The beautiful “blue city, the “blue pearl”. I could spend hours attempting to describe what it’s like to walk amongst the blue walls of Chefchaouen; attempting to detail the exact shades of blue, from rich royal blues to light painted sky, but I think I would fail in every attempt. Here, pictures are worth more than a thousand words. So, with that, I’ll try to be brief & get right to the pictures.
Apparently, there are a few theories behind where Chefchaouen’s unique hued buildings come from. Mostly, we’ve heard it comes from the Jewish tradition of using blue dye on threads to weave into prayer shawls. This was to remind people of God’s power; therefore, blue buildings would do the same. It’s also said its been done to mimic the blue sky or just to simply keep mosquitos away. I’m not sure which may be true, but it's gorgeous whatever the reason.
Today, the village sees thousands of visitors flocking to its streets. Still clinging to its old traditions, the old town carefully maintains its gorgeous colors. We spent the afternoon wandering about the blue alleyways of the old medina, weaving our way past the traditional pastel woven blankets, & embroidered goods of baskets, purses & shoes.
It was easy to get lost, turned around from one street to the next, never quite remembering which staircase or particular shade of blue corner you turned at last.
We stayed higher up in the medina, the Dar Yakout, a gorgeous riad with rooftop terrace for the breakfast service. From here, we were a quick 15- 20-minute walk up the path from Bab al Ansar, to the hill top Spanish Mosque; looking back towards the mountains surrounding the upper old town of Chefchaouen.
Upon our descent, we passed a few of the, er, not-so-local locals? Suddenly along our path were an ostrich & a peacock. Unclear what new “wild zoo” the village is offering, but for the steal of a price of 5 dirhams we could get a photo with them. We declined. Though it may sound odd, I was obsessed with watching all the kitten cats & kittens lounge around. I guess I'm having pet withdrawals, but the little ones were everywhere, often brightly contrasting with the blue walls.
One-minute Ben is trying to barter for a new blanket, & I’ve disappeared around the corner playing with the kittens in an alleyway. Our dog, Maverick, almost got a new feline sibling whether he wants one or not.
We spent only a night in the gorgeous town, outside of shopping & gazing I wouldn't know what else to really recommend. If you are into trekking/hiking & prepared for it then we’d say you could easily spend 2 - 4 nights to take advantage of the area’s trails. Many people day-trip from the city of Tangier; it's fairly easy to do with both bus & taxi options available to make the 2+ hour drive. We highly recommend the taxi route (you can split a larger transport one with 4 or 6 people easy), we made it in 2 hours flat & the buses can sometimes take up to 4+ hours. But at the very least, spend a quiet night inside the village & we can certainly recommend Lala Mesouda for a great dinner.
As mentioned, we grabbed a taxi at the local bus station in Tangier to make our trip over & back to Chefchaouen. Tangier itself was an interesting place, but not one of our particular favorites.
Parts of the downtown resemble any other large beach or port city. A few spots don’t look that much different than South Beach, but we found a weird vibe in the air. Bad “juju” if you ask me, so we didn't venture down there often.
If you’re looking for a fancy night out, the El Morocco Club is a dressier, piano bar spot trendy with local expats & one of the few places in the old medina where you can order your favorite cocktail. La Terrasse de Dar el Kasbah has a great outdoor patio/cafe & if you're lucky you can enjoy great live music.
Our time in Morocco was ending. The country turned out to be very different than we expected; “wild & chaotic” Marrakech was (to us) peaceful & fun while the “more European” Tangier was not as much. I certainly can’t pick a favorite between the tranquility of the Atlas Mountains or the beauty of Chefchaouen. Not having near enough time to explore as much as we would have liked, I think for sure we will be back to Morocco & obviously there are so many more places to explore on the beautiful African continent!