Chefchaouen isn’t always paid the attention it deserves. In fact, when visiting Morocco, most people ensure they visit Marrakech, Fez and Casablanca often overlooking Chefchaouen. However this is part of what makes it so special, with a visit here feeling as if you’ve just stumbled across a hidden gem.
The city has plenty to offer alongside the endless fantastic photo opportunities of the blue-washed houses against the majestic Rif Mountain setting. Chefchaouen is abundant with history, restaurants, souqs and beautiful landscapes. Here are five things you must do in this charming blue city.
1. Take a peaceful stroll through the Medina
Chefchaouen goes by another name – The Blue Pearl. One venture through the narrow paths of its Medina will show you why. The blue buildings are said to represent Morocco’s cloudless sky. There are also those who say the buildings are regularly painted blue to remind people of God’s power.
Surrounded by cheerful, cool blue walls, you’ll feel incredibly peaceful as you explore the quiet streets. You’ll encounter kind street artisans, blue and white doors with elegant detail, and bright flower pots that rest against the terracotta tiled walls.
2. Marvel within the walls of the Kasbah
At the center of the Medina is the Plaza Uta el-Hammam where you’ll find the history-rich Kasbah. The buildings show a deeper knowledge of the history of this unique little town, displayed through the textiles, old photos of Chefchaouen and more. To add to the appeal of the Kasbah, you’ll find a modest garden as well as a small art gallery featuring the work of local artists.
3. Buy a handmade rug (or two)
When you see tasteful patterns and designs of the many rugs handcrafted by locals, you won’t want to leave Chefchaouen without one. There’s plenty of variety from vendor to vendor in texture, design, and colour. You’ll be sure to find one that’ll make a perfect addition to your home.
4. Eat authentic Moroccan cuisine
Ready for traditional Moroccan food? Dine at Lala Mesouda for mouthwatering meals. Our top suggestions? Order a plate of their tender lamb tagine and indulge in their yogurt dessert that’s deliciously paired with dates and rose jam.
Another top restaurant is Auberge Dardara, with the chefs using only the freshest ingredients for their menu of salads and venison cooked with dried figs along with homemade goats cheese, bread and olive oil. If you’re a foodie, make sure you don’t miss out on the fantastic choice of eateries during your visit.
5. Visit the breathtaking Cascades d’Akchour
If you appreciate good hiking trails and stunning nature views, a trip to the Cascades d’Akchour is an absolute must. You could spend an entire day there taking in the heavenly sights. However if you’re short on time there are two options.
For a less strenuous and more scenic route, hike to the lower falls. Up for a slightly more challenging trek that promises a rewarding view at the end? Take the path up to the natural arch called God’s Bridge for unbeatable panoramas of the surrounding Rif Mountains.
Arliss Veldhuizen runs the trekbible, a website full of travel tips, advice on must-see destinations and accommodation deals.