How to Visit Chefchaouen, Morocco’s Blue City

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The one place I wanted to go to more than anywhere else in Morocco was Chefchaouen, or “The Blue Pearl.” After not being able to purchase a bus ticket online, I almost missed out on going here by the time I was able to buy it in person (two seats were left!).

Chefchaouen isn’t a place that you should have an itinerary for. You need to spend several days and just wander around. While the Medina can be confusing at first, it’s quite small compared to places like Marrakech. I also found that more people were willing to point you the correct way if you did get lost (although not everyone would do it for free).

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How to Get to Chefchaouen

This was the most confusing part when I researched it. This magical city isn’t easily accessible, as it’s up north in the Rif Mountains. There are several ways to get here.

Bus – This is the most practical and affordable solution. You can book your tickets online at CTM, but note that if you haven’t bought them within 72 hours of your trip, you’ll need to buy them in person.

Here’s how long it will take from these major cities.

Casablanca – 6.5 hours

Tangier – 45-minute taxi to Tetouan and then 1-hour bus ride

Fes – 4 hours

Train – There is no train that goes here. However, you can save time and money by taking an overnight train from Marrakech to Tangier. From there you can take the bus or get a taxi.

Taxi – This is probably the most expensive option, but if you can find people to split a cab with it’s possible to take a grand taxi to Chefchaouen.

Fly – The two closest airports are Tangier and Fes, which you can then take the bus or taxi from.

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Where to Stay

There are many hostels and hotels in Chefchaouen to stay at both in the Medina and outside of it. If you’re planning a 10 day Morocco itinerary, I would suggest at least two of those days are in this city.

For a unique experience, I recommend looking on Air BnB for lodging. I stayed in a five-story house in the middle of the Medina and had it to myself. I felt like a local every morning as I walked around in the middle of everyone setting up their shops for the day. I also had my own rooftop to start the morning each day.

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Where to Eat

There are plenty of places to eat in Chefchaouen, but I recommend staying away from the pizza and Chinese restaurants. Try the local Moroccan food instead! Here were some of my favorite places. Sindibad – For an inexpensive breakfast with a view, go to Sindibad. It has a cozy outdoor seating area and a great view of the city.

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Mounir – Another good place for a cheap breakfast, try the Moroccan pancakes with mint tea.

Beldi Bab Ssour – Tucked in a small corner, this is the place where locals come to get lunch (which means you know it’s good). They also have an extensive menu to choose from if you’re getting sick of the same food.

Casa Aladdin – This restaurant is a bit more expensive, but it’s the perfect place to watch the sunset from. Get a seat on the terrace and people watch from above. I loved the Moroccan soup and vegetarian tagine.

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What to Do

As I said before, don’t stick to a strict schedule when you’re visiting Chefchaouen. It’s fun to get lost in the blue streets and see what you’ll discover.

Buy Handmade Products

An advantage a small town like Chefchaouen has is many of the locals actually make the products. In bigger towns, you might find that multiple stores have the same products, meaning they’re probably cheap knockoffs from China. You can also talk to the merchants here to find out more about their goods.

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Hike to the Spanish Mosque

The best way to start your morning is going on a hike up to the mountains. You can watch the sun rise over all of Chefchaouen from here.

Sample Spices

One of my favorite parts of Morocco was all the spices they have and how they’re displayed. Talk to the store owner to see what they all are and sample some before you buy them.

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Relax

Once a day I’d pop into a restaurant, order coffee, and sit on the terrace. Chefchaouen is the perfect place to unwind, and I found I didn’t even want to get on their wi-fi.

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Visit the Kasbah

Located in the middle of town, this old fortress is now a beautiful garden. For about 50 dirhams you can go inside to explore it.

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Take Plenty of Pictures

I’m not a “door person,” but I fell in love with all the doors in Chefchaouen. I kept stopping every few minutes to take pictures of all the beautiful doors in the town.

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This is the famous “Instagram street” and is located in the north part of the Medina. Every time I passed this, there were at least half a dozen people waiting to take their picture on it.

