Travel & Expat Lifestyle Magazine

Monday Escape: Chefchaouen, Morocco


Chefchaouen is a beautiful mountain village in northwest Morocco, noted for its buildings which are almost all painted in shades of blue. And located just inland from Tangier and Tetouan, Chefchaouen is close to major international cities but still with all the charm of small culture and eccentric local looks.

Tourists do flock here, but for good reason: this humble town is the embodiment of almost every Moroccan cliché. Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Rif Mountains,  the call to prayer seems to echo in serene chorus out of several mosques around the town. If you’re looking for somewhere to relax from the rigors of life, this is a good place to do it.

That laid back atmosphere might also be partly due to the fact that Chefchaouen is at the center of the marijuana plantations region in North Morocco. Drugs are widespread in the town, but also widely tolerated. You might even say that this is the Moroccan version of Amsterdam.

Chefchaouen is a popular shopping destination as well, as it offers many native handicrafts that are not available elsewhere in Morocco, such as wool garments and woven blankets. The goat cheese native to the area is also popular and unique.

Things to see in and around town include the medina, which is the focal point of interest for most visitors to Chefchaouen, but also check out the waterfall (Ras el Maa) to the east of the medina – it’s a meeting point for local residents who come to cool off, chat and do their laundry (including carpets on sunny sundays). Also, the Ashour Waterfalls lie only 30 minites by car and 2.5 hours by foot from the town.

Of course, just walking around the town with its whitewashed walls, originally decorated in this style by Jewish immigrants, can be a nice way to change pace and center your thoughts.

This town has been an escape for locals for hundreds of years – come to escape yourself!


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