The city that is famous for its vibrant colour, where all buildings are painted a vivid blue. It enchants visitors and is the perfect place to spend a few days if you find yourself in Morocco. Here I have compiled a list of things to do in Chefchaouen, which is situated in the northwestern area of Morocco. This city was founded in 1471, and while no one is exactly sure why or when the walls of the area were painted blue, there are countless different theories. While the travelers who arrive in Chefchaouen are eager to know the real reason behind the blue walls, the locals just accept that they are blue and carry on with the tradition by repainting them when necessary.
Chefchaouen is a fabulous city to visit, and not only for the brilliant colors either. Visitors will find that there are plenty of things to do during your time here and the atmosphere and ambiance will have you stopping to soak it all in. Less crowded than the more popular areas in Morocco, you can feel a little more relaxed and carefree in Chefchaouen. Remember that the city is in the mountains, so temperatures can feel a lot chillier than other areas of the country!
Top 8 things to do in Chefchouen!
Take a guided tour
While everyone can explore the city streets of Chefchaouen on their own, there are many little nooks that can easily be missed. It can be worth hiring a local guide for a tour of the city, giving you a local’s perspective and introducing you to areas you may not have otherwise noticed! Guides love to tell you tales of old, give their theory on why the city is blue, and take you to the Medina to let you drink water from the fountain! Check with your Riad to see if they can recommend a guide. Just be wary of restaurant or souvenir shops that your guide may try to push you to visit, as usually the prices are inflated and commission given to the guide.
Stop at the Grand Mosque
Only Muslims can enter the Grand Mosque, but don’t let that stop you taking in the beautiful architecture. The mosque is an impressive sight, particularly the octagonal minaret. Take a stroll around the perimeter and soak up the atmosphere. The call to prayer can be heard five times a day, and can be heard all over the city.
Take a Break in Plaza Uta el-Hammam
The perfect place for a pit stop, the plaza is the centre piece of the town. You can find a corner and just watch the daily goings on or immerse yourself in the sounds and smells of the street vendors. Take a coffee or meal in one of the many bars and restaurants in the square or find a nice view of the mountains. This is the perfect place to enjoy the famous Moroccan mint tea. Found all over the country, the tea is traditional served in cute, ornate silver teapots. They are filled with fresh mint leaves, and a fair amount of sugar (be sure to specify if you want a sugar free tea!). I don’t know how they do it, but mint tea in Morocco is above and beyond all else I have tasted in the world, and it is ridiculously cheap!
Shop at a Traditional Souk in Chefchaouen
There may not be as much of a selection at the traditional souk in Chefchaouen, but the souks here are a lot less hectic than those in Marrakech and Fes. This means you can take your time, check out what is on offer, and not have to be worried so much about pushy vendors. You will find plenty of tagine bowls, spices and Argan Oil among other traditional wares. The city is also somewhat famous for it’s local leather goods, so you are sure to find many leather items for sale too.
The Talassemtane National Park is relatively new, as it was created back in 2004 to preserve the fir forest that is located there. Nature lovers will want to explore as much of this park as possible, especially the villages of El-Kelaâ and Akchour. God’s Bridge is an amazing formation that looks like a stone arch, and while many people think that someone constructed this masterpiece, it is actually completely natural. There are also the impressive Akchour waterfalls nearby. The park is outside of town and you will need to take a taxi or bus to reach the beginning of the hiking trails. It is best to ask in your Riad for advice. Great for those travelers looking for things to do in Chefchouen whilst also getting a little peace and quiet, a notion quite difficult in a bustling Moroccan city!
Spectacular sunrise and sunset
A city this colour takes on a whole new life when the sun is setting or rising. Take in the view from the top of your Riad, and marvel as the light catches the building and transforms the whole town. Best of all, it is a free activity!
Moroccan food is delectable, with the tell tale aroma of Morrocan spices wafting down the busty streets around dinner time. Moroccan cuisine relies heavily on cous cous, vegetables and meat, usually served in a “Tagine”. This is an absolute must try traditional Moroccan dish for any visitor! There are so many restaurant choices, but I urge you to try Café Restaurant Sofia or Sindibad during your stay. The atmosphere at Café Restaurant Sofia is incredible and they will create a dish for your special dietary needs or desires. Popular menu choices include the tabbouleh, different varieties of couscous, and the chicken tagine. The view at Sindibad is phenomenal, and once you’ve had a meal there, you will want to go back time and time again. Thankfully, they are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, so you can mix it up and try out different dishes available throughout the day!
Take some interesting photographs!
Whether you are a professional, or just an eager tourist, the unique colour of this town makes photographs really pop. There is a reason this city is plastered all over Instagram! Every tiny street, shop front, stairway and cat offers an interesting photo opportunity. So grab your camera and get lost in the winding blue alleys.
In a city so striking, and with a much more relaxing vibe than other heavily visited places in the country, it is not surprising many travelers come for a day or two and end up staying much longer! Chefchaouen is certainly a colourful city, that usually captures all those who visit! What are your favourite things to do in Chefchaouen?