Chefchaouen – The Blue City in Morocco

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Chefchaouen – The Blue City in Morocco

the-blue-pearl

In the summer of 2016, the best summer of my life, I have visited Morocco. I did not visit everything that I would have wanted to, but I did not miss the Blue Pearl here, which is the best tiny city I’ve seen so far: Chefchaouen.

I made this trip with a group of amazing people, that became very good friends of mine, but I also made new friends on the way. In this article, I will tell you all about the blue city in Morocco, my very first hostel experience, the seach for the food as a vegetarian, the paradise on Earth named Akchour, which is very close to the blue city and how can you prepare for it.

Magic All Over the Place

Chefchaouen is a small city with a big history, which was established in 1471. The reason for its foundation was to fight against the Portuguese invasions. In 1920, it became part of Spanish Morocco but it was returned in 1956, after the independence of Morocco.

The Blue Pearl, as the people call it, is situated in the northwest of Morocco, very close to Tangier and Tétouan and became a very popular destination for tourists. And for a good reason! Everything is painted blue, the buildings, the streets! There are several stories explaining the whole blue thing, such as:

  • It keeps the mosquitoes away – I didn’t see any, to be fair
  • The Jews introduced the blue in 1930
  • It symbolizes the sky and heaven
  • It is a reminder to having a spiritual life

To be honest, whatever the reason is, it came out extremely beautiful and I definitely recommend a visit there. There is small hill, just next to it and if you go there, you’ll witness a breath taking view!

chaouen

The First Hostel Experience

I think we all have been though this. The first hostel experience is scary, right? No, when you are with good people. We stayed in the old city, or medina, how the locals call it. First, we were supposed to sleep on the roof. Yes, they had this option! But on that unfortunate night, it was almost raining so we slept downstairs. I am actually very sad that I didn’t have the chance, but the next time, I will definitely do it.

We had a bonding evening and we even made new friends. One of the people I’ve met was an amazing guy that was traveling around for work, which became my goal in life. I had so much to learn from him and we are still very good friends now.

What I am trying to say is that hostels are awesome! If you did not try one before, take the first chance you have to do it. You will not regret it. It is basically a meeting point for wanderers, where they tell their stories. Tell me your hostel stories in the comment section, I would like to hear them!

The Food

tajine

Back then, I was a vegetarian. Now I am a pescatarian, meaning that I also eat fish, but not meat. My luck was that one of my friends was on the same diet and we were able to search for food together. Let me tell you, it is pretty hard, especially if you want to try local cuisine.

Their dishes include: tajine, couscous or pastilla – all of them usually made with meat or chicken. Eventually, I did find the vegetarian option for all of them and they were amazing. It was a tough job to find them, but it was worth it. They also have harira, which is soup made of lentils and now it’s on my favourite dishes list. You shouldn’t miss the traditional green tea with mint. The way they prepare and serve it here is unique.

Have you ever eaten Moroccan food? What is your favourite dish? Let me know in the comment section!

Akchour or Paradise on Earth

Less than one hour drive from the Blue Pearl, is the Akchour waterfall, or the Lost Paradise. There are organized trips to Akchour from Chefchaouen medina and you can easily get there.

When you arrive, you have two options: hike to the small or big waterfall. The small one takes about one hour and the big one takes almost three hours. We chose the small one, because we didn’t have too much time. Both of them are astonishing, but I will tell you about the one we’ve been to.

waterfall

What you’ll need for the trip:

  • Plenty of water, as you’ll walk in the sun.
  • Hiking equipment or whatever you feel comfortable in for a hike.
  • Swimsuit! Do not forget this at home, trust me! When you see the beauty of the waterfall, you will definitely want to swim there. Some of my friends even jumped down the waterfall.
  • Towels, for obvious reasons.

If you decide to go to either of them, the small or the big waterfall, you must remember to enjoy every second here. Some people even go camping here, so it’s an experience that is worth it.

A Paradise Trip

Even though Chefchaouen becomes more and more popular, it is not crowded, like you’d imagine. It is a mesmerizing and relaxing trip. You’ll enjoy the calming blue all over the city, the food, the friends and the paradise waterfalls.

Have you been here? How was your experience? I would love to hear about it in the comment section!

 

 

 

 

 

18 Responses

  1. Cathie says:

    Loved reading this article, always on the lookout for new travel destinations and this place looks beautiful! The color blue to keep mosquito’s away? We live in Florida and there are tons of huge mosquito’s and I’m certainly going to try this theory out. Hostels are a great place to meet new people, I visited the one in downtown Seattle (my hometown) because I was curious what they were all about and met people from all over the U.S. and a few from abroad.
    Thanks for sharing this!

  2. Dianne says:

    Wow i never knew mosquitos stayed away from the colour blue that is great info to bear in mind!

    I have always wanted to visit Morrocco but having not been before i didn’t which part, but now I do! I love a city that is historical,  spiritual with great people and great food! I definitely want to visit the Akchour waterfall, thank you for sharing this!

