Pretty town, beautiful mountain scenery
it can be/it is very touristy - but there are watchful and active tourist police here. The nights are freezing here in winter!! Make sure you book a warm room!
Good way to start Morocco
If you have the energy (and enough water) to continue, the viewing platform is the start of many day hikes into the mountains behind Chefchaouen. The track winds up the hillside before evening out and following the valley up to a small village a couple of kilometres away. From there, the main path takes you up to the top of the valley and to...more
It would be a shame to come to Chefchaouen and spend all your time in the medina's narrow streets, completely ignoring the Rif Mountains surrounding the town. Even if you don't like hiking, or don't have time for a long expedition, you can still escape the town and climb up to a viewing platform just inside the Talassemtane National Park for...more
Ras el Ma (literally "Head of the water") is where a stream appears from the rocks and cascades down below the lower walls of the medina. At one point, there are a couple of mills over the stream, which is a popular place to come in the late afternoon. I don't have any good photos, as I was in a bit of a rush to get up to the Spanish mosque in...more
On the hill opposite the medina, and very visible from many vantage points around town, is a little white structure that looks very much like a church. My guidebook claimed it was a ruined Spanish mosque, but it would appear it has been renovated and whitewashed, and is now a working mosque, albeit a locked one. There are two ways to climb up here....more
Chefchaouen is well known in Morocco and abroad for its narrow alleys with houses painted a deep shade of blue, and it is well worth spending a couple of hours getting lost, quite an easy thing to do. As well as being a maze of streets typical of a Moroccan medina, Chefchaouen is set on a steep slope, so that adds another dimension to it...just...more
Built by Moulay Ismail many moons ago, Chefchaouen's kasbah is nowadays a small museum, worth visiting for the building and its gardens more than for the exhibits. Aside from some old black and white photographs showing locals in traditional clothes and the plaza before the souvenir stalls and restaurants invaded, the rest of the exhibits are the...more
Avda. Hassan II 68, Bab el Souk, Chefchaouen, 91000, Morocco
Good for: Business
Ras El Ma, Chefchaouen, 19270, Morocco
Good for: Business
Route Nationale 2 to Al Hoceima, Chefchaouen, Morocco
Good for: Families
Bar Oumou Rabie is one of only three outlets which serve alcohol in Chefchaouen, it's also a restaurant and the food is actually very good, but the alcohol is expensive in relation to prices charged in other regions of Morocco, a small 25cl bottle of Flag beer is Dh23, a bottle of wine is Dh150, the label variety of beer and wine is abysmal...........more
The owner's son of our hotel took us to this restaurant which is on the road leading down from the Parador hotel. It was nicely decorated and the food was OK although I don't recommend the Chefchouen couscous which was a bit bland and sparse on ingredients (couscous,onions, cinnamon and milk which you can add in!). It seemed clean enough and we...more
The parador Hotel (which is not a real Spanish parador) is situated just off the Plaza with the Kasbah and the Mosque. This is the only place in town you will find beer or alcohol.
It is 2 euros (20 dm) for a little bottle of Flag Special or 2.50 € (25dm) for a little Heineken.
You will find the bar full of desperate beer loving westeners!!!! Like L was (embarrassed face). Could be a good way to meet travel partners.
You don't have to be a guest to enter.
A CTM bus leaves Fes daily at around 11.00 for Tangier via Chefchaouen, takes about 3 1/2 hours and costs 70dh, plus a small baggage fee. The bus can be quite full so it's advisable to book ahead. In Fes, arrive at least half an hour early and make sure that you hand your large baggage in at the check-in desk.Getting out of Chaouen, CTM buses leave...more
CTM have 1 bus departing for Al-hoceima from the CTM office on Ave Mohammed VJourney time is 6 hours.Tickets are around 65 dirhams plus 5 dirhams for luggage.Please use prices as a guide only.Book at least 1-2 days in advance as all buses start there journeys elsewhere.This bus trip is very scenic, so have a window seat and enjoy the trip.more
CTM have 1 bus departing for Nador from the CTM office on Ave Mohammed VJourney time is 9 hours.Tickets are around 100 dirhams plus 5 dirhams for luggage.Please use prices as a guide only.Book at least 1-2 days in advance as all buses start there journeys elsewhere.This bus trip is a very scenic, so have a window seat and enjoy the trip.more
There are countless shops in Chefchaouen's ancient Medina selling a wide variety of desirable souvenirs, a few hours walking around the narrow streets will reveal local handcrafts for sale.
What to buy: The most common items are locally produced by villagers in the surrounding mountains, these can be Kaftans (wool jackets) djelabas (full length gowns) small rugs or carpets, blankets, ceramic pottery, antique silver jewellery, lampshades, ornamental plates and the distinctive Rif womans red and white striped skirts, the list is endless and can only be discovered by a Medina walkabout!
