

There is a small café near the waterfall where you can have a relaxing glass of mint tea or a cup of coffee, which is a pleasant experience, especially during the hot months.

Also, the trail to Jeb al-Kalaa, the peak overlooking Chefchaouen, is a scenic but intense hike. You have to have a certain level of physical fitness to walk up and back.

The hiking trail isn’t always well-marked, so you must keep an eye out for the white and yellow markings if you don’t want to get lost. The whole loop can take about 9 hours, so wear comfortable hiking shoes and bring enough water and snacks.

And please remember Talassemtane, a national park in the Rif region of Northern Morocco. The park’s elevation ranges from 350 meters to 1,050 meters. It is a very original territory characterized by unique biodiversity and landscapes.

Useful Tips For Travelers Visiting Chefchaouen For The First Time 

If you’re planning a trip to Chefchaouen, I’m sure you’ve daydreamed of its many colorful walls, ornate doors, aromatic spices, and busy markets chock-full of dreamy décor.

You probably have bookmarked a few Instagrammable spots you want to check out, and maybe you’ve gone so far as to sketch out your desired itinerary. But there’s more that goes into planning a vacation to Chefchaouen than meets the eye at first glance.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when visiting Chefchaouen Morocco:

1. Learn to Haggle

You must learn to haggle when shopping in the markets or medinas. I know some people have strong opinions about paying full price for “charity,” but selling is like their national sport, and haggling is an integral part of their culture.

More likely than not, they will still get the better deal, but if you are willing to spend the time, you can get items for at least 25-50% of the starting price.

Know what you’re willing to pay before you start the haggling process and walk out if you can’t get the price you want. They may call you back multiple times. Also, you should bargain with your cab drivers before getting in. 

Suppose you’re looking to buy a carpet or anything with a higher price tag, research before you head to Morocco. People get tricked into buying them as “an investment” to sell later. Don’t fall for their sales tactics and the local guide’s added pressure to buy.

2. Keep the Correct Change With You

Moroccan cab drivers rarely “have changed” when you need it. At least, that’s what they tell you. To avoid overpaying, keep your coins. You want to keep correct change while you’re in the country, but you also want to spend it all before leaving.

3. Dress Appropriately

Overall, guys can dress however they like, but women must dress more conservatively. Even if you’re traveling with a group of guys, you may still get harassed.

When visiting mosques, you need to cover your wrists and ankles. For the ladies out there, keep a shawl/scarf handy (this one is reversible and great for traveling light).

For everything about Morocco’s dress code, I invite you to check my previous ultimate guide about What to Wear When Travelling To Morocco.

4. Be Wary of Local Guides

You should hire a local guide to help you get an inside perspective on the country and navigate the medinas (old towns) maze. However, be sure you know what you’re getting yourself into.

The local guides have built relationships with many stores and are most likely getting a cut in sales. Don’t be fooled when they say they are trying to help you haggle to get the best price because they usually aren’t. 

To get more details about Morocco’s etiquette. Kindly check my previous article which was about Things to avoid when traveling to Morocco.

Souvenirs Ideas To Get In Chefchaouen

Traveling to Chefchaouen is a wonderful experience of a lifetime. Chefchaouen is an attractive destination of North Africa, not only because of its unique and delicious food or mysterious tourist attractions but also because of its talented artisans, diverse and long-standing traditional crafts, a shopping paradise for shopaholics with countless goods and items bearing bold Morrocan style. 

Below are Souvenirs Ideas in Chefchaouen to help you choose the best gifts to bring back for your loved ones, relatives, and friends:

1. Ceramics

Ceramics highlight any shopping experience in Chefchaouen with their bright colors, intricate designs, and patterns, especially since Morocco has a long history and tradition of ceramics handed down over thousands of years. Even ceramic art had a strong influence from the Muslim and Spanish invaders.

You will find a lot of ceramics, and they are truly amazing. The pottery here is mostly made by hand. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes.

The special thing is that their designs are not the same, some have floral patterns, some have geometric shapes with beautiful details and deep colors, and others are intricately designed with clever color schemes, thereby demonstrating the ingenuity of the Moroccan craftsman.

2. Leather goods

It will be a huge omission if you do not include leather goods in your must-have souvenirs list after your Chefchaouen trip.

Leather is another symbol of traditional craftsmanship in Morocco, with a wide range of products such as clothes, bags, shoes, wallets, and belts. 

3. Spices

Morocco is also a spices paradise. Spices are sold in souks in every city in Chefchaouen. In addition to traditional spices, there is a special condiment called Ras el Hanout which means “head of the shop.”

The name is because the shop owner will mix his best spices for you. These mixed spices usually have cumin powder, cinnamon powder, clove pepper powder, ginger powder, and other spices.

4. Lamps and lanterns

If you take the time to wander around the nooks and crannies of the streets, especially in the medina (old town) of Chefchaouen, you will be surprised how many lamps and lanterns are here and become a street beauty, you will notice that the people are very fond of using them to decorate their homes, restaurants…

They are embossed with hundreds of small holes and are often used to decorate homes and restaurants. Especially if you go for a walk at night, you will be mesmerized by the shimmering and sparkling light emanating from these lamps and lanterns.

