I never knew I wanted to go to Chefchaouen until my husband and I spun the globe and landed on Morocco. I didn’t know much about Morocco, but was excited to dive into Pinterest and see what we could do. The Blue City (Chefchaouen) kept coming up again and again as the most Instagrammable place and was filling my feed. It looked pretty cool in pictures, and although it would give everyone in the Instagram world a raging boner, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go there. Sure, it looks really fucking cool in photos, but is it worth the journey (seriously, everything is a journey in Morocco) just to snap a photo, or two?
While there was LOTS I loved about Morocco, there was a lot I didn’t love (like Casablanca or Fes) and that’s okay. But, if I were to go back, I’d love to explore more of the desert and I would definitely want to head back to that magical blue city.
No, shit. But, legit, it’s super, super blue. Like, everything around you is blue to a blue-tinted white. It looks absolutely adorable from afar and even better up close. Pictures don’t do it justice, either. As weird as it sounds, because it’s just a colour, it’s pretty amazing to see an entire town washed in blue.
It Feels like a Beach Town
Morocco can be stressful. There is so much going on all at once, so many languages being spoken at once, and people yelling at you from all directions. If you’re not someone who thrives in masses of people, I definitely suggest the desert for a little break. But, Chefchaouen can do it for you, too. It’s busy, it’s loud, it’s crowded, the Call to Prayer echoes throughout the winding streets, but it’s CHILL. It feels wonderful to explore the town, getting lost in the blue-washed walls around you. There isn’t constant honking like in Casablanca. There isn’t the constant feel of rushing like in Fes. It’s just…living.
My absolute favourite thing to buy when traveling is soap. Yep. Boring old soap. Except, it’s not boring. There are so many yummy scents and colours and back-stories to soaps from around the world. I’m not talking about a plastic pack of Ivory, but of the handmade beauties that can dress up any bathroom.
When I first started researching things to do in Chefchaouen, I came across La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin strewn across everyone’s social media and reviews of Chefchaouen. Everyone kept exclaiming about the smells and the wonderful products that you could find in the store. Intrigued, I saved it to my rough itinerary and made a plan to seek it out.
Here’s the thing about Morocco, you get a little distracted by literally everything. It’s so beautiful, it’s so loud, it’s so grimy, it’s so exciting, it’s so….literally everything. So, when my husband and I were walking around, getting lost and enjoying a relaxing afternoon, we ended up stumbling upon the soap shop. I had forgotten about it and was absolutely delighted that we found it by accident!
The smells were as amazing as described in everyone’s posts (my husband refused to come in because they were so wonderfully strong), but my absolute favourite part was how AFFORDABLE it was. Chefchaouen was our last true stop in Morocco so we were trying to use up our last dirham (it is illegal to take money out of the country OR take money into it. V. annoying) and my cash was dwindling. Which, in a society that loves cash, it posed a problem. I didn’t think much of it because I had nothing left to buy but supper that night, and honestly, I could just hit up an ATM. But, they are pretty sparse in Chefchaouen and I’d have to head back to the main square if I wanted extra cash. Or, find my husband who had wandered off while I all but skipped into the store.
I perused the store for a good long time, taking in all the assorted goodies, including spices, and eventually paired down my basket to the essentials (read: 10 bars of soap, solid perfume, gifts that included something I didn’t even understand what it was, a rose oil roller ball and spices) and hit the till. Panicking, I realized that I didn’t have much cash on me (like 60 dirhams, max) and wasn’t sure if I could afford all of this bounty. The prices weren’t with every product and some were so nestled in it was hard to tell what cost what. Luckily, everything came to UNDER 40 DIRHAMS. Let me put this into perspective for you. That’s JUST UNDER $6 CANADIAN. Americans, that’s even less for y’all! I wish I had bought more, even if my suitcase was filled to the brim with adorably paper-wrapped soaps.
As you can tell from my soliloquy above, this was one of my favourite parts of the trip. Judge as you will.
Get Lost in the Old Streets
Are you researching on what to do in Morocco? Are you getting tired of hearing ‘get lost’ as one of the things to do? I feel ya. When I was researching things to do in Morocco, it’s all I saw. Get lost in the streets, get lost in the souks, just get lost and enjoy! Ugh. Enough. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love just wandering around a city and taking in the locals sights and smells and feels. But, damn, how many times does this one thing have to be mentioned?
A lot. Because it’s awesome. While we never truly got lost in the souk in Fes or in the streets of Chefchaouen (honestly, the easiest one to get lost in because everything is EXACTLY THE SAME – blue!), we did wander around the same streets a time or two. It’s honestly just so relaxing and fun to take in the sights while knowing it doesn’t matter where you end up. Just walking down the streets and getting a glimpse into everyday life is worth it. So, apologies, but go get lost in the medinas, the souks, the arteries of Morocco.
While we ran out of time, and honestly were just too exhausted from the trek of getting to Chefchaouen, there are tons of things to do outside of The Blue City.
You can hike the Rif Mountains if you’re into hiking and all that stuff
You can take in the beautiful scenery and head out to Cascades d’Akchour and revel in the water and natural beauty. Morocco is pretty jazzed about their waterfalls, and they may not be huge or extremely lush, they’re still breathtaking. This is one of our original plans, but after nearly 2 weeks of traveling through Morocco, and trying to figure out taxis and transportation (this was before the train system was put in), we were tired and decided to just do a normal honeymoon thing and RELAX.
You can meander down to Ras el’Ma. This little waterfall is one we actually saw as it is found in town. Listening to half-assed directions from our guide, it took us a little longer to find the place, but it was nice to see once we got there. Plus, we got to interrupt A LOT of children’s soccer games. So, I mean, that was fun. I’m exhausted just thinking about them chasing the ball down the stairs. Because, yes, in Chefchaouen there are roughly twelve million stairs to anything you want to see. Stretch it out.
This is where we put our google translator on full blast. All plaques are explained in Spanish or Arabic, no French or English in sight. This was a neat place to see and didn’t take much out of our day. Located in the main square, you can hop in for some history and hop right out for some delicious lunch.
This is where you can find this wicked view from below.
Chefchaouen is FILLED with restaurants and you can have your pick of delicious tagines or American-esque foods, or my favourite – tacos. They’re not close to what we think of as actual tacos; instead, they’re wrapped delights that prime you for a heart attack. Beef, chicken, french fries (yes fucking FRENCH FRIES IN YOUR WRAP!), jalapeno poppers, maybe a veggie or two. Honestly, you name it and they will put it in a taco. They’re so good, even when they’re not actually good.
Plus, by focusing on eating, you get to meet cute friends like the one below.
Take in the View.
No explanation necessary.
Not sure what else you need to know about Morocco?