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Destinations Guide

Chefchaouen, The Blue Pearl of Morocco

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Chefchaouen, nicknamed “Chaouen” by Moroccans, is located in North Morocco in the Rif Mountains, unlike Casablanca and Marrakech, Chefchaouen is a laid-back quite town famous of its natural scenery and the blue paint which covers everything in the town, making it look like a village out of fairy tales, a dreamy atmosphere with a chill feeling. Chefchaouen is popular among backpackers, hikers and Nature lovers chasing hidden gems, however, the town is a bit hard to get to, and careful road planning is required so that travellers won’t go off the road.

Photo by Robert Brands on Unsplash

History

Chefchaouen isn’t just known for beauty, the town has a rich history that goes back to 1471 when Moorish and Jewish people fled to escape the Reconquista of Spain.
Jewish people believed that the blue color represents the sky, and is therefore and reminder of heaven and God, which is why Jewish communities painted walls and floors in blue. Because of that, people believe that the Jews were the ones who introduced Chefchaouen to the blue color and made it that way, however, locals claim that only old parts on the town, called Medina, were covered in blue, older generations even claim that the town was white in their younger years.

Photo by Robert Brands on Unsplash

Tourism

It’s only recently that Chefchaouen gained international attention as a travel destination due to the wide coverage by visually-based social media applications such as Instagram and Pinterest. Nonetheless, there is no reason why it shouldn’t be on your 10 day Morocco itinerary. Before, the town was just what it is, a hidden gem known mostly by Northern Moroccans; currently, the small town is welcoming tourists, some even believe that Chefchaouen keeps its blue color and cherishes it for the tourists who come specifically to see it. The locals are very hospitable, as is most of Morocco’s population.

Natural Attractions

The waterfall of Ras El Ma is the most popular natural landscape in Chefchaouen, it’s where the water comes gushing out of the mountain, and it is just beyond the gate of the town. There is also Bridge of God, a rock arch spanning the river with an inspiring view.

What To Do

The most popular activity among tourists is shopping, and it’s no surprise. Chefchaouen is home to spectacular souks. Unlike major cities like Casablanca, Fes, and Marrakech, where shopping can be a tiring experience and the merchants are trying to convince you to purchase something, Chefchaouen is peaceful and trouble with shopping is very rare.

The town will seem more heavenly to you if you’re a fan of cats. Cats and kittens wander the land freely and calmly, and they’re often seen around walking or relaxing, so make sure to give it a try and pet them!
If you’re planning on buying souvenirs then make sure to go to the old town or Medina and take a look at the mesmerising traditional souks, that’s where you should do your shopping experience by purchasing leather products made by locals.

Hotels and Restaurants

Dar Echchaouen is one of the town’s highest rated hotels, it’s close to Ras El Ma and has excellent accommodation, the architecture is traditional and spectacular, the hotel also has a pool and a nice restaurant. Another great hotel with positive reviews is Casa Hassan, it’s at the centre of old Medina with a unique architecture. It offers rooftops terraces and rooms with a fireplace.

As for restaurants, Restaurant Aladdin is a must-see, the menu offers an international selection of dishes, including Moroccan food of course. It has a romantic feel and gorgeous terraces which can be admired.
Restaurant Marisco is also worth seeing, located in the square of the city, one can enjoy the excellent regional food while watching the bustle of the city.

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