Best places to visit in Chefchaouen the Blue City of Morocco
This article, entirely dedicated to Chefchaouen tourist attractions, aims to make you want to visit Chefchaouen but also to share with you some addresses and tips to better discover the city and know things to do in Chefchaouen.
This small town in northern Morocco is the pearl of the Rif mountains. Many travelers come to visit Chefchaouen after having fallen under the spell of the alleys of the medina that we see many photographs of Morocco, painted in a light blue color going from it a unique city, calm and place of relaxation by exellence.
Nicknamed “the holy city” or chefchaouen blue city for its many religious buildings, the medina of Chefchaouen is undoubtedly the prettiest in the Rif. In a peaceful atmosphere, the blue city offers the simple charms of a city of craftsmen. Founded in the 15th century, chefchaouen morocco was one of the sultan’s strongholds in its resistance to the Portuguese. To protect itself from repeated attacks from its western neighbors, it has long been banned for Christians, but not for Jews.
How to get to Chefchaouen?
There are several ways to integrate Chefchaouen into your travel itinerary, you can take the plane to the city of Tangier, several airlines make the trip from the big cities of Europe, like for example the company eDreams, which organizes several trips to this city.
If you have a rental car, you can easily reach Chefchaouen. Allow around 2 hours to drive from Tangier for around 110 km. From Fez, further away from Chaouen, it will take around 3h30 / 4 hours by road to cover the 200 kilometers, which separate the 2 cities.
If you did not opt for a rental car, you can obviously reach Chefchaouen using public transport. You should know that Chefchaouen is not served by train. You will have to take a bus.
Fez and Tangier are served by train. It is therefore very likely that your route will pass through one of these cities.
You can then reach Chefchaouen by bus:
From Tangier: allow around 2h45 / 3 hours by road. I recommend that you take the Supratours or CTM (Local Companies).
From Fez: allow 4 hours by bus to reach Chefchaouen. Similarly, you can go through Supratours or CTM, several departures per day.
Tickets can be purchased on the CTM website and it costs around € 5 per person + € 1 for luggage in the hold of the bus. The buses are comfortable, air-conditioned, secure, but remember to book early because seats sell out quickly.
If you don’t want to take the lead and enjoy Morocco a little longer, you can also book your stay on sites like Voyage Privé, the offers are often very attractive.
Then, in addition to the stay, you organize your own circuit of a few days by bus, train or car in the region of Morocco that you want to discover.
A good alternative for those who want to relax at first and then discover a region of the country by doing an autonomous circuit.
Places to visit in Chefchaouen
Visit the Kasbah
In the chefchaouen medina the square around the Kasbah is very lively, between restaurants, shisha bars and street musicians. The Kasbah of Chefchaouen contains within its walls the collections of the ethnographic museum. This is the place to visit to learn more about the crafts, beliefs and culture of the locals.
One of the most Picturesque Mosques occupies a hill facing the city: The Boushafar Mosque. The view is simply incredible. If time allows, you can stay there for a while admiring the city and clapping with Moroccan and Moroccan tourists are singing in conviviality and joy.
The cemetery in the chefchaouen medina
Another place to visit is above the city, above The cemetery next to the “brutalist” hotel (ok, this is not brutalism but a geometric architecture of the 1960s / 70s favoring concrete) and the other side of the enclosure above the river. You will only see Chefchaouen in part, your view of the surrounding valleys and hills, a very nice view of the city.
Go up to see the sunset
If the medina of Chefchaouen is beautiful, it is doubly worth it to take the height to see it at sunset! For that you have a small simple and not steep path (in 20min it’s done), which runs along the river (a place full of life that I love here), houses of shepherds and nature before reaching the Bouzzafar Mosque which offers a magnificent panorama.
Getting lost in the streets
Here, it goes up, it goes down, it twists in a brief hilly medina where it is clearly worth getting lost! We see the inhabitants who repaint each street at the end of the day, the children who play in the middle of the houses, the cats who run smoothly and a lot of small hidden photo spots. Some spots are instagrammable during the day, so you will be admiring your photos in return.
Pigeon bird square
At the beginning of your trip to Chefchaouen, you must visit Wataa El Hamam Square, which is the beating heart of civilization and the center of social and tourist life in it.
Bargain in the souk
Clearly shopping remains one of Chaouen’s main activities. We will tell you that it is 10 times cheaper than in the big cities, that it is 100% local blah blah drop it is almost false all the time ahah. But here you will find many Berber rugs & cushions or tunics. The rest (wicker or leather bags, wooden objects, dishes etc.) will be more interesting in Fez, Tangier or Marrakech.
What to do in the surroundings of Chefchaouen
After you have finished your visit to Chefchaouen, you might rightly be tempted to want to visit the surroundings of Chefchaouen. Several excursions can be considered.
As is often the case, it is better to have a rental car to be fully autonomous and avoid being constrained by bus schedules, especially if you are traveling for a fairly short period. If you plan to travel by car in Morocco, at least for part of your stay, I recommend that you read my ticket entitled road trip in Morocco.
