Chefchaouen: More Than a Colour
I am going to boldly say Chefchaouen is one of the most photographed place in all of Morocco. If you have been here and didn’t leave with at least 20 photos of doorways and 50 of blue streets then you must have left your camera at home. Chefchaouen, sometimes spelt Chefaouen, is the “Blue City”.
A charming feature of Morocco is its rumour mill. Rumoured to be painted blue to ward off mosquitos, the town experiences an annual onslaught of Europeans to this Spanish enclave.
Chefaouen has over 200 hotels to cater for summer tourists who flock here for the shopping. The ‘Blue City’ offers handicrafts unique to northwest Morocco, wool garments, woven blankets and goat cheese, that apparently tourists can’t get enough of.
Chefchaouen is much more than a blue, shopping town. I do enjoy escaping to nature after a few days immersed in the souks, and Chefaouen offers the perfect antidote. Morocco’s blue city is perched beneath the Rif mountains which provide amazing day trips to the cooler green hills. You have to remind yourself Morocco borders the Sahara Desert when you are in Chefchaouen. You can hike through the enormous Bouhachem Regional Nature Reserve with its huge oak trees, maritime pine and wildlife. If hiking isn’t your thing, the city itself offers a nature hit. The 15th century brown-clay Kasbah is home to the lovely Andalusian gardens. Or you can experience the Oved Ras El Maa, a mountain spring which winds its way through Chefchaouen before finding the Meditterranean.
After recharging with nature I lap up all the city has to offer. Morocco’s sense of a bygone era operating in modern times is found at the Horno Bab El Ain. This traditional bakery is where locals bring their own home made bread to bake. The Horno Bab El Ain churns out bread, pastries, bastilla (a type of sweet-savoury pie) and the occasional vegetable.
Mosques also make the list of ‘Places to go in Chefchaouen’. The Spanish Mosque, built in the 1920s was never used and fell into a state of disrepair. It is my favourite place to visit at sunset. From here you will get that postcard photo of the blue city as the sun dips below the horizon.
Next stop Essaouira 😊