You’ve likely seen a picture of Chefchaouen on social media or the internet at some point and thought, ‘that’s magical, I’d like to go there.’ Known as ‘the blue pearl’ of Morocco, it’s difficult not to fall in love with the charming city with buildings and alleyways awash in blue, punctuated by brightly colored handmade goods and the vibrancy of local life.
There are plenty of things to do in Morocco but if you’re looking for more of a place to get away this is it. Chefchaouen is quieter than many other cities, with a relaxed ambiance and a stunning location in the countryside of the Rif Mountains.
While getting to the blue city is no easy feat, a weekend in Chefchaouen will have you feeling like you’ve entered into a fairy-tale world.
So, pack your bags, plan your journey and check out these top things to do in Chefchaouen, the blue pearl of Morocco (and perhaps, the world).
Stroll Around the Old City and Chefchaouen Medina
Simply strolling around Morocco’s blue city is one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen. The winding maze of picturesque streets offers the perfect opportunity to get lost in a blue-hazed dream.
As you meander through the narrow alleys, you’ll come across magical squares, blue stairways lined with colorful pots, many blue-hued ornate doors, and a thousand gorgeous photo opportunities. You’ll want to have a good camera as you’re unlikely to find a more photogenic city.
A slow stroll through the old city and Chefchaouen medina is a lovely way to peer into local life and daily ongoings. It’s also the ideal time to browse the local leather products and streetside stalls.
Admire the Views at Kasbah Museum
Situated in the oasis of the Andalusian Gardens, in the center of the medina, is the Ethnographic Museum. An array of artifacts will take you through a visual journey of the history, customs, and art of Chefchaouen, Morocco.
The 15th-century museum used to be a prison and now houses the art and relics of Chefchaouen. While the museum is small and doesn’t cater too well for English visitors, the highlight is climbing up the fort towers for panoramic views. From here you can drink in the stunning vistas of the city, which is a sea of blue against the surrounding countryside.
Walk Past the Grand Mosque
You’ll hear the haunting echoes of the call to prayer sounding out through the city five times a day from the Grand Mosque. The mosque is an important part of Chefchauoen life and culture and is a beautiful place to visit in the blue city of Morocco.
The 15th-century architecture is a sight to behold, with an octagonal minaret influenced by Andalusian architecture. The brown and beige exterior stones create a wonderful contrast against the surrounding blue buildings.
It’s a gorgeous building which is the center of religious life in Chefchaouen and is certainly well worth a visit. You’ll likely have to admire it from the outside, though, as only Muslims can enter the mosque.
Experience the Colors of the Souk (Market)
The Chefchauoen souk — Arabic for ‘market’ — runs on Mondays and Thursdays in the old medina. If you happen to be in the blue village in Morocco on one of these weekdays, perusing through the vibrant market is a fantastic experience.
Unlike in the bigger cities of Marrakech and Fez, the market is more relaxed, and you won’t have as many eager sellers trying to tempt you into purchasing local goods. This means that you can take your time taking in the kaleidoscope colors of the handmade goods, spices, fruit and vegetables, and mountain herbs.
If you’re on the hunt for the perfect souvenir or one of the handmade leather products that the city is known for, this is a good time to bring out the bargaining skills.
You may find it difficult to resist splurging as you walk through the market, with colorful and ornate goodies spilling onto the street.
Hike to the Cascades d’Akchour
Just outside of the blue city of Morocco lies a wonderland of natural scenery in the Rif Mountains. Hop into a taxi and in 45 minutes, you’ll find yourself in Akchour village. Here is where you’ll start the beautiful hike to the mesmerizing Akchour waterfalls.
The hike will take around two hours, and isn’t very challenging. Along the way, you’ll pass by plenty of smaller waterfalls and rock pools that are an ideal spot to cool off. Lace-up your best hiking shoes and head into the Rif Mountains to chase waterfalls.
Watch the Sunset at the Spanish Mosque
One of the best Chefchaouen, Morocco, things to do is to walk up the Spanish Mosque for breathtaking views over the city. While the views are stunning regardless of the time of day, it makes for a particularly amazing sunset spot. As you watch the sun dip below the horizon, ‘the blue pearl’ city is bathed in golden hues, and it’s an image you’ll never forget.
The trail to the Spanish Mosque, which is no longer in use, takes about 30 minutes and begins at the east end of the town. You’ll be huffing and puffing once you get to the top of the hill that the mosque sits on, but the views are more breathtaking than the walk.
Witness a Cultural Fusion at Plaza Uta el-Hammam
The town square of Chefchaouen is the ideal spot to grab a bite to eat, do some people watching, and gaze upon the mountains which overlook the city.
Plaza Uta el-Hammam boasts a tangible and eclectic fusion of Arab and Spanish culture. You’ll notice this immediately as you browse the menus of street food vendors and restaurants on the square.
The vibrant square is a great spot for an evening in Chefchaouen, experiencing traditional Moroccan cuisine and tasty local teas.
Get Excited for a Magical Trip to Chefchaouen, the Blue Pearl
A trip to Chefchaouen is a time to slow down. To spend relaxed days exploring the blue maze of streets, admiring stunning views, snapping perfect pictures, and observing local life. As soon as you arrive in the blue city, you’ll be enchanted by the ambiance of the magical town. It’s well worth making the journey to the out-of-the-way city.