In the last few years, this small Moroccan mountain town has experienced a boom in tourism due to its beautiful blue tones being shown on Instagram – to be honest I hadn’t heard of it before seeing it on Instagram, but know I’m so glad that I did! Isn’t it funny how social media can strongly influence our travels now? My idols are the travelers in the good old days who simply set out with a guidebook and a backpack! We are spoiled now with Instagram, Trip Advisor and Skyscanner!
Chefchaon is a small town, and if you are pushed for time you can do it in one day – but I have to say it was my favorite place in Morocco. We stayed for 3 nights and honestly we could have easily stayed for 3 more. Not only is it the most uniquely decorated town that I have been too, but the natural scenery and mountain air make it a welcome break from the hectic southern cities! You can even drink the water! This guide will highlight how to make the most of your time in the Blue Pearl!
Where to stay
I recommend booking in advance because a lot of places sell out of rooms quickly! I stayed at Riad Baraka, which is right in the medina, and was overall an enjoyable stay. We booked a private room and got accidentally upgraded to an en-suite room, always a nice surprise! The lady who owns the riad is very unpleasant at times, but the volunteer staff who work there were really cool and had great advice. There are many places around for different budgets. Definitely stay as close to the Medina as possible, everything you need will then be within walking distance.
What to do
Hike to a cannabis farm
This was one of my favorite days we had in Morocco! Our hostel set us up with a little tour from a local to hike up past the Spanish Mosque, up to his cannabis farm. We payed $18, though it will be cheaper if you bring along more people. The hike was beautiful, our guide told us about Chefchaouen and his farm, upon arriving at the farm he made us traditional Moroccan mint tea but with added fresh oregano (which is surprisingly delicious!!) before sitting down and making some hash! You can partake and buy your product at the end if you choose. If you are interested in one of these tours, ask around where you are staying or pop into Riad Baraka.
Take millions of photos
Possibly the most photogenic city I have been to, you will be mesmerized being surrounded by shades of blue. Seriously, everything is blue! Wander around, get lost in the medina, and try and find the more particularly instagrammable streets.
Hike to God’s Bridge
Clear out most of your day for this trip, it will take 6-7 hours if you also hike to the waterfall. Unfortunately, we did not have time to make this trek, but the stunning hike to the rock bridge looks like a perfect way to spend the day. Next time I am in Chefchaouen this will definitely be on my to do list.
Watch the sunset at the Spanish Mosque
Evenings cool off in Chefchaouen leaving it at the perfect temperature. A short hike up hill from the Medina will take up to the Spanish Mosque, which gives amazing views of the blue city and surrounding hills.
Chill allllll day
Seriously, Chefchaouen is such a welcome break after the craziness of Marrakech and Fes. The air is fresh and clear, the pace of life is slower, and you are surrounded by beauty. Kick back, bring a book and enjoy the stunning scenery.
Where to eat
Ok so I got a bit sick from the first meal I eat here, maybe avoid the goat tagine if you don’t want to always be within running distance of a toilet… I needn’t say more. BUT they are very popular and the food is cheap! We went back every day for the mint tea. Also they sell natural goodies, if you don’t want to buy it from people on the street.
I only had some beer here but the best part about this bar is it feels like you are stepping back in time! I like the Casablanca beer and they have cocktails available too.
After over a week of ONLY Moroccan food and a funny tummy, a bit of “Italian” food was a welcome treat! The pizza is salty and cheesy and oooooh so good when you have had couscous for a week. Also- very cheap!!
If you fancy a picnic or making your own food, head to the street vendors get a baguette and some of Chefchaouen’s famous goat cheese, it is so creamy and delicious! Top it off with some olives and a fresh squeezed orange juice. Fresh, cheap and so tasty.
I strongly advise NOT to do your bulk of shopping in Chefchaouen. The merchants are much less pushy, which is nice, but it also means they won’t budge when haggling. I found that the prices here were quoted higher and they would not bargain down much, even when walking away they wouldn’t call after you- which is how you know you’ll get the good deal in other cities. Save your shopping for Fes or Marrakech.
You could not write a Chefchaouen guide without bringing up hash. When any Moroccan locals asked out Morocco itinerary as soon as we said Chefchaouen their eyes would light up and say “Oh! Hash!” It is very available and very cheap. The minute we arrived into the city and stepped out of the taxi we were offered some by a very well spoken and professional man, I immediately assumed he was an undercover cop. As soon as we got to the hostel I asked what the deal is and they told me there should be no problem with undercover cops in the city. If you plan on partaking in the city, you shouldn’t have a problem finding any. Don’t pay more than $3 a gram (great price right?!).
ALSO BE RESPECTFUL IF YOU CHOSE TO PARTAKE. Do not smoke out on the streets in public or in view of the mosques and don’t be obnoxious about it.
Funny thing you will notice: n the medina there are candy and snack stands EVERYWHERE. They really know their target audience 🙂
If you have been to Chefchaouen, comment with your favorite thing about the city!!