Chefchaouen is a charming little town of around 40,000 inhabitants located in the northeast of Morocco , not far from the Mediterranean Sea. Located in the heart of Morocco’s Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen is a tourist’s delight, not only for its affordable rates, but especially for its recognizable picturesque old town with its houses with whitewashed facades covered in a very distinctive blue.
Chefchaouen was painted blue by the Jewish refugees who lived there during the 1930s, reminiscent of the blue of heaven and heaven. The beauty of Chefchaouen’s mountain landscape is enhanced by the contrasting vivid colors of the medina (the old town). It is this beauty and the laid-back atmosphere of the city that makes Chefchaouen a very attractive place for visitors. The main square in the medina is lined with cafes and filled to the brim with a crowd that easily mixes locals and tourists.
There is another reason why backpackers love Chefchaouen: the availability of drugs. Tourism in Chefchaouen is also driven by the presence of cannabis plantations (legal, one of the only places in Morocco where cannabis cultivation is tolerated). During the summer, around 200 hotels cater to the influx of European tourists.
Chefchaouen is also a popular destination because you can buy handicrafts here that cannot be found anywhere else in Morocco, such as woolen clothes and woven blankets. The goat cheese native to the region is also popular with tourists.
The city of Chefchaouen was founded in 1471. Located in a difficult to access enclave, it dominated the trade route between Tetouan and Fez and served as a base to limit the entry and influence of the Portuguese (at the time) from Ceuta. During the 15th and 17th centuries the town prospered and grew considerably with the arrival of Moriscos and Jews who were expelled from Spain. In 1920, the Spaniards seized Chefchaouen to integrate it into the Spanish protectorate. Spain returned the city after independence from Morocco in 1956.
How to get to Chefchaouen?
Chefchaouen is located in the northeast of Morocco, and just over an hour and a half drive south of Tangier.