Chefchaouen also named the Blue Pearl is a breath of fresh air and the perfect town to chill out in after experiencing the hectic cities of Marrakech and Fez. We had heard along the way that many people make the journey Chefchaouen as a day trip but it deserves more time than that on your Morocco itinerary. Just a 3-hour drive north of the city of Fez, this pretty little city is situated high up in the mountains and it is unique in that the entire town is painted in shades of blue (an Instagram lovers dream). It is popularly believed that the city is painted blue to keep mosquitoes away while others believe it was done so for spiritual reasons. While we had suffered through in 40 degrees late May heat in more southern cities, the weather in Chefchaouen was a decent 10 degrees cooler which we were pretty pleased with. There is also a noticeable difference in the daily cost of things including eating and drinking out from the North and South of Morocco. The pace of life is a lot less maniac, fewer local people were out to hassle and bother you and your chances of getting lost here are slimmer as the medina and town itself is smaller. Below is a suggested itinerary for exploring the town of Chefchaouen.
Hang out in the main square.
In the main square you will find an array of restaurants, souks, ice cream stops.
Choose to do your souvenir and gift shopping here.
Chefchaouen is far more laid back than other parts of Morocco. Here you won’t feel under pressure or pushed into purchasing anything and your shopping experience will be far more enjoyable. The town also has better quality shops than other places in Morocco so I definitely recommend picking up gifts or souvenirs when you pass through. The souks sell everything from leather bags, soaps, argan oils to Moroccan carpets and spices.
Hike to the Archour waterfall.
Hire a car or hop in a shared taxi to the area of Archour. We joined a couple of people we had met along the way to do the hike so a taxi between 7 of us cost around 5 dollars in total for an hour-long journey there and back to Chefchaouen. Remember to haggle and agree on the price before hopping in or the driver will likely try to charge you a lot when you get there. The hike is about 2 hours up to the waterfall and the views of the Moroccan countryside and mountains on your drive there are beautiful.
Hike to the mosque to watch the sunset.
Just a 10 minute walk up the mountain from the center of town to the local mosque, you will be able to look down on the city of Chefchaouen as the sun sets behind the mountains. The walk is short and not overly challenging, you’ll likely pass goats being herded from one direction to the other and the view at the top overlooking the blue city is pretty.
Where to stay
Located on the edge of the Medina and just a 5-minute walk from the main square, this guesthouse is perfectly located. A double room with private bathroom booked through booking.com cost around $30 per night.
Where to eat
A restaurant with locations also in Fez and Marrakech offers the usual Morrocan dishes as well as decent western plates such as burgers and fries for decent prices.
Located on the square, this little restaurant offers a great breakfast at a small price. Enjoy a great coffee, orange juice, and a Moroccan style crepe for just $2.50.
One of the best places we experienced for food was this little restaurant, Marisco’s. Located right on the square of the town. The menu is well priced, food tastes great and there’s a great view from the terrace.
Hang out at the cafe on the waterfall
Enroute to the mosque, you’ll find a little cafe located at the base of the waterfall. Tables and chairs are right on the water while you’ll find watermelons and oranges in the waterfall to keep them cool. It’s a little pricey in comparison to other places in the area, we paid around $2 for an orange juice but worthwhile for the experience of sitting in the waterfall.
How to get to Chefchaouen.
The CTM facilitates many bus routes from city to city across Morocco and it is considered the most reliable of all bus services and also provides air conditioning, which is a huge bonus during hotter months. We booked our CTM bus from Fez to Chefchaouen which cost only $7.50. Often times, your hostel will help you book a bus ticket in advance otherwise, you can purchase the CTM bus station.