Travel guide of Chefchaouen, the blue city of Morocco (2024)

Chefchaouen is much more than blue alleyways. This travel guide of Chefchaouen in Morocco gives a complete overview of the best things to do.


Chefchaouen was the first city on our two week travel itinerary in Morocco. Chefchaouen used to be famous because of the ‘kif’ that is grown in the mountains. However, the past years, Chefchaouen became an Instagram hotspot, thanks to the many pictures of blue houses and alleyways that appeared everywhere. It is still not clear why the houses and streets of Chefchaouen are painted blue, but they make the perfect background for some stunning photos.

featured image travel guide of chefchaouen morocco

In contrary to our expectations, Chefchaouen turned out to be much more than just blue alleyways. Although we had some bad weather, we really enjoyed our time here and we experienced that the city had so much to offer. In this post, you find a comprehensive travel guide of Chefchaouen, nicknamed ‘the blue city of Morocco’. We carefully selected the best things to do, the most photogenic places, the best accommodation and restaurants, all based on our own experience. We also included our travel map of Chefchaouen to help you plan your trip.

Some of the links on this blog are affiliate links. This means if you click on a link and purchase, we receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. The affiliate links concern only products and services we appreciated highly and trust. This means the views and opinions expressed in this post are purely our own. For more information, read our privacy and cookie policy.

Check out our video from Chefchaouen

Some general information

  • Currency – Like in the rest of the country, the currency in Chefchaouen is the dirham. When we wrote this travel guide of Chefchaouen, one dirham corresponds to 0.09 EUR (0.10 USD). Cash is still a common thing in Chefchaouen, so make sure to withdraw some cash money from an ATM before entering the medina. We included some ATMs in our travel map.
  • Language – The main language in Chefchaouen is Arabic. But as the city receives many tourists, you’ll experience no problems to communicate with the locals in French, English or Spanish.
  • Getting around – Cars are not allowed inside the medina, so the best way to get around is by foot. Chefchaouen isn’t a huge city, so distances are very doable.
  • Holidays – Friday is the start of the weekend and it is a holy day. So make sure to check opening times if you visit specific attractions on a Friday.
chefchaouen viewpoint bouzafer mosque morocco
The city of Chefchaouen, situated agains the Rif mountains

Where is the blue city of Morocco located?

Chefchaouen is a small town, set amidst the Rif mountains in the North of Morocco. It is located about 80 kilometers South of Tangier. The town itself lies at a height of 557 meters above sea level and is surrounded by different tops of the Rif mountains. There is an old town (the medina) that is the historic town in between the city walls. The new town is located outside these city walls.

How to get to Chefchaouen?

Drive to Chefchaouen with your own (rental) car

According to us, the best way to discover Morocco is by renting a car. All main cities, including Chefchaouen, are easily reachable by car. We also had the impression that there were plenty of parking possibilities in Chefchaouen. We parked our car in the street of our hotel (Hotel Tarek) for free and it was only a short walk to the medina.

Another parking possibility is Parking Lahfid, a secured parking where you pay around 30 dirhams (2.8 EUR /3 USD) per night. If you book your hotel upfront, ask where the most convenient parking spot is located. Another option is to look for parking spots via Googlemaps or via Park4Night. Here you will also be able to check reviews and prices.

icon read on Read more: Our in-depth guide about renting a car and driving in Morocco

The driving distance between Chefchaouen and …

  • Tangier: 115 kilometer – 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • Fès: 200 kilometers – 3 hours and 45 minutes
  • Marrakech: 575 kilometers – 7 hours and 30 minutes
  • Rabat: 250 kilometers – 4 hours and 15 minutes
  • Casablanca: 340 kilometers – 5 hours
hand agains blue wall chefchaouen morocco
Different shades of blue everywhere in Chefchaouen in Morocco

How to get to Chefchaouen by train

Because Chefchaouen is located in the mountains, there is no direct train connection. If you want to include the train in your travel itinerary, it is best to take a train to Tangier and continue your journey to Chefchaouen from here.

How to get to Chefchaouen by bus

There are different bus connections from the main cities in Morocco to Chefchaouen. The CTM bus station is located at the bottom of Chefchaouen. Keep in mind that from the bus station, it is a steep walk to get to the medina of Chefchaouen.

Bus tickets can be bought online on the CTM website.

