Chefchaouen was by far my favorite place to visit in my 2 weeks in Morocco! This all blue town is a photographer’s dream. You can wander here for hours and just be in awe the whole time. It’s a little out-of-the-way making it less touristy than other spots in Morocco, but it’s worth a visit. Maybe you don’t know that half the worlds’ hash comes from here as well as some of the coolest rugs. You’re about to! Here are my very best Chefchaouen travel tips.
Why is Chefchaouen Blue?
This place has a really interesting back story which I go into detail on in this article I wrote for BravoTV.
It was a safe haven for Jewish people fleeing Spain in the 1400s and again in the 1940s. The Jewish people came from Spain to Morocco and set up in the Rif mountains in Chefchaouen. At first, they were hiding from the Portuguese but later as you can guess it was Hitler.
It was painted blue by the Jews. Some say it was because it was a reminder of their faith of the heavens and skies. Theories also suggest it keeps away mosquitos. I visited another all blue city here in India (Jodhpur) and it was said there the blue brings the desert temperature down a few notches.
Morocco wasn’t always “free” so to speak. The French had occupied Marrakech and other areas at times and the Spanish tried to take where North Chefchaouen is located. To this day most people here speak Spanish. As you go South though no one will know any and will speak Arabic and French. It was fun to try out my Spanish skills! Even when fighting with a taxi driver, I was like wow I know a lot of words!
Jewish people have since left to Israel. I was always interested in history and chose to take history as my electives in school. Since I was just in Israel, it’s fun to learn as you travel and see how things come together. You definitely remember things more this way.
My Best Chefchaouen Travel Tips
How Many Days in Chefchaouen?
We stayed for two nights and spent just one day inside the town.
It was enough. While the place is stunning, there isn’t much to do except take photos. We did that the first day and went for lunch. We also did some shopping (the whole point of being in a medina). The shopping wasn’t as good as other places.
How to Get to Chefchaouen
Flying to Morocco — Use Fes
Flights to and from Morocco from Europe are VERY cheap. If you’re coming from the USA I suggest flying to London, and then booking these flights separately. Use Ryanair or easyJet. To search for all of them you can use Kayak.
I don’t usually book through Kayak, but for their filters and finding deals on these carriers, they were the only one that worked. I found flights for $30 going there and $100 back. With luggage each way it was $250 all together.
Luggage is the killer! But you’re going to want to shop. Make sure to book the luggage online ahead of time to save money. You can add a second bag coming back for 15 kg or 20 kg for $50 or less.
From Fes, it’s a 4 hour taxi ride to the blue city!
You can hire a taxi just outside the airport. Don’t rent a car. You’ll get lost, scammed, and pay way more money that just hiring a taxi. While we paid 70 bucks going there and about 90 bucks going back, it ideally should be about 50 each way.
Airport prices are always higher. You can take a bus to the city center of Fes to negotiate a better deal for a taxi out-of-town, but consider if that extra 20 bucks is worth your time. It wasn’t for us.
Coming back to Fes, the price was higher (90) because less taxis are leaving there (apparently) and we just couldn’t get anyone to budge, whereas taxis at the airport negotiated as they were fighting for work.
As always make sure you tell them the hotel name and make it clear they need to take you there, not just to town. Show them on Google maps.
You can get a SIM card at the airport in a little snack shop for about 20 bucks and it will start working right away. The guy doesn’t speak English. There is also free WiFi at the airport.
What to Wear in Chefchaouen
Besides the obvious of dressing in something colorful that complements the pretty blue hues of Chefchaouen, remember that people here are Muslim for the most part. This means a few things to a tourist:
- You should dress appropriately is the first.
- Be respectful even when you don’t want to be. Don’t curse and swear at someone, especially a man. You can get arrested for this where they have strict rules. I don’t know how strict there are here, so better safe than sorry.
