Chefchaouen city or simply Chaouen as most of Moroccans prefer to call it, is a small gorgeous city north Morocco. It takes its name from the high Rif mountains that dominate the city and look like two goat horns.
The city was founded back in the fifteenth century by the Moorish coming from Spain. Chefchaouen is one of the most popular touristic cities in Morocco. It is popular for its blue and white houses.
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Once you breathe the air of Chefchaouen, magic will begin. In every direction, it is blue. You will see all the different shades of blue you have never seen. As the light changes throughout the day, the glow of colors changes and you end up seeing Infinite shades of blue.
Here is a guide about things you can see in Chefchaouen: THE TOP 7 THINGS TO SEE IN CHEFCHAOUEN
So what is the story behind this color?
When the Jews arriving from Spain lived in Chefchaouen, they brushed their homes in blue. They have chosen the blue since it describes the sky which is a symbol of heaven and God. After jews left Chefchaouen, the city retained its unique color since locals continued to paint in blue. The local administration also worked to renew the colors of houses periodically. Thanks to this, the city gradually turned into a blue gem.
The color of water
According to some locals, the blue represents the color of the water. They believe painting in blue is a kind of gratitude toward the source of water called “Ras El Maa” where residents have easy access to water even they are living between arid Rif mountains.
To keep insects away
Some locals believe that the reason behind the blue color is to help deter mosquitoes. Since they do not like water, painting the building in the blue will makes them look like flowing water and thus will allow residents to get rid of these pesky insects.
if you ask locals about why the blue, you will hear several stories. Whatever the reasons behind this story are, painting the city in blue gives it an amazing calming effect and makes everything around naturally artistic.
Chefchaouen city for cat lovers
Moroccan old medinas are a paradise for cats without any exception. In Chefchaouen you will notice that there is a big amount of cats, they are in the markets, in restaurants and in all blue small streets next to carpets and local products.
They are typically found everywhere.
Look at this lovely gossip cat
Eating in Chefchaouen city
Morocco is a charming destination in all its details, especially when we talk about food. This makes it one of the best African gourmet destinations for food lovers.
Chefchaouen has loads of restaurants to choose from, you will enjoy a lot of delicious Moroccan dishes, From the bread, you can get from a traditional oven to the unforgettable meal with meat casserole and pungent spices, including turmeric, pepper, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and more.
For eating, I strongly recommend two restaurants: Assaada and Beldi Bab Ssour. We had a very good experience in these restaurants, the food was unbelievable. Make sure to sit at the terrace to enjoy the best views of the blue city.
If this is something you look into when you are in Chefchaouen, there are many restaurants that offer cooking classes you will enjoy.
There is also a very famous and tourist restaurant called Casa Aladin, it has a stunning view from the terrace. I personally do not recommend this restaurant as it has not gived a good culinary experiencef for me.
Shopping in Chefchaouen
Don’t look for boring malls and boutiques in Chefchaouen. There are plenty of interesting small and old-fashioned shops where you can buy all traditional handmade souvenirs.
You will be spoiled for choice in this city where you can buy carpets, lamps, Berber traditional clothes, and jewelry…
Vendors sell different goods all over the blue streets of the Medina. The smell of spices and goat cheese also creates a wonderful atmosphere you can not resist.
In the lands surrounding the city, there are many local farms where illegal drugs grow. Thus you may meet touts who will offer to sell you some. I remind you that this is illegal in Morocco and my advice is to avoid them since you may end up in jail.
Best time to visit Chefchaouen city
The weather in Chefchaouen is usually good since it is located in the heart of Rif’s mountains, but it is at its best from March to June and in autumn from September to November. For Akchour, the best time is the spring as the waterfall is denser. In summer, the temperature can get around 37 degrees but It remains cool and pleasant in general. Moroccans usually go on vacation to this region in this period.
How to get to the blue city
There are no trains in the city, but it is still reachable through taxis and many bus companies.
To spend more time in the city, I recommend you take a night CTM bus from casablanca. It takes you to Tetouan city, the closest city to Chefchaouen. The arrival is around 06h30 am. Then from Tetouan bus station, you can take a taxi to Chefchaouen for 35 dirhams, The trip is about an hour and a quarter.
Chefchaouen is a mysterious city where you will have an amazing time even if you do not do any special activities. Just wander in the old medina’s streets and enjoy the infinite shades of blue.
It is impossible to not fall in love with the blue pearl.