Chefchaouen, is, without a doubt, one of the most incredible places I’ve visited during my travels. I visited this city during a weekend in Morocco when I also visited Tangiers, and I couldn’t be happier that my friends and I took the day to see this interesting Moroccan city. Chefchaouen, also referred to as “Chaouen” is known as “the blue pearl” of Morocco because the walls of every building in the old city are painted beautiful shades of blue! There are lots of reasons historians give for the city’s chosen hue, including its significance in the Muslim and Jewish faiths and the rumored power of the blue paint to keep the city cool and ward off mosquitos. Whatever the real reason, the colors give this city a unique feeling unlike any others I had been to. For this special reason alone, Chefchaouen deserves a spot on your travel bucket it!
Although this city can be seen all over Instagram and Pinterest and has become a major travel destination, it retains its old world, authentic feel. Even though there are some tourists wandering around, it’s easy to find a quiet stop to sit and soak in the city with a mint tea. Most of the famous pictures of Chefchaouen are from the medina, the older quarter of the city that lies within the walls of a fort built hundreds of years ago. Walking around within the walls of the old city, you can find Moroccan bakeries and restaurants along with stores selling rugs, leather and ceramic goods, and more. One baker took the time to show me and my friends how he makes his Moroccan bread, even though we could only communicate through gestures and facial expressions. Local women can be seen washing their clothes in the local outdoor washing area, and it’s really interesting to see what daily life in an old Moroccan town is like where many people still rely on traditional methods of doing things. It’s easy to get lost in the winding city streets and find yourself at the other side of the medina, so try to keep track of your directions! I would highly recommend taking a guided tour early in the day so you can get acquainted with the layout of the medina and learn about the history.
For lunch, my friends and I ate at Casa Aladin, and while the food was just okay and the vibe is very touristy, the view from the rooftop seating area was unbeatable. When I visited in March, the weather was sunny and just warm enough to enjoy sitting outside. This would be a lovely place to sit and have some refreshing mint tea while looking out over the city if you want a break during the afternoon. If you have a little more time, I’ve heard hiking in the nearby mountains is an awesome way to spend an afternoon.
Heading to Morocco with your family? Check out this guide to the Atlas Mountains!
Although some people have the impression that Morocco is dangerous, my friends and I felt as safe there as we did in any other European city, especially within the walls of the medina. One different thing to look out for is men selling hashish. Apparently these locals will target young Europeans and Americans (especially backpackers) and offer them marijuana and then turn them over to authorities or make them pay a big sum of money in order to leave without any trouble, so I would recommend staying away (especially since marijuana use is not legal in Morocco even though it is everywhere!). If someone offers some to you, just say don’t make eye contact and walk away or firmly say no than you. I did find that once outside the old city’s walls, I was catcalled and approached by (male) locals a LOT more, so be mindful of that, but don’t let it deter you from seeing Morocco’s most beautiful city.
Thinking about heading to Morocco? Check out this guide to the best cities in Morocco!
If that didn’t convince you to go to Chefchaouen, check out my photos from my last trip for some serious travel envy! Check out the captions for more details about the photo! Note the numerous stray cats posing for photos- there are cats everywhere in this city!