Chefchaouen is blue with all of its heart. This charming mountain town with its blue-painted houses is like no other Moroccan city. There’s no noise, no rush. And even though it can get crowded with tourists, it has a feel of serenity. Spending one day in Chefchaouen, although it doesn’t seem much, is a perfect amount of time to unwind and enjoy its enchanting beauty and laid back atmosphere.
What’s the best time to visit Chefchaouen?
Chefchaouen is like the rest of Morocco, a year-round destination. Due to its location in the mountains, the temperatures never go too high in summer, but they are also rarely below 10°C in the winter, which makes this a great destination to travel in all seasons. Still, winter days can be rainy, so it’s better to stick to the warmer months.
a Few facts about Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen, a city in northwest Morocco, was founded in 1471 as a small kasbah (fortress) by Moulay Ali ibn Rashid al-Alami. In medieval times, many Moorish and Jewish people settled here to escape the Reconquista of Spain. The story says the Jews painted their houses blue when they took refuge from Hitler’s army. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Spanish seized the town to form a part of Spanish Morocco, but returned the city after Morocco declared independence in 1956. Nowadays, the city is a popular tourist destination, famous for its native handicrafts, such as wool garments, woven blankets and their goat cheese.
One Day in Chefchaouen Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Chefchaouen.
Start your day at Plaza Uta el-Hammam
At the very heart of Medina, you’ll find Plaza Uta el-Hammam. It’s a charming square lined with cafes and restaurants and the meeting point for both locals and tourists. The square is a great place to start your Chefchaouen tour since both the Kasbah (fortress) and the Grande Mosque are located along it. Unfortunately, the mosque is open only to Muslims, so tourist tours are not allowed inside. However, you can still check its exterior and the beautiful octagonal tower.
Visit the Kasbah fortress
Located on Plaza Uta el-Hammam, Kasbah is a perfect place to continue your tour. The fortress features a lovely garden, a small Ethnographic Museum with a few artifacts and a small art gallery. The best artifact is, however, the restored Kasbah itself. Make sure to climb the Kasbah tower for the stunning 360° view over the Medina.
Stroll the Medina
Medina in Chefchaouen is surely one of the most picturesque places on Earth. Winding paths, the fusion of Arab and Spanish influences in architecture and all the shades of blue you can imagine make wandering this Moroccan old town a real delight. There are many great photo opportunities, and the more you explore, the more beautiful it gets.
Have some tasty lunch
There are many good restaurants in Medina, some of them offering dishes you can’t find anywhere else in Morocco. Try chicken lemon tajine with olives in the Assaada restaurant and order their Moroccan salad as a side dish. It’s really a good one. If you want to enjoy some nice views of the majestic mountains in the background, have lunch at the beautiful terrace of the Aladin restaurant. They have an amazing Harira soup and Greek salad.
Buy some traditional souvenirs
Souvenir shopping in Chefchaouen is much more relaxed than in other touristy cities like Marrakesh and Fes. The merchants are less pushy and they usually have a fixed price on products, which is great if you don’t know how to haggle. If you’re into buying woven rugs or blankets, Chefchaouen is a place to shop.
Watch the sunset from the Spanish Mosque viewpoint
Hiking up to the Spanish Mosque is a great way to unwind, breathe in some fresh air and do some exercise. And once you’re, there it will all be worth the climb since the view is breathtaking. Make sure to arrive slightly before the sunset to catch the perfect spot. Besides the view, visit the newly restored Spanish Mosque that dates back to 1920s. In case you find the climb exhausting, you don’t need to go all the way to the top, since there are nice viewpoints along the way.
Have the best dinner in town
One thing’s for sure – Restaurant Beldi Bab Ssour is the most popular restaurant in town and also one of the cheapest. Enjoy your dinner in a traditional and cozy Moroccan ambient, at times super crowded. Don’t miss their Shrimp tajine – it’s a real delight. Also, make sure to book your table earlier in the day.
Where to stay in Chefchaouen?
Av Ibn Askar Sebbanine, 91000 Chefchaouene
Hôtel Koutoubia is a nicely decorated hotel in Moroccan style, located in the heart of the Medina of Chefchaouen. Rooms are decorated in blue tones and traditional Moroccan furnishing. Guests can relax on the top terrace lounge and enjoy a stunning view of the city and mountains.
Extra tips for visiting Chefchaouen
– Weather in Chefchaouen is way cooler than Marrakesh and Fes weather, especially at night. Make sure to bring some warm wardrobe and some comfy shoes for the eventual hike.
– Due to the limited capacities, make sure to book your accommodation at least a few weeks in advance, otherwise you could be left without a bed to sleep.
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Anca is a travel writer and the founder of One Day Itinerary - the biggest collection of travel itineraries for those who are time-limited or just want to maximize their time while traveling. Although she easily becomes homesick for Croatia, she thinks travel is essential to her happiness. She has traveled to more countries than she is years old and doesn’t plan on changing that fact. In her travel guides she aims to inspire people to travel whenever they have a spare day (or two).