Chefchaouen, the blue city of Morocco
Chefchaouen or Chaouen, is located 600 meters above sea level in the Rif mountains, at the foot of the Kelaa and Meggou mountains. Nicknamed the blue city of Morocco, it owes its reputation to its blue buildings. Tourists from all over the world come to stroll through its pretty cobbled streets. After a 10-day road trip in Morocco from Marrakech to Fez via the Merzouga desert, Chefchaouen is the last city we visit. We had booked a day trip from Fes.
Why is the city of Chefchaouen blue?
The Jews would be at the initiative of the pale blue which covers the houses of Chefchaouen. Blue represents freedom, the sky, or even hope. 20 years ago, this village was not known, and the local women decided to paint the walls blue again in order to attract tourists to develop the economy of the region. Today, to keep the color intact, they repaint the streets 3 times a year.
According to a waiter, if the blue color was chosen, it is also because it keeps mosquitoes away!
A day in Chefchaouen
Honestly, the visit to the Moroccan blue city is done in one day. This Medina is small but on the other hand, it is a real labyrinth. We happened to go back to the same place several times, but we always knew where we were, not like in Marrakech where we were really lost.
Just a little over 3 hours drive from Fez, we arrive in Chefchaouen around noon. After only a few minutes, we are charmed by the relaxed atmosphere that reigns here.
Our driver recommended that we eat at the Bab Ssour restaurant, and we did well listening to him. The waiters are lovely and it's good value for money. It's the best couscous we've eaten since our arrival in Morocco, and we don't even count how much we've eaten for 10 days...
After taking all the necessary resources, we climb up to Plaza Uta el-Hammam. It is lined with restaurants, cafés, and terraces but for now, we are visiting the Casbah. This fortress has been renovated, and we discover a pretty garden and a tower. From up there, we see Chefchaouen at 360 degrees.
The call to prayer sounds, like it is Friday at noon and it is the most important of the week for Muslims. Many of them close their businesses while they go to the mosque. We have been living in the rhythm of prayer for ten days now, and I am still impressed by the number of people who come to the mosque every day.
We then return to the blue alleys. It's really magical and unique to be here! A song comes to mind: "This blue dream, I can't believe it, it's wonderful...". Who hasn't sung this song while visiting Chefchaouen?.
At the end of an alley, a man has turned his private courtyard into a small business. To enter and take a picture of his pretty cocoon, he claims 10 dinars or 1 euro. We give them pleasure!.
Many merchants sell handicrafts. It's a pleasure to enter these shops, the sellers let us watch without pushing us to buy. Our favorite store is La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin, not far from the main square, I'm sure the smell will attract you too.
We end our day on the roofs of the Casa d'Aladdin restaurant to drink mint tea and enjoy the view that the terrace offers on Chefchaouen, the blue city of Morocco.
If we had had more time, we would have booked a Food Tour or maybe even a Moroccan cooking class to be closer to the locals.
Namely: in this part of Morocco, one of the few ones, the plantation of cannabis is tolerated. Don't be surprised if men offer it to you. Our guide told us that the climate here was very particular and that it grows everywhere: "You grow courgettes, hop hashish grows instead! You grow tomatoes, hop hashish!". He tells us that we are in the capital of cannabis and that the quality of the hashish is exceptional.