Things to see in Chefchaouen
Things to see in Chefchaouen, located between the Rif Mountains, is believed to be the most beautiful Moroccan town. I first learned about it a year before my Moroccan journey in another warm and gorgeous Andalusian town, Frijiliana, when I bought a really authentic notebook with photographs of blue magnificent doors on the cover and wondered where they were. So I followed my interest to Chefchaoune, the Blue City.
In the second half of the fifteenth century, Muslims built a stronghold on the current site of the town to secure their country from invading Portuguese. Later, the location became a haven for Jews who had been expelled from Spain. They were the ones who added the green color to Chefchaouen’s blue metropolis. The Jews, according to the Talmud, painted their houses blue, “the hue of the sea like the color of heaven,” bringing them closer to the Almighty.
There are hardly no Jews left in Chefchaouen Blue City, but the houses are still painted in various colors of blue, attracting tourists.
And because we were among the majority, we came to this well-publicized town. But it’s not a city at all, but rather a small picturesque town. It’s extremely cozy and sunny, and everyone is very happy. If I were to move to Morocco, I would reside in one of the numerous blue houses that dot the immensity of Chefchaouen Blue City, trust in the measured sunny existence, and undoubtedly become an artist.
Chefchaouen, as the locals call it, is filled with a creative energy, and you may often see individuals drawing, crafting something, or simply being inspired in the town.
We couldn’t help but sense the overwhelming good emotions of individuals who had already visited Chefchaouen, and on the second day of our Moroccan adventure, we arrived in this fabled city and immediately fell in love with it.
How do you get there?
Chefchaouen, as previously said, is a village. And villages are notoriously small and exist only through the neighboring large towns, which must be crossed one way or another to reach the gorgeous chefchaouen blue city.
There is no way to go to Chefchaouen Blue City via air because the city has no air connections with other Moroccan cities. However, if you have winged friends who are willing to give you a lift, this approach will work. But from Europe, you can go to Fez, Casablanca, or Rabat, and then it’s only a short flight to the long-awaited Emerald City. By the way, you can read about how to fly to Fez or Casablanca here and here. On average, a one-way flight from metropolitan Russia (St. Petersburg and Moscow) to Morocco (Rabat, Casablanca, Fez) will cost around 200-250 Euros and take approximately 6 hours, assuming no connection, difficulties, or waiting. The ticket costs for the actual dates can be seen here.
Taking the train
Train service is also an issue in Sheffshown. The town is located in the mountains, which was most likely an impediment to the construction of the railroad in those areas.
The best, and possibly the only, method to get to Shefshauen is via bus.
The blue village is connected by CTM bus routes to Fez, Casablanca, and Rabat, as well as the little town of Tetouan.
There are no bus connections between Agadir and Marrakech and Chefchaouen Blue City. In this instance, it is recommended to fly from these cities to Casablanca and then to Chefchaouen.
- It will take three hours and cost 7,5 EUR one way from Fez.
- About 6 hours and 12 EUR from Casablanca.
- Just over an hour from Tetouan and only 3 EUR.
- It takes 4 hours and 9 EUR from Rabat.
Buses leave Casablanca once a day, Tetouan five times a day, and other cities up to three times a day. Tickets can be purchased at the ticket office of the individual city’s bus terminal, and you must be at the location designated by the ticket seller an hour before the bus’s departure. Buses, on the other hand, always arrive on Moroccan time, that is, as late as they can, but this has its advantages: you can truly anticipate what chefchaouen blue city is: serene and harmonic. In the villages, there is no hurry!
The Moroccan buses are pretty comfortable, and the roads are excellent; nonetheless, the views on the trip to Chefchaouen Blue City are not spectacular, but they are worth viewing in order to compare them later with those you would encounter somewhere in the Atlas Mountains. The country is one, but there are numerous points of view, and each one, unique in its own way, deserves to be heard.
The bus station, located at the foot of the city’s most interesting area, the Medina, is the first location you’ll arrive in Chefchaouen by bus. You can take a cab or walk to the city center. It will take you around five minutes by cab and cost approximately three euros, and it will take you about 20 minutes on foot due to the constant increases. We chose the second choice and have no regrets. But when you leave the city (we discovered that you can only leave the city by bus), it feels like you’re bouncing down the sloping streets from Medina to the bus station.
