The Rif mountains hold a precious jewel, we are talking about Chefchaouen. A holy city that was founded in 1471 from a Berber settlement. Until 1920 it was a forbidden place for Muslims. Luckily, now people of all beliefs can enjoy its wonderful blue medina surrounded by nature. He is one of the most magical places to see in Morocco! Today about 40,000 people live in Chefchaouen, most of them in the most modern area of ​​the city. We propose 12 things to do in Chefchaouen, the blue pearl from Morocco.

Contents of this article


1. Walk through its blue streets

Chefchaouen is so beautiful that you can enjoy it just by walking through the medina. get lost among its streets dyed blue. They make this city a very special place! It’s a oasis of tranquility compared to other Moroccan cities. Don’t be afraid of getting lost, go through all the streets, whether big or small. There are true hidden wonders if you deviate a little. As a curiosity, with so many blue streets, when we looked at the sky it seemed gray to us, although there was not a single cloud!

Do you know why everything is blue? There are two theories, some say it was idea of ​​the Jews who lived there in the 1930s. They painted the facades and doors blue as a sign of freedom and to remove the color green that represents the islam. Other people say it’s for drive away flies. A simpler reason than aesthetic! Be that as it may, they were left with one storybook city, full of arches, porches and blue stairs.

Chefchaouen has such romantic alleys

2. Discover the reason why the street names are in Spanish, something curious to do in Chefchaouen

Did you know that Chefchaouen has a very close relationship with Spain? To understand this we must go back to medieval times. When Moulay Ali Ben Rachid, the founder of the city, fell in love with a Spanish noblewoman who converted to Islam. After getting married they settled in the new town and Ali Ben Rachid promised her that she would look like Vejer de la Frontera, the young woman’s place of origin..

In 1920, Spanish troops took the city and all of northern Morocco as part of the Treaty of Algeciras. Chefchaouen was a Spanish territory until 1956when it was again managed by Africa. Today you can still hear a lot of Spanish in its streets. Most of its inhabitants speak perfect Spanish. Is awesome!

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3. Wanting to take a few cats home

While strolling through the medina of Chefchaouen you will come across many stray cats. This is super common in most cities of Morocco. Small animals walk the streets in search of leftover food from the markets. Chefchaouen was one of the places where we saw the most cats and they are so adorable that we wanted to hide one in the suitcase.

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Two cats resting in front of the typical blue doors

4. Rest in Uta-el-Hammam Square

Something essential what to do in Chefchaouen is to visit its main square. Are here most restaurants and there are also street vendors who will try to sell you their products. It is the most lively area of ​​the city and is full of both tourists and locals. In Uta-el-Hammam Square there are several benches around the square where you can take a break and observe how the daily lives of its inhabitants go by. It is very curious!

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Watching life go by in the main square is something very interesting to do in Chefchaouen

5. Admire the Great Mosque, the most important building to see in Chefchaouen

During your visit to Chefchaouen you should visit one of the most important buildings, its great mosque, in the main square. It is a 15th century construction designed by the son of Ali Ben Rachid, the founder of the city. In addition to having many centuries of history, It attracts everyone’s attention thanks to its curious octagonal minaret.

Although it is not the largest or most impressive mosque in Morocco, it is worth seeing from the outside. If you want to see a truly impressive mosque, you have to visit Casablanca. As in all mosques, access to non-Muslims is prohibited. So all you have to do is contemplate it from the outside.

Another fun thing thatwhat to do in Chefchaouen is to dedicate yourself to find more mosques within the medina. We really liked one near Outa el Hammam Square, with its pristine white minaret decorated with geometric shapes. They are all impressive!

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The mosque that we fell in love with in the streets of Chefchaouen

6. Visit the Kasbah

When you are in Outa el Hammam square you will see the walls of the Kasbah or Alcazaba. For only 10 dirhams (€1) You can go in and explore it. Inside is the Kasbah Museum, where musical instruments, traditional costumes, weapons and ceramic objects are displayed. There is also a collection of old photos for you to see what Chefchaouen was like a few decades ago. It’s super interesting!

