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How to Spend 3 Days in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Jun 25

Nestled in the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco lies the blue-hued village of Chefchaouen, known as the Blue Pearl of Morocco.

Founded in the 15th century as a fortress, this charming town has been a haven for refugees, travellers, and artists for centuries. With its distinctive blue-washed buildings, Chefchaouen offers a tranquil escape from Morocco's bustling city centres, making it a must-see on any Moroccan itinerary.

In this guide, we'll take you through the top things to do in Chefchaouen, covering everything from where to stay and eat to the best day trips and hidden gems of this picturesque village. Whether you're a photographer, a foodie, or an adventurer, Chefchaouen has something for everyone.

So pack your bags and get ready to experience the beauty of the Blue Pearl in just three days.



Background of Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is a charming little town in the Rif Mountains in the northwestern part of Morocco. It's popularly known as the "Blue Pearl of Morocco" because of the abundance of blue buildings and streets within the old Medina. The town boasts of a rich history dating back to the 15th century, having served as a haven for Jews and Spanish refugees fleeing the Inquisition. While the blue-painted buildings are a significant aspect of Chefchaouen, there's more to the town than the stunning colour scheme.

Located in the fertile Rif Valley, Chefchaouen is renowned for marijuana production. It's a preferred tourist destination due to its mesmerizing scenery, rich history, and hospitable locals. Chefchaouen is also a significant pilgrimage site for Sufi Muslims, and visiting the town provides a rare opportunity to experience the fusion of various cultures and traditions that have influenced the area over time.

Despite its rapidly growing popularity, Chefchaouen retains its authentic charm and allure, making it a paradise for photography enthusiasts. With numerous activities and attractions that can keep visitors occupied for days, it's not surprising that Chefchaouen is increasingly becoming one of the top tourist destinations in Morocco. [1][2]



Blue Pearl of Morocco

Chefchaouen, also known as the Blue Pearl of Morocco, is a hidden gem in northern Morocco's Rif Mountains. The town's blue-rinsed houses adorn the winding medina's cobblestoned streets, giving visitors the feeling of stepping into a magical children's storybook.

The town's charming alleys are lined with local artisans selling their masterpieces. The Blue colour in Chefchaouen's is a tradition from the town's former Sephardic Jewish population who came here to escape the Spanish Inquisition. The exiled Jews used Chefcahouen as a fortress to fight the invading Portuguese entering Morocco from the north. Still, eventually, the Spanish took over the city and made it a Spanish-speaking enclave. Chefchaouen's blue colour reminds of God and once permeated other Jewish cities in Morocco, such as white and blue-washed Essaouira, Asilah, and Tetouan.

There are plenty of things to do in Chefchaouen, which will keep you busy during your stay.

The Chefchaouen Medina is an endless maze of narrow winding alleys leading to hidden corners and cute little spots around the town. Exploring the medina can take several hours, but it is worth it as the town is a photographer's paradise. Getting lost in the medina is all part of the fun, and along the way, you can admire the vibrantly decorated doorways and alleys filled with colourful plant pots and many cats.

Shopping in the local souks is a must-do activity in Chefchaouen, where you can find beautiful traditional handmade goods such as carpets, lamps, jewellery, caftans, and woven baskets. The town is also known for its delicious goat cheese.

Lastly, don't forget to visit the cascading Ras el-Maa waterfalls outside the medina walls, which provide a refreshing break on a hot summer day. Whether it's culture, art, or outdoor adventure activities that interest you, Chefchaouen has something unique that is rare to find in other parts of Morocco. [3][4]



Importance of visiting Chefchaouen

When it comes to visiting Morocco, Chefchaouen is a must-visit destination. This small but charming town is known as the "Blue Pearl" for its distinct blue-painted buildings and streets. But beyond its picturesque facade, Chefchaouen boasts a rich history and culture that travellers should not miss. Here are some reasons why visiting Chefchaouen is important:

1. Experience a unique blend of cultures: Chefchaouen's history is marked by different cultures, such as the Berbers, Arabs, and Jews. This has resulted in a unique mix of architecture, food, and customs that can be experienced in the town's streets, souks, and historic sites.

2. Immerse in a laid-back atmosphere: Chefchaouen offers a more relaxed and peaceful vibe, unlike bustling cities like Marrakech and Fez. It's the perfect place to slow down and enjoy life's simple pleasures, such as strolling along the blue alleys, sipping mint tea, or admiring the views from a rooftop.

3. Discover the town's history and heritage: Chefchaouen has a rich past that dates back to the 15th century when Mulay Alí Ben Rachid founded it. The town played an important role in the trade routes between Morocco and Europe, and its Jewish community contributed to its cultural diversity. To learn more about Chefchaouen's history, visitors can explore its museums, fortresses, and mosques.

4. Support the local economy: Tourism is an important source of income for the people of Chefchaouen, and visitors can contribute to the town's economy by shopping at its souks, staying at local riads, or dining at its restaurants. By doing so, travellers can also learn about the town's artisanal crafts, such as wool weaving, pottery, and leatherwork.

