There are places on this Earth that literally takes your breath away; and Morocco’s Blue City, Chefchaouen, is one of them. Tucked along the edge of the Rif Mountains in northwestern Morocco, Chefchaouen is a Berber city founded in 1471 with a kasbah and fortress built to wave off the conquering Portuguese. Jews were among the first settlers and their influence remains visible when you visit the town’s medina. Visitors will also notice the subtle Spanish influences among the town’s architecture. Despite these cultural mixes however, Chefchaouen remains primarily Moroccan. Here are a few reasons why you should visit Morocco’s Blue City.
Why You Should Visit Morocco’s Blue City
Its small town ambiance is most welcoming.
Those of you who’ve been to Morocco will know that chaos on the streets is a common occurrence. Bustling cars and motorcycles on highways provide the background noise for big cities like Casablanca, Rabat and Marrakech. In the medinas, you’ll likely get approached, even haggled by small business owners trying to make a sale. Not in Chefchaouen though. Rent a car from Fes and drive a few hours north towards the Rif Mountains. As you climb along the stone steps and go through its maze-like center, you’ll find that shopping and browsing around for pottery and textiles is done in a much leisurely pace.
There’s a reason Chefchaouen ranks among the most photographed places on Earth. It’s stunningly beautiful with its multiple shades of blue set against mountains on one side and azure waters on another. As the sun shifts and the clouds provide shade, the painted walls become even more striking. Add the hanging multi-color rugs, scarves and other woven materials for sale and you’ve got a picture perfect background. You’ll see hundreds of photos of Chefchaouen on Instagram and Pinterest; but even those beautiful pictures do not even begin to capture the beauty of this village. While staying in Fes, book a tour or get a rental car because it’s worth seeing the village with your own eyes.
Authentic Moroccan Experience
If an authentic Moroccan experience is what you seek, then visit Morocco’s Blue City and you’ll leave satisfied. It has a medina, small but free of cars, where you’ll find numerous shops selling artisanal goods and local crafts. There are cafes where you can casually sip mint tea or freshly squeezed orange juice (depending on the time of day) while watching locals walk on by. When it comes to food, restaurants offer traditional tagines that use ingredients generally found in nearby towns and cities. What makes Chefchaouen strikingly authentic though, in addition to the architecture and the food, are the locals themselves. Their way of life is built on a culture that’s hardly changed.
Have you traveled to Chefchaouen? Share some of your photos and tell us about your experience while there.