Don’t forget to climb its towers to have a panoramic view and enter a pair of old cells, since the space functioned as a prison. You’ll get goosebumps! Also there is a small Andalusian garden with a beautiful central patio.

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7. See the city from above, a good plan to do in Chefchaouen

The beautiful city of Chefchaouen is also worth admiring from above. Don’t just see the blue buildings from the streets. You can go to a viewpoint to see Chefchaouen. We recommend that you exit through the east gate of the medina, Bab al Ansar. Then you must walk up for about 40 minutes. The walk will be worth it!

At the top of the hill is the Spanish mosque, which was built in 1920. But it never won the love of the locals and was abandoned, although it was recently restored. Its surroundings are a very quiet place from which to contemplate the contrast of the blue of the city with the green of the mountains. It is a super picturesque landscape.

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Climbing up to this viewpoint is an essential thing to do in Chefchaouen

8. Discover the washing places of Ras-el-Ma, something interesting to do in Chefchaouen

Go to the Laundries of Ras-el-Ma It is not a very common visit to do in Chefchaouen. But it’s a shame because it’s very authentic! There you can see the real Moroccan daily life with women washing those clothes that they cannot wash at home. Before, this place used to be more frequented years ago, when washing machines had not yet reached homes. It’s quite hard work!

The curious thing is to know How the Ras-el-Ma laundries work. People They take advantage of the water that comes down from the river that bears the same name from the laundryThere are even some small waterfalls there. Today technology has made it easier, but there are still people who go to wash there.

9. Buy crafts

Taking a souvenir of your visit to Chefchaouen is essential. You will want buy a thousand objects to decorate the house. And the streets of Chefchaouen are an art gallery, with a lot of shops and stalls. Here you can find a little bit of everything, rugs, hats, paintings, magnets, boxes, jewelry and many more things. Of course, you will have to Put your haggling skills into practice and get a good price.

We must admit that shopping here was more relaxed than in other cities, especially in the most touristy ones. Since the sellers in Chefchaouen did not seem so insistent to us. This is how it is a pleasure to buy!

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Any street in the medina full of carpets

10. Visit a cannabis plantation, a different plan to do in Chefchaouen

Looking for something different to do in Chefchaouen? You can visit a marijuana plantation. Yes, it is an unusual and striking activity. There are a lot of them around the city, in fact, this is the reason why many people visit it.. It is very likely that they will offer you how while you walk through the center, although its consumption is totally illegal. Even so, if you want to visit the plantation out of curiosity, you are not hurting anyone.

11. Go trekking in the surrounding mountains

Explore the trails surrounding the beautiful blue city center It is a great idea to do in Chefchaouen. You will find spectacular natural corners. There are many people who visit Morocco in search of adventure and go trekking through the Atlas Mountains. But, If you are in Chefchaouen and you like walking in the mountains, do not underestimate the Rif.

Around of the blue city there is the talassemtane national parka green space where the last fir trees in the country are preserved. There are several routes with different durations, you can spend one or several days exploring the area. However, you must be prepared, with enough hydration, comfortable clothing and shoes.

12. Bathe in the Akchour waterfalls

Our list of the best things to see and do in Chefchaouen would not be complete without the Akchour waterfalls. They are located within the Talassemtane park and are some waterfalls ideal for taking a dip. It will take you about half an hour by car to reach the beginning of the trailalthough if you do not have your own vehicle from your accommodation they will help you find transportation.

This is quite a touristy place., so you can even go by grand taxi. From the starting point and until you reach the waterfall you must walk about two hours. Be prepared because there are somewhat complicated sections. So if you are going to visit the Akchour waterfalls, don’t improvise, wear your most comfortable shoes, bring plenty of water and a couple of snacks to recharge your batteries. It is one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen!

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A visit to nature to activate the body on the outskirts of Chefchaouen | Rita Houari


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