Chefchaouen (Scesciàuen the exact pronunciation) is a blue pearl nestled in the middle of the Rif Mountains, part of the national park of Talassemane. A Berber village with a particular Andalusian atmosphere and a Moroccan identity: you will remain surprised!
It is one of the most beautiful cities of the North Africa and - even if the tourism has taken root in recent years - it must be said that it is not easy to arrive in Chefchaouen, so the city maintain itself out if the most touristic tour of Morocco. It is still pure and if you want to see a good example of the Moroccan beauty enjoy this city, all painted of the various shades of blue. Alleys, stairs, doors and windows: everything is blue, turquoise, and aquamarine.
If you love to take pictures you will be in the right place, every corner is perfect and the view changes completely during the day or the night.
Chefchaouen welcomes you, embraces you, emotion you. The people is warm as it is in Spain and the city seems so small but is just the characteristic of all the Moroccan cities: you will lost yourself in the tiny streets where you can’t see anything more the walls around you!
The city is full of panoramic terraces where you can have your dinner or enjoy the sunrise in front of a meant tea with Chefchaouen that changes his colors behind you.
At some time during the day, you can also listen the muezzin call (for Muslims to prayer that resounds for the city 5 times a day).) The voice comes loud and clear just from the minaret! it was too charming not to listen it concentrated!
I arrived in the city during the evening coming from Fez with a bus. It was a long road (4 hours if I remember well) but when you can see the blue of the Chefchaouen houses you will be positively surprised… Despite the tiredness I started to feel, I decided to go in the alleys of Chefchaouen, without worrying about find points of reference useful for orientation. The risk of being lost is in fact does not exist because the Medina is circular and so, if you don’t push yourself out from the city doors, you will be inevitably back to the starting point.
You will feel yourself lost walking in a peaceful atmosphere of this village where nobody (different from the other Moroccan cities) stop you to sell something or to accompany you somewhere, where all the people you meet smile even if they see you take pictures to any piece of their city.
OUT OF THE CITY
Leaving the city from the north eastern of the medina you can find some nice pools where families love to spend many hours of the day, until sunset forwarded.
Just ask to people for the waterfall and they will guide you. These waterfalls, derive from the Ras al-Ma river, and are very good to pass some hours during the sunset. In addition to local people who take a bath in the river you can enjoy an "aperitifs" from small stalls illuminated by artificial lights. From here you can walk toward the church from where you can have one of the more spectacular sunset I ever seen!
Another activity to do is a trekking in the Rif. The easiest trek to do is in the Park of Talassemtane that can be visited with daily excursions from Chefchaouen or you can do a trekking for several days, 5 shall serve for the complete tour. You will be accompanied by guides and mules for the transport of luggage and food - and spend nights in mountain huts or camping areas. Each itinerary requires approximately 4/5 hours of trekking per day.
NIGHTLIFE IN THE BLUE CITY
When the night arrives, Chefchaouen loses in color but earns in magic. Outa el-Hammam square is the best place to pass the night. Populated by candles and tables and local people, the square will be full of people that dinner, drinking a mint tea with the mosque Tarik-Ben-Ziad that stands out among all the rest. It is truly an experience not to be missed!
If you don’t want to sit in a place and stay there, you can also enjoy the street food. The shops close late, so you can eat something walking and discovering the true soul of this place stay in contact with the local people.
WHY CHEFCHAOUEN IS BLUE PAINTED?
Anyone who has been in India, knows that there is a blue city, Jodhpur in Rajasthan. The oldest suburb of the city is still today painted blue because in the past lived there the caste of the Brahmins, Indian priests. So in India the reason is religious to differentiate the upper cast to the other ones. Starting from this and understand that Morocco is a bit different I can try to explain an historical reason. Of course, there is more than a hypothesis. We can start thinking that up to the 40th the city was considered sacred to Muslims and for this, it was forbidden entry of people of other religious faith and to foreigners.
Going back in the history, since in 1471 the exiles from Andalusia- Muslims and Jews - have founded Chefchaouen, one of the most valid hypotheses is that the Jews painted the houses and streets of blue to recall the colors of what should be their paradise.
Another theory is more practical: blue would be a color that takes away flies and mosquitoes.
The various cultures of Chefchaouen today merge together in the city just like the various shades of blue: the Berbers, Muslims and Jews-Andalusians.
If you will come to Morocco, please pass some days in this beautiful blue paradise, it really worth to spend your time here!