Chefchaouen is perhaps one of the world’s most instantly recognizable cities. Its iconic powder blue streets and walls are unmistakable. If you’re looking for a scenic stop in Morocco—somewhere you can relax, go for long walks, and indulge in great food—look no further than Chefchaouen. Here are five reasons to consider adding the Blue City to your Morocco Vacations!
One of the most photogenic cities in Morocco
Where else in the world can you find an entire city painted in shades of vibrant sky blue? As you lose yourself in Chefchaouen’s blue streets, you’ll encounter stunning views everywhere you turn. Point your camera in any direction, and you’ll end up with pictures that look like professional postcards.
And why is it blue? Several theories exist, one that the colour wards off mosquitoes and another that Jews painted the town blue in the 1930s. Cynics, however, say the colour attracts tourists and it’s hard to disagree with them.
It’s an excellent hiking base
Thanks to its location in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen appeals strongly to hikers and nature lovers. There are multiple trails you can take in the area, depending on your experience and the level of difficulty you prefer. Some options? Walk over to the Ras el-Maa waterfall on the east side of the city to enjoy its natural beauty.
Summit Jebel el-Kalaa, a demanding peak that looms 1616 meters high over the city. Arrange a trek in Talassemtane National Park, a short drive to the east. You can either visit Talassemtane on a day trip, or organize a multi-day excursion, staying in a tent or cabin within the park.
The Food is Delicious
One of the top reasons anyone should travel to Morocco is the amazing food, and you can find all your favorites in the Blue City. Stuff yourself on kefta (lamb meatballs), tajines (slow cooked stews in clay pots) and mountains of couscous.
Hot mint tea in Morocco is a sign of hospitality, friendship and tradition. It’s one of the most delicious treats you’ll find in the whole country, with a rich flavor you’ll struggle to find elsewhere.
Founded in 1471, Chefchaouen has had a colorful history over the centuries. Its famous blue walls are often speculated to have something to do with the city’s Jewish history: Many Jews fled Hitler and moved to Chefchaouen in the 1930s.
According to one popular theory, they were the ones to begin painting the town blue, intending the color to evoke heaven. You can learn more about Chefchaouen’s history and culture at the Ethnographic Museum, which displays traditional clothing, pottery, folk art, and musical instruments from the region.
The many boutiques that litter the medina will put a smile on the face of any shopper. Haggling is expected. However, bear in mind how cheap the merchandise is before bargaining too hard. Leather bags and shoes are a good buy, as are textiles. Woven blankets make good souvenirs and a hooded djellaba will remind you of those you’ve seen along the way.
Locals also make lanterns, lamps and other metalwork items for sale. Several stores sell medicinal herbs but make sure you don’t unwittingly buy hashish which is easy to come by in the town but illegal to possess.