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As is common in all of Morocco, there are cats everywhere! They looked even more picture-worthy against the blue background of Chefchaouen.

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How to Visit Chefchaouen, Morocco\'s Blue City

14 thoughts on “How to Visit Chefchaouen, Morocco’s Blue City

  1. Anuradha Goyal says:

    Wow, I have never seen any place as blue as Chefchaouen. It looks like they make quite an effort to keep it cool blue. Those sacks look like color or are they spices? I wonder how your pronounce this name – seems quite a tongue twister.

  2. Erin De Santiago says:

    Beautiful photos! I really want to go to Morocco and Chefchaouen is one of the stops I most want to make. I didn’t realize how remote it was — great info on getting there. And, I can only imagine how busy that “Instagram” street is. Those spices…drool. That is one of the main reasons I want to go to Morocco…with an empty suitcase! 🙂

  3. Stefanie says:

    Stunning photos, I wish to go back to Morocco one day! Went to some cities but missed out on the Blue City! Thanks for inspiring, definitely saving this for future reference! 🙂

  4. Anda @ Travel Notes & Beyond says:

    How interesting! Except for Kasbah, all the other walls in the city are painted in blue. No wonder it’s called the Blue City. Thank for for sharing all these tips about visiting Chefchaouen. I would definitely not stop snapping pictures left and right. Morocco is definitely an exotic destination that I can only hope to visit someday.

  5. Lucy Williams says:

    I was there last year and loved it. I was there just for the day, but your experience must of been fantastic staying in the heart of the town. Your photos have just brought me back, such beautiful blue place!

  6. Medha Verma Bector says:

    This is yet another place that I’m inspired to visit because of the amazing pictures I have been seeing. I can’t believe how blue the place is! I love the shot with the colourful flowerpots against the deep blue background of the lane with stairs. I don;t know when I will get to Morocco but I can tell you, more than the desert or Marrakech, I am interesting to visit Chefchaouen!

  7. megan_claire says:

    It’s smurf town!! Chefchaouen is one of the places in Morocco I’m also really dying to get to – and I love that you highlighted that you don’t need an itinerary here – it’s the same with Venice, I found the best way to experience the town and really immerse yourself ws to embrace getting lost, wander between the streets, discover hidden gems. Thanks for the info on how to get there – I had no idea that it wasn’t easily accessible. Easy enough though to fly in and then get the bus or taxi. And fabulous idea to stay in an Airbnb 🙂

  8. escapesanddiaries says:

    Morocco is one of our lists this year. We’re so fascinated by these blue painted architectures. Almost all of sorts of things are indeed vibrant in colors even spices! Did you get to buy any of them? As for accommodation, we also love to stay at airbnb if not hotels. Airbnb also offers unique experience, a nice rooftop is a very good start up for the day! And yes, taking pictures here shouldn’t be missed at all!

  9. Kimanis Ome says:

    I can’t wait to visit Morocco. It has been on my bucket list for so long and I absolutely want to visit soon. Thanks for the guide about what to do in the Blue Pearl. Good to know that we should plan for several days just to simply get lost and soak in the place. Such beautiful shots…thanks for the wanderlust inspiration!

  10. Claire says:

    It is a gorgeous place isn’t it! I haven’t been anywhere in Africa yet but this is definitely high up on my list. Useful info about the bus tickets, I’m terrible at planning so will have to try and be better at it for this trip! I also love the idea of staying in an airbnb or a real home instead of a hotel, it is a much more ‘real’ experience for sure!

  11. Jennifer Dombrowski says:

    My friend Amanda lives in Morocco. The first time I went to visit her, we went out to the Sahara for a couple of days. Next time, I’d definitely like to visit Chefchaouen. I know only part of the town is actually painted blue, but it’s just one of those places that I really want to see!

  12. Astrid Vinje says:

    What an informative post! I’ve always wanted to visit Morocco, and now Chefchaouen will be on my list of cities to visit there. The photos look amazing.

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