If you are planning on going to Morocco you shouldn’t miss this magical city. It was my very first time in Africa and the beautiful blue town of Chefchaouen was my first stop!
Chefchaouen (abbreviated as “Chaouen”) and known as The Blue Pearl is located in northwest Morocco. I didn’t know about this city until I started to plan my trip to Africa a few months ago and I’m so glad I had the chance to explore it and to experience a different feeling from the rest of Morocco.
In this post I’m gonna share what you need to know before visiting and enjoy this charming city!
Why is the city blue?
You can hear different reasons why the city is painted all blue, some say because it helps to repel the mosquitoes and keep them away, others say that it was the Jewish refugees who considered blue to symbolize the sky and heaven. There isn’t a certain answer but whatever the reason is, it makes it a unique and beautiful town.
How to get there
By plane: The closest airport to the city is Tanger Ibn Battouta Airport. I was coming from Portugal so going to Tangier was the easiest way for me. As you walk out of the airport there’re private or shared taxis that can take you for less than 200 dirhams ($20) depending on how many people you share the car with.
If you get a private taxi it should be around 600 or 700 dirhams ($70) (negotiate and ask prices to different drivers before choosing one). I was traveling by myself so I decided to share a taxi with a french couple I met right there at the taxi stop who ended up becoming friends! There’re always travelers trying to get to Chefchaouen in case you don’t want to pay a private taxi by yourself. From the airport it takes around 1 hour and a half driving to get there.
By bus: If you are coming from other cities within Morocco and don’t want to fly you can check the CTM buses schedules and routes. They are reliable and in very good conditions.
Currency , ATMs, credit/debit cards
The currency is the Moroccan dirham and is around 9 dirhams for every $1 and 11 dirhams for every 1€. You can find ATM machines in the city and also some currency exchange places. Most places don’t accept credit/debit cards so is better to always carry cash with you.
Where to stay
There are plenty of Riads/Dars in Chefchaouen and in general are very inexpensive. The city is fairly small so anywhere you choose is gonna be walking distance in the Medina (old part of town). You can use airbnb, trivago or hostelworld to find a place you like.
In case you enjoy a cold beer in the middle of the heat, Hotel El Parador is pretty much the only place where you can find any. There’s no need to be a guest in the hotel, you can just consume at their bar and the view is great!
And for those who love sleeping under the stars, there are many places that offer the option of sleeping on the rooftop and have an incredible and shiny view all night long.
Where to eat
Moroccan food is deliciousss (specially the tagine) and you are gonna find some good places here but three of them I really liked and I think you should try:
Aladdin Restaurant: This restaurant is located at the square plaza and it has an amazing view. I ate a few times here and my favorite was the Moroccan soup, it was the best soup I tried in Chefchaouen. Address: 26 rue Targui, Chefchaouen, Morocco.
Jasmine Cafe & Teteria: Beautiful place to go for drinks or tea.. but mostly for the great fresh juices. It has a good menu as well and it has a really nice rooftop terrace with a great view. Address: 153, Avenue Hassan 1, Chefchaouen 91000, Morocco.
Casa Hassan: It’s a little more expensive than others (still cheap since Moroccan food is not expensive) but the tagine here is so good is worth the extra you pay. Address: 22 rue Targui, Chefchaouen, Morocco.
Things to do
I stayed in Chaouen for four days and I think it’s enough time. This city is one of the most quite and laid back towns in Morocco so you have more time to relax here while exploring it. They also offer one day tours from other cities but I think one day is not enough time here and you probably would want to stay more. Here some of the things you can do in a couple of days:
- Get lost in the Medina: Because literally you are gonna get lost here haha but it’s ok, every corner is lovely and it’s magic all around. Since isn’t that big and more quite than the other Medinas is very easy to explore.
Cascades d’Akchour: Located around 30 minutes in taxi from the center. Crystal blue waters and the natural scenary before reaching the waterfalls make it a good option for a day trip. You can get a tour guide or you can go by yourself taking a taxi in the center of the city.
- Walk all the way to the Spanish Mosque: It is not that far from the center and I think it has the best view of chefchaouen. Try to go before sunset because it’s amazing to watch it from there. Just make sure to go back to the city before it gets completely dark, I kinda had a weird experience so I recommend not to wait until it’s dark, specially if you are by yourself. It takes around 30 minutes walking up hill and that view is worth it.
- Shopping in the souks: You can find a lot of stuff in the square and everywhere in the Medina from rugs, shoes, bags, jumpsuits to ceramic plates, spices, tea, souvenirs and lots of stuff you’d want to take home.
- No need to say this one but drink all the mint tea and eat all you can: Because Moroccan food is amazing!
I loved The Blue Pearl and I think is my favorite city in Morocco but I’ll write more of that later when I tell you all about the other places I visited in this interesting country. In the meantime I would love to know if you have been in Chefchaouen before or other city in Morocco? Leave a comment below and let’s talk!
Thanks for reading and happy adventures 😀
Photos by me