When I travelled to Chefchaouen, I had been craving a place that felt completely foreign to me. I wanted to visit a place that felt like nowhere else I had been before. When I arrived at the “blue city” of Morocco, that wish came true. Of all the places that I visiting in Morocco, Chefchaouen was my favourite. The city oozes with character and is perhaps the most photogenic place in all North Africa. To top it off, the people here are much more easy going than other Moroccan destinations. Although you’ll likely be offered a hotel, food, and hash at every turn, no one will spend more than a couple sentences worth of energy to hassle you. Chefchaouen is such a beautiful place, and perhaps the best part is that it’s still somewhat off of the overall tourist radar. Make sure you visit Chefchaouen on your trip to Morocco.The view from the lighthouse
Time Needed: 2-3 Days
Backpacker’s Budget: $30-$40
Things to Do and See in Chefchaouen
For most, a couple days of relaxation is what is necessary in Chefchaouen. And although there is plenty of opportunity to relax and unwind, there are ways to get out there and explore as well.
- Get Lost in the Medina: It’s easy to get lost in the Medina of Chefchaouen. Luckily, it’s also quite easy to accidentally find your way again. The blue alleyways all start to blend together after a while, but what’s amazing is that no matter how far you walk, the pathway always seems to deliver you back to where you started.
Plaza Uta el-Hammam: The main plaza in town is a flurry of activity and the perfect place to people watch. I loved coming here right at sundown and watching the world go by over some nice Moroccan dinner.
The Kasbah: Although quite small, the Kasbah in Chefchaouen is worth a quick walk around. A visit, which includes a tiny museum and art gallery, will likely only take you about a half-hour.
Hike to the Lighthouse: If the tall surrounding mountains look too imposing, hike up and out of town to the lighthouse, built by the Spanish, which offers great views overlooking the city. The hike will only take about 20-30 minutes.
Climb Jelel El-Kelaa: If you’re up for a serious climb, consider a day hike up the massive mountain that hangs over Chefchaouen. You might want a guide, but you don’t “need” one.
Hammam: Soak away in the hammam baths to get the full local experience. In Chefchaouen there are a couple local baths, ask at your hostel about the hours.
Where to Eat in Chefchaoeun
The Square: Personally, I think the best place to eat is the main square; and to be honest, all of the restaurants basically serve the exact same thing. Thus, it’s more about location for people viewing. My recommendation is to not sit right on the edge of the restaurant but a couple seats in. This way you’ll be able to enjoy your meal without being hassled. Meals cost between $5-8 here.
Restaurant Chefchaouen: Outside of the square on the main road leading up the hill, I also found the Restaurant Chefchaouen to be very good. Staff speaks English, French and Spanish. The food is good and the atmosphere is cool. Meals are about $3-6 here.
Where to Stay in Chefchaouen
Aline Hostel: This was a great place to stay. It’s outside the center so quiet, has a huge rooftop terrace, and you might even get an entire dorm room to yourself as I did. I paid 80d ($9) per night here. The staff speaks Spanish, a little bit of French, but no English. The address is Av. Sidi Ahmed el Wafi, 2.
Getting Out of Town
Chefchaouen is fairly well connected to the rest of the country, although it doesn’t have a train station. From the bus station at the bottom of town you can get to just about anywhere via Fez. Buses don’t leave regularly, so ask about the times. And if you can, buy a ticket the night before. Also, if you have baggage, be prepared to pay baggage fees. Don’t fight too much, that’s the norm here unfortunately.
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