Chefchaouen Guide: Located in the northern part of Morocco, Chefchaouen is known as the blue pearl of Morocco. It is a small city nestled in the Rif Mountains, offering a unique and modest charm. This town stands out as one of the most beautiful places I have seen. According to some theories, the city was painted blue to repel mosquitoes, as they are not attracted to this color. Another theory suggests that the blue color holds religious significance, particularly in Judaism, representing the sky and heaven. When Jewish refugees settled in the city during the 1930s, they painted their houses blue as a symbol of their faith and hope for a brighter future. Throughout the years, the blue color became an integral part of Chefchaouen’s identity, shaping its architecture and streets, and earning it a special place in the hearts of many visitors to Morocco.
Best time to visit Chefchaouen.
If you prefer to avoid the largest crowds, it is advisable to visit during the low season, which spans from September to February. During this time, the weather can be chilly and rainy. Alternatively, you can plan your visit during the spring or autumn seasons, when the crowds are smaller, the weather is pleasant and mild, and the fall foliage presents a beautiful sight. Ultimately, the choice depends on your preferences. However, it’s important to note that the summer months can be quite hot, but they also possess their own charm.
Best things to do in Chefchaouen.
Chefchaouen streets. Take a stroll through the maze of narrow streets, blue walls, and charming small streets in Chefchaouen. The city is adorned with beautiful and aesthetic houses and doors, predominantly painted in shades of blue and green, with hints of white. Each building features intricate designs and Moroccan patterns, serving as a reflection of Chefchaouen’s rich history and cultural heritage. For a peaceful photo-taking experience, explore the city early in the morning around 8am or 9am, before it becomes bustling with activity.
Place Outa El Hammam:
is the main square in the center of this town, filled with cafes and restaurants where you can give yourself a taste of the flavors of Moroccan cuisine. Take a moment to savor a cup of refreshing mint tea while observing the vibrant tapestry of people going about their daily activities.
The medina, the old town of the city, is renowned for its blue buildings that line the streets. It is a charming place filled with artisanal and traditional shops where you can purchase souvenirs like handmade pottery and jewelry. Throughout the medina, you will also find Andalusian gardens, creating a serene and lush atmosphere that transports you to a world of imagination. Exploring the Kasbah museum is a must-do as it offers insights into the town’s history, presenting the city’s local art, customs, architecture, jewelry, pottery, paintings, and other traditional items. This museum is located right next to the plaza Outa El Hammam. Additionally, the grand mosque, a significant religious site in the medina, stands out with its colorful Moroccan architecture. For a tranquil experience, make sure to visit the Ras Elma river, known for its serenity and peace.
The Spanish mosque:
Located on a hilltop overlooking the medina of Chefchaouen, the historic mosque is an intriguing site. Built during the Spanish occupation of Morocco in the early 20th century, this mosque served as a place of worship for Spanish soldiers stationed in the area. Today, it stands as a popular tourist attraction and a testament to history. Open to the public, admission is free, allowing visitors to marvel at its unique architecture, which beautifully blends Moroccan Islamic traditional architecture with Spanish influences. To reach this remarkable mosque, one must embark on a 45-minute to an hour-long hike, depending on their fitness level and weather conditions. The journey commences from Bab al Ansae, the eastern gate of the medina, and along the way, you may catch sight of women engaged in their laundry activities near a meandering river.
Ras El Ma waterfall:
Unlike Jebel El Kelaa, Ras El Ma offers an easy and short hike that takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes each way. The trail is well marked and provides stunning vistas of the mountains and countryside. Along the way, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, wildflowers, and perhaps encounter some wildlife. Upon reaching the waterfall, the serene sound of flowing water and the mist swirling above will greet you. The ultimate reward awaits at your final destination: the magnificent Ras El Ma waterfall. Here, you’ll be treated to a beautiful view of the cascading water and the crystal-clear natural pool below. Take a moment to unwind, dip into the refreshing freshwater, and savor the fruits of your effort.
Jebel El Kelaa:
is a mountain peak that offers a challenging hike, taking approximately 4 to 5 hours round trip. This means that traversing the rocky trail requires a certain level of physical fitness. However, the effort is truly rewarded upon reaching the summit, as you are greeted with a breathtaking view of the lush green surroundings. Make sure to bring sturdy shoes or just comfortable hiking shoes.
The waterfalls of Akchour:
It takes 2 to 3 hours hiking each way to get to the Akchour waterfalls from Chefchaouen. To reach there, you need to take a grand taxi from Chefchaouen, which is a 45-minute ride costing around 25 dhs per person, Moroccan dirhams (MAD). Although the hike can be tiring, it is truly worth it as this place is a hidden gem nestled in the center of the Rif mountains. Along the way, you will traverse beautiful forests and follow the path alongside the river. Once you arrive, you will be greeted by the breathtaking beauty of turquoise blue pools of fresh water, surrounded by lush greenery and rocky cliffs. The water is incredibly clear, allowing you to see through it, and it offers a refreshing swim in a purely natural pool, creating a truly spiritual experience. Akchour waterfalls are a paradise for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Talassemtane National Park:
Created in 2004, Talassemtane National Park was established with the aim of preserving Morocco’s remaining fir forest. The name “Talassemtane” originates from the Berber language, meaning “cold spring.” Within the park, you will find the renowned Akchour waterfall trail and God’s Bridge, a natural stone arch that stretches across a deep ravine. Formed through centuries of erosion and weathering, hiking to God’s Bridge is a relatively easy two to three-hour journey, suitable for hikers of all skill levels. Talassemtane National Park serves as a sanctuary for the mountains, valleys, and forests, harboring a diverse array of rare plant and animal species, as well as providing a habitat for migratory birds. Visitors can enjoy organizing picnics and camping trips amidst the splendid natural surroundings, creating unforgettable moments with friends.
Visit a local hammam:
For a unique cultural experience, Moroccan traditional bath houses known as hammams are a must-visit. To truly live the local ambiance, Hammam El Harass and Dar El Henna Hammam and Spa are highly recommended. These hammams exude an authentic and traditional vibe, providing a modest setting where you can bathe alongside the locals. Dar El Henna Hammam also offers spa treatments, including massages, facial and body scrubs using a Moroccan scrubber. This traditional tool, made of natural fibers, gently exfoliates and cleanses the skin, removing dead skin cells and impurities. After the body scrub, you can indulge in a relaxing massage or other spa treatments. The friendly staff and welcoming atmosphere create a sense of safety and cleanliness, and the affordability of Dar El Henna Hammam is an added bonus. However, if you prefer a more luxurious and private experience, Lina Ryad and Spa is an upscale hotel in Chefchaouen that offers top-quality services. With a beautiful outdoor pool, a spa and wellness center, and a rooftop terrace boasting stunning mountain views, this elegant and well-decorated establishment provides a luxurious setting for your hammam visit. Overall, this hammam experience promises to be a delightful and enjoyable adventure.