Morocco’s blue city: what to see and how to get to Chefchaouen

Morocco’s blue city: what to see and how to get to Chefchaouen

Impossible to go to Morocco and not stop in the stunning Blue City: Chefchaouen is a little gem that leaves everyone speechless.

A gem in every sense of the word: the blue city is in the heart of the Rif mountains in northern Morocco, and getting there is not easy. It’s about a 3-hour drive from Fes – mountainous – but when you turn the corner and your eyes first see the blue and azure city in the distance, every effort pays off. Walking through the streets of the medina even for a day is fascinating and evocative: impossible to identify all the shades of blue that seem to come out of a fairy tale.

If Chefchaouen is on your bucket list, then we give you some advice on how to get there and what to see and once you arrive. But let’s start with the first question: why is the blue city … blue?

Why is the blue city blue?

The question that plagues a little of everyone is: why blue? We are sorry to tell you that there is no certain answer, only a few guesses. In fact, Chefchaouen was not always blue: in fact, until the 1930s it simply had its doors painted green as per Muslim tradition. Then the drastic change.

If you read any travel guidebook, you will find it written that the color blue keeps insects away, so that explains why it was chosen. Others, however, claim that it was the Jews who painted everything blue, to make the city look like Heaven. Maybe the idea was actually to increase tourism and it was just a nice marketing stunt, who knows! The fact is that we are all very happy with this choice because the Blue City of Morocco is an incredible place!

What to see in the blue city: the medina

The Blue City is not particularly large, and it is the medina (the old town) that attracts all the tourists and travelers who pass through. It is not so difficult to find your way around: unlike the medinas of other Moroccan cities, which are real labyrinths, walking through the streets of Chefchaouen is very easy. The place to which one more or less always returns is Uta El Hammam, the main square, where there are several restaurants and souvenir stores.

Really the only thing to do in Morocco’s Blue City is to get lost in its streets, because the real beauty is hidden around every new corner. The details are what make this place unique, so wander around with your eyes wide open: colorful vases, flowers, and snoozing cats are the little things that will enrich your stay. If you are looking for a particular glimpse, don’t be afraid to ask the locals, who will be happy to show you where it is.

In the medina you can also do some shopping: in fact, along the narrow streets, there are many artisans’ stores, where you can buy carpets or colorful ceramics.

What to see in the blue city: the kasbah

Also in the Blue City, we find the classic kasbah, the fortified citadel. It is located near the main square and the cost to enter is really low – about 1 euro. You can visit the fortress and the art gallery inside the site, as well as have access to the gardens. We recommend climbing the main tower, from which you can get a unique view of the city. In short: if you have time on your hands, it is a must-see!

What to see in the blue city: the Spanish mosque

As you leave the northeastern gate of the medina and follow the signs that lead you to a path (uphill, we warn you!) you will arrive at one of the most incredible viewpoints in Chefchaouen. Here you will find the Spanish mosque towering over the city: come there at sunset, surely the most impressive time, for incredible views. You will not be disappointed and the effort to get here will definitely pay off!

How to get to Morocco’s Blue City and how long to stop

The Blue City is quite out of the way compared to all other Moroccan cities, but don’t be discouraged! Getting here is not as difficult as it may seem, either by your own means or by public transportation.

By your own means

If you have a rental car of course getting to Chefchaouen is no problem. The drive is a bit long-from Rabat it is about 4 hours, from Fes about 3 hours, from Tangier just over 2 hours-but still absolutely worth it. The only worry you will have is to find parking just outside the medina to enjoy the city!

By public transportation

If you don’t plan to rent a car but don’t want to miss the blue city, don’t worry. There are public buses that are more than efficient and definitely inexpensive. The only “downside” is that of course, the travel time gets a bit longer-no big deal, you can invest in something else, like finding out what to see once you get there!

From Tangier

By bus from Tangier, the travel time is about 3 hours. The company most frequently used by travelers is CTM, which offers only one direct trip per day that costs 5 euros. You can buy tickets online or at your destination. If you are already sure about the date you are going to Chefchaouen, we recommend buying tickets in advance. Alternatively, there are also companies used by locals, with more frequent departures and a lower cost (about 4 euros).

From Fes

Departing from Fes the travel time is longer-about 4 1/2 hours including stops. Again the most commonly used company is CTM, with 3 trips per day at a cost of 8 euros. Tickets again can be purchased online or at the destination.

By “shared cab”

As a last resort, you can take advantage of “shared cabs,” which work a bit like a blablacar. These are private cars that pick up tourists and take them to the blue city at a cost that varies depending on the number of people present and the comfort of the car. In general, it should be no more than 15 euros. To find these cabs try asking directly at the front desk of the property where you are staying, otherwise, you can also find them at bus stations, lurking in search of stranded tourists. Definitely, an expensive but nice alternative-it’s a chance to chat with a local!

How long to stop at the blue city?

As we have already mentioned, Chefchaouen is not very big, so if you have a short travel time, you can easily visit it in one day. However, if you are not in a big hurry and want to enjoy the blue city in peace, we recommend that you stay for at least one night. That way you can stroll through the streets of the medina in the late afternoon without too much confusion. In fact, tourists visiting the city during the day will have returned to the buses to make their way back, and you will have the city to yourself.

book your tour in Sahara Marrakech

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>