“OH MY GOD, I CAN’T GET OUT OF CHEFCHAOUEN!”
…is what I yelled as I sprang out of bed on my 4th morning in Morocco’s prettiest city. Chefchaouen is like that you see, it sucks you in. With it’s gorgeous colors, sunny roof tops and laid back mountain vibe, it’s a feast for the eyes and soul.
A week or so previously, I had set out on a 10 day tour of northern Morocco that looked like this:
Marrakech > Rabat (2 days) > Meknes (1 day) > Fes (2 days) > Chefchaouen (2 days) > Tangier (2 days) > Marrakech
I had planned on staying in Chefchaouen for 2 days but I ran into a really great group of travelers, the hostel I was staying at was chill AF and the town was brimming with color and warmth. Swoon.
Chefchaouen has a different vibe than other parts of Morocco because it’s so north, so it has a lot of Spanish influence. Everyone speaks Spanish, there are a lot of tourists from Spain and you can get tasty tapas in the medina.
It’s also set into the side of a mountain, oh and did I mention everything is blue?! Yep, the walls, inside and out are all varying shades of a beautiful sky blue. I asked a few shop keepers around town why that was and nobody seemed to know.
“It just is.”
Oookay. For someone like me who identifies as an “artist” and whose favorite color is blue, the town is an absolute treat to walk through. You can get lost wandering up and down the alleys that wind around the medina, finding unique handicrafts, ambient hole in the wall cafes and cats lazing about.
At dusk, climb up to the Spanish mosque (a quick and easy 20 minute hike) and watch the sun set behind the mountains. After, you can grab dinner by the river or in one of the many cafes in the medina.
Like I mentioned, Chefchaouen is pretty laid back and wakes up and goes to sleep around 10. There are no clubs and if you’re staying at a hostel or hotel, they likely have a curfew. My hostel was super chill and didn’t really enforce theirs but we went to sleep early anyway, as walking around in the hot Moroccan sun (or hiking) all day will make you pretty tired.
Speaking of hiking, there is a GREAT trail outside town that leads to a beautiful waterfall. It’s about a 2 hour hike both ways and at a steady incline, with some flat spots and some steep. It’s not too tricky and is probably fine for kids and grandparents depending on the time of year and how hot it is.
You can take a grand taxi from Chefchaouen (get it near the Police station) right to the base of the trail. It’s about a 30 minute ride and shouldn’t cost you more than 150MAD for the whole car. Tell the driver what time you think you’ll be done and he’ll come back and pick you up.
Just follow the river and you’ll find it.
There are little makeshift cafes along the way where you can buy water or sit and have lunch. There’s also one at the top, so if you don’t want to carry a picnic with you and have a hot lunch instead, it’s a good (and authentic!) option.
You can swim in the plunge pool, which is nice and refreshing after a long sweaty hike. We didn’t because it was FREEZING (like “omg I think just touched liquid nitrogen” freezing) when we went, but I wish we could have. There are good spots on the rocks to sunbathe as well.
There is also another hike from the same trail base to “God’s Bridge,” which is only about an hour in and supposed to be beautiful.
I didn’t go because I thought it was a good idea to go hiking with 4 girls from my hostel who were toned from tip to toe, all decked out in expensive gear and were doing both hikes in one day and my fat ass simply could not.
They’re hopping across the river in their shiny spandex while I’m schlepping about in my old Nikes and a tee shirt, falling disastrously out of their line of sight so I don’t have to buy everyone coffee.
“First to fall to their knees buys cafe!” As she cheerily scaled a steep rocky incline seemily as high as Everest without breaking a sweat. Derrrrp.
Back at the hostel, later:
“How was God’s bridge?”
In their annoyingly adorable french accents:
“Oh it was gorgeous to see sunset!”
Of course it was.
“We took a cat nap at the top!”
Of course you did.
But… I love sunsets. And cat naps.
Anyway, I wish I went but you and your ambitious self should go and tell me how it is.
Chefchaouen might be my favorite place in Morocco. It’s hard to say because they’re all so different but this one climbs the list for sure. It’s peaceful, beautiful and friendly. Definitely check out a hike or two if you’re up for it, talk to some shop keepers, have some tea and woo your way up to their roof top for a beautiful view of the city. And see if you can find out why it’s blue! The mystery continues…