Nestled in the Rif Mountain, Chefchaouen (pronounced “shef-SHAU-wun”) is one city in Morocco that you simply must not and SHOULD not miss! This cute little city in the north-western part of Morocco is painted in different shades of blue—hence be prepared to get lost with your camera in this magical place! This tradition of blue buildings, legend says, can be traced to the 15th century when a group of Jews fled the Spanish Inquisition and settled here. In Jewish culture, the colour blue reminds the people of the sky, and therefore, God.
You can roam around in this blue walled city on your own, or you can opt for tour guides if you are into learning the history and culture of this quintessential Moroccan town. Visit the blue Medina, hike to Rif Mountains, and shop at the hassle-free boutique shops for hand-spun pottery and artisanal soaps which are made right in the city. Break away from the hustle bustle of city life and experience authentic Morocco in this humble town of Chefchaouen
Places to visit in Chefchaouen:
Ras El Ma
This small waterfall lies just beyond the far northeastern gate of Chefchaouen medina. It’s a popular spot for locals who come over here to cool down during the hot months, and often to do laundry. Just relax at a cafe nearby while you can hear the fresh mountain water trickling its way into the town.
Hike to Spanish Mosque
For nature lovers, this is heaven. Because the hillside on which the city is built on will give your legs a nice workout. I am not kidding, in some cases; you have to climb the stone steps that march straight up the slope.
So there are many viewing spots in Chefchaouen, but the most frequented is the Spanish Mosque Hike. There is a clear path that leads to an old Spanish Mosque (also known as Jemaa Bouzafar) perched on a hilltop overlooking the blue city. It’ll take you 45 minutes to reach the top and you’ll get to see amazing views especially at sunsets. Since the mosque is abandoned, non-Muslims can also go inside and take a look.
Explore the Medina
The lovely Medina will give you a sweet balance between Moroccan and Andalusian influence. You’ll find uncrowded, clean streets with perfect combinations of twisty and dense paths. Go wander aimlessly through the narrow whitewashed streets and alleys of Medina. Shop for souvenirs at the leather and weaving workshops that Chefchauen is so known for.
A focal point of most sightseeing tours, the Grand Mosque sits at the heart of the central square, Outa el Hammam. You can witness prayers that ring aloud from the unusual octagonal minaret. It is said that the Mosque was built in the 15th century by the son of the town’s founder, Ali Ben Rachid, and is closed to non-Muslims.
Red-walled Kasbah is a heavily preserved and stored 15th-century wall fortress that now contains the beautiful Andalusian Gardens and a small ethnographic museum. It is located in the main square of Plaza Uta El Hammam. Have a look at the city and the octagonal minaret that rises nearby.
Plaza Uta El Hammam
Boasting an ambience amalgamated with Arab and Spanish influences, Plaza Uta el-Hammam is situated at the heart of the Medina. A great central point of the town, you can simply relax while admiring the majestic mountains which overlook the city.
Enjoy another example of Chefchauen’s mind-blowing natural scenery is a hike to these stunning waterfalls where you will also get to see a natural rock bridge spanning the river.: Bridge of God. Take a dip in the rocky pools.
Let us know about your experiences in Chefchaouen, a pleasant and laid-back blue city of Morocco, in the comments below!