Chefchaouen is unlike most other places we have visited. With a sordid, almost secret history, it’s a walled Moroccan city founded in 1471. A refuge and haven for Jews and Muslims during the Spanish Inquisition, Chefchaouen banned Christians (punishable by death) until the 1920s when it was temporarily captured by Spain. Today it is probably most known by its nickname, the “Blue City.” Wandering the streets, we clearly see where the name was derived.
And a few more photos of the blue city:
Getting to Chefchaouen
- Located in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is about 125 km south-west of Tangier and 200km north of Fes.
- I don’t remember why we opted to get a driver and guide rather than renting a car as we did in the Atas Mountains. If we were to return, I am sure we would visit on our own, as we are comfortable driving around Morocco. To date, we have had great success renting with RentalCars.com, especially in non-English speaking countries, as their customer service is worldwide and English-speaking.
- We used a private guide and paid quite a bit for it as we wanted to stop at a waterfall in Akchour on the way back that was a 40-minute detour off the main road, and then quite a walk from the trailhead for a not very interesting adventure, mostly because after an hour of walking, the guide told us it would be another three hours to get to the waterfall. So we turned around. Total extra time was over 3.5 hours.
- Group tours are also a great option, especially if you don’t want to drive in Morocco.
Interesting Chefchaouen Facts (or rumours)
- Chefchaouen is located in the only region of Morocco to have had malaria, although they say it is not a problem today. According to our guide (but I have not been able to verify this anywhere else), the Jewish people first painted it blue with the founding of Israel, and soon all the local Chefchaouen people discovered that blue kept the mosquitoes at bay.
- The region is also quite popular amongst the tourist sector seeking drugs. The Marijuana plantations in the surrounding hills drive this reputation. Unlike in Oregon where we went into a legal Marijuana dispensary, in Morocco, we steered clear.
Have you been to Chefchaouen? What do you think of this “Blue City”?
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