Chefchaouen is a beautiful and dreamy town in the North of Morocco. The city is also known as the Blue Pearl Africa’s because of its many blue little alleys and houses. Some suspect that the city was painted blue by the Jewish immigrants, others say it was just the resident’s activity and that it represents the sky and heaven. Until nowadays residents keep painting their houses blue to keep in line with traditions or to attract tourists.
With about 8 hour drive from Marrakesh, Chefchaouen is not one of Morocco’s most visited places but quickly turns into a favorite for the few that have visited including me. In this post, I’m showing you the 7 best things to do in Chefchaouen, Morocco that hopefully inspire you to visit this amazing spot!
Best Things to Do in Chefchaouen, Morocco
We visited Morocco in May & June so the weather was hot but still cooler than in the hottest months July & August. An interesting fact about Chefchaouen is that there is actually snow in the mountain areas in winter! So there are winter sports and other fun things to do in the winter season from December to February.
You should plan to stay at least 3-4 days in this part of Morocco (if you’re a digital nomad plan a week to allow a good balance of working & exploring).
Below are the top 7 things you shouldn’t miss!
Spanish Mosque for Sunset
One of the main things to do is watch the sunset from the Spanish Mosque. It takes about 30 minutes to walk up the hill to get the best view. On the way you will pass many beautiful outlooks and the sunset view is well worth it!
➳ Tip: You can hear the call for prayer 5 times a day. During sunset here you will be able to hear the prayer right from the Mosque which lets you dive into a truly magical moroccan moment!
Wander the Blue Streets
It’s time to get lost in the many streets of Chefchaouen! One if the best things you can do here is to just roam around and explore hidden corners. You will be surprised by what you can find! From carpet shops to local handmade souvenirs, plenty of cute kittens, and picturesque door frames. It surely doesn’t get boring in Chefchaouen!
Shopping in the Medina
Chefchaouen’s Medina is not as big as in other major cities such as Fés or Marrakech but its narrow blue streets and small shops make it a great place to find souvenirs. There are native handicrafts that are not available anywhere else in Morocco, such as wool garments, woven blankets, and woven baskets.
The entrance to Chefchaouen’s Medina
Chefchaouen’s small souks & shops
➳ Tip: In Morocco, bargaining is common practice. Always haggle for a price – don’t accept the first offer!
Plaza Uta El Hammam
Playa Uta El Hammam is Chefchaouen’s main square and is located in the Medina making it a busy place thorughout the day! The Plaza is surrounded by many restaurants, the Kasbah and the Grand Mosque that can be viewed from here so it’s the perfect spot to take a break from all the sightseeing or to grab some lunch!
Day Trips in Nature
Don’t forget that you can find one of Morocco’s most beautiful mountain landscapes in the north called the Rif Mountains so there’s plenty of options to explore nature! Here are some spots you can easily plan for a day trip – a great getaway from the city.
One of the best places to visit is Akchour Waterfall. It’s a good but not too challenging 2.5 hrs hike to get to the waterfall. There are plenty of nice restaurants along the way and many options to take a break which is why I recommend planning the whole day for this trip so you can enjoy and relax.
The start of the trail…
There is many cafes and restaurants along the way to make a resting stop
Right in front of Akchour Waterfalls, you can find two small restaurants with small chairs and tables – perfect for a traditional ‘Tagine’ for lunch or a refreshing juice!
Arrived at Akchour Waterfalls! The waterfall was almost completely dry when we arrived due to few rainfall but the place was still very impressive.
➳ Tip: Bring sneakers, don’t walk in flipflops! There are some steep parts and strenuous uphills on this hike and wouldn’t be doable in flipflops. Also note that the restaurants accept only cash!
If you feel comfortable enough for a dip into the ice-freezing water you can hop into the small pool below the waterfall. For the girls: it won’t be an issue here to bring a bikini/swimsuit. I saw a couple of ladies in the water as well (I couldn’t handle the cold so I didn’t even go in). 🙂
➳ Don’t miss: The ‘Bridge of God‘ is another popular and beautiful hike that is recommended. If you have more time it will be worth it to check this one out as well.
How to get there
Go to the roundabout nearby the police department in Chefchaouen & take a shared taxi for up to 6 people. They fill up pretty fast (we had to wait about 15 minutes for the taxi to be full) and are the cheapest way with 25 MAD per person (2,5 USD). The drive takes about 45 minutes.
Grab your camera and get those picturesque shots! Chefchaouen has so many beautiful spots worth catching on camera. 🙂
➳ Good to know: Some places take a small fee for taking a picture.
