Best Things to do in Chefchaouen Morocco

15 Best Things to Do in Chefchaouen Morocco Right Now!

Planning a trip to the Rif Mountains of northern Morocco? If so then you need a list of the best things to do in Chefchaouen, Morocco

Known as the “blue pearl” of Morocco, Chefchaouen is a truly unique city where you can walk along cobblestone streets and experience the blue-washed beauty of the homes that fill the Medina. 

Yes, it is touristy and definitely no longer a hidden gem. But, if you can get up early and visit during the week, then you’ll catch a glimpse of why people have become so captivated by this tiny town. 

So, set your alarm and plan to explore the top attractions in Chefchaouen Morocco when no one is around. 

Planning your trip to Chefchaouen last minute? Here are the tours and riads we recommend. You’ll also find our Marrakech itinerary, the Best Morocco Desert Luxury Camps, and the Best Riads in Marrakech helpful to plan your trip.

Best Things to do in Chefchaouen Morocco

Chefchaouen The Blue City of Morocco

This post was written by Kelly of Travel Morocco Today. 

Generally, locals tend to visit Chefchaouen on the weekend and so the small, narrow streets of the Medina become absolutely packed with tourists. 

After all, Morocco is a very sleepy country with most cities not really waking up until 9;00 am or 10:00 am – and Chefchaouen is no exception. 

But, let’s dig a little deeper and look at how you can plan your Chefchaouen itinerary while you are here. 

After all, I live in Morocco, my partner is Moroccan, and I have personally visited Chefchaouen a couple of times – even though it is ten hours away from where I live. 

I fell in love with the city’s quiet charm and I hope that you will too. Who knows, you might even uncover some cool hidden gems in Chefchaouen too. 

Best Things to Do in Chefchaouen Morocco

Here is a list of the many unique things to do in Chefchaouen. If you’re not sure how many days to spend in Chefchaouen, aim for two days in the city. 

This way you’ll have enough time to explore the city, do some cool nearby hikes, and maybe figure out why Chefchaouen is blue

1. Wander Through the Streets of This Morocco Blue City

Like all of the cities in Morocco, Chefchaouen has a central area called a Medina. It is surrounded by walls and all of the homes inside are painted a beautiful blue color. 

So, one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen is to wander the streets. Get lost and enjoy taking photos of the beautiful blue homes and doors. 

There is no rhyme or reason to the layout of the Medina, so it’s a fun place to explore as you wonder what’s behind the next corner. 

To avoid the crowds, get up before 10:00 am. Like most of Morocco, Chefchaouen is a sleepy city. So, no one will be up at 7:00 am ready to go. 

Additionally, many people visit Chefchaouen as a day trip from Tangier and as a day trip from Fes. So, if you get up early, none of those people will be here yet. 

If you want, get up, explore, and then go back and have breakfast at your hotel around 10:00 am. 

Try also to visit on a weekday. Many Moroccans visit on the weekend, and the streets become even more packed with people on the weekends when no one is working. 

Other things worth noting are that you will have to pay to take photos in some more picturesque doorways/streets. 

You should also avoid taking photos of locals and ask first, especially with children, since I have heard this is actually illegal in Morocco. 

Cafe Clock Chefchaouen

2. Visit Cafe Clock

I love Cafe Clock and literally stop by every chance I get, which is easy since this restaurant/cultural institution has locations in Fes, Marrakech, and Chefchaouen. 

The outpost in Chefchaouen is conveniently located in the Medina and has an incredible rooftop, enhanced by stunning local decor inside the three-story restaurant. 

The menu is packed with adventurous cuisine like a camel burger, a scrumptious Berber omelet (my fave), and a spiced cappuccino topped with cocoa powder and cinnamon. 

Menu items are also well-priced from 50 – 100 MAD ($5-10). 

But the real draw of your visit is all the cultural activities available here. They conduct calligraphy classes, cooking workshops, and even host live music in the evenings. 

They also have great WIFI, making this one of the best restaurants in Chefchaouen. 

