It’s been almost a year since my travels to Morocco so it feels fitting to finally get around to writing about one of my favorite stops, Chefchaouen.
The blue city. One of the most amazing places to wander around and get lost. The million of instagram photos and influencer stories did not lie. Postcard perfect, nooks and crannies practically begging passers by to pause for a photo, I fell in love with this little city one winding alley way to the next. Our short stay in Chefchaouen felt magical. While much of the small city is painted in a traditional white wash, it is the cerulean painted streets that give this city its reputation as a place you can’t miss.
My friend and I only spent one night in this small city and honestly I think it was enough time to do everything we wanted to do. We were able to do some exploring, took endless photos as we walked the labyrinth streets, and squeezed in a short climb to the mosque that overlooked the entire city. It was the perfect stopover to break up the trip from Fes to Tangier.
Our AirBnB was nestled not far from the entrance gate to the old part of the city. The views from our shared rooftop terrace were just what we needed after the long drive from Fes. Off in the distance we could make out the Bouzaafer Mosque, while below us the winding streets meandered off to unknown treasures. We snacked on little goodies and mint tea before setting off on a wander through the city. The mission being to find the famous blue colored streets to capture some photos.
What really struck me as we wandered around was the clear sign that the city is heavily reliant on tourism. There were nick nack shops galore, especially near the city center. What was probably at one time a small quaint city has begun to morph into an Instagramers paradise. Picturesque and exotic I could understand why there were busloads of day trippers from Tangier. People come and flood the city each morning retreating back to their group trip buses in the late afternoon. It was interesting to see the city full of people milling around during the day and then empty out at night leaving behind locals and few tourists. Chefchaouen seems to be more of a day trip than a final destination spot.
My friend and I started our afternoon exploration with some lunch. I was more than happy to sit and enjoy a meal at a local feeling place our AirBnB host recommended called, La Alhambra Kitchen, away from the tourists. This fueled us to join the herds of people all on the hunt to find the famed blue streets for some unforgettable pictures.
It didn’t take long before we stumbled upon some of the famous blue streets. The map we were using indicated that there was one particular street we should be on the lookout for, but street after street we were greeted with that calming, mesmerizing deep blue I had stalked for months online. There wasn’t a corner, street or front steps that escaped my lens as we made our way through the city.
After taking photos, haggling for (another) must have rug, and exploring we decided to make the trek up the hill to the Bouzaafer Mosque. Despite the huffing and puffing that escaped my lips as we slowly climbed the hill on a warmer than expected day, the views at the top were worth it. From afar, the streets that had felt like an impossible maze we continuously got lost in a mere thirty minutes ago look like a well mapped out city. We enjoyed the warm breeze as we enjoyed the view and plotted our next moves. First up, a nap!
Rested and refreshed, we tried out another local recommendation for dinner, Restaurante El Jaleo, that didn’t disappoint. It was a little touch and go getting there as GoogleMaps was not as helpful as we hoped but we managed to find it. We were rewarded for our persistence with delicious local Moroccan food and a cozy friendly atmosphere.
The next morning we were greeted, as was now common on this trip, to the sound of the call to prayer. Bright and early, it signaled our time in the blue city was almost up. We smartly made the decision to hire another car to drive us to our final stop in Tangier. I couldn’t quite get behind the idea of the local bus, which would take much longer and drop us off somewhere not close to our next hotel. This proved to be a great decision allowing us to stop along the way, get out and snap a few pictures, and best of all, door to door service. Nearing the end of our trip it was one less hassle to deal with.
I look forward to the day when trips like this are commonplace again in my life. For now I will have to settle with exploring my adopted city of Barcelona like a tourist. As best as one can in the time of COVID.