Also known as The Blue City, Chefchaouen is a picturesque village at the foothills of the Atlas mountains. The entire area is completely blue and feels very European in that Greek-Italian island kinda way. From afar you could seriously mistake it for a Greek town by the seaside. It's really beautiful, and I encourage you to google image it right now.
Chaoen, as the locals call it, is a quirky place. The men traditionally wear these funny cloaks with a pointed hood, known as a Djellaba. It's kind of a farm-style fashion and it's little spooky at first sight because you can't really see the person's face until they come up close. I tried some on at a local market and I gotta say, they are very warm and cosy!
I really enjoyed strolling around Chaoen because the main old town is completely car-free. But let me warn you now - like all Moroccan towns it is literally guaranteed you will get lost. Although in Chaoen it's actually very fun and extremely relaxed. You won't get hustled like the busy souks in Marrakesh or Fez.
I think because Chaoen is so small the people there tend to be much more laid back. The majority of the population are farmers and vendors. Of course they still want to sell you stuff, but it's not this intense back-and-forth barter where they yell at your or stare you up and down until you crack.
Here are a few things I highly recommend doing in Chefchaouen:
- Do a cooking class with Chef Rhani. It's a local AirBnB experience and he's an amazing guy. Firstly, he takes you through the local market to buy some produce and explain the different spices, local kitchen tools and foods. Then he takes you back to his apartment to enjoy some freshly made Moroccan mint tea and sweets. Then the cooking begins! You'll make an incredible Tagine dish accompanied by various sides and condiments. Rhani is such a friendly guy and very easy to get along with, it's a truly fun experience ?.
- Take a sunset photo tour with Michele. Even if you're not a photographer, this is a really enjoyable experience. I didn't have a camera, and Michele could still help me get a great shot on my iPhone! She'll help you find all the insta-worthy spots: beautiful doorways, stairwells, courtyards, shops and the local markets. Best of all you finish the tour up on the hill by the Spanish Mosque looking over the town. The view is AMAZING!
- Get a Hammam at one of the public bath houses. It's a weird and kinda creepy-at-first experience. But it's actually a really authentic experience and a great way to live like a local. Mind you, it's hard to get by if you don't speak English. However, if you speak French, Spanish or Arabic then you'll be fine.
- Lol, I don't speak ANY of those languages, which certainly made me look and feel like a dummy. The Moroccan's are super friendly people but communicating can be frustrating. They genuinely want to help, but are always astounded at the fact that you only speak ONE language. Well, I can speak some German, but that obviously didn't work ?.
I really loved Chaoen and highly recommend anyone travelling to Morocco to visit. You really only need 3-4 days max. It's a small town and while it's easy to get lost on your first day, you'll soon come to know all the nooks and crannies.