Tucked away in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco, Chefchaouen is truly one of the world’s most picturesque cities. This fairytale land of blue has a feel unlike any other Moroccan destination.
Both inside and outside of the medina, you’ll find streets, walls, roofs–even entire buildings–painted different shades of blue, each of them gorgeous.
After a whirlwind day in Fes, we had only 36 hours to experience Chefchaouen, but we were determined to make the most of it. Follow in our footsteps, and we’ll show you 6 things to do in Morocco’s beautiful City of Blue.
By plane: the nearest international airports are Tangier (TNG; 2.5 hours by car) & Fes (FEZ; 4 hours by car). From either airport, you can continue the journey by bus, rental car or with a private driver.
Throughout Morocco, we recommend hiring a private driver for comfort & convenience.
The drive from Fes: beautiful landscape, including wheat fields, rolling hills and ultimately the lush green forests that decorate the Rif Mountains. The final leg of this journey is a slow, winding descent into the valley that’s home to The Blue Pearl of Morocco.
Where to stay
With only 8 rooms, Casa Perleta offers a warm, personal feel. It’s great for meeting fellow travelers and well-located near one of the main entrances to the medina–the Bab Souk Gate.
Many of the greatest and most beautiful things in life are blue: the North Carolina Tarheels; blueberries; manatees (OK, that’s a stretch). You can add Chefchaouen to that list!
6 things to do in Chefchaouen
1. Have breakfast with a blue sunrise
We started with an early breakfast on the rooftop of Casa Perleta, which was the PERFECT way to get our first taste of blue (not to mention, some breathtaking views).
2. Get lost in a sea of blue
Shortly after breakfast, begin to explore. The Medina of Chefchaouen is small and easy to navigate. It’s quite possible to wander the streets for only a few hours, and see pretty much everything inside the medina walls.
The beautiful blues hiding behind every turn make it very much worth the wander.
3. Have a “cooking experience” at Lala Mesouda
We’ll put it this way: our adventure at Lala Mesouda went far beyond anything that could possibly be defined as a “cooking class.” This was a cooking EXPERIENCE. Our 5-hour marathon included shopping at a local farmer’s market, learning food-prep techniques, cooking, laughing, and of course, EATING, with the owner and incredible kitchen staff.
And that was just the 10am–3pm session. We returned for dinner, spent another 3 hours at the restaurant, and closed the place down.
Read the full story here, and please, PLEASE–add this to your Chefchaouen itinerary, no matter how much time you have!
4. Hike up to the Spanish Mosque
After 5 hours in a Moroccan kitchen, we needed some exercise. Our afternoon destination: the Spanish Mosque outside of the medina, one of the city’s main tourist attractions.
The hike takes about 20 minutes, and the panoramic view from the top is spectacular. Fields of colorful flowers surround the mosque, while herds of goats freely roam the hillsides. This may be the best place in Chefchaouen for a view of the entire city and surrounding valley.
travelhelix tip: it’s not an overly-difficult hike, but walking shoes will be more comfortable than sandals!
5. Enjoy a blue sunset before dinner
Whether it’s from a hilltop or a rooftop, find a great place to watch the sunset, and try to beat the crowd.
travelhelix tip: the Spanish Mosque also becomes a hotspot for sunset viewers, so if your goal is to capture some shots of the sun setting over The Blue City, get there at least an hour before sunset.
We chose to avoid the crowds and enjoy the sunset from the rooftop of Casa Perleta.
After that, it’s time to treat yourself to a delicious meal. We can’t say it enough: do yourself a flavor favor and head to Lala Mesouda, or her sister restaurant, Beldi Bab Ssour.
6. Try the local goat cheese
Last but not least, try some local goat cheese (known locally as chèvre). Chefchaouen is famous for it!
Chefchaouen is a small city that promises to make a big impact on those who visit. We look forward to returning to the incredible Blue Pearl of Morocco, and we hope you’re inspired to check it out for yourself!