In the north west of Morocco, there is a small town called Chefchaouen which made our trip to the country extremely memorable. I think what made it a pleasure was that the city was very peaceful and the two days we spent there were extremely relaxed.
One thing that I learnt after our visit to Morocco was that, Moroccans live in two worlds. One inside the Medina and the other outside. The old city or the Medina, is more conservative, and still maintains the medieval Arabic charm, while the one city or the areas outside the Medina are very developed and modern. Most tourists, spend their entire time inside the Medina (as that is definitely the main attraction), but we did venture out a bit here and there, be it for food or for a movie. I must say, we were surprised and shocked in a good way.
Coming back to Chefchaouen, the maze like Medina is painted in thousand shades of blue and white and it is an absolute pleasure to our eyes. The blue color on the houses are said to have been introduced to the town by Jewish refugees in 1930, who considered blue to symbolize the sky and heaven. The color caught on, and now many also believe that the blue walls serve to repel mosquitoes as well. Add on to it the beautiful souks and delicately woven carpets displayed all around, gorgeous doors and the architecture – it was a sight which you won’t forget in a lifetime.
We traveled to Chef from Marrakech. The best possible way to do so is via night trains. There is a night train which leaves Marrakech at night and reaches Tangier early morning. From Tangier you can get on a direct bus to Chef or change a bus at Tetouan. The frequency of direct buses to Chef is less, but there are plenty of buses that ply till Tetouan and then to Chef. Try to travel by government buses – CTM – and don’t fall for locals who say that they will help you get on a bus. Check out their website for frequency and this website for trains. You won’t be able to make online booking unless you have a Moroccan credit / debit card. You can however buy a ticket at the train station a day or two in advance and be assured that you will definitely get a seat.
Just one more point here. The buses out of Chef can get filled quite quickly. We would advice to book a return ticket as soon as you reach to avoid any delays / last minute change in plans.
Where to stay
We stayed in a Dar in the heart of the Medina that we found on Airbnb. I am not linking it here as we really didn’t like the room. The photos that were advertised on the website and the actual room were quite different and we never got any hot water for bath. But I am sure there are loads of places where you can stay. Just make sure that you choose the one with a nice rooftop view.
Things to Do
- Breakfast on the rooftop. Morocco has aced the rooftop game and the morning views from the rooftops are beautiful.
- Go mad taking photos. Every corner is picturesque and worthy of getting captured in your camera.
- We had the yummiest cookies and biscuits from a small home based bakery inside the Medina. We had to go back and get some more the next day!
- Venture out of Medina for some good food, as the tagine and couscous will get boring after a while.
- Walk out of the Medina towards to mountain for some nice view of the city. Its really beautiful from top.
- We started following men wearing the traditional djellaba just so that we could get a good shot of them walking in the blue Arabic background. People in Morocco don’t like getting clicked, so we were sensitive of that fact and only tried capturing them from behind. We managed to take some super cool photos with some ancient feel. It was so much fun as well!
I will leave you with some more photos from our stay in Chefchaouen.