The bus driving distance and ticket cost for the connection between Chefchaouen and …

  • Tangier: The bus drive takes about 2 hours and 30 minutes and a ticket costs between 60 and 65 dirham (5.5-6 EUR /6-6.5 USD).
  • Fès: The bus drive takes about 4 hours and 15 minutes. A ticket costs between 110 and 120 dirham (10-11 EUR /11-12 USD).
  • Marrakech: The bus drive takes in between 10 and 16 hours and you need to change busses at least one time. A ticket costs between 170 and 330 dirham (15.5-30.5 EUR /17-33 USD).
  • Rabat: The bus drive takes approximately 8 hours and will cost you between 165 and 190 dirham (15.2-17.5 EUR /16.5-19 USD).
  • Casablanca: The bus drive takes approximately 6 hours and 15 minutes and costs 185 dirham (17 EUR /18.5 USD).
arch in blue street chefchaouen morocco
wall painting chefchaouen morocco travel guide

How to get to Chefchaouen by taxi

If you are leaving from Tangier, a shared taxi can be a great way to get to Chefchaouen. To do so, head to the central taxi location in Tangier (next to the CTM bus station). Explain you want to take a taxi to Chefchaouen. The taxi will only leave when all seats fill up. The drive will take just under two hours. The cost for a seat in the taxi is between 60 and 80 dirhams (5.5-7.4 EUR /6- USD). The main advantage is that the taxi will drop you close to the main entrance to the medina of Chefchaouen.

Take a daytrip to Chefchaouen

Another option is to take a daytrip to Chefchaouen. Daytrips to Chefchaouen are organized both from Fès and Tangier. These daytrips include both pick-up and drop-off  from your accommodation in Fès or Tangier and a visit to the blue city. This is definitely the best option if you have limited time but want to spend some of it in the blue city of Morocco.

icon book ticket Book a daytrip from Tangier to Chefchaouen

icon book ticket Book a daytrip from Fès to Chefchaouen

sleeping dogs doorway chefchaouen morocco
Chefchaouen is one of the most photogenic places in the world
traditional clothing chefchaouen morocco
around every corner, there is something new to discover

What is the best time to visit Chefchaouen?

In general, the best times to visit Chefchaouen are spring (March to May) and fall (September to November). Spring and fall are also excellent seasons if you are planning on hiking in the Rif mountains near Chefchaouen. During the summer months, the crowds visit Chefchaouen and it gets really hot. During winter months, temperatures drop substantially.

redhaired cat chefchaouen doorway
Cats are everywhere in Chefchaouen

Spring (March – May) – The spring months are great months to visit Chefchaouen. During spring, flowers start to bloom and temperatures are agreeable, ranging between 18°C (64°F) and 28°C (82°F). Early spring has a lot of gorgeous days and lots of sun.

Summer (June – September) – During the summer months, it can get really hot in Chefchaouen as temperatures can rise up to 32°C (89°F). But thanks to Chefchaouen’s location in the Rif mountains, the temperatures are still more agreeable than other cities in Morocco. If you visit Chefchaouen during summer, make sure to book your accommodation upfront, as there are more tourists and accommodation quickly fills up.

Fall (September – November) – Another great season to visit Chefchaouen is fall. Temperatures during the day are still agreeable, ranging between 17°C (62°F) and 28°C (82°F). Colors are changing from green to orange and brown. There are also less tourists compared to summer and spring months.

Winter (November – March) – As Chefchaouen is set amidst the mountains, it is no surprise that it can be rather chilly during winter, with temperatures rising between 4°C (39°F) and 18°C (64°F). Despite the temperatures, a visit to Chefchaouen during the winter months has some advantages as well. There are no crowds and the prices of accommodation tend to lower during winter. Another advantage is that you have the chance of waking up with snow covered mountain tops that surround the blue city.

The must-do’s in Chefchaouen

Get lost in the blue alleyways

The main reason to visit Chefchaouen is of course to see the blue houses and the blue alleyways. Everywhere in Chefchaouen’s medina you’ll see houses in different shades of blue. There are different theories about the reason why Chefchaouen became a blue city.

  • A first theory suggests that the people of Chefchaouen used to believe that the blue colors repel mosquitoes. Because the blue resembles water (and apparently mosquitoes don’t like to be in water), painting your house in a blue color is believed to scare the mosquitoes.
  • Another theory suggests that the people of Chefchaouen painted the houses blue because it would keep their houses cooler during the summer months.
  • A third theory refers to the color of the water, either from the mediterranean see or the water of Ras el Ma, the waterfall that provides Chefchaouen with its drinking water. The blue colors are a reminder for local people that water is life-sustaining.
  • Another theory refers to the Jewish refugees of Chefchaouen. The color blue represents in Jewish beliefs the sky. It is therefore thought that these refugees painted their houses blue.
blue street in chefchaouen in morocco
blue street chefchaouen with orange colored roof
blue street chefchaouen morocco arch
plants against blue wall chefchaouen morocco

What the exact reason is for the blue colors is still a mystery to us. But the houses and alleyways in different shades of blue are definitely good looking and very photogenic. We really enjoyed wandering around through the small streets discovering a new street or market around every corner.

