Chefchaouen, also known as Chaouen or The Blue Pearl, is a picturesque, laidback, small town painted in blue in the Rif Mountains in the northwest of Morocco. The town was painted blue by the Jewish community that settled there in the 15th century.
I wanted to go to Chefchaouen solely based on what I saw from pictures (how shallow of me, I know) and because blue is my favorite color. I’m a very visual person, so if I fall in love with a place after seeing a picture, that alone is enough to inspire me to go. And Chefchaouen did not disappoint. The town is so pretty! The medina (a.k.a. the giant maze) is extremely confusing and you will get lost, but it’s much smaller, safer, prettier and less hectic than the medinas in Marrakech and Fez.
Tourists are also attracted to Chefchaouen because it’s the centre of the marijuana plantations in North Morocco. Fun fact of the day- Chefchaouen supplies 42% of the world’s hash. But be careful because even though it’s commonplace, it’s also very illegal and you could go to jail if you are caught buying or smoking it.
THINGS TO DO IN CHEFCHAOUEN:
- Explore the picturesque medina, take pictures and marvel at the 50 shades of blue of Chefchaouen.
- Hiking – There are many day hikes or multi-day hikes to choose from. I did a day trip hike to Akchour waterfall, which is an absolute must.
- Visit the main square in the medina, where you’ll find lots of cafes
- Visit a hammam
- Shop or window shop for beautiful textiles and treasures
- Visit Kef Toghobeit Cave – the deepest cave in Morocco and one of the deepest in Africa.
- Visit marijuana plantations, if that’s your thing.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Chefchaouen is 4 hours from Fez, 3 hours from Tangier and 1.5 hours from Tétouan.
More Spanish than French is spoken in northern Morocco. While I had lunch in the main square in Chefchaouen, the waiter and I were talking and switching in between English, French, Spanish and Arabic (I speak English, a good amount of French and Spanish, and I know a few words in Arabic) and I thought my brain was going to explode. North Africans amaze me with their language skills as I noticed this when I was in Egypt too. They all speak 4-7 languages, and they speak them well. It’s extremely impressive.
Chefchaouen is in the mountains so it gets cold in the winter and it snows on the mountains. I was there in early October, which was a great time to go (it was around 30C during the day).
I stayed within the medina at Pension Souika hostel in a dorm room for about $6US per night. They also have private rooms with a shared bathroom for around $15US per night. It was a decent hostel and it had a great view of the town: