Our trip to Chefchaouen, Morocco was a great example of how the people you meet can make your time in a city so much more memorable. The city and its blue-washed walls have littered Instagram feeds for a while now for good reason. You could spend a whole day walking through the Medina and not get bored. We did just that. It seemed like there were so many things to do in Chefchaouen.
Then we met Isaam during our two days in Chefchaouen. His family owned a shop in the Medina selling paintings and other crafts. After Natalie bartered with him for some time, we quickly became friends…somehow. It was because of him that we had such an incredible time in Chefchaouen. Although the picturesque blue washed walls of the Medina definitely did not hurt.
We did not do a whole lot of activities while in Chefchaouen as other excursions are more day trips from the city and we only had a full day. We took that day to explore the Medina. Isaam also took us out at night for a fun time of exploring the river that runs into the city, the mosque at the top of the hill that overlooks the city, getting a haircut from his buddy, and enjoying mint tea.
We did leave the city with two rugs from the Medina and a few paintings. Things that we really wanted to bring back home as gifts and souvenirs that we will cherish forever and always remember that wonderfully blue-washed city.
It was the only Moroccan city that we did get scammed…we think. At one point, after not having enough time to do so in Fes, we thought it would be a great idea to visit a hammam. This is a Moroccan bath house that we heard we needed to try. It involves somebody else bathing and scraping you down basically. When we asked around, we were able to find a man that took us to a random house where they had a bath house. They were okay with having us back in ten minutes for about five USD.
Thinking this was not enough to be a scam and also thinking maybe this just was not a full-service hammam for that low of a price, we went for it with nothing to lose. It turns out they cleared out a tiled room with a bucket of hot water each and that was it. We did not know what to do so we waited. For what seemed like forever until we just decided to dump the hot water on each other and leave. The person that let us in did seem confused that we were leaving, but we were even more confused. We still do not know if this was just a scam or what it was.
Chefchaouen has become an extremely popular tourist destination especially among people from Spain as it is just a hop, skip, and a jump away. We were lucky to have been visiting during an off time and just catching the tail end of a Spanish holiday that saw an influx of visitors to the city.
We stayed two days in Chefchaouen. It was the first city that we did not have a lot planned for during our month long trip. We just wanted to experience the city. Our trip to Chefchaouen would have been memorable for what it is, a wonderfully Instagrammable city, but meeting Isaam just made the city that much more unforgettable.
Two Days in Chefchaouen, Morocco Itinerary
- Arrived in Chefchaouen by bus from Fes.
- Checked in to hotel.
- Had lunch at Mandala.
- Explored the Medina.
- Had dinner.
- Visited Mosquée Bouzâafar at night.
- Had breakfast in the main square.
- Explored the Medina.
- Tried to do a hammam and failed.
- Had dinner.
- Got a Moroccan haircut.
Things to Do in Chefchaouen, Morocco
What We Did
Place Outa El Hamam
Ras El Ma
Bab El Sor
This is the area of Chefchaouen that is colored blue. The place that you will get lost in and wander through. The place where you can turn a corner and set up your tripod for the next shot. An endless opportunities of places to take photos.
This is the place you want to stay when you are in Chefchaouen and the place where you will want to eat. This could really be the place that you will never leave while in the city.
The shops are more touristy than other Medinas throughout the country. It is very much geared towards selling to tourists and shop owners are a little bit more pushy than shop owners in other cities. Still, Moroccan hospitality does apply and you will always be taken care of and provided mint tea likely wherever you go.
The Medina is also home to most of the things you can see and do while in Chefchaouen.
The main square of the Medina is a massive gathering place of restaurants and stalls. It is a lovely place to enjoy a mint tea and watch the massive number of people coming in and out. It is also a great place to find a restaurant with a balcony and a great view of the entire Medina.
This is the stream of water that pours into the city from the mountains. The stream runs through a small stretch of the outskirts of the Medina. This is where you can visit during the day and see the locals gathering around, washing their clothes, and enjoying one another’s company.
This is a smaller square in the Medina that is host to locals and a small fountain. There is a small mint tea shop that you can sit down and enjoy the surroundings. It is a much more low key square than the main square if you are looking to get away from the crowds.
It was with our new found friend, Isaam, that we were able to find this place in the dead of night. He really could have been leading us anywhere, but we followed him up a steep slope to this mosque where we found a few other Moroccans enjoying the night view of the city. It made for a great place to enjoy one another’s company, not be around crowds of tourists, and to see the blue-washed walls of the city lit up at night.
What We Missed
Explore the Rif Mountains
These are the mountains that the city is situated in. It is a popular destination for hikers to wander, and we wish we would have done the same while here. Unfortunately we just did not have the time in our hands to do this while in Morocco.
Where to Eat in Chefchaouen
What We Did
Just outside the Medina where the cars can still drive, we found this small pizzeria at the corner of a street on the way from the bus station. After checking in, we made our way back for lunch to grab some pizza. It was such a lovely place that we even returned the next day to try a different menu.
We stopped here to enjoy a sunset dinner. The restaurant is located in the main square of the Medina and it featured a wonderful view from the rooftop that we could not miss out on. Unfortunately the food was underwhelming. This may be a better place to enjoy a smoothie or tea from the rooftop rather than to have dinner.
There is no end to the Cafes you can visit for mint tea. Pulling up a chair outside or walking in to take a peek at the atmosphere is easy in this city. We visited places for breakfast, smoothies, and tea on a regular basis during our stay in the city.
What We Missed
I do not know if this is related to the same Cafe Clock that we had in Fes, but if it is then we should have went here to enjoy their food. Our experience at Cafe Clock in Fes was outstanding!
Other than this place, Chefchaouen is great to just wander and to get a feel as to which restaurant you will want to eat at for the view and for what is on the menu.
Where to Shop in Chefchaouen
If you are looking for lovely paintings, rugs, clothing, or any souvenirs, you will have no problem finding these things while in Chefchaouen. Like we have said earlier, Chefchaouen has become a popular tourist destination in the country and the shops are stocked with items for tourists.
We did end up buying a few paintings that we liked and two rugs from a shop owner. What will happen if you are looking for larger items like rugs is the shop owner will invite you in and give you a short speech about Moroccan hospitality dictating that they take care of you and do not pressure you into any sales.
This is true. Never in Morocco did we feel pressured to buy anything and we were always treated really well and served mint tea. In this case, we really liked the shop owner compared to others and he had some lovely products that we eventually chose to bring home with us.
How to Get Around Chefchaouen
There is not a whole lot of need for public transport while in Chefchaouen especially if you are staying in the Medina. For one, there is no driving in the Medina. Getting from the bus stop to our hotel and back again was the only time that we used a taxi. It could have been possible without one, but we had some luggage with us that we did not feel like carrying for that distance.
For trips outside of Chefchaouen, you would be looking at getting a taxi or booking an excursion.
Once you are in the Medina in Chefchaouen it is all about walking and getting those steps in. There is no driving once you are in the Medina so if you want to see it all like we did, then bring your best walking shoes with you.
How to Get to Chefchaouen From Fes
It seems like the only way to Chefchaouen is using the roads which means bus or taxi. Using a bus is much cheaper and they run quite regularly from Fes. It would be difficult to do a day trip though, as you would only have a few hours to walk around the Medina.
If you want more information about getting a bus, check out this website.
Where to Stay in Chefchaouen
We stayed at a lovely and inexpensive place in the Medina of Chefchaouen. It had a great balcony to enjoy the blue-washed walls, though it was not high enough to have a great view.
We were not too picky with where we wanted to stay while in Chefchaouen. We just knew that we wanted to be right in the middle of the Medina. Somewhere we could step outside of our place and be among it all. We were definitely happy with this place as it matched our budget and location.
Our Time in Chefchaouen, Morocco
I did not know anything about Chefchaouen before researching Morocco when we had booked the flights already. It was just one of those cities that I stumbled upon and thought that if it so happened to be on our route then we would check it out.
We were so happy that it happened to be on the route and we were able to budget some time for it. However, it did mean that we missed out on a city like Marrakesh. Still, Chefchaouen is high on our list of places to visit while in Morocco.
If you are looking for incredible photos, then Chefchaouen is the place you are going to want to visit.
We would love to hear about your experience while in Chefchaouen or to answer any questions you may have about your future trip. Leave a comment below!