The most famous instgrammable stairs are located in another alley called ‘Callejon El Asri ‘ that ends on the main street a little further from Calle Sidi Buchuka. Best is to arrive early otherwise there will be a line of people waiting to get their own picture.
The famous Instagram Stairs in Chefchaouen
Take a bus to Fés
If you want to combine Chefchaouen with another city, it is a great idea to wake up early and take a direct bus to Fés. The drive takes about 4 hours one way giving you enough time to spend the day in the world’s biggest Medina and oldest city in Morocco! Fés is very different from Chefchaouen and has a lot of history – a free walking tour here is the best way to get to know the city! Then, in the evening you can take a bus back to Chefchaouen.
Places to Eat
Here are some of my favorite places to eat in Chefchaouen.
Let’s start with the best of the best! You need to come to Bab Ssour for lunch or dinner – it’s a family-owned restaurant with very local food. Hospitality and food are amazing and there’s a cozy indoor area with Moroccan-style sofas. Alternatively, you can choose to eat on the rooftop with a view over the city. A meal here costs between 45-60 MAD.
Traditional Shrimp & Vegetable Tagine at Bab Ssour
Café Clock is a cafe chain in Morocco that you can find in Chefchaouen, Fés and Marrakech. They have delicious food & drinks but are more pricey than other typical local places. On some days they are playing traditional live Oud Music making your dining experience very moroccan and unique!
➳ Tip: They provide a very good wifi connection and many digital nomads can be found here with their notebooks getting some work done!
Falafale Bowl for dinner at Café Clock
Triana is a beautiful restaurant with amazing food, a cozy atmosphere and stunning views during the day! It’s more expensive than other places around focusing on international cuisine rather than local meals. They have a variety of Spanish, Mediterranean and Italian food.
We all crave some fast food some days – let it be fries, burgers or sweet milkshakes, also when traveling the world! Chez Aziz is the place to be in case you should suffer from such cravings during your time in Chefchaouen. You can find quick and cheap foods such as pizza, sandwiches, fries and creamy shakes.
➳ Tip: All locals seem to love the Avocado Shake! I haven’t tried it myself but go for it if you feel like it!
Rahmouni Café is the perfect breakfast place in Chefchaouen! They serve fresh orange juice, moroccan mint tea, pancakes and many more delicious local treats – all with an incredible view over the mountains.
Moroccan breakfast at Rahmouni Café
Msemen – local pancakes
The easiest and cheapest, yet one of the best – local street food! Msemen are Moroccan pancakes and sooo delicious! You can get fresh ones for 10 MAD ($1) and choose some toppings in case you want such as cream cheese, honey or chocolate. A must-try!
➳ Don’t miss: Chefchaouen has the best orange juices! The oranges here are so juicy and fresh. Don’t hesitate to stop at one of the small wagons on the street to grab a cup of resfreshing Vitamin C!
Where to Stay
You can find many beautiful guesthouses in Chefchaouen. I found the locals very welcoming in Morocco in general and they really do everything to make their guests happy!
Maison D’hôte Bousaid
I can really recommend Maison D’hôte Bousaid which is the place we stayed at because the hosts Mustafa & Mohammed were beyond with their hospitality. It’s a simple but beautiful hotel with the best breakfast! Every day we got a full breakfast for only 35 MAD ($3) on the terrace which included bread, pancakes, jam, honey, cheese, olives and of course moroccon mint tea – all while overlooking the beautiful mountains!
Rooftop Views at Maison D’hôte Bousaid
Getting to Chefchaouen & getting around
Due to it’s remote location, Chefchaouen is not the easiest place to get to in Morocco but it’s certainly worth it!
There is no airport in Chefchaouen so you cannot fly there directly but the closest city Tangier has an international airport. From there you can easily take a bus to Chefchaouen (2,5 hrs).
If you are already in Morocco you can take a bus to Chefchaouen. There are many places you can travel from such as Marrakesh (7.5 hrs), Casablanca (5 hrs), Fés (4hrs) or Tangier as mentioned above. We found it very easy to fly to Casablanca and take a bus from there.
Price: from 210 MAD ($20)
➳ Tip: The best bus companies to use are CTM and Supratours.
➳ Good to know: A lot of locals speak English surprisingly well! We didn’t have any communication problems during our whole journey in Morocco.
➳ Read next: Ever wondered how to travel the world for free by volunteering abroad? Get to know more here!
I hope you enjoyed reading more about things to do in the Blue Pearl Africa’s! Have you been yet? Share your favourite places below! And don’t forget to share this post with someone who might love this place. 🙂