Chefchaouen, immersed in the charm of the blue city of Morocco

Who I am
Valery Aloyants
@valeryaloyants
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Where to sleep in Chefchaouen?

There are two possibilities, either sleep inside the medina or sleep in the city outside the walls .

In my case I was very happy with the Dar Naya , small room but in a very quiet area and a nice terrace overlooking the blue city.

A first approach to Chefchaouen, the blue city of Morocco

As you get closer to the city, the blue of the walls of the houses becomes more and more evident.



Chefchaouen, like other Moroccan cities, is divided between the medina and the new city. Despite its decidedly more relaxed atmosphere than cities like Fez o Marrakech, even in Chefchaouen there is a lot of traffic and it is difficult to find parking. If you arrive in Chefchaouen during a on the road itinerary in Morocco, it will probably be better to find accommodation outside the medina. If not, be prepared to be very patient.

I had both patience and luck and in a short time I was able to find a parking space near one of the gates to the city.

My apartment was right in the medina a stone's throw from the entrance. Sleeping inside the old city has its own charm. You leave the "front door" and you find yourself immersed in the blue walls of all the houses around you.

Caution: when searching for a parking space, do not let yourself be duped by abusive parking attendants who sacrifice themselves to find you a parking space and you risk that they will make you put it in places where you cannot, with the promise that they will control it. It happened to me that they wanted me to put it exactly in part to a no parking sign, just to give an example.



Local people are anyway less nagging compared to other cities in Morocco.

Daily life in Chefchaouen.

The only drawback may be that someone asks you if you want hashish, after all these areas are the home of marijuana and hashish production. Some sources claim that nearly 80% of the hash consumed in Europe is produced by Berbers from the Rif Mountains.

Although this little inconvenience can happen to you, in Chefchaouen you can move in complete tranquility even in the evening (perhaps not at night) both in the main streets and squares, and in some secondary streets.

It is not difficult to find your way around the medina. A few hours of daily walk will be enough to be able to "map" the blue city and move without using Google Maps or similar.

Regarding visiting Morocco in peace, I invite you to read my post on mine advice on how to travel to Morocco safely.

The history of Chefchaouen and the blue ...

Before explaining what to see, let's start by talking briefly about its history and the main feature: the blue.

A street in Chefchaouen.

Chefchaouen was Founded in 1472, has relatively recent origins. In these "few" years of life, however, she has been at the center of a lot of attention. It was founded to become the base from which to attack the Portuguese in Ceuta (a city that is now Spanish). Over the centuries it welcomes peoples of Andalusian origin which determine structural changes that are still evident. Who has got to visit Andalusia, you will notice many similarities, many nuances and characteristics that are also found in Spanish cities such as Tarifa or Granada. The mixture of Arab and Andalusian culture is in fact a constant in southern Spain too.



Chefchaouen, among other things, was occupied by Spanish troops in 1920 only to be liberated in 1956, the year of Morocco's independence.

But the blue? Why has Chefchaouen become the blue city of Morocco?

Chefchaouen was not born with blue painted walls, it was born with green painted doors as per Muslim tradition. Only in the 30s was blue introduced. But why?!

There are different theses. Some say the houses were painted blue to keep mosquitoes and midges away. Others, however, claim that blue was used by Jews to give the city the color of paradise. The fact is that Chefchaouen, thanks to this blue, has become a magical place, one of the most photographed in all of Morocco.

What to do in Chefchaouen?

Chefchaouen is small and can be toured within a day at a very slow pace.

Do not miss:

1 - Take pictures and get lost in the blue of the city

It will seem like a trivial answer, but the most important thing to do in Chefchaouen is photograph. Of course! Of course! From the moment you enter the city and are enveloped by the blue of the medina, you will want to continuously photograph the thousand colors of Morocco.

The medina is small and you can walk around it very well, the first comparison with Chefchaouen must be just that: getting lost in the blue painted blue streets of the medina (always paying attention).


Glimpses of the classic blue.

To visit Chefchaouen it takes a day, not more, but I recommend that you sleep at least one night. The atmosphere of the blue city in the evening is unmissable.

2 - A moment of pause in Uta el-Hammam square

Uta el-Hammam square is very beautiful and is the hub of life in the blue city. Lots of bars and clubs that overlook a long and narrow square which also leads to the Great Mosque and the characteristic Kasbah. Uta el-Hammam square it is the ideal place to take a break and sip some good mint tea while watching the local life go by undeterred.

The square of Chefchaouen.

3 - Visit the Chefchaouen Kasbah

The entrance is in Uta el-Hammam square and costs 10 dirhams which allow you to visit the fortress and the art gallery inside the site. Inside of you will find beautiful gardens well cared for and you can climb the main tower. A few steep steps, a bit of effort well spent to get to the top and enjoy the view of the blue city.

The gardens inside the Kasbah.

Chefchaouen from above is even more special. From here you can also see the Spanish Mosque on the top of the hill behind the city.

The view from the Kasbah.

I highly recommend you spend these 10 dirhams for visit the kasbah of Chefchaouen because it will be a really nice discovery.

4 - Discover the banks of the river

This is a gem that I discovered thanks to some Italian guys found in a rest area in the desert while we were moving from Thinghir to Merzouga. They had advised me, and I now recommend it to you, of follow the path and reach the river that springs from the Ras El-Ma source and flows to the "right" (looking at the map) of Chefchaouen. Here you can walk downhill on the left bank of the river and observe local life and crafts. Among the mills and wash houses of the time there are children playing in the pools of water that formed the river. You will find many producers of honey, dates and fruit kept in water to keep it fresh.

The stream that flows alongside the city.

It is also a pleasant walk to protect yourself from the Moroccan heat.

Here is the road that you will have to travel on foot starting from Uta el-Hammam square up to the source.

5 - An excursion to the nearby Talassemtane Park

I state that I did not have time to go there but it is right to include it in the things to see in Chefchaouen. The mountains around the blue city allow for different trekking itineraries, in addition there are some beautiful waterfalls to visit: the waterfalls of Akchour.

Where to eat in Chefchaouen?

I usually don't recommend places to eat because I believe that in those few days when you visit a city you don't have the time or the good fortune to find the best places, unless they are particular / typical places.

This time, for Chefchaouen, I make an exception, so I recommend you try the tagines del Sindibad Cafe-Restaurant.

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