Andalusia in Morocco on the mountains of Rif

Chefchaouen the blue city – Andalusia in Morocco on the Rif mountains

Complete guide to visit Chefchaouen (the blue city) in Morocco

The transition from large Moroccan city In small towns I experience it as a sigh of relief, although I only realize the chaos of big cities when I leave. Chefchaouen the blue city of Morocco, was the breath of fresh air I didn’t know I wanted after so many weeks of travel.

It’s not a necessity when I get lost in the streets of the Medina, there is nothing more delightful and confusing than life in the Moroccan medinas like the one in Marrakech or Fes – just to mention the most beautiful (and chaotic!) – but it always becomes a certainty as soon as I leave.

Arriving in Chefchaouen gave me just the breath of fresh air and peace I needed.

This country triggers opposite sensations in me. I’m attracted to his markets especially the souk the Face where time seems to have stopped and where it is useless to try to orient yourself because it is a labyrinth. As soon as I leave these places full of life and chaos I realize the jubilation left behind and I appreciate the peace and silence of the small towns and desert.

I’m in the mountains of northern Morocco, in the Rif, just 600 meters above sea level in a town with a funny name: Chefchaouen known as the blue city of Morocco but also the sacred city known for being in the heart of the area where the famous Moroccan hashish is produced.
Let’s find out what to see at Chefchaouen and other curiosities!

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Read also: Chefchaouen – Andalusia in Morocco on the mountains of Rif


What to see in Chefchaouen in one day

To the red of Marrakech contrasts with this blue mountain pearl, delicately nestled in a valley. A postcard, perhaps the most beautiful one could be sent from Morocco.

Small alleys and colored doors, a sense of cleanliness and tranquility, people don’t seem to be walking, they rather seem to float through the narrow streets and then suddenly disappear at the end of a flight of stairs and inside an arch that hides the doors of houses.

The cafes in the square they are all for tourists except one, the one on the corner and with the best view.
It almost seems that they have reserved the best place for them to do something in which they all seem to be champions: watching what happens in the village, and the square is a privileged place in all the villages, in a silent but still present way. The eyes feel.

In the local cafés, I remember that the bars where alcohol is served are places either for foreigners or where my friends advised me not to go, the population is only male and in the local ones it seems that, almost out of fear or a sense of not belonging, no tourist wants to sit down, as if they want to stay at a safe distance. Everyone except me who obviously gets their attention.

A series of men sitting at tables who see in me not only a foreigner but above all, easy to notice, a woman.
I’ve never really understood whether it’s intriguing or annoying, but the kind manner with which they’ve always treated me makes me believe that the first option is the valid one.

Almost everyone wears typical clothes, many with a pointed hood, so much so that they have earned the nickname of elves which actually have a fairy-tale quality here.


I feel a little out of place in my fuchsia jacket, at Gabibbo surrounded by many curious men, on the other hand I wouldn’t want to be sitting at the bar table opposite watching as an “absent” spectator a scene of common and important life, this meeting for men only to drink coffee or tea, in the North African world.

The strange sensation that accompanied me during the days of my stay in Chefchaouen was to find myself in one of the most beautiful and particular cities in Morocco, very touristy but still enchanting, decidedly less hassling than the larger centers and yet where I found it more complicated to integrate with the locals.
Or was it perhaps the automatic defense mechanism that one learns in the first few days when in danger in the gigantic and harassing souks?


What there is to do in Chefchaouen

There isn’t much to do in Chefchaouen if not walking around the medina, small and, for the first time, easy to get around (impossible to get lost), drinking tea, shopping, eating and taking photographs of these elves who appear and disappear, almost seem to escape, in religious silence.

You go up and down the stairs and as in all cities in the country the scenes that appear follow more or less the same dynamics. Strings of men sitting at the bar drinking tea or coffee. Women who always seem busy and who never stop.

Two separate worlds, male and female in a decidedly picturesque and peaceful context in which it is easy to want to extend your stay even without having anything special to do.
And it’s easy to get caught up in the Moroccan lifestyle, curious and attentive to what’s happening around without actually interfering, hashish sellers aside.

Chefchaouen the sacred city where entry to tourists has been prohibited for many years, lying on a valley with the mountain at its peak as protection behind it are the springs of Ras al-Ma, royal one small and colorful center which winds along narrow streets but without ever making you lose your orientation, scenes of life that make you a spectator in a theater where it is easy to get lost between the fictional and the real and, if you have enough time, it would be a shame to miss this small and well preserved blue pearl.
Even just one day is worth the stomach-turning bus test.

What makes Chefchaouen special

What makes this town extremely attractive is not just the color of the walls of the Medina walls but the cheerful fusion between Andalusian world evident from the shape of the city and the streets of the ancient centre, on the one hand and the Moroccan world, made up of its inhabitants and their peculiarities which I still find it difficult to summarize in a few words, on the other.
A happy compromise that offers a vision of Morocco different from that to which the great imperial cities have accustomed us. A piece that completes the country in its complex and varied offering.

Although today Chefchaouen is a tourist center of great attraction, it is also true that the myth of hashish cannot really be relegated to legend.

In fact, if you think you’ve escaped, come on souk “harassers”. here others appear, only in this context they don’t want to sell you a carpet, or a camel skin puff, or make you eat at a restaurant, or make you try all the spices in his shop or smell incense which unless if you are not a fan of church smells, you risk running away rather than staying in the now crowded little shop.

Here you are stopped because you are certainly interested in their artisanal products (this is their belief and they grab you as soon as you get off the bus) and then, as a logical consequence, a walk in the mountains where you can attend a practical explanation about the production of the “Moroccan nectar” as they themselves define it.


How to get to Chefchaouen from Fes

Get to Chefchaouen from Fes it is simple by bus (CTM is the most comfortable company for those who want to travel by bus in Morocco). The journey takes about 4 hours by road and the last stretch could impress even those with a hard stomach given the curves.

The buses leave from the CTM station, it is advisable to book in advance, going to the station, because the bus fills up quickly. Cost per route 70D per person.

Where to sleep in Chefchaouen

Followed by a personal selection for different budgets starting from €22 up to €130 per double room. Riads generally offer breakfast included in the price.
GIVE MILL – Located in the medina of Chefchaouene, just a 5-minute walk from the Kasbah and a 2-minute walk from the Ras El Ma waterfalls, Hotel Molino features a large terrace overlooking the mountains and a typically Moroccan setting.

DAR ECHOUEN – Close to the historic center of Chefchaouen. The rooms are air conditioned and decorated in traditional Moroccan style, a simple and pleasant riad with an outdoor swimming pool.
– Very nice Riad near the centre, spacious and well furnished rooms in typical Moroccan style, kind and courteous staff, there is also a small terrace. Breakfast included.

Travel to Chefchaouen – Frequently Asked Questions

Anyone who is about to organize a trip to Morocco always has many questions. Below are some frequently asked questions I receive from my readers about Chefchauen. If you have any other questions or doubts, comment on the post and I will be happy to include your questions in the list (as well as answering you obviously!).

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