One day in Chefchaouen

One day in Chefchaouen: How to plan your trip

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Want to spend a day in Chefchaouen, Morocco?

Chefchaouen (or shortly Chaouen) is Morocco’s famous blue city that’s become popular because of social media. The city is painted in blue hues which create a striking aesthetic that has made it a popular place for tourists and photographers.

Nestled in the Rif Mountains in northwestern Morocco, Chefchaouen boasts stunning natural scenery. “The Blue Pearl of Morocco” is a perfect starting point for exploring the surrounding mountains, hiking in the nearby Talassemtane National Park, or taking in the picturesque views of the countryside.

So, if you are planning a day trip to Chefchaouen, keep reading! 

One day in Chefchaouen

Why Is Chefchaouen Blue?

There are a few theories as to why Chefchaouen is blue. The most common theory says that it was to keep mosquitoes away, but another one says that blue has a cooling effect which helps to keep buildings more livable under the Morocco sun. 

  • Repelling Insects: Some believe that the blue color was initially used as a means to repel mosquitoes and other insects. The blue pigment, traditionally made from lime and natural indigo, is said to have insect-repelling properties.
  • Cultural Tradition: Others suggest that the tradition of painting buildings blue was brought to Chefchaouen by Jewish refugees who settled in the city in the 15th century. Blue holds significance in Judaism, representing the sky and reminding people of God’s power.
  • Symbolism of the blue color: In many cultures, blue symbolizes spirituality and serenity. Painting the city blue may have been a way to create a peaceful atmosphere and promote meditation and introspection among locals.
  • Cooling effect: Blue is known to have a cooling effect on buildings under the scorching sun. In the hot climate of Morocco, painting buildings blue could help keep temperatures lower indoors.

Over time, as the city gained fame for its blue architecture, the aesthetic appeal of the blue-washed buildings became a tourist attraction. This led to the continued use of the blue color in new construction and renovations to maintain the city’s unique charm. While the number of blue buildings in Chefchaoen has been much smaller initially, now the tenure town is painted in blue. 

Where is Chefchaouen?

Chefchaouen is located in the Rif Mountains, in the northwest region of Morocco. It’s situated approximately 110 kilometers (68 miles) southeast of Tangier and about 210 kilometers (130 miles) northeast of Fez.

Chefchaouen map

Best things to do in Chefchaouen in one day:

While Chefachouen is one of the most remarkable destinations in Morocco, it doesn’t have famous mosques or historic landmarks that should be on your bucket list. The best way to explore Chefchaouen is to simply wander its colorful streets with the camera in your hand. 

1. Explore the Medina

Start your visit by walking through the maze of narrow, winding streets of the old town (Medina) to discover its spectacular blue buildings, adorned with colorful doors and wrought-iron windows. As walk around, you spot many adorable cats roaming around.

Don’t forget to bring your camera, as there are countless photo opportunities at every turn. I loved photographing the beautiful doors of Chefchaouen. 

2. Shop for artisan crafts

The city is known for its vibrant artisan scene, with many shops and markets selling traditional Moroccan crafts, including textiles, ceramics, and hand-drawn Moroccan carpets and jewelry, among other things. 

Always have cash on you, as credit cards are generally not accepted by street vendors in Chefchaouen, like in the rest of Morocco. 

Don’t forget to haggle for the best prices!

Haggling is part of the Moroccan culture, and vendors typically can lower the price by at least by few dozen Moroccan dirhams. 

Tip for shopping at Moroccan markets

If you don’t like the price, don’t be afraid to walk away, but when you do, don’t be surprised if the Moroccan vendor calls you with a lower price, as they will try to sell their goods by all means, once they see that you are interested. 

Unlike souks in Fez or Marrakech, these souks are relatively small and easy to get around. 

3. Visit the Kasbah

Explore the historic Kasbah of Chefchaouen, which dates back to the 15th century. Inside, you’ll find a small ethnographic museum showcasing local artifacts and traditional Moroccan crafts. I will be honest with you, I didn’t go inside the Kasbah museum, because I only had a day Chefchaouen, but the entrance costs only 60 Moroccan Dirham (about 6 USD).

If you don’t want to visit the Museum, you can also visit the garden and climb the tower for panoramic vistas. 

4. Visit Chefchaouen souks

Another popular place for shopping in Chefchaouen are souks which can be found outside of the medina. Here you can find plenty of handcrafts as well as fresh produce. It’s a less touristy experience because here you can find many locals shopping, so expect prices to be a bit lower than in Medina. 

It’s an incredible cultural experience that’s not to be missed when you are in Morocco. 

5. Relax at Plaza Uta El-Hammam

Spend some time people-watching and soaking up the lively atmosphere in Plaza Uta el-Hammam, the main square of Chefchaouen. You can grab a seat at one of the cafes, sip on mint tea, and enjoy the view of the nearby Kasbah, a fortress that was carefully resorted in the 17th century and is home to a museum and a garden. The rooftop of the Kasbah also offers a nice overlook of the city.