Overall, visiting Chefchaouen is a unique and enriching experience that should be on every traveller's bucket list. Whether you're interested in culture, history, or natural beauty, this town offers something for everyone. So why not plan your next trip to Morocco and discover the Blue Pearl yourself? [5][6]


Day 1: Exploring the Blue Medina

Arrival at Casa Perleta

After arriving at Casa Perleta, you'll be greeted with stunning panoramic views of Chefchaouen from the terrace of this intimate guesthouse. The Andalusian guesthouse style is perfect for those who want to experience the region's traditional architecture. It has seven rooms, including one suite and charming terraces. Even better, the guesthouse offers surprisingly low prices, including a homemade breakfast of omelettes, bread, fruit, and cheese, served each morning on the sun-splashed rooftop.

Some things to expect during your stay at Casa Perleta include warm hospitality, a comfortable room, and an incredibly beautiful view of Chefchaouen. Amidst the blue-washed buildings of the old Medina, you'll be able to fully enjoy the calm and tranquillity the town is known for. Casa Perleta will allow you to relax and unwind after a day of wandering through the city. 

Overall, Casa Perleta is the perfect place to stay if you want to experience Chefchaouen in a laid-back and authentic way. Its location atop the Medina and panoramic views make it a great starting point for your journey. You'll be able to enjoy the simple life in Chefchaouen without sacrificing comfort or convenience. [7][8]



Walking the blue streets of the old Medina

One of the top things to do in Chefchaouen is to walk the blue streets of the old Medina. As soon as you step into the Medina, you’ll feel like you’ve entered a different world. The blue-coloured walls offer a cool and calming effect, making you feel relaxed and at ease. Here are some of the things you’ll see and do while walking the streets of the old Medina:

1. Get lost in the maze of streets – you’ll wander down narrow alleyways and winding staircases surrounded by blue walls and doors. The Medina's sights, sounds, and smells are unlike anything else.

2. Visit the Souk (market) – Chefchaouen’s local market offers an array of souvenirs and handicrafts that are uniquely Moroccan. You’ll find everything from colourful textiles and carpets to pottery and leather goods.

3. Shop at one of the many little bazaars – In Medina, numerous shops and stores sell everything you could imagine. If you're looking for unique souvenirs or gifts, take your time browsing through these treasures.

4. Learn about Chefchaouen’s history at the Kasbah Museum – The Kasbah Museum is a great place to learn about the culture and history of the city. You’ll see exhibitions of traditional Moroccan clothing, jewellery, and artefacts.

5. Enjoy the panoramic view from the Spanish mosque – The Spanish mosque offers a breathtaking view of the whole city. Watching the sunset from here is one of the most beautiful experiences in Chefchaouen.

6. Get a good scrub at a local hammam – Hammams are traditional Moroccan bathhouses. In Chefchaouen, you can experience an authentic Moroccan spa day by visiting one of its traditional hammams.

7. Enjoy the nightlife of Chefchaouen – The city comes alive at night with its vibrant nightlife scene. Various cafes, bars, and restaurants offer great food, drink, and music.

8. Smoke hashish and chill – For those who are interested, Chefchaouen is known to have some of the best hashish in Morocco. If you're curious, visit one of the local cafes that offer it and have a relaxed evening.

Walking the blue streets of Chefchaouen’s old Medina is an experience you’ll treasure forever. [9][10]



Visit to Kasbah Museum & Gardens

One of the top things to do in Chefchaouen is to visit the Kasbah Museum & Gardens. This building used to be an old Moroccan fortress that has served numerous purposes throughout the ages, including as a prison. Today, it has been transformed into an ethnographic museum and art gallery that educates visitors about the area's fascinating history. In addition to the indoor exhibitions, the Kasbah also features stunning Andalusian-style gardens that offer a peaceful oasis in the bustling city.

One of the highlights of visiting the Kasbah is climbing the fortress tower, which offers breathtaking views of the entire city. However, it's worth noting that the descriptions in the tower are not in English. Nonetheless, the Kasbah provides a unique perspective on the culture and history of Chefchaouen. 

After exploring the Kasbah, visitors can continue to wander the narrow blue and twisting streets of the Medina and its souks. While the souks may not be as big as in other Moroccan cities like Fez, they do offer many native handicrafts that are not available anywhere else, such as wool garments, woven blankets, and woven baskets. Visitors can also try the local speciality, goat cheese, served with many dishes and popular with tourists.

Overall, the Kasbah Museum & Gardens provides an excellent opportunity to learn about the history and culture of Chefchaouen. At the same time, the surrounding streets and markets offer plenty of opportunities for shopping and sampling local foods. [11][12]



Sunset from the Spanish Mosque

One of the most breathtaking experiences in Chefchaouen is watching the sunset from the Spanish Mosque. Here are some reasons why this activity should be on your itinerary:

1. Hiking to the Spanish Mosque is an adventure - the trip takes around 25 minutes from the medina's eastern gate, where you can see stunning city views.
2. The Spanish Mosque overlooks Chefchaouen and provides a panoramic view of the blue city - an excellent spot for photography enthusiasts.
3. Watching the sunset from the Spanish Mosque is a peaceful and serene experience - the sunsets in Chefchaouen are magical, and the colours of the sky blend perfectly with the blue walls of the city.
4. You can bring some snacks or drinks to enjoy while watching the sunset - there are no vendors or shops at the mosque, so be sure to bring your supplies.
5. The Spanish Mosque is also a popular spot for stargazing - no artificial lights are nearby, providing a clear view of the night sky.

