Visit Chefchaouen, Where the Colour is Blue
If you are looking for a place to get away from it all in Morocco you can do no better than finding your way to Chefchaouen. This small town up in the Rif Mountains is just the place to recharge your batteries before heading back to the hustle and bustle of Morocco’s cities.
Just 3 hours from Tangier it seems like another world. Although it is now becoming more popular with tourists, Chefchaouen still has that innocent feel about it. There aren’t many hustlers in this small town and most of the time you can wander around freely. Yes of course there will still be one or two who fall in beside you chatting away and then ask for money when you reach your destination but they are the few, unlike in Marrakesh.
The best way to see Chefchaouen is just to set out to get lost. Walk uphill and then down following the various paths and you will soon find out that it is impossible to get lost. There are a few mini Plazas scattered around and when you come across one, look for the tea shop, sit down and just watch life pass by. You will find that you become invisible the longer you sit there. You will see the same people running their errands, bringing the dishes to be washed at the central water point, or just selling their wares.
As you walk the streets you will see children playing hop scotch, boys kicking a ball around, girls running to and fro with the family’s dough on boards carrying it to the local communal oven for baking, while all around you are submerged in blue coloured walls,doorways and paths. There are even streets that it is impossible to distinguish between building and sky !!!!
A Brief History
Chefchaouen is pronounced “Chef-cha-wen and comes from the Arabic for “two horns ” which refer tto the two peaks that overlook the town. There is an ancient tale that tells how Chefchaouen came to have the shades of blue it is now known for. In the 18th Century the Jewish population of the town was forced by the Sultan Mohammed Ben Abdullah to move into their own neighbourhood called a Mellah. It is the area south and west of the Place de Hammam and down to Bab Ain. Here they rebuilt their lives and to distinguish their neighbourhood from the Muslim ones they added a blue dye into the whitewash of their houses. Over time the Muslim population began also to adopt the blue whitewash colour on their houses which continues to this day.
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I really want to visit this town some day, but I’ve heard that it cn be difficult to get there. What route/mode of transportation did you take? Are there any areas in particular that cannot be missed?
What is the best route to take to visit the Blue City. I only have two day on hand and I am in Marrakech. I have to return to Marrakech for my flight out of Morocco. Anxiously awaiting your reply.
Thanks in advance
Hi Joy, It would be difficult to get to Chefchauen and back to Marrakech in 2 days. You would need at least another 2 days minimum to explore there.
But if you wanted to take the night train to Tangier and bus from Tangier to Chefchaouen you could have one day there.
Then retrace your steps back to Tangier and train back to Marrakech.
You will need to book all tickets in advance too.
Thanks so much for your reply. I will do that.
beautiful writing and beautiful photos! I loved this post!
This is a place that is on the top of my list. What a great place!
This looks like a cool little place to chill out. Love all the blue buildings!
You would love it there Paul ….. get out of town and hike up into the Atlas mountains for some real adventures 🙂
Chefchaouen really is blue! You were not exaggerating! Beautiful, and I love the roaming wild cats. So much like Greece.
Yes really blue. In some places its hard to tell the difference between sky and buildings 🙂
Love Chefchaouen. I think most of the photos from my trip to Marocco were made here. I loved the blue color and the people. Our hostel owner spend every evening smoking shisha and eating almods with us.
I spent more time here than planned as it was absolutely amazing there. Also enjoyed hikes out of town into the surrounding countryside.
What an amazing story of a town! My hubby who loves the color blue would love to visit. We were in Tangier in 2015 but I did not know about this town.
So close yet so far away. Hope you get to visit Morocco again soon
I love all the blue and the cats! I wanted to visit before but now it is higher on my list! Great photos!
Chefchaouen is an amazing town. Just take time to wander aimlessly around. No need to worry about getting lost either as its a walled town and if you reach the Gates you know you should return to follow your nose along the narrow streets.
wow – those blues are pretty amazing ! what time of year were you there ? just recently ? i’ve not personally been to Morocco myself but those pics certainly do bring it into consideration ! esp because there are few hustlers as they can get tiring very very quick
I was there in November. Perfect weather 🙂
Great post – amazing photos!
Thankyou. Its an amazing place to visit too.
What a cute village. I would love to see this place for myself sometime.