What to pay: As in other parts of Morocco, everything is negotiable, depending on the traveller's haggling skills, nobody ever expects to pay the first price stated, that is just a starting point!
The bargaining process in Chefchaouen is more relaxed and less stressful than in other Moroccan cities, many travellers prefer to wait until arriving in the Rif locality before buying their gifts and souvenirs.
Chaouen is supposed to based on the small white town Vejer de la Frontera in Cadiz, Andalucia, Spain where many of the inhabitants ancestors of Chaouen were banished when they were expelled from Spain.I always said that Vejer was the white town that reminded me most of Morocco and now I know why! These days Vejer and Chaouen are sister towns. One...more
Due to the fact that until the 1920's the people here spoke a strand of medieval Spanish some words are still strangely Hispanic. I can't remember exactly but words such as jersey or camiseta have their Moroccan equivalent which was explained to me by a local. May be this explains why when I was dozing off on the bus on the way here I thought I...more
In Spain they still use a pretty antiquated system of gas, where little orange bottles of gas are delivered to your door on a small van. When the bottle runs out, you order a new one. Well to my delight, here it is exactly the same system, only that the bottles are a little smaller, vary in colour and are delivered on a DONKEY!!! It really was like...more
Recently, on my way back to my hotel along Avenue Sidi Abdelhamid, I had to pass close to Bab el Souk where on several occasions I was approached by some local junkie types wanting to catch my attention and sell me drugs to finance their heroin habit. I normally just ignored them and walked on, whereupon they would start swearing at me, from a safe...more
This month, on my evening stroll up to the bar at Hotel Chaouen Atlas, I was appalled at the condition of the road and pavements, this road Calle Sidi Abdelhamid is the only paved access road to the Azilan camping site and the Hotel Atlas and Alcazar night club, one large section of tarmac had subsided and pavements were in a similar damaged...more
This guy is very clever. I am a fairly cynical person, having told my mother off for trusting the kindness of strangers. And then I fell off my high horse.Abdul El Kholtei of Chez Abdul Carpets appeared to be a friendly carpet merchant with an amusingly effective sales technique. I happily bought two small carpets from him because I liked this...more
The town if full of Moroccan junkies. Chaouen if the only region in the whole coutry where you have to be extra careful. Lots of people actually got their things robbed and news that some even kidnapped and never appeared. Lots of tourists are irresponsable enough to let be walked to the mountains to same "new moroccan friend which has his own private marijuana plantation" after they get their things stolen and I should say that in this case, they were just asking for it. Its normal to draw tourist to a friendly atmosphere, drink some tea and smoke some haxixe and then in the great time with smoking, bye bye backpack bye bye money!
Luggage and bags:
A small rucksack that you can carry on your back. None of those wheelie things due to bad pavement conditions and hills.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: You don't have to dress as conservatively as you may think. If you are a woman you don't have to cover your ankles etc.. but it is best if you don't wear short skirts or low cut tops. You MUST, however bring good walking shoes, best if they are not open toed due to the dirty streets. NO HEELS!!!!! There are lots on bumpy cobbled streets .
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: IMODIUM or some other tablets to shop you having a runny tummy are ESSENTIAL!!!!! Especially if planning long bus trips.
Bring your own hand-soap and it is a great plan to carry water with you or baby wipes for hand washing (the toilet at the bus stop had NO running water).
Toilet paper as there is none, but don't throw it down the holes after as you will probably damage the plumbing system. Deposit in the bins often provided.
Photo Equipment: Maybe a filter is a good idea in the summer to cut down on the sharp glaring sunlight of midday, otherwise your photos may come out over exposed.
Miscellaneous: A guide book with a good map is a great idea as there are no tourist information points there! An Arabic or French dictionary may also come in handy as not everyone speaks English or Spanish.
A walk in the mountains surrounding Chefchaouen can be very interesting to discover how the local people go about their daily routine in this primitive region of Morocco. Small isolated houses are situated at the sides of the "pistes", (unsurfaced single-track roads carved out of the rocky mountainsides.) daily routine consists of the women gathering feed for livestock, supervising their animals and baking "Hoabs" flat bread loaves, the men working in the mountain plantations, preparing the soil for sowing Kif seeds and growing herbs and vegetables, for sale in the Medina.
This way of life has hardly changed in centuries, except transport has now been modernised in the shape of four-wheel drive pick up trucks and mini buses, instead of carts pulled by mules, which are now only used to transport steel gas bottles for cooking, through the narrow Medina streets, which are unsuitable for motor vehicles.
During the long dark winter evenings the weather can be harsh, freezing cold, and the mountains swept by torrential rain, this encourages the local mountain people to stay indoors and occupy their rest time constructively by weaving rugs, small carpets, knitting wool garments as protection from the cold, woodcarvings and anything else which might be sold to the tourist shops in the Medina to earn a small income.
A walk in the mountain reveals a different lifestye from a comfortable European one!