Discover the history of Chefchaouen in the kasbah

Suddenly, the blue colors of Chefchaouen disappear and the city transforms into a yellow-brownish color. This means you arrived at the kasbah of Chefchaouen. This historical building, dating from 1471, lies at the heart of the medina, right next to the mosque. The kasbah had a lot of different functions during the centuries: It used to be a residence for governors, a military building and a prison.

kasbah watchtower chefchaouen morocco
The watchtower of the kasbah provides great views over Chefchaouen
kasbah chefchaouen morocco things to do
The yellow-brownish color of the kasbah

Nowadays, the kasbah is an ethnographic museum. The entrance to the kasbah costs 60 dirham (5.5 EUR /6 USD). As soon as you enter the kasbah, you step inside another world. In the middle of the kasbah, there is a peaceful garden and a pool. Take your time to explore this garden. On the opposite site of the entrance, you can find the old prison cells, that give an impression of the cruel conditions the prisoners lived in. Make sure to also climb the watchtower as the views from this tower over Chefchaouen are stunning. The old building is located on the right of the entrance and now houses the ethnographic museum.  

Check out some famous Instagram places

We already mentioned that in recent years, Chefchaouen became more and more famous because of the blue streets and houses that appeared everywhere on Instagram. We included 10 of our favorite Instagram spots on our travel map, indicated with a reddish photo icon. But just for you to know, every door, street or house in Chefchaouen is in a way very photogenic. So get creative!

el haoubi house chefchaouen morocco
The famous El Haoubi house is a popular instagram spot in Chefchaouen
matthias in blue street chefchaouen
Blue street, said to be the most blue street of Chefchaouen

Have a mint tea at one of Chefchaouen’s beautiful squares

There are two squares in Chefchaouen that we liked a lot. The first square is the Uta el Hamman square, a cobbled square in the center of the medina, surrounded by the most important buildings of Chefchaouen: the Grand Mosque and the kasbah. The square is lined with cafés and the terraces are the perfect place to watch the hustle and bustle from the city, against the backdrop of some Rif mountains. We had a mint tea at one of the terraces on the opposite of the kasbah entrance. We paid 15 dirham (1.4 EUR /1.5 USD) for a mint tea and prices for drinks and dishes were well indicated.

Another beautiful square is El Haouta square. This was definitely our favorite square as the architecture surrounding this square is so pretty. The eyecatcher of the square is the four-sided fountain, again in different shades of blue.  

uta el hammam square chefchaouen morocco grand mosque
The Grand Mosque at the Uta el Hammam square in Chefchaouen
place el haouta foursided fountain chefchaouen travel guide
The foursided fountain at El Haouta square

Hike to the Spanish mosque for a sunset or sunrise

The Spanish mosque, located on a hill above Chefchaouen, is probably one of the best viewpoints of Chefchaouen. From here, you have splendid views over the blue houses of Chefchaouen and the surrounding hills. It is an easy hike of 20 minutes from Ras el Ma to get to the Spanish Mosque. Unfortunately, we had bad weather during our time in Chefchaouen, so we didn’t see a lot of sun. It is however said that the Spanish Mosque is a stunning place to see the sunrise or sunset in Chefchaouen.

spanish mosque chefchaouen morocco
The Spanish mosque, situated at one of the hills at Chefchaouen
view spanish misque over chefchaouen matthias vaude backpack
Views from the Spanish mosque over Chefchaouen.

Go to the old washing place of the city near Ras el Ma

Ras el Ma is the place where the water of the mountains reaches the city. This place attracts many tourists and locals. The waterfall still provides the drinking water of the city. At Ras el Ma, you have beautiful views over the surrounding mountains and from here, the walking path starts to the Spanish Mosque. The place also attracts different types of vendors: from traditional hats to orange juice stalls.

waterfall ras el ma chefchaouen morocco
Where the water of the Rif mountains reaches Chefchaouen

Make sure to have a look at the old washing place. Here, the water is distributed over a basin where women came to wash clothes. Although this place is not frequently used anymore, there are still women showing this tradition.  

old washing place chefchaouen morocco ras al ma
The old washing place at Ras el Ma

Shop for souvenirs and search for the traditional oven of Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen is dotted with souvenir shops that sell different types of things: from small paintings of houses in Chefchaouen to postcards and magnets, leatherware and antiquities. Compared to other cities in Morocco, we had the impression that these vendors were agreeable and not to aggressive in their selling techniques. So take your time to explore the different shops and pick your favorite souvenir.

