Africa

Chefchaouen: A Photo Essay

Chefcahouen is a city in northwest Morocco and probably one of the most picturesque towns in the country. What makes it so beautiful? It’s known as the Blue City or Blue Pearl because all the building are painted brightly in blue.

There are a few theories on why the walls wear the colour blue, one is that it keeps the mosquitos away and the other is that the Jewish introduced it when they took refuge from Hitler in the 30s. Blue symbolizes the sky and heaven, and serves as a reminder to lead a spiritual life.

Chefchaouen was my favourite place I visited on my two weeks in Morocco because it was part of the reason I went to Morocco in the first place. The city looked absolutely stunning and I needed to go to wander the streets, and photograph it.

On our first day there, I couldn’t wait to get out of my hotel and go explore. You can seriously roam and get lost amongst the many blue alleyways for hours, even days. The town is easy to walk around and you never know what hides around each corner. Gorgeous doorways, pretty archways, and the friendliest boutiques selling local handicrafts.

One thing I loved about shopping here was that it was much less aggressive. The markets in Morocco can be overwhelming, especially in the larger cities. Shopping in Chefchaouen however was much more laid back, I found the shop owners just friendly and genuinely into chatting with you versus just trying to shove what they were selling down your throat! This made exploring the streets and shops way more enjoyable.

One shop I found myself in was La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin (photographed above) which was two stories of locally made skincare products like these beautiful natural soaps that you can buy by weight. The smells in here were fantastic and I must’ve been in there for an hour looking around. The perfect spot to bring gifts home from for your loved ones.

You also don’t need to go far to find cats galore. They roam the street and wait outside the blue painted doors for the locals to feed them. Don’t be surprised if you’re sitting at a table and you feel something at your feet. Cats are popular pets in Morocco because locals view dogs as being unhygienic, and since cats are considered “clean”, Muslims can pray without washing after petting one.

One of my tips is to wake up early if you want to get photos of the Blue City without many people in them. Shops usually open around 9:30-10:30am so head out earlier in the morning to get shots like some of the ones in this blog post.

Another must-do in Chefchaouen is to hike to the Spanish Mosque to see the amazing panoramic view of the city. The hike is very easy and only about 15-20 minutes each way. The mosque itself isn’t that exciting but the view is incredible.

Chefchaouen is skipped on lots of Morocco itineraries because it’s not usually in the direction that most people are heading, especially when they are on limited time. It’s more common to find yourself in the Sahara Desert, Fes or Marrakech, but finding time to add this magical town on your itinerary is definitely something you won’t regret.

Pin the below picture for travel inspiration for later!

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