If you’re into interior design or psychology, you know the color blue is soothing and calming to the mind. Now imagine a whole city nestled in the hills of a countryside where all the exterior walls of its buildings are painted in white and shades of blue. This imagine exists in the magical city of Chefchaouen, Morocco. It’s a city full of history dating back to when it was founded in 1471 as a kasbah or fortress during Morocco’s fight against Portuguese and Spanish conquerors. Now it’s a sought after tourist location for a number of reasons which I’ll tell you about! My main reason for going? I wanted to play French Montana’s song “Famous” for my Instagram story while at the location of his music video! What can I say, I did it for the ‘gram.
Chefchaouen is located in the northern region of Morocco closest to the cities of Tangier and Tetouan and the Straight of Gibraltar which separates Morocco from Spain. We were in Fes, Morocco the day we went to Chefchaouen with a private driver so it took about 3.5 hours to get there. The drive was long but it was pretty interesting the see the countryside of Morocco. We passed vast farm land, free range cattle, donkeys that didn’t need a guide, and lots of doggos! We also found a very random restaurant on the way there with a unique Egyptian Pharaoh theme. It was closed but it didn’t stop us from pulling over to take pictures!
When You Get There:
So you’re probably wondering what’s even there to do in such a small city so far from the major cities of Morocco. Well, not too much really. It is perfectly fine to just spend an afternoon in Chefchaouen to do everything you might want to do. There are plenty of shops to buy some really colorful wool rugs and blankets. Many people come here for the goat cheese that is native to the region. There are also many cafes and restaurants in the main square to rest and eat in. There are a bunch of “tour guides” who will try to convince you to let them show you around which you probably won’t need. However if you do, be prepared to give them a few hundred dirhams when you’re finished. My friend and I decided we just wanted to walk around on our own, take pictures and check out the shops. Below are some of the things we saw. Click on a photo to read more about it!
So if you’re not going to Chefchaouen to shop, you’re definitely going to take as many pictures as possible. We went there with a mission to have a photoshoot haha! Two things I want to remind future visitors of, are: 1. this is a Muslim country so you want to dress modestly and 2. you are walking around in front of people’s homes so be courteous and don’t block doors and entryways. We were there on a Friday during Jum’ah prayers so I made sure I was more aware of what we were doing and where we were standing. Even though I wore a short sleeveless dress for my photos, I wore a long sleeved silk robe over it while walking around to be a bit more modest. I also changed back into leggings and a long tunic once I was back in the car. You don’t want to bring negative attention to yourself when everyone else is covered up and leaving the masjid after prayers. Also – wear comfortable shoes for walking around the city. Chefchaouen is a steep maze of alleyways and hidden streets. If you want to walk up to the mosques located at the top of the hills, you will definitely have a nice workout ahead of you under hot sun.
There are many theories for why Chefchaouen is painted blue. The main reason that many residents give is that blue symbolizes the sky which reminds them of God and heaven. This reminds them to lead a more spiritual life when God is always on their mind.
Some other theories include:
– warding off mosquitos
– Jews introduced the color when they were escaping hitler in the 1930s
However, I’m pretty sure the people of Chefchaouen will make sure they keep their city blue with all the tourism Instagram has brought them.
That Weed Tho…
If you smoke marijuana, you are in for a treat. Many visitors from the United States don’t realize that just a short drive away from the main city, into the countryside of the Chefchaouen Province, sits the largest producers of marijuana in northern Morocco! Pounds of pure and organic marijuana for all your THC needs. Most people in Morocco who smoke, actually smoke hashish – which is a much more concentrated version of cannibas than the weed you might be used to in the US. I didn’t get to visit the farms because of timing but I definitely recommend it if you’re into that sort of thing. 🙂 Hope you guys enjoyed reading about Chefchaouen. Be sure to watch some of the behind the scenes videos on my Instagram page: @anafghanabroad. Let me know if you have any questions that I didn’t address in the blog and I’d be happy to answer them!<3