Now that I have had the opportunity to visit several enclaves in the north of Morocco, the closest and easiest area to arrive from the USA. I can affirm that the most beautiful and charming place is Chefchaouen. Here, we shortly describe Chefchaouen travel guide.
Chefchaouen travel guide
Chaouen, which is what it was called when it was founded by the Berbers in the 15th century, welcomed the Moors and Jews who were expelled from the USA at that time and who in this middle mountain enclave created their beautiful and charming medina.
At present, this place has become a very touristy spot, which is known as the blue town because of the striking color of the houses of its medina.
How to get to Chefchaouen
A Chefchaouen, which is its name since the independence of Morocco in 1956, is easy to reach by a car crossing to Ceuta from Algeciras, or by direct flight from Madrid to Tangier.
In both cases, you must go through the city of Tetuán, whose medina is worth visiting, and it shows that it has been declared a World Heritage Site.
And from Tetouan, you will go up little by little along a winding road, where it will be impossible for you to go to a bus, which will take you to the foot of the mountain where the city of Chefchaouen is located.
What to see and do in Chefchaouen
To give you an idea, and with the experience of several visits I’ve made in recent times, I’ll tell you what are the best places to see and what to do in Chefchaouen.
Entrance arch to the Medina of Chefchaouen
Your visit to Chefchaouen should focus on walking and enjoying the charm of your medina, for which I advise you to enter through its main door.
This access is available with an entrance arch located to the south of the medina, which you find on the main street that crosses this small Moroccan city from west to east.
Well, when you get to Chefchaouen, do not expect to find a small town, it is a small town of about 40,000 inhabitants, capital of the province of the same name, in the region of Tangier-Tetouan.
Uta el-Hammam square
From the entrance arch of the medina of Chefchaouen, you must go up the narrow alley that will eventually take you to the nerve center of the same, the Uta el-Hammam square.
This alley is a real souk with a succession of souvenir shops, clothing, and crafts, which if you visit Chefchaouen on a bridge or holiday season, you will find it overflowing with people, to the point that you can feel some overwhelming.
From this alley to the right, another souk alley, which in fact is advertised as a commercial street, leads you to the back of the citadel located in the square, from where you will also reach it.
As I said, this square is the heart of the medina, and I tell you that it has great charm. Always very busy, in Uta el-Hamman highlights the citadel or Kasbah.
It is a fortress that has been restored and inside it now houses a small ethnographic museum, although I admit that I have not had the chance to visit it yet.
The Grand Mosque of the 15th century will also call your attention, which shows an octagonal tower that is a very unusual configuration in the mosques of Morocco.
You will see that this square, the true heart of Chefchaouen, is full of terraces of cafes and restaurants, where always with great animation, both local people and tourists.
What to see in the medina of Chefchaouen
To continue with your visit, from the Uta el-Hamman square you must continue climbing the different streets of the medina.
You should know that Chefchaouen is located in the foothills of the Rif mountain range, a mountainous area of always surprisingly green landscapes so that the small town and its medina extend on a mountainside.
In this walk through the streets of the upper part of the medina is where you will discover the true charm of Chefchaouen.
While there are still shops, mostly local artisans, you will find yourself mostly in a residential area that encloses corners with the great charm of the prints of the facades of houses with the characteristic blue color.
Stairways, arched passages, interior patios … that’s the charm of Chefchaouen . also known as the Village A zul.
If you are a photography enthusiast, you will not get tired of discovering those corners.
Artisan shops in Chefchaouen
The artisans and local artists will show you their artworks in the shops that are dotted by this high part of the medina.
Painters, potters, iron craftsmen, sculptors. In short, it will be difficult for you not to take an artistic memory of Chefchaouen, yes, after the usual and essential haggling.
On this walk, you can refresh yourself with freshly squeezed orange juice (€ 0.50) in front of you. Or buy dyes or the typical djellaba.
Chilabas in Chefchaouen
Precisely one of the most characteristic images of Chefchaouen and that from my point of view they give it more charm are the woolen wool with hood.
It is a garment of rural character that in the winter season takes practically all the local population. It is at this time, in which you will hardly coincide with tourists when you will best see the exoticism of Chefchaouen.
Then, already in spring and summer, the greater presence of tourists and the disappearance of those winter dusters subtract rural atmosphere to this beautiful medina.
Waterfall and laundry in Chefchaouen
In your walk through the medina you should continue climbing in a northeasterly direction until you reach the exit arch that opens on the wall in that area, and then go down to the waterfall.
It is an area that on holidays is full of visitors, especially Moroccans, who cool off in the pools that form in this gorge where the water goes down, and where the laundries are.
There you can see the peasants who are concentrated with their typical and colorful straw hats, which sell to tourists or, failing that, they ask you for a tip for taking a picture.
Where to eat in Chefchaouen
The great majority of the restaurants in Chefchaouen are concentrated around the Uta el-Hamman square or nearby.
Those who know this beautiful town well do not recommend that you sit down to eat in some of the terraces of the square.
On the other hand, the restaurant that the local people advise you is Hassan, in the upper part of the square.
Quite large and very touristy, there you will find a menu to choose from with Moroccan dishes and good prices.
Another recommendable restaurant is Casa Aladín, easily recognizable by its covered viewpoint and its terrace that rises above the square.
You also have Moroccan specialties, and you can eat well with a menu that with drinks will cost you less than 10 dollars.
And, without a doubt, the best way to end your day in Chefchaouen is to sit down, now, on the terrace of a cafe in the square to have a typical green tea with sugar and fresh mint leaves.
I tell you that you can spend hours watching people wonder, in a mixture of cultures. You will see from the most exotic local characters to the many tourists, both Western and Japanese and even Chinese.
In short, a visit that will advance you will always remain in your memory.