Chefchaouen, Chaouen for short, is a gorgeous mountain city in northern Morocco. Due to its location, many don’t make it there when visiting this country but I assure you it cannot be missed. The city is famous for its blue-washed buildings located in its old town. The blues vary from nook to nook, and I was drawn to them from the very first photo I ever saw of Chefchaouen.
Chefchaouen- The Blue City
It’s one of those dream destinations that I didn’t think I’d ever get to. Morocco is not easy to travel in considering that it’s not as well connected (in transportation) as Europe. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, the country is huge and the cities are far apart. However, when we decided to add Morocco to our “this is happening now” trip list, I knew that Chefchaouen had to be number 1.
So, I planned my trip around this blue city, and I’m so grateful I was able to explore it with my own two feet. I just wish I had more than one night to take it all in.
How to Get to Chefchaouen
Several companies offer day trips to Chefchaouen from big cities like Fes, but a few hours is simply not enough time. I recommend a minimum of one night but aim for two nights if you have the flexibility. I wish I could’ve cut out Fes and stayed an extra night in Chefchaouen.
The best route to ensure that you can easily visit Chefchaouen is to fly into Tangier instead of Marrakech. Marrakech seems to be the most common airport to fly into, but it’s on the opposite end of Chefchaouen. My route went like this:
Fly into Tangier – Private Taxi to Chefchaouen – Miserable bus to Fes – Private driver to the Sahara Desert – Private driver to Marrakech – Fly out of Marrakech
After a lot of research, I booked Tangier Taxi to pick us up from the airport in Tangier and drive the 2.5 hours into the city of Chefchaouen. They had good reviews and I was able to easily book everything online.
They have air-conditioned cars, offer wifi, and are very responsive. You give a deposit before the trip then pay the driver in cash the day of arrival. You can pay them in euros or dirhams. It’s the pricier way to go, but I can assure you that the extra splurge is worth it in Morocco.
The other option to get to Chefchaouen from Tangier is to take a local “petit” taxi. With petits, you’ll need to negotiate a price and the cars are not well maintained. You’ll then get dropped off at a halfway point because petit taxis cannot leave the city limits. In this new city, you’ll need to get a different taxi (negotiate again) and take that to Chefchaouen. No thanks, right?
Since there are no cars allowed inside the old town, our riad host came to pick us up from our taxi drop off. I couldn’t wait to explore. I was so excited to finally be in this beautiful blue city.
If you’re looking for where to stay in Chefchaouen, look no further than Casa Sabila. This riad is right in the middle of everything we wanted to see and only costs $62/night! At Casa Sabila, you’ll have your own room, bathroom, and tea when desired. Breakfast is included and served on the terrace. The hosts were respectful and courteous as well so we do recommend it. The photo below was the entrance to our room.
Just know that they do prayers over the speaker at certain times of the day. It’s quite loud and can be startling when you first hear it. The first time we heard a prayer, Jorge was on the terrace doing a phone interview with a company back in the states. He started panicking and didn’t know where to run to keep the interview going. LOL. The interviewer was so confused and Jorge had to explain that he was in Morocco and it was prayer time.
The second time we heard a prayer, it was 5 am and it came ringing through our riad window. I woke up so fast and so scared because I had forgotten where I was. I remember thinking “who is that man?! how did he get in my room?!” before I realized what was happening. I love that we got to experience the prayer times, but they can totally catch you off guard when you’re not used to them.
Our riad host also gave us several restaurant recommendations, and we ended up going with Beldi Bab Ssour (pictured above). We enjoyed every dish we ordered!
We spent the rest of our time walking around the town, taking tons of photos, and loving every minute of it.
Compared to big cities like Fes and Marrakech, Chefchaouen is much more laid back. There are no pushy sellers, no annoying guys trying to scam you, it’s not very crowded, and it’s a lot prettier. Chefchaeoun is a breath of fresh air. I think it’s the perfect place to start your Moroccan trip off!