I have become the stereotypical study abroad student that will use any opportunity to ramble on about my experience in Morocco. I try my best to curb my incessant chatter about every city to most of my friends, but one of my friend's was going to Morocco for a week during winter break. The dam that was holding in my love for the country broke as I spewed tips, trivia, and advice about the cities she would be visiting on her trip. I was ecstatic when I saw she would be visiting Chefchaouen, my favorite city in Morocco.
Chefchaouen is known as the blue city. The walls are blue, the stairs are blue, and the roofs are blue. It is said that the city was painted blue by the Jews. Another explanation is that the color blue keeps mosquitoes away. Some others say the blue is a reminder lead a spiritual life as it is the color of the sky and heaven. Whatever the reason, the blue is relaxing to look at and is an aesthetic that finds a place on many Instagram pages (including my own).
When I visited, my friends and I stayed at an Airbnb located in the old city. The old city is where each wall is blue and fine designs decorate the doorways. Take the time to explore the city. You will stumble upon lovely photo ops. .A small city, the souk, or traditonal open air market, is much relaxed than the bustling cities of Fes or Casablanca. As you traverse the seemingly ever uphill climb through the city, you will notice the Rif mountains encapsulate the city. Chefchaouen is nestled between them.
This city is not the place to shop, but it is rich with plenty of beautiful areas to hike and spend the day exploring. A forty-five minute taxi drive outside the city will drop you off at the beginning of a moderate hike to Akchour Falls. There is a short thirty minute hike to a small natural water fall, but the real experience is climbing 2-2.5 hour hike to Akchour. Along the way is plenty of small eateries where locals cook traditional dishes such as beef or chicken tagine outdoors. There is also many stops that offer drinks like freshly squeezed orange juice and water gushing straight from the mountain stream. Once you finally reach your destination, you can take a dip in the pool of water under the waterfall. As I went during the summer, taking a break to step into the water was refreshing and effective way to cool down before the hike all the way back down.
Chefchaouen is a must see when visiting Morocco. The relaxed atmosphere and beautiful landscape combined with the soothing blue of the city is truly enjoyable. I felt that I could lounge on the roof all day. If you do plan to visit Morocco, make sure to add the "Blue Pearl" to your itinerary.