chefchaouen city guide

36 hours in Chefchaouen

by Hanna Thomas

solarpoweredblonde
 
 

My last trip was organised mainly around the bluest city I have ever seen! I had previously been to Morocco, in Marrakesh, which totally blew me away mainly due to its incredible buildings. As I am a fan of old architecture and mosaics, Marrakesh ticked all the boxes. We managed to do some day trips to other places near Marrakesh, but the one place I was really desperate to go to was Chefchaouen.

However, if you have been to Morocco then you will know just how long it takes to get everywhere due to the incredible but huge Atlas Mountains, and of course not the best roads outside of the cities. In Marrakesh I decided I would have to come back to Morocco as soon as possible.

And that’s what I did! 5 months later and I flew into Tangier. I was met by an unexpectedly modern city, high-rise buildings and none of the Moroccan charm I so desperately missed.

Luckily, where we were staying was in the medina, the old part of most Moroccan cities. Once we had weaved our way in and out of people selling rugs and trinkets, we had finally made it to our hostel, which we spent the night in ready to get up early and head to the blue city.

We were very worried before we arrived as we were told to book our bus tickets from Tangier to Chefchaouen online, however this had proven to be impossible! Having been to Morocco, I knew this was not a problem as Moroccans are clever people and know how to make money off of tourists desperate to see their country!

With my limited Spanish (they speak Arabic, but in the Northern region Spanish can help you get around), I managed to get us in a shared taxi for only £6, 70 Dirham, all the way to Chefchaouen, which is about a 3 hour drive. The buses take much longer, and cost about 20 Dirham which really isn’t worth the longer journey for me!

Arriving in Chefchaouen, even my highest expectations were reached, my jaw dropped and I knew I was in one of the most amazing places I had ever been to. The intricacy of the buildings was just stunning, each door different, beautifully painted with fabulous patterns. The blue buildings stretched as far as the eye could see.

The people were all incredibly welcoming and I was really blown away at how stunning this place really is. So many little streets to discover, as the medina is the main blue part of the city. It is quite easy to get lost, but every minute was great discovering more parts of this beautiful little town.

Finally, why is it all blue?? Well, there are many theories, one that it keeps mosquitos away, another that it was introduced by Jewish people escaping the Spanish inquisition and I’m sure there are plenty more!

 

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stay

I would recommend staying in the medina, as then you are right in the middle of the prettiest part of Chefchaouen. Although, like us you may be woken up at 5am if you are near a mosque!

Dar Swiar – A gorgeous little hotel with only three rooms and a beautiful rooftop terrace overlooking the city. Great for a sunrise view! Also it was very chilly at night, but plenty of blankets were provided and even a heater in the room!

Casa Perleta – In the northern part, in my opinion most beautiful part of the medina, with some stunning views as it is set a bit higher up.

Dar Mounir – Fabulous front door! Again with a lovely view, also has breakfast included as a bonus.

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EAT

If  you do not have breakfast included, the traditional Moroccan breakfast consists of khobz and mesemen which are basically two types of pancake! Then usually this comes with butter and jam. However, if you need eggs as much as I do in the morning then I have the place for you!!

breakfast

Sindibad – A choice of different types of breakfast. We went for a Chefchaouen breakfast which consisted of a cheese that tasted like feta mixed with goats cheese, two fried eggs with a garlic olive oil on top and some fabulous fresh bread. Also there was an almost 360 degree view!

lunch

Anywhere on the main square, and I would recommend a vegetable tagine or chicken and lemon! Usually around 30-40 Dirham, so very cheap.

Al-Kasbah - on the main square has the prettiest seating and great food too.

dinner

Pizzeria Mandala – If you have had enough of tagine, this place had some delicious pizza and pasta! It is very popular, so you may have to wait a while for a table.

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PLAY

My advice to you, just get up and go and keep walking! There are a few popular spots, such as the prettiest street EVER, which you can see on my instagram @solarpoweredblonde. There is also another spot that is great for photos which is inside someone’s house, and you give them 5 Dirham to go inside for a photo, it’s such a gorgeous courtyard. Otherwise every street has it’s own charm and it’s great just wandering around.

Spanish Mosque – This is a small walk up past the main walls of the medina. It is a mosque on top of a hill and has the best views over the whole town!

Walk – There are some steps that go from the edge of the medina up to the top of the medina following the big outer wall. An amazing view from the top also!

Henna – If you would like to get some henna, there are some ladies in the main square, but make sure you get brown henna as I’ve read that black henna can be very dangerous for your skin!

Shops – If you are good at haggling then time to try out your skills, although it is much more relaxed then Marrakesh and people are not trying to con you out of a lot of money here! There are some lovely souvenirs to buy.

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