Another alternative to the rental car in Morocco, opt for a day trip by taxi but it will cost you more!
First possible visit, Talassemtane National Park. Ideal for a trek, the park offers magnificent mountain landscapes!
chefchaouen akchour waterfalls
In the north of the park, do not miss the Akchour waterfall or the Pont Of God (natural arch in the rock).
How to get to the Akchour Waterfalls from Chefchaouen
Akchour is a 45 minutes’ drive from Chefchaouen. Driving, there is a small parking fee of 10 Dirham. However, if you don’t have a car yourself, there are taxis that can take you.
The cheapest option is to take a shared taxi, also called Grand Taxi. They take 4-6 persons and run once they fill up.
The taxi stand is outside the Medina of Chefchaouen. You can easily ask for directions to get there. Once at the taxi stand, tell them you want to go to Akchour waterfall and you will be guided onto the right Grand Taxi.
The medina of Tétouan is also very pleasant, with its white houses and alleys. You can spend half a day there. If you go from Tangier to Chefchaouen by bus, the bus will stop at Tétouan, so you can easily stop there and take a bus the next day (or later in the day if possible or even finish the journey by grand taxi).
Where to sleep in Chefchaouen?
You will find many small hotels, guest houses but no 4-star hotels … Well yes, there is one but a little unpleasant.
Nothing like choosing a small boutique hotel like:
The Dar Zambra Hotel:
The room is ok, there is a small bathroom with shower, but I especially had a crush on the beautiful roof terrace from which you can enjoy a beautiful view over the rooftops of Chefchaouen.
Located on the edge of the medina, it is possible to reach the heart of the medina in 5 minutes on foot (it goes up a little for the return…). The reception is top, the rooms magnificent and its location offers a magnificent view of the medina but also of the surrounding mountains. And the pool is nice! A real crush on Chefchaouen! The address is in great demand in Chefchaouen, if you want to sleep there, it is recommended to book as soon as possible.
Here are 2 other addresses tested, approved and well located to visit Chefchaouen:
Casa Khaldi hotel
For more basic accommodation and for a low budget, I recommend the Casa Khaldi hotel. Simple but clean, it is located on the edge of the medina. Around 25 euros per double room.
Lina Riad & Spa
A larger budget and the desire for a classy riad, go to the Lina Riad & Spa. It is located in the medina and it is a magnificent riad! Surely the most beautiful address in the city. Count around 120 euros per night in a double room with breakfast.
Best restaurant in chefchaouen
Here is a list of the best restaurants where you can taste Moroccan cuisine and the Cheefchaouen specialty in the city:
- Restaurante El Jaleo
- Cafe Clock Chefchaouen
- Marisco Twins
- Cafe Restaurant Sofia
- Lala Mesouda
- Mandala Pizzeria
- Chez Aziz
- Toda Creperie & Ice Cream
Hiking in the mountains around Chefchaouen
If the spectacle of tourist overcrowding distresses you and you dream of calm, continue behind the Boushafar mosque, the marked path empties quickly to make way for a hiking trail where rare shepherds pass with their goats and sheep.
The surroundings of Chefchaouen include many natural wonders: Forests, waterfalls, caves, natural bridges and water sources. Several villages follow one another and all offer homestays to those who wish to make the loop in the mountains. Allow 20/25 Euro for the evening meal / accommodation / breakfast. Maybe less if you manage to negotiate, the loop of about 40 km can be done in 2/3 days or more depending on your pace and the time you have.
Camping in Chefchaouen
If you need a campsite, this is the only one, with friendly staff. For a cheap price for what you get, toilets and showers, it lacks a bit of cleaning, to access it not complicate you have a lot of signs in the city to guide you.
The location is great, near the medina, Partly adjoining, Space also available for large campers, WIFI at the front of the entrance is ok.
Chefchaouen and Cannabis (Kif and Haschich)
The mountainous villages of the Rif around Chefchaouen (and Ketama further south) are also known (for the local population) for their production of cannabis, yes Morocco is among the big producers of Cannabis. Originally kif was a mixture of cannabis and pipe tobacco. Today kif is a psychoactive powder produced by the first screening of cannabis flowers (called “buds”). The compression of kif gives hashish, the leading Moroccan export product.
We will suggest you to visit farms where kif is made. We will suggest you taste the kif in an agro-tourist atmosphere.
The Rif Mountains region is the epicenter of hash making in Morocco. In 2003/2004 (therefore certainly not today):
More than 3,000 tonnes of hashish are produced each year,
37% of world production of hashish is Moroccan,
80% of the hash seized in Europe is Moroccan,
134,000 hectares of fields are devoted to the cultivation of cannabis,
35,000 hectares of forest cleared in 20 years in the Rif to increase cultivation,
96,000 families are 800,000 people involved in the cultivation of cannabis (66% of peasant families in the Rif),
50% of their income is linked to the cultivation of cannabis,
14,000,000 (14 million) dollars in income for peasants and….
$ 12,000,000,000 ($ 12 billion) for traffickers.