The most picturesque town in all of Morocco, and perhaps everywhere else in the world, would certainly be the town of Chefchaoune. This picture perfect city, located at the heart of the Rif Mountains, is a blue gem that attracts tens of thousands of visitors every year for its unique scenery. Why blue, you ask? No one really knows for sure, but we definitely know this city is worth the trip.
1. Its rich history
Morocco as a whole is a country with a rich and diverse history, and Chefchaoune city is no stranger to that. The city was originally founded to serve as a protective fortress (Kasbah) in 1471 for Moulay Ali Ibn Rashid Al-Alami. He ruled over the area back during that time, and ordered for the fortress to be built in order to fight off the Portuguese invaders. After the Spanish Reconquista, the Moriscos and Jews that fled the Spanish prosecution settled in the city, alongside the local Ghomara tribes. This is how the town of Chefchaoune as we know today came to be.
2. The surrounding landscape
Chefchaoune is located uphill, right in the middle of two mountains belonging to the Rif Mountain range. This location means that the city is surrounded from all sides by magnificent scenery peeking on the Rif Mountains and their greenery. From Chefchaoune, you can easily go on a hike through the Mountains and their surrounding landscape.
3. Makes for a nice daytrip from Fes
Fes is one of the main Moroccan cities that holds an international airport in it, meaning it is a famous starting point for tourists to land and then begin exploring the country. Of the most famous day trip destinations from Fesis Chefchaoune city, being just about 4 hours away from each other. This means that you can get a refreshing break from the busy streets of Fes by taking it up to the Rif Mountains.
4. Its blue color, obviously!
This goes without saying, but the town of Chefchaoune is known worldwide for one main thing: its vibrant blue painted buildings. The origin story of why Chefchaoune locals started painted their streets and walls in blue is debated upon, but it’s nonetheless a unique characteristic that can’t be seen anywhere else. This makes the city incredibly Instagram-able and picture-perfect.
5. Traditional artisanal products
Like the rest of old Moroccan cities, Chefchaoune is an ideal place to shop for Moroccan souvenirs and handmade artisanal crafts. You can find all kinds of artisanal products being sold at the city’s Bazaars and small shops, including rugs, leather, wood, and wool work products (actually, Chefchaoune’s wool Djellabas and jackets are known all throughout Morocco for their high quality).
6. Rass El Ma water source
A little beyond the far Northeastern gate of Chefchaoune city, a water source by the name Rass El Ma is located (Rass El Ma translates to just water source). This location holds a beautiful green scenery surrounding a small river/waterfall. Rass El Ma is popular among locals for being a place to wash clothes in the river, or to just picnic and enjoy the surrounding nature.
7. Close-by to the Talassemtane National Park
The Talassemtane national park is a little less than an hour away from Chefchaoune city, and it’s one of Morocco’s highly protected natural reserves. The park is home to the only remaining (and endangered) fir forest in Morocco, with unique biodiversity and diverse flora. Visitors are attracted to the park because of the impressive scenery it provides, and for being perfect for hiking through the Rif mountains.
1. Chefchaoune’s Old Medina
Just like other old Moroccan cities and towns, Chefchaoune is home to a medieval quarter, known as the Old Medina. While the city’s Old Medina may not be as large as the ones found in Marrakech or Fes, it certainly has its own charm (that probably comes from the fact that it’s BLUE). While walking through the Old Medina’s blue streets, you will learn more about the locals and how they go on about their everyday life.
1. Its adorable stray cats
One thing that every tourist will notice (and might be surprised with) when visiting Morocco is the abundance of stray cats roaming the streets. In Chefchaoune, this can be particularly witnessed at high levels. The cats are looked after by locals, and they like to spend their days just chilling around town and doing… the things that cats do. If you’re lucky, the cats won’t mind posing for a few lovely photos that you can keep from this memorable place.