Chefchaouen, Morocco - The Blue City

  • Emily Fraser
  • 26 Apr 23

Welcome to one of the prettiest towns in Morocco, and perhaps even the world, beautiful Chefchaouen.

Chefchaouen by Rachel Footner

Chefchaouen by Rachel Footner

Rising out of the verdant Rif Mountains, this town is washed in hundreds of shades of blue that draw you in, even from a distance. Not to mention that their vibrant shopping alleys, breathtaking hikes, and fluffy cats are just some of the things you can expect to see in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Located north of Fez, heading towards the Strait of Gibraltar, Chefchaouen has the looks and the charm. Aesthetically incredible and historically rich, there’s endless opportunities for exploration here! But what are the origins surrounding this magnificent city and what can you do there? Read on to learn all about this wonderful destination in Morocco


  1. Origins of Morocco's blue city
  2. What to do in the blue city of Chefchaouen
  3. FAQs


Chefchaouen, Morocco - view of the city

Photo by Priscilla Aster

Origins of Morocco's Blue City

The narrow laneways, arched windows and doorframes of the city’s medina area are a fusion of both Spanish and Moorish influences. Chefchaouen, Morocco was founded in 1471 as a small Moorish fortress for exiles of Spain to fight Portuguese invasions of northern Morocco. Along with the region’s Ghomara tribes, many Moriscos and Jews then settled there in medieval times after the Spanish Reconquista.

Mosaic streets

Photo by Priscilla Aster

The blue city’s famous walls are not just a stylistic choice either. Jewish religious teachings are in fact behind the design choice. They suggest that by dyeing thread with an ancient natural blue dye (called tekhelel) and weaving it into prayer shawls, people will be reminded of God’s power. Because of this, the regular painting of the buildings in Chefchaouen are said to be a testament to that. It is believed that Jewish refugees introduced blue to the town in 1930, as they considered blue to symbolise heaven and the sky. Along with the hundreds of blues, there are hundreds of theories as to how this town came to be. In fact the walls of Chefchaouen are now believed to be repellent against mosquitoes due to the blue paint.

Street art

Photo by Priscilla Aster

What to do in the blue city of Chefchaouen

Chefchaouen, Morocco - hand painted goods Source: Pixabay

Spectacular landscapes

The medina is a picture perfect maze for adventurers, photographers and wanderers to simply spend a day getting lost in. Chefchaouen also offers fantastic landscapes for hiking and trekking, with great contrasts between arid plains and valleys, picturesque mountain peaks and flowing streams.

Some of the best panoramic views to photograph in Chefchaouen, include:

  • Kasbah Gardens and Museum
  • Chefchaouen Square
  • Outa el Hamman and Kasbah
  • Plaza uta-el Hamman
  • Bouzaafar, the Spanish Mosque
  • The Grand Mosque

Moroccan cuisine

The hundreds of spices, herbs and aromas wafting from the town’s many bakeries, kitchens and restaurants also make Chefchaouen a great spot for food lovers. You simply must try wood-fired oven baked bread, a signature Moroccan tagine and fresh mint tea.

Street shopping

If shopping is your forte, you will love strolling through the streets admiring the wares spilling from the shops of the many traders in the medina – think brass teapots, handwoven blankets, Moroccan slippers and hand painted plates.

Explore historical landmarks 

Chefchaouen is home to many historical landmarks and stunning architectural sites that are worth a visit. Some of our favourite historic places in this vibrant Moroccan city include:

  • Kasbah
  • Chefchaouen Medina
  • Bab El Onsar
  • Palace El Haouta


Ready to explore Chefchaouen, Morocco’s blue city?

As one of the most vibrant cities in the world, you can go past adding Chefchaouen city in Morocco to your bucket list. On a small group tour with Bunnik, you can visit Chefchaouen city and see so much more that Morocco has to offer! Check out our Moroccan Discovery, Spain and Morocco, and Spain, Portugal and Morocco tours for more information. If you have any other enquiries about this blog or our tours, please contact one of our friendly Travel Specialists today. 

Chefchaouen, Morocco: FAQs

Why is Chefchaouen in Morocco blue?

During World War 1, Morocco saw a large stream of Jews entering the country. For Jews, blue represents the sky and the people of heaven and god. This then inspired all the buildings to be painted blue. 

Is Chefchaouen worth a visit?

Yes! If you’re interested in exploring one of the most unique cities in the world and delving into Moroccan culture, then Chefchaouen is certainly worth a visit. 

How many days do you need in Chefchaouen, Morocco?

To experience all the wonderful landscapes, enjoy delicious Moroccan cuisine, and buy yourself some unique souvenirs, we recommend spending at least a day or two in Chefchaouen Morocco.

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