It’s quite exciting to travel through Morocco by car. The country is small, but the roads, as far as I recall, are superb. As it turns out, driving to Chauvin is the better option than taking the bus. All Moroccan communities have roads to Chefchaouen, however most people drive from Fez.
Chefchaouen blue city cannot be reached by boat because the city is rich in mountains and a little river with a waterfall, but the sea and oceans are not about Chefchaouen. However, there are boats from coastal Moroccan ports (Tangier, Ceuta, Melilla) to Chefchaouen, with links in large cities (Fez, Casablanca, Rabat).
Things to see in Chefchaouen Summertime
Chefchaouen can get quite hot in the summer, yet there are still a lot of visitors at this time of year. On their route to the sea, people pause in Chefchaouen to see if the water is truly totally blue. They are shocked, persuaded, and provide proof in the shape of numerous stunning images of blue doors, blue walls, and even blue pets, concluding that the city is indeed wonderful and worth seeing. So all these travelers return to Chefchaouen more than once or twice, but not in summer, to go around the city more, not to hide from him in the shadows. Summer is summer, and not everyone can avoid it.
Things to see in Chefchaouen the autumn.
I don’t think the blue city of Chefchaouen has any autumn in it. And there is no such thing as autumnal weather; when it rains, everything fades and the sun departs till the following summer. And the best and brightest mood only gets better. Perhaps the city is beautiful in the autumn, but not because it is beautiful in the autumn, but because it is a city that doesn’t care about anything.
Things to see in Chefchaouen Springtime
The city gets up to +30 degrees in the spring, however it can occasionally rain, relieving Chefchaouen from the hot sun. The nearby river and small alleyways provide a cool respite from the heat, and it gets wonderfully pleasant at night after stunning sunsets. This time of year is one of the greatest for exploring Chavin.
Things to see in Chefchaouen during the winter
Winter in Chefchaouen is obviously chilly, but it is still feasible to achieve a tan at this time of year. The temperature can reach +15 during the day, but the sun is always very friendly and comforting. And, unlike in Fes, the nights are unexpectedly warm and cozy.
We had the opportunity to visit Chefchaouen during the winter, most notably in January, but it felt like we were there in May.
Neighborhoods. What is the finest city to live in?
Chefchaouen, like many Moroccan cities, has an old and new town. The old is always referred to as Medina, but the new is so new that it does not yet have a name.
The Medina is the center of Chefchaouen, the most intriguing and picturesque part of town. Everything that will shape your impression of the city is in the Medina, so stay in this part of Chefchaouen.
You should absolutely stay in a Dar or Riad, which are typical Moroccan houses. Both are lovely and pleasant, with patios, terraces, and a warm environment. Another type of lodging in Chefchaouen is simply called a house, which sounds like Casa in Spanish and Maison in French. Used in this case, primarily in Spanish and French, owing to the city’s history and the influx of many immigrants from southern Europe.
Accommodation in Chefchaouen ranges from 8 EUR to 150 EUR. For the first price, you can spend one night in a shared room with 6-10 beds in one of the city’s Dar, Riad, Casa, or Maison hostels. For the second fee, you can rent a house with all the conveniences and maximum comfort for one night.
View the pricing of flats here, and compare the prices of hotel rooms at the link.
Based on my experience
During our trip in Chefchaouen, we stayed in La Casa Amina, a lovely family-run Moroccan home. It wasn’t easy to find among the emerald-tangled streets, but it was genuine. The house is modest, but very elegant in the Moroccan style: yellow and blue walls, wooden ceilings, patterned tiles, and everywhere stunning images of chefchaouen life taken by the owner’s eldest son. The patio is open 24 hours a day and serves mint tea and interesting stories about the town. On the terrace, you may bask in the sun and wonder what’s out there on the adjacent terraces. The atmosphere is quite welcoming, which is why it comes highly recommended.
A one-night stay at Casa Amina in a room for two persons costs 8 EUR, however there is no bathroom or shower. The latter appears to be shared by all, yet it is rather comfy. The house itself is small, but it is constantly full of people, so if you still want to sleep here, you should book ahead of time, because wanting to reside in Casa Amina is always quite a lot. One of the disadvantages of this property is the lack of breakfast, but one of the many advantages is that the owners advise you about the most amazing budget eateries in Chefchaouen where you can have a good breakfast and just eat good food. And the aura of the house is still incredibly pleasant, luring me back again and again.
