After visiting Marrakesh three years ago, my mum and I completely fell in love with Morocco. We were keen to explore more of the colourful country and when we heard about Chefchaouen, we knew we had to visit.
If you’ve been on any form of social media lately, chances are that you’ve seen photos of the blue pearl of Morocco, Chefchaouen. It was, in fact, photos and travel blogs which inspired us to visit the beautiful town this April. Chefchaouen has only been well known around the world since 2010 (according to a local) so it’s still relatively undiscovered compared to other places.
The most frequent question I have encountered since visiting the city is whether the whole place is painted blue; the answer is yes! Each street in the old medina is painted the gorgeous blue colour which makes it the perfect picturesque city to get lost in.
Most people visit the blue city for a day trip but I would recommend staying longer to explore and appreciate the city. Even on our last day, we still found new streets and alleyways to explore. Here’s how we spent 5 days in the blue pearl of Morocco:
We flew to into Fez airport and got a taxi to Chefchaouen. The journey took around 4 hours, but with the glorious views of the Rif Mountains, it was an event in itself. There was beautiful, mountainous scenery the whole way.
We stopped at this impressive lake. I had no idea there would be such wonderful scenery on the way so this was a great surprise.
Our taxi driver kindly bought us an orange on the way. We had this squeezed into juice when we got to our guest house. It was so sweet and delicious!
When we arrived in Chefchaouen we wandered through the blue streets for the first time and were amazed by the sea of blue surrounding us. One thing I immediately noticed were the traditional and unique doors. They added extra character to the streets. There were also many, many cats.
We went to Bab Ssour for dinner. The food was lovely; I had a vegetable tagine. Don’t expect a fancy setting here but the place is filled with a welcoming atmosphere and many locals.
We eagerly woke up early to further explore Chefchaouen.
At first, the streets were completely empty and peaceful. The shops didn’t start opening till around 10am which is when the tourist buses would arrive too. We had an enjoyable couple of hours exploring the quiet, charming streets with next to no one about.
We found a gorgeous little garden whilst wandering. As it’s part of someone’s home, they charge 5 dirham (around 50p) to take photos which I think is very fair.
We had lunch in Sofia which didn’t overly impress us, especially considering it’s so high on Trip Advisor.
In the afternoon, we walked to the Spanish Mosque. You can find the start of the walk next to the waterfall. The walk only takes around twenty minutes and there are glorious views over Chefchaouen the whole way. We weren’t expecting such a glorious view from the Mosque and we spent a couple of hours relaxing and taking in our surroundings.
Even the landscape around the Spanish Mosque was lovely. There were sheep and goats grazing with mountains towering above them. We returned to the Spanish Mosque in the evening to see the sunset. It wasn’t the pink tone we were expecting but still beautiful.
We were keen on exploring more of the Rif Mountains so one of the lovely staff at the guest house offered to take us on a guided walk. The scenery on the way to the waterfall was stunning and, as we started early, we hardly saw anyone else on the way up.
Some of the parts of the hike were challenging, like balancing over branches to get across the water, but the waterfall at the end was simply breath taking. It seems to be that the most challenging hikes are the most rewarding.
We returned to Chefchaouen with aching legs but buzzing from such a glorious hike. There’s something about hiking that makes us and our problems seem so small. We ate at Casa Hassan, the first guesthouse and restaurant to open in Chefchaouen. It was more fancy than Bab Ssour and the food was delicious, especially the Moroccan salad to start with.
In contrast to the previous few days, it started pouring with rain and we spent the morning warming up by the fire before taking a walk in the rain. Somehow Chefchaouene still managed to look beautiful.
We wandered down new streets and found more beautiful cats. I couldn’t stop photographing them. They looked so majestic against the royal blue from the medina.
In the afternoon we entered the Kasba on the main square. We climbed to the top of the tower for views over the city. There are many shops and market stalls around the medina, selling things from carpets to honey.
We spent the last morning meandering through the streets and taking in our final bit of blue.
It was sad leaving Chefchaouen. The people were so kind and the place had a wonderful atmosphere.
In order to get back to Fez, we took a bus from the main bus station. It cost 100 dirham (around £10) and we got another chance to appreciate the wonderful views of the Rif Mountains.
Overall, Chefchaoen far exceeded our expectations. We could have spent far longer wandering the beautiful blue streets. It’s now my favourite city, alongside Singapore, and there’s no chance of it ruining it’s charm as no more guest houses are able to get a licence in Chefchaouen anymore.
Have you ever visited the blue city or been inspired by photos on Instagram?
Check out more amazing things to see in Morocco here.