Feeling Blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

It’s been several months since my trip to Morocco with Intrepid Travel, and in flipping through my pictures, I’ve realized some of the destinations have fused to become one in my mind. I can’t quite recall – was it in Fez or Marrakech where I saw that amazing leather bag in the medina? Where did we eat that camel burger? Did we even go to Rabat or did I imagine that stop?

I never have a problem remembering the specifics of Chefchaouen though. It’s a city with a look and feel all its own, and its distinctive vibe has stuck with me all these months.

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Friendly and pleasant, Chefchaouen (chef – sh – ow – en) is an attractive introduction to the Morocco outside the hustle and bustle of Casablanca, Fez, Rabat and Marrakech. It’s a city of 40,000, but it feels intimate  and manageable inside the medina’s maze.

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Inland from Tangier and Tetouan and situated in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is a photographer’s dream. It was founded in 1471 as a fortress to protect against Portuguese invasions. Of course those in power switched back and forth numerous times, so today’s Chefchaouen is a mix of Arabic, French and Spanish influences.

Today, you’ll hear more “hola” than “bonjour,” a contrast to many of the other cities we visited on our Morocco Experience.

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

So what makes Chefchaouen so memorable?

Painted blue by Jewish refugees in the 1930s, Chef must be the bluest city in the whole world. A sapphire city, if ever there was one.

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Windows and doors are rinsed in every shade of aqua, azure, cerulean, indigo and periwinkle.

I suspect if 10 people visited & photographed Chefchaouen, you’d probably see different doors in each set of pictures.

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Chefchaouen’s medina is really the main attraction for visitors. While it is busy during the day, it should be noted that it’s a much less hectic place to shop and wander than the medinas in Fez, Marrakech, etc. Prices are probably more negotiable in the larger cities, but Chef is just so much more pleasant overall.

And shop you must! If you’re a good haggler, you may find yourself loaded down with carpets, leather, wool, spices and jewelry.

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Snapping hundreds of pictures will likely seduce you into losing a sense of time and place, but don’t forget to stop for some mint tea or nos-nos (half milk/half coffee), a tajine and some harira for lunch.

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

If you’re planning a trip to Morocco, don’t skip Chefchaouen. It’s altogether worth the trek. The people are lovely, the photos come out strikingly colorful and the handicrafts wooed even this non-shopper. I was so in love with the colors of Chefchaouen, it inspired my design style in my apartment!

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco
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Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Feeling blue in Chefchaouen, Morocco

What do you think? Will there be a trip to Chefchaouen in your future?

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  • June 03, 2013

    Dang! I regret I didn’t visit this city while visiting Morocco. So pretty in blue πŸ™‚

    • July 08, 2013

      You’ll just have to go back!

  • June 03, 2013

    Envy :-)…

    And just to let you know: our auto-discovery has found your blog and added it to our site.

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    Of course, this also means additional exposure for you as content owner. Furthermore, we run select travelogs through our hourly twitter stream. There’s no catch. But we would appreciate a cross-link:
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    • July 08, 2013

      Thanks, John! Glad you enjoyed the pics!

  • June 04, 2013
    Savannah Grace

    It’s really beautiful there. I remember walking up to see the view and all those giant aloe Vera plants or whatever they were!

    • July 08, 2013

      They certainly looked like aloe to me!

  • June 04, 2013

    Chefchaouen was not only my favorite city in Morocco, but one of best I’ve ever visited. It’s a must-see in my mind. It’s a city in which its individual personality is palpable. I’ll be teaching English in southern Spain this next year and am hoping to visit Morocco and Chefchaouen again.

    • June 10, 2013

      Mike – How long does it take to travel from Spain to Chefchaouen and what was your mode of transportation?

    • July 08, 2013

      I’m jealous! Would love to spend more time in Chechaouen, though I think the world has probably seen enough of my blue door photography!

  • June 10, 2013

    What a beautiful post! I’m obsessed with blue doors. My naivety once led me to believe they were all located in Greece, but after much research, I learned they are quite popular in northern African and some parts of Eastern Europe. If blue paint wards off evil spirits, I’m all for it. Plus, like you said, it sure is pretty!!

    I have to ask – was the trip to Morocco made from Europe or Africa? I don’t have any African travels planned, but if it’s easy to jump from Europe – I’d LOVE TO visit Chefchaouen!

    • July 08, 2013

      Hey Morgan! I flew from Madrid to Casablanca to meet my Intrepid group, and then we made our way around Morocco where I ultimately ended up in Marrakech.

  • June 12, 2013

    Angie! Once again you have added a new spot to my bucket list! These photographs are amazing, and you look so chic in the one you are in!

    • July 08, 2013

      Chic! I’ll take it! Let me know when you go, I could be up for a return trip!

  • June 13, 2013

    I love Morocco so much. Sadly I didn’t have the time to visit Chefchaouen when I was there. Your photos look stunning though-I’d love to go!

    • July 08, 2013

      Sounds like you need to go back for another visit!

  • June 21, 2013

    I’ve had Morocco on my mind and really want to visit this year. These gorgeous photos are only spurring my wanderlust for Morocco even more!

    • July 08, 2013

      I hope you make it there this year!

  • June 22, 2013

    Without a doubt, this was my favorite place we went in Morocco.

    • July 08, 2013

      Could not agree more. As challenging as the trip was in spots, Chefchaouen was a real oasis of rest. Even if our room was FREEEEEEZING!

  • May 10, 2016

    Some cites have unique theme like all home should in blue color it’s looking amazing morocco jaipur in india which is know as a pink city

  • October 13, 2016

    This is one of the best article ive read about Morocco, thank you so much for sharing it.

  • August 18, 2018

    Really beautiful pictures !! thanks for sharing your experience in Morocco with us