Overall, watching the sunset from the Spanish Mosque is a must-do activity in Chefchaouen. It's a beautiful location to witness the city's beauty and immerse yourself in a peaceful atmosphere. Don't forget to bring your camera and refreshments to enhance your experience. [13][14]



Dinner at Casa Hassan

D at Casa Hassan is the perfect end to a day spent exploring Chefchaouen's blue streets and scenic viewpoints. Here are some reasons why you should consider dining at this iconic restaurant:

1. Historic charm - Casa Hassan is a centuries-old riad with warmth and character. From the cosy fireplace to the traditional decor, you'll feel like you've stepped back in time.

2. Delicious food - This restaurant serves up various Moroccan dishes, including the flavorful harissa and the sweet-and-savoury pastilla. You'll leave feeling satisfied and content after a meal at Casa Hassan.

3. Iconic dining room - One of the highlights of Casa Hassan is its dining room, which features a beautiful blue and white tile design. It's a perfect representation of the Blue Pearl of Morocco and a great way to end your visit to Chefchaouen.

4. Accommodating staff - The staff at Casa Hassan are known for their welcoming attitude and helpfulness. They'll make sure your dining experience is enjoyable and memorable.

Overall, dinner at Casa Hassan is an experience that shouldn't be missed during your three-day stay in Chefchaouen. Pair it with a sunset from the terrace at Casa Perleta for a truly unforgettable evening. [15][16]


Day 2: Shopping and Eating

Breakfast at Casa Perleta

After a cosy night at Casa Perleta, guests will have a delicious homemade breakfast on the sun-splashed rooftop. Here are some highlights to look forward to:

- Various local, fresh ingredients served as a traditional Moroccan breakfast of omelettes, bread, fruit, and creamy cheeses.
- The stunning panoramic views of Chefchaouen can be enjoyed while sipping freshly brewed coffee or tea.
- The warm and friendly hospitality of the staff, who are always available to make recommendations for the day ahead.
- The peaceful ambience, as guests enjoy the much-needed respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.
- The perfect start to a day of exploring and experiencing the charm of Chefchaouen.

Casa Perleta's breakfast perfectly blends local flavours and international appeal. The rooftop terrace provides breathtaking city views, while the staff provides exceptional service. It's the perfect setting to start a busy day of sightseeing. [17][18]



Shopping at Ensemble Artisanal

Chefchaouen's Ensemble Artisanal is the place to go if you're in the mood for shopping. The open-air market offers many traditional Moroccan handmade items, including colourful pottery, carpets, and textiles. The best part is that the shopkeepers are friendly and won't hound you into making a purchase. Some of the items you can find at Ensemble Artisanal include:

- Hand-painted boxes: These colourful boxes are perfect for storing small items or as a decorative piece in your home.
- Woven blankets: Made from wool and cotton, these blankets come in different colours and patterns. They can be used as a throw or a bedspread.
- Leather goods: You can find leather bags, belts, and shoes at the market. The leather is of good quality and comes in different colours.
- Jewelry: From silver earrings to beaded necklaces, Ensemble Artisanal has a variety of handmade jewellery to choose from.

When shopping at the market, take your time and browse the different shops. Don't be afraid to ask questions or negotiate prices with the vendors. It's also worth noting that local artisans make most of the items sold in the market, so your purchase helps support the community. Whether you're looking for a souvenir to take home or a unique gift for someone special, Ensemble Artisanal has something for everyone. [19][20]



Recommended for future visits.

For future visits to Chefchaouen, there are many things to consider. First and foremost, allocating more than three days to explore all these charming blue town offers is highly recommended. Here are some suggestions for your next visit:

- Consider staying in a riad to experience traditional Moroccan hospitality and architecture fully.
- Visit the waterfalls of Akchour, located a short drive from Chefchaouen. It's a refreshing escape from the town's blue walls and a great place to hike and swim.
- Take a food tour to discover the local cuisine and learn about the spices and ingredients used in Moroccan cooking.
- Explore the nearby Rif Mountains to discover Berber villages and witness breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes.
- Attend a local festival or event to immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Chefchaouen. The town celebrates religious holidays such as Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha and hosts other events such as the Festival of Andalusian Music.
- Hire a local guide to learn more about the history, traditions, and stories of Chefchaouen and its people.
- Check out the local art scene by visiting galleries and workshops to appreciate the talent of local artists and craftsmen.
- Take a day trip to the nearby city of Tetouan to learn more about the history and culture of northern Morocco.

There is so much to discover and enjoy in Chefchaouen, and the town's unique blue walls and friendly locals make it a must-visit destination in Morocco. So, plan your trip carefully and leave enough time to truly experience the magic of this blue gem. [21][22]