The clothing I have on here is from my friend Tia’s collection, who was traveling with me. I’ve mentioned her dozens of times on the blog. For advice on what to pack, you can check out my guide on how to dress in Morocco. I promise that even though it’s more conservative, it’s still stylish!
The lanes and alleys here are like a maze, as are all the medinas (markets) in Morocco. You can and most likely will get lost. Because there are many places where you’ll be alone, if you wanted to take a couple of photos in a cute dress or whatever without covering your shoulders you can snap a few.
Inside restaurants that are mostly tourists you’ll see many people take their scarves off and try to cool down. You don’t need to cover your head. I did see some tourists (Spanish I think) wearing shorts and tank tops. No one seemed bothered. As always, do what you want I’m not here to judge, just to advise.
Where to Stay in Chefchaouen
We stayed outside of town, and I am so happy that we did. Our hotel name is Auberge Dardara, which is known for having great food. So much so that people in town come outside of town via taxi just to eat here. It was only 10 minutes away. While it cost us $5 by taxi each way, we learned in Marrakech that it was too much.
The food WAS that good. Tia and I actually didn’t have many good meals in our 10 days in Morocco, and the food here was our favorite of the whole trip. They use the veggies and fruit from their garden to cook with and you smell it cooking all day long.
Try the rabbit and fig tagine.
They have a pool here which is a huge bonus!
Other Places to Stay Closer to the Medina
If you want to stay in the medina there are two highly ranked boutique hotels to consider: Casa Perleta and Lina Riad and Spa. I looked in on both, and they are amazing. You can also always check Airbnb for affordable options as well.
Personally, I just wanted to stay outside of town and somewhere quieter.
Shopping in the Chefchaouen Medina
The vibe here was much more relaxed than elsewhere and people were not aggressive at all. In Fes we encountered issues with aggression which I will share about later.
I recommend coming here first to dip your toes into the Moroccan culture.
Check this post for a complete shopping in Morocco guide
Prices & Haggling
Of the places we visited, including Fes and Marrakech, Chefchaouen was the worst place for prices.
There were very few shops compared to elsewhere. Most things are made in Fes and Marrakech, so they are delivered here making the prices higher and people are not willing to go down on price.
Rugs are meant to be made in the Rif Mountains around here and prices should be good, but we actually got our best rug deals in Fes. Baskets here were twice the price. I would hold of on shopping.
What to Do in Chefchaouen
Shop, wander, shop some more! There isn’t a lot “to do” in this town. It’s really a place to chill out and just enjoy BEING there. There is a waterfall you can visit just on the outside of the medina (easily walkable) called Ras el Maa. We didn’t venture out as we were tired from all the shopping and wandering!
You could get a hamman or go trekking. I wrote about my hamman experience in Istanbul. Very cool thing to try once, but not something I needed again.
You could take a day trip outside of town into the mountains, or to where they make hash… which is my next point.
Hash in Chefchaouen
I couldn’t give you ALL my Chefchaouen travel tips without mentioning anything about weed and hash here.
More than 800,000 people in Morocco work in the hashish and marijuana industry which isn’t legal (yet). It’s been researched that more than HALF of the world’s cannabis comes from Morocco. They also say Moroccan stuff is the best.
Well, in Morocco it’s made in the Rif Mountains, all around Chefchaouen. I guess you could say it’s the motherload of marijuana, and perhaps the best in the world. You’re going to be offered some. It’s going to be cheap and you’re going to be seeing LOTS of people smoking it.
Just FYI. As I said not here to judge, do as you please! It’s totally safe traveling here and it’s not some sketchy drug town. It is a kind of pilgrimage of stoners. While people like me are there to see the blue town, others could care less and want to go see the hash making farms.
More Photos of Chefchaouen
If you want some more photos to inspire your visit, check out my other post on Chefchaouen which is loaded up with them!
More from my Morocco Itinerary
- My Girly Guide to 5 Days in Marrakech
- Karawan Riad Review, Fes Morocco
- Get the Moroccan Desert Experience