Chefchaouen Travel Guide

Chefchaouen Travel Guide

Chefchaouen; the blue city. Rich in history and buzzing with culture, Chefchaouen is carving out it’s own chunk of the tourist Dirham with good reason. Gorgeous blue rinsed buildings are set against the towering mountains which give the city its name; nestled amongst the clouds of the northern tip of the Atlas mountain range.

There’s a laid back mood, likely attributed to by the booming cannabis industry in the Rif Mountains behind the city, and it’s that atmosphere which endears tourists. The Chefchaouen buzz is quickly spreading throughout the chill seekers in Europe.

 

Chefchaouen street Morocco
Chefchaouen street
Getting There

Heading to Chefchaouen from Tangier as we were, there are two realistic options; bus and Grand Taxi. Due to time constraints and a desire for immediate relaxation, we chose the taxi option.

Bus – There will be numerous buses departing from Tangier bus station (Gare Routiére), most of which are privately run (quality not guaranteed). You can turn up on the day to buy tickets if you like the risk factor, but if you prefer to pre-book you can buy tickets online through national bus service CTM. CTM buses depart from Tangier to Chefchaouen 1-2 times per day, cost around 45MAD (£3) per person and take 3-4 hours, including a stop in Tetouan. CTM busses are of a fair quality and will run not too far from their advertised times, however they do run on Morocco time, ‘god willing’ (Insha’Allah), which is very relaxed so expect to depart anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour after the scheduled time.

Taxi – Read the guide to Moroccan taxis HERE. Since we wanted to get to Chefchaouen ASAP we decided to just pay the extra and hire a car to take us. Our host in Chaouen helped us with getting a local car rather than haggle in Tangier and we arranged to pay 500MAD (£35) for the roughly two hour trip, including collection from our Airbnb in Tangier; which saved us a taxi outside the Medina. As explained in the guide, you can get it for much cheaper if you want to wait for others to join you and share the car.

The trip was comfortable and fast, although most cars (ours included) don’t have seat-belts. Our tourist ignorance was taken advantage of for the second time on our trip when our driver demanded we pay an extra 100MAD once we had arrived. Everyone will always pressure you to pay more for everything, so be prepared to argue for the agreed price and stick to it. Our ride cost 600MAD (£42) for two of us and this was the last time we were such easy pushovers.

  • Tangier to Chefchaouen bus – 45MAD (3-4 hours)
  • Tangier to Chefchaouen taxi (seat) – 85MAD (2-3 hours)
  • Tangier to Chefchaouen taxi (whole car) – 500MAD (2 hours)

Chefchaouen view
View from our Airbnb in Chefchaouen
Accommodation

Using Airbnb we found a shared house with a balcony overlooking the Medina for 610MAD (£43) per night, including service fees and an excellent breakfast both mornings. If you come across Ricardo & Nieves in your searches you shouldn’t go past them, they are exceptional hosts and we were very happy staying with them.

There are a plethora of accommodation options in and around the Medina, each with their pros & cons, it just depends on what your budget and preference is. Chefchaouen is small enough to walk around so don’t be deterred if a place is slightly outside the Medina walls; nowhere is more than a 20-25 minute walk away.

Hostels are very cheap in Chefchaouen: dorm rooms start from around 70MAD (£5) and private rooms start from 100MAD (£7).

Hotels are often just b&b’s and prices start at 355MAD (£25) per night, but legitimate hotels like the Parador have double rooms from 500MAD (£35) to 1420MAD (£100) per night.

Hint – The Hotel Parador has one of the few bars serving alcohol in the city and is open to the public.

 

Chefchaouen street Morocco
Chefchaouen street
Do / Eat / See

The main features in the Medina are the Castle, and the Mosque in the main square. Spend half a day wandering around the Souks, markets and cafes. We stopped at ‘Sofia’; a restaurant locally famous for being run by women (a rarity), and had an incredible lunch. We thought we splurged and our bill came to 110MAD (£8) for both of us.

Take a walk east to the water supply and continue up towards the abandoned Mosque that overlooks the city. If you time it right you will get a beautiful view of the sun setting over the mountain range. There is also a river flowing through the city to take advantage of, with cafes and seating amongst some gorgeous landscaped gardens, paths and bridges.