6. Visit the Ras El Ma Waterfall

Visiting the waterfall is a perfect way to escape the afternoon heat. Take a short hike to the Ras El Ma Waterfall, just outside of Chefchaouen. It’s a tranquil spot where you can relax by the cascading water and enjoy a picnic surrounded by nature.

You can also catch a taxi in Chefchaouen to Au Pont de Dieu (the Bridge of God), an natural rock arch about 30 minutes from the city.

7. Or hike up to the Spanish Mosque 

One of the highlights of Chefchaouen is a Spanish mosque that sits atop the hill overlooking the city and offers incredible panoramic views of Chefchaouen and the surrounding mountains.

It’s a perfect sunset-watching spot when you can see the city light up with many lights. The trail to the Spanish mosque is at the east end and you will have to cross over a little bridge and begin your walk toward the mosque, which should take no more than 30 minutes.

8. Try Moroccan Cuisine

 Sample traditional Moroccan cuisine at one of the many restaurants and cafes in Chefchaouen. Don’t miss out on trying local specialties like tagine, couscous, and pastilla.

Best food tours of Chefchaouen

9. Join a Guided Tour

Consider joining a guided tour of Chefchaouen to learn more about its history, culture, and architecture from knowledgeable local guides. You can easily find guided tours online ahead of your visit, so by the time you arrive, you already will have a guide waiting for you.

Best guided tour of Chefchaouen

10. Hire a professional photographer to take your photos

If you’re a photography enthusiast, Chefchaouen offers endless opportunities for capturing stunning images of its blue-washed buildings against the backdrop of the mountains. 

Don’t have your camera?

You can book a photography tour or Chefchaouen with a local photographer who will take you photos in the most photogenic spots around town.

Best photo tours of Chefchaouen

2 days in Chefchaouen itinerary

Two days in Chefchoauen are perfect if you want to explore the mountains surrounding the city and spend some time in nature. It’s a perfect opportunity to take a break from the heat and enjoy some of the most stunning scenery in Northern Morocco. 

Akchour Falls 

If you have more than a day in Chefchaoen, visit Akchour Falls, a scenic waterfall that can be visited by a 45-minute taxi ride or guided tour. Hiring a private taxi works best if you can split it with several people, and if you are by yourself, you will have to pay the full price.

You can find taxis all over Chefchaouen, but you will need to haggle, as they will want to give you tourist prices. Expect to pay about 180-200 Dirhams for your taxi to Akchour Falls. 

Multiple guided tours include trekking in the mountains and ending with a visit to the falls. The area has smaller falls and bigger falls, which take about 2 hours to reach after you begin your hike. 

Best guided tours of Akchour Falls

2 days trekking from Chefchaouen to Akchour

One of the most fun adventures from Chefchaouen is a 2 day trekking tour to Akchour accompanies by a private guide which will allow you to see Moroccan villages and spend time in nature, as you walk through forest and get a chance to see the amazing flora and fauna.

The tour also includes an overnight stay at a local guesthouse where you can learn about Moroccan culture and customs from the locals.


One day in Chefchaouen: FAQ’s

One day in Chefchaouen

Is one day in Chefchaouen enough?

One day is enough to see the highlights of Chefchaouen. Take a stroll through the city to explore the main highlights of the city, such as wandering through the blue-washed medina, visiting the Kasbah Museum, and enjoying panoramic views from the Spanish Mosque.

Can you do a day trip to Chefchaouen?

Many tourists visit Chefchaouen on a day trip, and you can easily explore the main highlights of the city. 

How much time do you need in Chefchaouen?

If all you want to do in Chefchouen is just to see the city, a day is enough. But if you want to hike in the mountains and see natural areas,

Is Chefchaouen Morocco worth visiting?

Chefchaouen is one of the most amazing cities in Morocco. The calming effect of the blue hues is captivating and offers a unique backdrop for exploration and relaxation. Chefchaouen offers a glimpse into Moroccan culture and traditions, particularly in the bustling medina where you can interact with locals, sample authentic cuisine, and browse handicrafts and souvenirs.

How to get to Chefchaouen:

Chefchaouen is a remote town in northern Morocco, and reaching it requires time and effort. Chefchaouen is more than 3 hours from Fez and more than two hours from Tangier, a major port city on the northern coast of Morocco. 

By air

The nearest major international airport to Chefchaouen is Tangier Ibn Battouta Airport (TNG). From there, you can take a taxi or shuttle to Tangier city center, and then continue your journey to Chefchaouen by bus or shared taxi.

By Train

Morocco’s train network connects major cities like Tangier, Fez, Rabat, and Casablanca. While there’s no direct train to Chefchaouen, you can take a train to Tangier or Fez and then proceed to Chefchaouen by bus or taxi.

