Top 7 Things to See and Do in Chefchaouen

By Claire | Updated Nov. 4, 2021

Chefchaouen, also called Chaouen by the locals, is one of the three most popular blue cities in the world. It is situated in northwest Morocco at a height of 600 meters in the Rif Mountains. Chefchaouen means 'looking at the horns', referring to two peaks that look like goat's horns overlooking the town. Fortifications were built there to prevent colonial expansion by the Portuguese in 1471.

Nowadays, Chefchaouen is one of the most popular places to visit in Morocco. After absorbing the massive amount of historical and cultural information in old imperial cities like Marrakech, Fez, and Meknes, you will find Chefchaouen an adorably relaxing stop that can ease your mind and body. Below is a list of the top things to do and see there.

1.Blue Medina

The famous blue houses are mostly in the medina area where a net of fairy-like lanes is weaved. An Instagram hot spot cannot be missed there, which is a lovely section of blue stairway with flowerpots smartly placed along both sides and, of course, the nicely painted houses surrounding it in the refreshing blue color.

There is no need to rush to this popular spot as you will find other delightful corners, alleys, and stairways on the way that will increase your enthusiasm for taking photos. Wandering around or even getting lost inside the medina is a very pleasant experience where you can stop at a street café and chat with the locals.

People are friendly there yet not all of them like to be photographed. Cats are everywhere and so are marijuana dealers. Chefchaouen is the biggest production base of marijuana in the world. Saying 'no' politely is good enough to keep sellers away.

2.Shops and Souks

When you reach the main shopping street in the medina, don't miss the opportunity to get some souvenirs. You may get the best deals there for fridge magnets, postcards, and small paintings, etc. You'll also find wool products, such as rugs, scarves, and blankets, as locals prefer wool for the cold winters in the mountains.

If you are lucky, your visit to the souks (markets) will coincide with a Monday or Thursday, which is when farmers from the valley sell their fruits, vegetables, handicrafts, and herbs. This is a good opportunity to immerse yourself into the lifestyle of the region.

3.See the Views from the Spanish Mosque

A 45-minute hike from the eastern gate of the medina to the Spanish Mosque to see a sunrise or sunset is exhilarating. Located on top of a hill on the eastern side of the medina, the Spanish Mosque offers the best panoramic view of the blue city.

A river lies on the way to the mosque. You may find it impressive to see how the locals enjoy this clear running water, especially when figuring out how they do their laundry using their ancient system. The mosque isn't usually open anymore but the area around it is always an animated local playground.

4.The Kasbah Museum

In the town's main square of Plaza Uta el-Hammam, which is in the center of the medina, sits the Kasbah Museum. More about the history, art, and customs of Chefchaouen are displayed in the museum along with a beautiful Andalusian-style garden.

The introductions inside the museum are mostly in Spanish but an English-speaking guide will be available if non-Spanish speakers want to understand everything. Climb up the tower inside to have an excellent view of the town — this is a great substitute if you don't want to walk for 45 minutes to reach the Spanish Mosque on the hill.

5.The Akchour Waterfalls and God's Bridge

About 45 minutes' drive away from Chefchaouen, a place called Akchour is recommended for a short outdoor excursion. The waterfalls and God's Bridge are on opposite sides of the area. The waterfalls are about 2 hours' hike in one direction from Akchour and God's Bridge is about 2½ hours' hike in the other direction.

It's a choice to be made if you only have one spare day for the hike or you cannot reach both of them as they are located at either end. The routes both extend alongside the running water and are surrounded by cliffs and greenery with bracing air so, generally speaking, there is no bad option.

Take your swimsuit if you would like to paddle in the crystal clear pools under the waterfalls. God's Bridge is special in that it is a naturally arching rock formation that stands over the river like a bridge.

6.Marijuana Farms

As previously mentioned, Chefchaouen is the biggest production base of marijuana in the world and known as the 'kingdom of weed'. This is mostly due to the ideal weather conditions. Although you may say no to hashish, why not see how it is produced?

November is the harvesting month and the hashish will be made afterward. Some of the farmers don't mind having visitors but you must always ask permission. Cameras are not generally allowed and tips are widely welcomed as gratitude.

The marijuana farms are located in the Rif Mountains, higher than the Spanish Mosque. This means a farm visit can be combined with seeing the sunrise at the Spanish Mosque, which takes at least half a day. The odds of getting refused by the farmers is much higher in summer and early autumn when the marijuana is still growing so it's better to save your effort during this time frame.

7.More Hikes

A few hiking routes are available for scenic views in the Rif Mountains. The most recommended one is an extension of the 45-minute hike up to the Spanish Mosque. The starting point is behind the waterfall of Ras el-Maa River — the one that will be passed on the way to the mosque.

Not satisfied with the panoramic view at the Spanish Mosque? Take the challenging 9-hour hike up to the peak called Jebel El-Kelaa. Starting near the campground above the medina, it requires a much higher level of physical fitness and cautiousness is a must as the guiding signs are not always clear.

The Akchour Waterfalls and God's Bridge are the most famous parts of Talassemtane National Park, which was set up in 2004 to protect the last Moroccan fir forest. It is home to many more cascades and waterfalls. More days and preparations are necessary if you prefer to trek across the whole park.

Visit Chefchaouen with Us and See More

Chefchaouen seems like a simple place without much to see. We can show you more – a deeper insight into the history, the local craftsmanship, the local families, and the mountains and forests – without any stress.

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