There are also different shops in Chefchaouen that sell Moroccan sweets of delicious bread. Make sure to bring a visit to the Rif As-Sabanin Oven, an old traditional oven in Chefchaouen that is still working.

colorful blankets in storage chefchaouen
Colorful blankets are one of the things you can buy in Chefchaouen

Where to stay in Chefchaouen?

Hotel Tarek

During our stay in Chefchaouen, we stayed at Hotel Tarek. The main reason why we choose this hotel is that it is located right outside the medina in a street where we could park our car for free. It was a short 10 minute walk to the medina. The hotel itself has a riad style, with little fountains on the patio of each floor. The rooms were simply but nicely decorated and were clean and bright. The room both had air-conditioning as a heater. We enjoyed this place a lot. They also offered an excellent breakfast and the staff was super helpful.

Check availability and rates on BOOKING.COM

hotel tarek chefchaouen morocco room
hotel tarek chefchaouen morocco patio

Dar El Rio

Dar El Rio is a stunning accommodation located near the city center of Chefchaouen, at a short distance from the Uta el Hammam square. This place has very charming rooms, that are clean and come with mountain views. The accommodation also has a stunning rooftop terrace from where you can enjoy the excellent breakfast that is included.

Check availability and rates on BOOKING.COM

hotel dar el rio chefchaouen morocco rooftop terrace
hotel dar el rio chefchaouen morocco room

Dar Bleu Main

Dar Bleu Main is located close to the most blue street of Chefchaouen, in the center of the medina. This riad offer tasteful rooms and they have a wonderful rooftop terrace where you can admire Chefchaouen from above.

Check availability and rates on BOOKING.COM

hotel dar blue main chefchaouen morroco rooftop terrace
hotel dar blue main chefchaouen morroco room

Where to eat in Chefchaouen?

Café Clock

Café Clock has a great atmosphere and feels very cozy. It is the perfect place to have dinner or lunch. We enjoyed their tajine with veal, almonds and prunes, it was so delicious. And on top of that, we were treated with some live music by local artists. They also have dishes for vegan ad vegetarian travelers.

café clock kitchen place to eat chefchaouen morocco
The kitchen at Café Clock in Chefchaouen
tajine veal almonds prunes café clock chefchaouen
Great tajine with veal, almonds and prunes

Chez Hicham

This restaurant has a lovely atmosphere and is considered as one of the best restaurants in Chefchaouen. If you are looking for chicken pastilla (chicken in pastry with almonds and cinnamon), this is definitely the best place to be.

Bab Ssour

Again a restaurant that served traditional Moroccan cuisine. From tajines with chicken and veal to tasteful vegan and vegetarian options. Definitely a must-go place if you want to have a taste of Moroccan flavors.  

Daytrips from Chefchaouen

Take a daytrip to the Talassemtane national park

Due to the bad weather, we weren’t able to squeeze in a hike. But we heard and read many good things about the Talassemtane national park. Especially the area of Akchour is famous and accessible for tourists. You can either take a hike to the Akchour waterfalls or the Bridge of God.

The Akchour waterfalls consist of one lower waterfall and a much taller one. The Bridge of God is a spectacular rock arch. If you have a rental car, the drive to the Akchour region will take 45 minutes. If you rely on public transport, your best option is to take a shared taxi. A seat will cost around 25 dirhams. Taxis leave from the main bus station in Chefchaouen.

icon hiking Check out this guided tour to the Akchour region

paint bags chefchaouen medina
Colors are everywhere!
blue door chefchaouen morocco
Even doorways are photogenic in Chefchaouen!

Is Chefchaouen worth a visit?

In our opinion, Chefchaouen is one of the most photogenic cities in the world and is a true hidden gem in Morocco. The city has a very laidback vibe and sellers are, compared to other cities in Morocco, agreeable and friendly. There are plenty of things to do, great accommodation for great prices and plenty of restaurants that provide excellent food. We had a great time here, despite the bad weather. In summary, Chefchaouen is a city that can’t be missed when traveling to Morocco!

We hope this travel guide of Chefchaouen gives you a comprehensive overview of all the reasons why you should put this blue city on your travel itinerary for Morocco. If you have any questions or recommendations, leave us a message on our social media.

Happy travels

Matthias and Mieke