5. Babouche Slippers

Babouche means slippers in French. The Babouche slipper is also a traditional keepsake, adorned with sequins and patterns and made of suede or Moroccan rugs.

Babouche has become an integral part of people’s lives here for centuries. Men, women, and children all can wear babouche. They come in various colors, materials, patterns, and shapes.

6. Shopping basket

Moroccans have used these baskets for centuries, and you can take them anywhere. At first, women used to bring these baskets to the market because they could hold many things.

Nowadays, as tourism in Morocco develops, tourists are extremely fond of these bags, which appear everywhere on the street.

In response to the movement to say no to plastic bags, you can buy a brightly colored sedge basket (several) with a sturdy leather strap as a gift.

These baskets can be found at almost every souk in Chefchaouen.

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The Bottom Line

The best part of visiting Chefchaouen is getting lost in the labyrinth of blue-tinted streets. The color of the houses against the mountain backdrop makes the entire city feel dreamlike, and whether you’re a photographer or not, you’ll want to bring a camera along.

Get lost in the medina, the name of the old part of town, where you can shop for souvenirs, get scrubbed down in a hammam, or get a hand-drawn henna tattoo. 

Keep in mind that people live in this postcard of a city. Be respectful when taking pictures of homes and posing on doorsteps. Wander the streets early before breakfast, and you may have the place to yourself before the day travelers arrive.

If you plan on hiking, bring a bathing suit and trekking shoes, so you don’t mind getting wet. The natural pools in the mountains are great for a quick dip when the weather’s warm. For the best view of Chefchaouen, hike up the hillside, past the city gates, to the Hotel Atlas, where you’ll find unbelievable panoramic views over the blue city.

There’s not a load to do here, but it’s got a special way of making you feel at home just wandering its small streets. Give yourself a few days, and you’ll feel rejuvenated, ready to dive into the next city. 


Why is Chefchaouen painted blue? 

The color blue is representative of the sky according to Jewish belief. Jewish communities, therefore, paint things blue and use blue-colored fabrics, especially prayer mats.

People believe that the Jewish refugees spread blue fever to the entire ‘medina’ in 1930. The Jews introduced the practice of painting walls blue to stick to their religious practices. However, older residents say that most buildings within the medina used to be white until fairly recently. They stress that only the Jewish part of the medina used to be painted blue.

Also, some residents believe that the blue shades repel mosquitoes. The reason is that the insects do not like being in the water, although they live near it. The blue walls almost look like flowing water, and they believe this aspect keeps the mosquitoes away.

Is Chefchaouen worth visiting?

Chefchaouen, Morocco’s blue city, is an enchanting destination. Whether you stay in town and stroll amid its painted periwinkle alleyways or hike to its waterfall or the viewpoint above the skyline, it’s worth visiting on your trip to Morocco.

When did Chefchaouen become blue?

While Chefchaouen was founded in 1471, it didn’t get its distinctive color until 1492, when it received an influx of Jews escaping the Spanish inquisition, bringing a tradition of blue painting buildings.

Is one day enough in Chefchaouen?

Chefchaouen is a small city: one to two days is enough to see the main attractions. However, many people come here to relax in one of the hammams or hike in the nearby mountains, so you should allow yourself some extra days.

Can you drink in Chefchaouen?

There are a small number of bars and restaurants that permit drinking outside, but only tourists are allowed to drink in public. Many Moroccans drink alcohol but are restricted to drinking indoors. You can legally bring alcohol into Chefchaouen with you, but there are limits.

Can you fly to Chefchaouen?

Yes, you can. You have several options for which airline you travel to, Chefchaouen. Airlines are flying into TTU:- Cheap plane tickets may be available from different airlines at different times and with special terms.

The nearest airport to Chefchaouen is Tetouan (TTU) Airport which is 46.3 km away. Other nearby airports include Ceuta (JCU) (81.5 km), Tangier (TNG) (85.6 km), Fes (FEZ) (140.1 km), and Malaga (AGP) (181.5 km).

Is there a train from Casablanca to Chefchaouen?

Unfortunately, there is no train from Casablanca airport to Chefchaouen. You may only get the train from Casablanca to Tangier “TGV” (2 hours ride) and book a driver from Tangier to Chefchaouen (2 hours).

What is the closest city to Chefchaouen?

Tangier is the closest major city, about three hours away, while Fez is four hours away by bus, and Casablanca is six hours away. Cities off the main tourist circuit, like Tetouan and Meknes, are even closer.

Does Chefchaouen have a beach?

Yes, it does, Restinga beach is one of the best beaches in Chefchaouen, situated about 30 kilometers from Tetouan on the road to Ceuta.

Can you drink tap water in Chefchaouen?

Chefchaouen is one of the few places in Morocco, north Africa, where you can drink tap water. It’s as pure and natural as the surrounding landscape.

Is Chefchaouen a city or town? 

Chefchaouen, also known as Chaouen, is a city in northwest Morocco. It is the chief town of the province of the same name and is noted for its buildings in shades of blue. 

What language is spoken in Chefchaouen?

Spanish is the foreign language mostly spoken by the population, while French is the language of higher education.

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The Editorial Team

Optimos Travel is a travel blog to help you travel the world, and explore different lifestyles, traditions, foods, and everything in between.