Let’s explore Chefchaouen! The small mountain village at the foot of the beautfiul Rif mountain range is a dream come true from 1001 nights – well, a blue and white dream!
Between brightly colored, hand-woven rugs, fragrant Tajin pots and friendly kitties, you can plunge comfortably into the narrow, winding streets of the medina.
In the compact, car-free old town of the so called „blue pearl of Morocco“ all buildings are painted in white or blue tones – without exception! A wonderful sight!
Explore Chefchaouen and its medina
Numerous small shops and dealers have settled down along the busiest streets. Here you will find beautiful, traditional crafts. Carpets, leather poufs, argan oil, carvings, handmade soaps … The sellers are unobtrusive, the prices are negotiable. In contrast to the full medinas of the great royal cities, one can stroll in peace of mind here.
Only the marijuana dealers are annoying. Chefchaouen is located on the edge of the North Moroccan Rif Mountains – the world’s largest producer of cannabis. So it does not surprise much that you are addressed here for hashish 5 times a day – especially as young travelers. But after a friendly „Non, merci“ the dealers disappear again.
The central main square, the Place Uta el Hammam, has many small restaurants and cafés. Here you can sit comfortably with a mint tea and watch the hustle and bustle. A great address is the modern HAMSA with a breezy roof terrace.
As the tourism in Chefchaouen is still in its infancy, the restaurants and riads of the old town are still very authentic and quite simple. You have to look for a relatively long time, until you find a chic, styled accommodation (as you find them so often in Marrakech). Chefchaouen seems more genuine and authentic.
For a stay in Chefchaouen I would plan 2-3 days. Then you have enough time to explore Chefchaouen, to walk through the winding streets, to get lost and fall in love with the blue white corners.
Attention: Chefchaouen is a mountain village and terraced. Say: it is not exactly flat here. There are numerous stairs and steps. Take a leisurely stroll through the medina and drop back a few altitude meters 😉
Tip for souvenir hunters:
If you are traveling with your own vehicle, you can buy great pottery at the many stalls on the main street from Chefchaouen to Tangier (N2). Here you will find anything from tajine pots to hand-painted, colorful bowls, ashtrays or lanterns that the interior heart desires – and at unbeatable prices! This stopover is very, very cheap, if you are on the (home) way to the ferry port of Tangier and you still have a little space for souvenirs in the car. (Most of the pieces here come directly from Morocco’s ceramic center Safi.)
- Chefchaouen is incidentally pronounced „schaf schauen“ (or simply „schauen“). Here live about 45,000 inhabitants.
- The blue color of the houses should protect from the so called „evil eye„.
- In the past many hippies came to Chefchaouen (because it was easy to get kif = drugs here). Today, there are more and more day trippers and tour groups.
The Berber village of Chefchaouen is around 60km from Tétouan, 110km from Tangier and 210km from Fès. (The city is often referred to as „El Aaiún“ on maps.)
If you arrive by car, you have to leave it at one of the guarded (paying) parking lots – the old town is a car-free zone.