By Bus

Several bus companies operate routes to Chefchaouen from cities like Tangier, Fez, and Casablanca. CTM and Supratours are two major bus companies in Morocco. Buses typically depart from the main bus stations in each city and take around 2-4 hours, depending on the distance.

Note that while CTM buses are the cheapest way of transportation, they also tend to be the slowest. During the busy season, it’s not uncommon for tickets to get sold out quickly, so make sure to buy them in advance. 

By Shared Taxi

Shared taxis, known as grand taxis, are a common in Morocco. They operate fixed routes between cities and towns and can be found at designated taxi stands. You can take a shared taxi from cities like Tangier, Fez, or Tetouan to Chefchaouen. They cost more money but run much faster than buses that make multiple stops in many cities along the way.

By rental Car

If you prefer more flexibility and independence, you can rent a car and drive to Chefchaouen. The roads in Morocco are generally well-maintained, and the journey offers scenic views of the countryside. But be aware that driving in Moroccan cities can be challenging due to traffic congestion, narrow streets and aggressive drivers.

By private transfer

Best things to do in Chefchaouen in a day

Planning Your Day Trip To Chefchaouen

Many visitors come to Chefchaoune from Tangier. While you can take a 2.5-hour bus from Tangier to Chefchaouen, taking a guided tour is also a popular option, as it will save you time on the road.

If you decide to take a bus to Chefchaouen in Tangier, spend the night in Chefchaouen, before leaving the next day, because you will likely be tired after exploring the city all day long.  

Chaouen has plenty of inexpensive accommodations where you can stay for less than $50 a night. 

Best tours of Chefchaouen from Tangier 

How to Get to Chefchaouen From Fes By Car

The most common route is to take the N13, which leads directly from Fes to Chefchaouen. It’s about a 4-5 hour drive, covering approximately 200 kilometers (124 miles). 

You’ll depart Fes and head west on the N13 road toward Taza. Continue on the N13, passing through various towns like Taza and Ouazzane, until you reach Chefchaouen.

Need a car rental for your Chefchaouen adventures?

DiscoverCars compare the prices for a vehicle from a variety of suppliers to ensure you get the cheapest rate, and you can reserve your car rental in advance. 

Reserve a car rental here!

How to Get to Chefchaouen From Fes By Bus

Several bus companies operate between Fes and Chefchaouen, and there are a couple of departures throughout the day. The trip takes about 4.5 hours each way. 

You’re most likely to go by CTM, a bus company in Morocco that provides comfortable and reliable service. You can check their schedules and book tickets in advance online through the CTM website, or at the CTM bus station in Fes.

Guided tours of Chefchaouen from Fez

Day trip to Chefchaouen from Marrakech 

A day trip to Chefchaouen from Marrakech is a bit of a stretch, as there’s a very big distance between the two cities, and you will need to make a change in fez, which will take additional time. If you are traveling from Marrakech to Chefchaouen, it’s best to spend a night in town, simply because you will spend too much time on the road, which will leave you only with a few hours by the time you arrive. 

Best food in Morocco

Best restaurants in Chefchaouen:

  • Restaurant Tissemlal: This restaurant is highly recommended for its delicious Moroccan cuisine, including tagines, couscous, and grilled meats. The rooftop terrace offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains.
  • Restaurant Aladdin: Situated in the heart of the old town, Restaurant Aladdin is known for its friendly service and flavorful Moroccan dishes. The menu features a variety of tagines, pastillas, and mezze platters.
  • Café Clock: While technically a café, Café Clock is known for its delicious food and cultural events. The menu includes a mix of Moroccan and Western dishes, with options like camel burgers, Moroccan salads, and vegetarian tagines.
  • Restaurant Casa Perleta: Situated in a historic building overlooking Plaza Uta el-Hammam, Casa Perleta offers a menu of Moroccan and Spanish-inspired dishes. The restaurant’s terrace is an ideal spot for people-watching while enjoying a meal.

Best hotels in Chefchaouen

  • Lina Ryad & Spa: This luxurious riad-style hotel is located in the heart of Chefchaouen’s Medina. It offers beautifully decorated rooms and suites, a rooftop terrace with panoramic views, and a spa with traditional hammam treatments.
  • Dar Echchaouen: This charming guesthouse is located in a quiet area of the Medina, close to the Ras El Ma waterfall. Dar Echchaouen offers cozy rooms decorated in a traditional Moroccan style, a courtyard with a fountain, and a rooftop terrace.
  • Riad Assilah Chefchaouen: This traditional riad-style hotel is located in the heart of Medina, just steps away from the main square. Riad Assilah Chefchaouen offers comfortable rooms with Moroccan decor, a rooftop terrace, and a restaurant serving local cuisine.
  • Dar Meziana: Dar Meziana is a cozy guesthouse located in a quiet area of Medina, close to the Ras El Ma waterfall. It offers comfortable rooms with traditional Moroccan decor, a courtyard with a fountain, and a rooftop terrace with views of the surrounding mountains.