Escape of the Week: Chefchaouen, Morocco

Morocco’s Chefchaouen is as unique as it is beautiful. Tucked between peaks of the marijuana-laden Rif Mountains, the village crawls (often times, steeply) up a hillside and treats visitors to the land of one-thousand welcomes.

But, there is more to the town than the warm hospitality and Moroccan culinary delicacies like the delightfully colorful and flavorful Berber dishes of tagine, raisin-topped couscous, and cup fulls of sweet mint tea ¬†— there is the city itself which easily reaches its way into the hearts of travelers from every corner of the world.

Located in the northwest of the country, Chefchaouen is quite possibly the most photogenic place I have ever visited. Here, buildings are two-tone, powder blue on the bottom, white on the top.

Accents on buildings are an array of turquoise and aqua.

In some areas, even the white looks blue, thanks to the intense coloring and reflection of the bright azure shades.

Some say the blue is painted on the white-washed buildings to keep the mosquitoes and flies out; others reason the painted walls are rooted in the Jewish history of the town.

Look familiar?

Aside from the walls (and marijuana/hash/kief), Chefchaouen is also known for its shopping.

It’s nearly impossible to not stop and stare at the bright pops of leather goods, hand-woven rugs, clothing and more on display.

You never know what you will find.

There is definitely something extremely magical and surreal about wandering through the medina of Chefchaouen. The bursts of vines hanging overhead. The quaint cafes serving food that is just as colorful as the shop displays. The fresh air. The welcomes. The blue tint of the skin by day and the stars sparkling overhead at night. Unlike Marrakesh, Fez and other ¬†major cities, Chefchaouen bursts with a character and a true beauty I’ve never seen before.

Getting there:

From Tangier, hop on the bus to Chefchaouen. Take note: Chefchaouen is built on a hill. For those carting large luggage, particularly luggage with wheels, you would do better to take a cab from the bus stop up to the medina. For those who opt to walk, god speed. It just looks vicious.

Destinations

Escape of the Week: Walls of Chauen

Perhaps one of the most stunningly colored cities I have ever visited, Chefchauen, Morocco, provided me with a photo opp around every winding road, narrow alley and blue-walled building.

The entire medina is a refreshing bright blue stacked with white half-way up nearly every building’s wall. And then there are gorgeous splatters of color — souks with bright magenta leather sandals, electric turquoise wallets; scarves lining the walls; rich table cloths draped under plates of deep green salads and pink watermelon.

The day I spent wandering this city was my first in Morocco. I arrived via ferry from Tarifa, Spain to Tangier, Morocco, hopped a cab to the bus station and then hopped a locals bus (think rickety tin box with windows I thought would pop out) to Chefchauen.

I had heard about the magic of this city. How it enchants. Mesmerizes. It did just that for me as well.

I love this photo because the sun beaming in is just so, making every color just pop.

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