the ultimate chefchaouen travel guide

Beyond the travel meccas of Marrakech and Fez, there are so many beautiful places in Morocco that you’ve got to explore. One of my faves is Chefchaouen or, Chaouen as it’s often called by the locals.

Also known as Morocco’s “Blue City,” Chefchaouen is located in the Rif Mountains of northwest Morocco. It is a small, conservative city that is a bit out of the way, but it’s well worth the visit– washed in vibrant shades of blue, this place is a one of a kind.

I learned that the city’s buildings were originally painted in shades of coral, and how the transition to blue is still a bit mystery. But I think one of the reasons I fell in love with this place was its mystique.

Here’s my ultimate Chefchaouen travel guide!

Chefchaouen morocco

alley in chefchaouen

How to Get to Chefchaouen

I took the night train from Marrakech to Tangier and then a taxi from Tangier to Chefchaouen. We spent two nights in Chefchaouen. I’d recommend spending at least a day here so that you can scratch the surface or, if you stick around for two days, you’ll get to hit more of the main spots.

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling by Train in Morocco

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blue house in chefchaouen

Where to Stay in Chefchaouen

Like all of Morocco, the best places to stay in Chefchaouen are riads. The city is filled with gorgeous little guesthouses that offer up an authentic experience. The riads have often converted from homes that are hundreds of years old so they have a totally unique look and interesting history.

Dar Baibou: In the heart of the medina, Dar Baibou has traditional Moroccan style and impressive tile work. It’s a quaint little place like most riads, but has great amenities like a rooftop sun terrace and hammam.

Casa Perleta: The top rated riad in Chefchaouen, Casa Perleta, is stunning. This blue Andalusian style home has been a refugee from the sun for the better part of 550 years. Just book early because this popular spot doesn’t have many rooms! It was full when we tried to book so we missed out.

popsicles in chefchaouen

Where to Eat in Chefchaouen

You will never go hungry in Chefchaouen. Moroccan food is some of the tastiest on the planet and there is no better way to try it than in traditional restaurants outside of the city.

Dar Baibou Restaurant: Whether or not you stay at Dar Baibou, you’ll definitely want to check out their restaurant. Try their traditional tagine then linger on the rooftop and sip some tea.

Le Lamp Magique at Aladins: This spot is popular for its classic lunch dishes and it’s also one of the prime places in Chefchaouen to watch the sunset.

Beignets at the stand next to Casa Perleta: I’m officially obsessed with beignets. Similar to fritters, these bits of deep fried goodness are a must-eat here.

READ MORE: Traditional Foods to Try in Morocco

blue streets in chefchaouen

dog in chefchaouen

street corner chefchaouen

sacks of colorful dyes in chefchaouen

What to Do

Chefchaouen is a small city so two days is enough to leisurely explore all of the attractions. Here’s what we loved doing.

Explore the medina: Step one on any trip to any Moroccan city is to travel to the medina. It’s the heart of the community and the center of life. Bring your camera and come hungry!

Shop the souks: You’ll usually find a souk (the Arabic word for market) in the medina of any city. Be ready to haggle for amazing handicrafts and you’ll find everything from leather bags to rugs to spices. One of my top picks was La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin for homemade soaps.

Hike to Spanish Mosque: A great place to get a view of the city is from the Spanish Mosque. Overlooking Chefchaouen, you’ll want to plan a couple hours to hike up and explore this abandoned mosque.

Explore Rif Mountain: Chefchaouen is the perfect place for a hike. There are guided excursions that will take you up into the mountains or it’s easy to plan a solo trip. If you are traveling in the summer, just be sure to plan for the heat. The sun can get intense up there, especially during the afternoon.

blonde in chefchaouen

sandals in chefchaouen

girlfriends in chefchaouen

What to Wear in Chefchaouen

Like most of the cities in Morocco, it’s important to be respectful of their culture and dress appropriately. This means wearing clothes that are a little more on the conservative side. Make sure to bring lots of light, long and loose layers for walking around in the heat.

This is a smaller, conservative city, meaning that dress is definitely not as contemporary as say Marrakech.

Read More: What to Wear in Morocco as a Female Traveler

goat in chefchaouen

Other Helpful Tips for Visiting Chefchaouen

  • Languages: English, Spanish, Arabic, and French
  • Cash: Almost everywhere takes only cash, with an ATM machine in the square.
  • Hygiene: The left hand is considered unclean, be sure to eat and direct with your right hand. Also, always carry toilet paper or wipes, as public restrooms often will not have them.
  • WiFi/Data: A local SIM can be purchased at tobacco shops (noted with three white circles on a blue sign). Pick Maroc Telecom (orange packaging) and have the shop owner help you top up. It’s incredibly cheap (around $30 USD) and best way to have access to data.
  • Holidays: Friday is considered a Holy day, where most shops will not be open during the day, so plan accordingly.
  • Shopping: Haggling (negotiating a price) is acceptable and never pay the first asking price.
  • Beware: If someone comes up to you and offers “help” you will need to give a few dirham if you accept. Be mindful of “guides” who will offer a tour and then ask to be paid.

Shop my Morocco style essentials!

READ NEXT: 20 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Morocco

 

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Kiersten Rich
Kiersten Rich is the bikini-obsessed author of award-winning solo female travel and lifestyle blog, The Blonde Abroad, featuring travel tips, fashion, food, festivals and photography from around the world.