Chefchaouen is a holy city located in the middle of the Rif mountains. It is one of the most magical places in Morocco. It was founded in 1471 from a Berber settlement and until 1920 was a forbidden place for non-Muslims. Fortunately, now people of all faiths can enjoy its wonderful blue medina surrounded by nature. Now, about 40,000 people live in Chefchaouen, most of them in the most modern area of the city. Here, we propose to you the best things to do in Chefchaouen, the blue pearl of Morocco.
BEST THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN CHEFCHAOUEN:
- Strolling through its blue streets:
The main activity to do in Chefchaouen is to get lost in its beautiful medina. Its streets dyed blue make this city a very special place. But do you know why they are blue? There are two theories and no one seems to agree. For some, it was the idea of the Jews who lived there in the 1930s, when they began to paint facades and doors blue as a sign of freedom and to remove the green color that represents Islam. Other people say that the reason is much more practical than aesthetic, they simply wanted to keep the flies away. In any case, they were left with a fairytale city, full of arches, porches, and blue stairs.
It is an oasis of tranquility in comparison to other Moroccan cities. Don't be afraid of getting lost, don't limit yourself to the wider main streets. There are real hidden wonders if you stray a little. The historical part of the city is very small and you can always ask how to get back to the main square. As a curiosity, with such blue streets, when we looked at the sky it seemed gray even though there wasn't a cloud!
- Discovering the reason why the names of the streets are in Spanish, a curious thing to do in Chefchaouen:
It is only a historical issue. Since its foundation in medieval times, it has had a very close relationship with Spain. Moulay Ali Ben Rachid, the founder of the city, fell in love with a Spanish noblewoman who had converted to Islam. When they married they settled in the new town and Ali Ben Rachid promised her that it would be like Vejer de la Frontera, the young woman's place of origin.
More recently, in 1920, Spanish troops took the city and all of northern Morocco as part of the Treaty of Algeciras. Chefchaouen was Spanish territory until 1956 when it was again managed by the African country. Today you can still hear a lot of Spanish in its streets. Most of its inhabitants speak perfect Spanish.
- Wanting to take a few cats home
When you walk through the medina of Chefchaouen you will come across many stray cats. As in most Moroccan cities, these animals walk the streets in search of leftover food from the markets. Chefchaouen was one of the places where we saw more cats and they are so adorable that we felt like hiding one in our suitcases.
Best time to visit Morocco and see Chefchaouen:
In general, the best time to travel to Morocco is in spring and autumn, when the climate is more regular, pleasant (despite being warm) and there is less rainfall throughout the country.