The main draws. What to Expect
The entire town is a great draw. You must wander a lot in Chefchaouen Blue City, notice everything, and take a lot of pictures. The city is quite photogenic. The doors alone are worth the price of admission!
- Uta el-Hammam Plaza. This is the city’s main square, filled with restaurants and cafes, and in the center of the square is a Christmas tree, around whose axis locals and tourists mix on the benches. Except for the folks who want to be taken on camera, the square is not particularly noteworthy.
- Kasbah. This is the same citadel that the Arabs built to defend their territory from the Portuguese and that Chefchaouen grew up around. The stronghold was relocated to the main square and is now a museum of relics, with admission costing roughly 2 EUR.
- Park Ras el Maa. The park is located beside the river beyond the Medina gates. There are mills, laundromats, a waterfall, and arched bridges over the river in the park. The atmosphere is quite homely, always vibrant and mischievous, and it draws all the curious.
- Moroccan graffiti on the streets. It can only be found by exploring every street in Chauvin, but it is well worth the effort.
- Viewpoint with a panoramic view of Emerald City. It is situated on the mountain, close to the river and near to the Spanish Mosque. You will not get lost because all roads lead there.
What to visit in a single day
We remained at Chefchaouen for three days, which proved to be more than enough. But if you only have one day in this fantastic city, you should roam around it, drink up the sun, take plenty of wonderful images, be inspired, and return someday. And here’s the plan for today:
- 6 a.m. – Watch the sunrise from the house’s terrace, sipping warm mint tea and smiling at the lovely day.
- 7 a.m. – go out onto the emerald streets and explore at your leisure, fueled by tangerine juice from the vendor.
- 10 a.m. – Have brunch at a cinema theater stall, nibbling on Moroccan sandwiches and oriental desserts (read more below).
- 11 a.m. – Locate and photograph all of Chefchaouen’s cats.
- 12 p.m. – Have tea and talk with the artists in a nearby cafe (read more below).
- Day 13: Look for local street graffiti and photograph all of the city’s most attractive doors.
- Day 14 – eat couscous or anything wonderful at a home-cooked restaurant (read more below).
- Day 16 – load up on mementos while perfecting your trade.
- Day 17: Go to the river, to Ras el Maa Park, and immerse yourself in the atmosphere of life, childhood, and freedom. Taking photos of everyone laughing and soaking in the sun at a bright cafe while sipping avocado juice.
- At 7 p.m., ascend the observation deck, meeting all the mountain goats along the way, and at the very top, be astounded by the beauty of Chavin, so similar to the Albaicn of the Spanish city of Granada, say goodbye to the sun and the city till soon, and leave to meet new impressions.
Things to see in Chefchaouen what to Eat and Drink
Moroccan dishes have been thoroughly documented here and here, and you may sample them all at Chefchaouen. Avocado and tangerine juices are another must-try in Chefchaouen. They are a tremendous source of energy not only for the day, but also for the entire city. With that type of enthusiasm, walking up and down Medina’s streets becomes second nature. These juices are good in a cafe by the river for 1.5 EUR and in the center of the city when wandering with a take-away juice from a stand for only 1 EUR.
Pre-packaged meals can be purchased on the streets of Medina or at any street café in Chefchaouen for breakfast. A full lunch or dinner in one of the city’s best restaurants costs about 10 EUR per person on average. It is also less expensive, but not as healthful or flavorful.
Things to see in Chefchaouen the Blue City, we discovered two highly recommended restaurants. The first is a house restaurant, extremely humble, tasty, and primarily for locals, but so appealing to guests that huge queues form for lunch and dinner at this eatery. However, it turns out that the restaurant also owns the upper floors of the building, so there are enough seats for everyone. I’m sorry, I won’t tell you what the restaurant’s name is or how to find it, but all the locals know where it is and how to get there. Every Sunday appears to be couscous day, and there is a fantastic terrace at the very top.