Dinner at a good local restaurant will set you back around 120MAD (£8.50) for two people; we visited ‘Bab Ssour’ and ate an exceptional meal on their beautiful terrace. They also sell the delicious tea they make on site, dry, in a good sized bag for 10MAD (£0.70).

The Rif Mountains behind the city offer some spectacular walks for those who are keen. A Taxi will get you to Akchour in about 40 minutes and cost around 300MAD (£21) return for the whole car. You need a fair level of fitness and good shoes for some of the best views, and it’s about 3-4 hours of walking. It’s also worth getting a guide in Akchour (ask for Fadal); we hired Fadal for 150Dirhams (£10.50) via a recommendation from our Airbnb host, and it was one of the best experiences of our trip. He takes you through hundreds of acres of Marijuana fields high up to his village where he shows you the local trade. From there you walk to the bridge of God, which is an impressive natural bridge, swim in the crystal clear river, visit a waterfall and finish up with a lunch at his friends café. Good stuff!

Hint – Don’t be intimidated by the Marijuana and hash trade, it’s how these people make a living and although not strictly legal, it’s common knowledge what goes on there. Be respectful and polite, and partake if you wish, or decline all the same.

 

Oued Laou river Rif mountains Chefchaouen Morocco
Oued Laou river in the Rif mountains
Tips
  • If you fancy some alcohol there are two hotels we found that serve in their bars; the Hotel Parador and the expansive Hotel Atlas which comes with an awe inspiring view.
  • The main square is where the action is but be prepared to battle the other tourists and the raised prices compared to everywhere else.
  • Thursday is market day where the Berber women come to town to sell fruit, veges & crafts.
  • Spend at least two nights, three would be best.
  • The city has a huge hashish industry so expect a lot of offers on the street, just remember that it’s not rude and politely decline if you don’t wish to partake.
  • The main languages are Arabic, Berber & Spanish but French is widely spoken and a lot of people speak basic English.

 

Cost Summary (per person)

Chefchaouen for two nights;

  • Tangier to Chefchaouen taxi – 250MAD (£17.50)
  • Additional taxi charge – 50MAD (£3.50)
  • Accommodation (two nights incl. breakfast) – 611MAD (£43)
  • Food – 240MAD (£16.80)
  • Water – 30MAD (£2.10)
  • Taxi to & from Akchour – 100MAD (£7) (the total shared three ways)
  • Akchour guide – 50MAD (£3.50)
  • Total – 1340MAD (£93.40)

This article is also available as a mobile app.

Go to GPSmyCity to download the app for GPS-assisted travel directions to the attractions featured in this article.

or

Please consider donating to help keep Roam and Recon going!

 

Chefchaouen sunset view
Chefchaouen from the abandoned Mosque
Previous post
Next post
1 Comment
  • Charlotte says:

    Good advice re Cascades D’Ackhour. Beautiful nature around Chefchaouen. It’s a shame to miss it, although the mountain road to get there is stunning. Under the taxi section, you should mention TangierTaxi. We use them every time we go back to Chefchaouen and it takes all of the stress away. Link: http://www.tangiertaxi.com

    Hope this helps someone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you've found the information on Roam and Recon to be useful, please consider donating!

Receive free travel advice to your inbox

  • Roam and Recon articles now available as GPS maps via GPSMyCity.com - to celebrate we are giving away five city maps for free! #gpsmycity
  • Piran waterfront. Discover all the best spots in Piran over at the blog! #piran #slovenia #waterfront
  • The much anticipated Scotland whisky tour post is now live on the blog. Get all the info on camping through Scotland visiting distilleries! #whisky #scotland #bruichladdich #islay #dram
  • Got a brand new travel guide eBook available for download! Link in bio. Everything you need to know before you go to Croatia! #croatia #ebook #travelguide #split #korcula #dubrovnik
  • Sunrise on Manly beach in Whangaparoa this morning. New Zealand blogs coming soon! #newzealand #whangaparoa #manly #sunrise #beach
  • Taking a good photo 100m underground is hard, and this hardly does the majesty of this place justice, but Postojna caves is one of the coolest places I've ever been. Find out how to get here over at the blog! #postojna #cave #stalagmite #slovenia
FOLLOW @INSTAGRAM