  3. Dany says:

    Morocco is one destination on my ‘To Do’ list. The Blue City seems magic, and I’m pretty sure breathtaking. And the Akchour waterfall is just wow. I eat a plant-based diet and searching for food according to diet in a new destination is always time consuming, but I’m glad you find vegetarian options, so another reason to speed up with my list. I wonder if the Moroccan is spicy?

    As for the accommodation, I’m not a hostel type, but you recommended it with such warmth. I will pin your post for further reading.

    Thank you for sharing this helpful article.

    • Stefania says:

      Hi Dany! Thank you for the read 🙂 Some dishes are spicy and some are not. It just depends on the dish. Definitely not Indian spicy, though.

  4. Chrissie Spurgeon says:

    Wow! How beautiful! I want to go there right now! Your photos are so beautiful. 

    Morocco is a place that has always been on my wish list, but I had never heard of the blue city, what an amazing place. And the waterfall makes me want to jump into it right away!

    I do agree with you, hostels are a great place to stay – much more fun than a hotel and a good deal cheaper, and so many interesting people to talk to and spend time with.

    Your post has put Morocco right at the top of my “places to go to very soon” list! Thank you so much for this great information.

    Chrissie 🙂

  5. Fiona says:

    I have not been to Chefchaouen but I wish I have! It looks absolutely amazing! And thank you for sharing your story of staying in a hostel – I am a bit wary of doing so but perhaps I shouldn’t be as it would be a wonderful way to experience the city!

    • Stefania says:

      You shouldn’t worry dear Fiona, hostels are nice places for travelers and meeting new people. About Chefchaouen, it’s a must!

  6. victor lavaza says:

    Hello Stephania. Chefchaouen seems to be a great deal of an attractive city, many thanks for sharing. From the picture, this Blue Pearl looks very attractive. I can imagine how breath-taking it will look if viewed from the hill. I also like that they have very nice food, and as if that’s not enough, there’s also the proximity to Akchour waterfall (the Lost Paradise).

    I am sure a vacation will be well spent if I travel to this awesome destination. I will make plans soon enough.

    Best regards

  7. Todd McKeever says:

    Wow! That is my first comment right off the bat. I enjoyed your post and even though I have not yet been there I now have moved this destination up on my priority list because of your blog.

    Thanks for being informative, given some history mixed in with your personal experience. Are you going to ever circle back around and create post over the potential different reasons as to why of the naming of the Blue Pearl? 

    “There are several stories explaining the whole blue thing, such as:It keeps the mosquitoes away – I didn’t see any, to be fairThe Jews introduced the blue in 1930It symbolizes the sky and heavenIt is a reminder to having a spiritual life”.

    I would enjoy reading more of these if there is anymore to discuss with them. 

    My wife and I would also like to thank you for discussing your experience with the hostel. Our son who wants to be an avid world traveler keeps setting up times that he stays in hostels and he always tells us that it has been fine but we always thought he was just trying to not worry his mother or myself. Would you maybe open to offering any tips for hostel stays or any recommendations over the one you used and if you had any other recommendations of other ones that would be great to use? Maybe even put these type of hints/tips in your closing with “What you will need for the trip”. 

    Thanks for sharing the blog. I enjoyed it and again found it not only enjoyable to read but informative. 

    • Stefania says:

      Hi Todd,
      Thanks for the read! The city is called “The Blue Pearl” most probably because of the blue painted buildings, which are beautiful.

      You shouldn’t worry about hostels, my parents were also worried about that, until I took my father on a trip and we stayed only at hostels. That’s how they got used to it and stop being worried.

      About hostels, I could recommend the Treestyle Hostel in Budapest or Best in the Center of Irkutsk, but to be honest, all of them are nice. If you want to choose a good one, the reviews on Booking are the best!

      Hope you enjoyed reading! Happy travels!

  8. Hollie Rose says:

    Wow!!! Chefchaouen looks beautiful. It has just been added to my bucket list! It reminds me a bit or Safed in Israel from the pictures. It makes sense that the Jews brought the blue there, in Kaballah blue is considered a holy and spiritual colour. Safed also has a lot of blue. What time of year is the best time to visit? Are the summers scorching hot?

    • Stefania says:

      Hello Hollie! The blue is magnificent indeed. I have been there during June and the temperature was fine for me, not very hot, but warm enough. The fact that it’s in the North and close to the sea will make the weather just fine 🙂

  9. Samson Oklobia says:

    This sounds like an interesting place to visit, and i will add it to my list of travel destination for the coming year. The way you talk about your experience just makes me want to take the next flight to Morocco to have a taste of this wonderful little city. I had a Moroccan dish once in Abu Dhabi, couscous and sweetened dates by the side with grilled chicken and a local carrot soup and it was amazing. I can’t wait to share my experience real soon. Cheers

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