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On my first visit to Morocco back in 2014 I did not have the pleasure of visiting Chefchaouen, often referred to as the Blue Pearl or Blue City. I refused to make that mistake on this trip and started my two weeks in Morocco here followed by Fes, Marrakech and the Sahara Desert. While a lot of visitors only experience Chefchaouen as a day trip from Fes or Tangier I spent two nights. Here are the best things to do in Chefchaouen.
Things to Do in Chefchaouen If You Only Have One Day
If you only have one day in Chefchaouen because you’re doing a day trip you’ll need to stick to the basics. I’m sure you’re visiting to see the beautiful blue city so start by just walking around. Fair warning it can be confusing getting around but if you have service Google Maps helps! If you’d like help with navigation, you can book this 12-hour private tour of Chefchaouen.
Explore the Medina
The blue Medina is the biggest draw to most people’s initial interest in visiting Chefchaouen. So with that you have to walk around it. You’ll find plenty of shops with art, spices, trinkets, musicians playing music, and little restaurants.
Hire a Photographer
I knew I’d want to capture some amazing photos in Chefchaouen, I mean really who hasn’t seen all the gorgeous pictures of this town on Instagram. Since I knew it would be confusing to get around I hired a local photographer Mahmoud, of Chefchaoen Photographer to take our pictures. Being born and raised in Chefchaouen he knew how to get to all the insta famous spots plus some hidden gems that are rarely photographed. Hiring local photographers is one of my tips for taking perfect vacation photos.
I found Mahmoud on Airbnb Experiences as I’ve previously had luck hiring a photographer this way on my solo trip to Puerto Rico. A two hour private session with Mohmoud cost $120. This price included 35 edited images and he got them two me within two days of our shoot.
Like our matching outfits? Shop where we get all of our mommy and me clothes here.
Take a Hike to the Spanish Mosque
One of our favorite things to do in Chefchaouen was making the hike to the Spanish Mosque. The Spanish Mosque is where most people, noth visitors and locals alike head to watch the sunset. It’s a quick 30 minute hike with stunning views of Chefchaouen.
With our schedule a day visit worked out best but the view was still breathtaking. If you choose to come for sunset be aware there are no lights and you will need a flashlight to walk back down to town. It’s free to make the hike but be sure to use the restroom before heading up as you’ll be hard pressed to find one.
Things to Do in Chefchaouen If You Have Two Days
With an extra day in Chefchaouen you’ll be able to see more of the town and even explore outside of it.
Hike to God’s Bridge
In my research of Chefchaouen I came across God’s Bridge and Akchour. To get to the start of the hike you’ll need to drive 45-60 minutes out of Chefchaouen. You can hire a taxi or your guide may provide transportation. I booked this tour guide via Airbnb Experiences for $50.13.
Unfortunately I realized the night before that I left my sneakers at home. While sneakers aren’t necessary for the short hike to the Spanish Mosque the hike to God’s Bridge and Akchour takes 1-2 hours each way. It’s also through tough terrain so unfortunately I had to cancel and never made it.
Visit the Kasbah and Ethnographic Museum
Since we didn’t get to go on our hike we visited the Kasbah in the main square. We really visited it for the Ethnographic Museum but unfortunately it was closed for renovations. Since we already entered we walked around and were able to climb up the tower for views of the city. If the Museum is closed when you visit I’d recommend saving your 60 dirham ($8.50) as it wasn’t much to see without the museum.
Take a Painting Class
My daughters’ favorite thing to do in Chefchaouen was definitely our painting class. I was so happy to have found the class with Dari Morocco. Funny enough the host of the class was also our Airbnb host! The class took place on a terrace of our Airbnb with gorgeous views of the town which was very inspiring as we painted.
The class was $26.72, again, booked via Airbnb Experiences but there no charge for my three year old. Our hosts friend who is a photographer so happened to be visiting that day and took the cutest pictures of us enjoying our class. New to Airbnb? Sign up here for $55 off your first experience!
Where to Eat in Chefchaouen
Breakfast at Restaurant Ali Baba
The service here was excellent and the Moroccan crepes were so good, especially with the jam they gave. It’s located in the main square, Place Outa el Hammam, across from the Grand Mosque.
Lunch at El Morisco
Also located in the main square, Place Outa el Hammam, across from the Grand Mosque is El Morisco. We got this delicious lunch all for $9. Be aware if you eat upstairs on the terrace there are tons of cats that will come by you so if you don’t like them eat downstairs instead!
Dinner at El Jaleo
We ate here 3 times during our stay! It was by far the best chicken tagine we had during our entire two weeks in Morroco. They have indoor and outdoor seating and while most places close early they stay open pretty late.
Where to Stay in Chefchaouen
Chefchaouen is a smaller town so you won’t find the big hotel brands or super luxurious accommodations. We stayed in this Airbnb, which was a private room in the hosts home for $36/night. New to Airbnb? Sign up here for $55 off your first stay!
While we’ve stayed in plenty of Airbnb’s in Brazil, Costa Rica, Jamaica, and more I’ve always previously booked the entire home so this was new to us. However, following my tips to guarantee a great Airbnb experience I felt confident in my decision to stay with the host and her family. It was perfect as she has a two year old, giving my daughter someone to play with. We arrived late at night and our host even had snacks waiting for us as she knew we’d be hungry.
If you prefer to stay in a Riad, my friend from We3Travel recommends Lyna Riad and Spa.
How to Get to Chefchaouen
Getting to Chefcahouen can be a bit of a mission. The town doesn’t have an airport or a train station and the closest cities with either of these are Fez and Tangier. We were visiting Chefchaouen after spending 5 days in Marrakech so we first flew from Marrakech to Fez on Air Arabia. The flight was 30 minutes and cost $35 one way.
Once in Fez our original plan was to take the bus from Fez but by time our flight landed we missed the last bus. Besides the difference in price this wasn’t a huge deal as there are plenty of drivers in front of the airport. We negotiated with one, getting the price down from $100 to $70. While a significant increase from the $7.50 per person bus fare I planned for, the drive is three and a half hours and it was a private transport.
On the way back to Fez we did take the bus. The bus ride is four hours and we made two stops for bathroom breaks and snacks. You can buy your ticket online up to 3 days before your departure date. If not, you’ll need to buy your ticket at the CTM office but do not wait until the day of. Tickets get sold out quickly and there are limited buses each day. Each piece of luggage you have will cost $1.
If you’re coming in from Tangier you can catch the same CTM bus from there. Instead the ride is only 3 hours. If you miss the bus or the times don’t work for you, you can also take a private taxi. From both Tangier and Fez another option is to get to Chefchaouen via a tour group which can be booked on Viator.
We had an amazing time in Chefchaouen! Even though it is a little mission to get to the city, it’s so worth it. Check out our guides to Fes, Marrakech and the Sahara Desert. Did you find these tips on things to do in Chefchaouen helpful? If so, please share this article!
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