Another location is a stall selling Moroccan sandwiches and oriental sweets cooked by the stall owner’s mother. Tables and stools on a slope in front of the stall provide the sense of an open-air cinema theater with an endless movie of Moroccan fast food. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the sandwiches are filling and even tasty; one is 4 EUR, while sweets are 0.10 EUR each.
Safety. What to watch out for
You can learn more about Moroccan security in general on the Morocco article. The Fez article provides a solid picture of Moroccan security through personal examples. And as for Chefchaouen Blue City, it is not only safe, but it is really safe. Things to see in Chefchaouen proved to be one of the few Moroccan cities where even night hikes were pleasant and comfortable. The only thing that can be bothersome or aggravating are the Arabs who are obsessed with selling hashish. Morocco therefore teaches patience.
What should I do?
Aside from the customary walks about town, you may relax with a cup of tea at a spacious, cozy cafe, the only one in town with live music in the evenings and artists at work during the day. We discovered this area on Catholic Christmas Day and intended to return for music and fun in the evening. We went back, but the musicians didn’t show up, but who cares? We held a concert anyway, with everyone who came for the music playing guitar and singing songs. We all improvised, which is how the joy came about. Chefchaouen, after all, is inspiring.
The cafe stands out: there’s an easel at the door, pleasant artists, and kittens. Come on in and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Souvenirs. What to bring as a present
It has previously been well written on what and for what should be brought from the fantastic Morocco. And notably from Chefchaouen, various types of krafters, handcrafted items, paintings, paints, and something traditional, such as Chefchaouen townpeople’s costumes, are required.
Pictures. Chefchaouen is a city full of artists that excel at drawing. One of several photos you should definitely bring with you.
Paints. You can use them to paint your house in every color of the rainbow or to build your own To discover Things to see in Chefchaouen in the countryside.
A typical Sheffshawan hat. They’re rainbow-colored and look a lot like Peruvian hats. They offer to take pictures in these clothes at the river, and they sell them all throughout the Medina, although I don’t know how much they cost.
How to Get Around in the City
Walking throughout the city is both possible and required. The city is as small as the palm of your hand, and to us, as citizens of Russia’s great breadth, a few trivial kilometers traveled by many in the name of cab do not appear any longer than the road from home to the local grocery shop. The only problem is that because Shefshauen is located on mountainous terrain, the streets occasionally weave up and down, but this is both a joy and a benefit. The Medina and the breathtaking views from the observation decks are the only reasons to visit Chefchaouen. And to the first and second, there is no way to get except your own method. So put on comfortable shoes, be optimistic, and conquer the perpetual good chefchaouen.
What are the features of Cab?
Cabs are fairly common in Chefchaouen, as they are throughout Morocco. However, you will only want to take it if you need to travel from the bus station to the Medina quickly. In that instance, a one-way cab travel could cost around 3 EUR and take only a few minutes. Cabs don’t have meters, don’t accept credit cards, and you won’t even have to hitch a ride; there will most likely be a line of cabs waiting for you, eager to take you.
Transportation Rental to discover things to see in Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen y is a tiny town that grew at the cost of adjacent major towns, therefore transportation rentals in the emerald city are either non-existent or prohibitively expensive.
It is preferable to arrive in Chefchaouen using a car rented in Rabat, Casablanca, or Fès. Read the sections on how to rent a car in other Moroccan cities here, here, and here. See the link for rental price examples.
Things to see in Chefchaouen – family vacation
Because there are so many children in the city, chefchaouen is brimming with joy and happiness. Walking through the Medina’s alleyways or sitting by the river, you’ll see tiny Moroccans everywhere, frolicking under the clear sky or in the river itself. However, we never saw any of the tiny kids who came to visit us during our entire stay in Chefchaouen Blue City, which is a tragedy. Kids, in my opinion, would enjoy a sunny town like Shefshaven. Although the city lacks civilized entertainment such as a water park, amusement park, and others, consider how many other, more authentic and real joys the city may provide its tiny guests: mountains, mountain goats, river, sun, fruit, soccer field, and possibly new friends.
Chefchaouen is a very comfortable place to visit with or without children, with or without friends, and even if you find yourself in this city all alone.
If you miss the sun, your friends, and your inspiration, Chefchaouen is the place to be. Chefchaouen will keep you happy and toasty if you go there.