Moroccan Food

3. Visit the Souk and Try Unique Local Foods

Every Monday and Thursday, the local farmers set up a souk (market in English) where they sell everything from fruit to cheese to bread and vegetables. 

This market has a fun and vibrant atmosphere that is worth experiencing if you happen to be in town on either of those days. 

Plus, if you visit other cities in Morocco, you’ll notice some cool differences in the foods eaten in the north versus the south. 

An example is that Berber omelets are common in Marrakech and Essaouira but you really can’t find them in Chefchaouen. 

However, a white cheese known as Jben is really only eaten in and around Tangier, Chefchaouen, and Tetouan. 

It’s a local delicacy and a must-try goat cheese if you are in the area. I personally am not a fan, but definitely give it a try. 

El Masjid El Aadam Grand Mosque in Chefchaouen
The Grand Mosque in Plaza Uta El Hammam.

4. Relax in Plaza Uta El Hammam

Grab a mint tea and just watch the people go by in Plaza Uta El Hammam. Life in Chefchaouen is all about relaxing and taking it easy. 

So, embrace that ethos and sit in this square in the heart of the Medina. It’s filled with shady trees, restaurants, and cafes. It is also where you’ll find the Grand Mosque and the Kasbah. 

The tree in the center is a great meeting spot too. Just be aware that the restaurant hawkers are very aggressive. The restaurants that line this square are also notoriously bad. 

So, I would grab nothing more than a mint tea here. You also may see a random street performance or two since this square is always buzzing with activity. 

You’ll even find local men holding parrots and trying to get you to take a photo with them. However, do not do this and just keep walking. 

5. Admire the Grande Mosquée

Like many mosques in Morocco, this iconic mosque in Chefchaouen is closed to non-Muslims. So, you won’t be able to visit for any reason other than religious purposes. 

However, you can admire the exterior in Plaza Uta El Hammam since this historic structure was first built in the 15th century by the son of the founder of the city. 

Akchour Waterfall Chefchaouen Morocco
Hike in Talassemtane National Park to the Akchour Waterfall and God’s Bridge.

6. Hike to Akchour Waterfall

Located in Talassemtane National Park, this is easily the most popular hike in the area. 

But, that’s for good reason since the many waterfalls that you’ll see during this 3-hour hike are absolutely stunning. 

To get here, head to the parking lot by the bus station and use a Grand Taxi (group taxi) to get to the park. 

The trip generally takes 45 minutes and you’ll have to wait for the taxi to fill up before you leave. The trip typically costs around 25 ($2.50) MAD per person. 

Upon arrival, embark on an easy/moderate hike that most people should be capable of completing. 

If you want, you can bring a bathing suit and go for a swim at one of the waterfalls near the start of the trail. 

Do wear good hiking shoes and bring snacks and water since restaurants and facilities begin to taper off after about the first thirty minutes. 

There are also no trail markers but sometimes confusing arrows that point the way. But, if you get confused, just ask someone for directions since this is a very heavily trafficked area. 

Truth be told, the waterfalls at the start of the trail are much more beautiful than the ones at the end of the trail. 

In fact, the final waterfall is quite small and you can’t even really go swimming. I thought this might be due to the time of year but I went twice during different seasons and the waterfall was not all that impressive. 

But, there is a man who sometimes serves homemade tagine by the waterfall at the end of the trail. So, that is something fun to do after a long hike. 

Or, stop for a rest at one of the restaurants at the start of the hike and enjoy a mint tea by the river. 

7. Hike God’s Bridge

Also located in Talassemtane National Park, God’s Bridge is a short, 30-minute hike that takes you to a stunning land bridge in the canyon. 

You can access the trail after the dam by turning right and not left for the waterfall hike. 

Make a steep climb up for a stunning view of the natural bridge. It’s not a long climb but it is a lot steeper and really should only be done if you have good hiking shoes. 

Once on God’s Bridge, you can either go back the way you came or take a dirt road back through a local village. 

It’s also possible to connect to the hike to Akchour Waterfall from here. 

Spanish Mosque Chefchaouen things to do
The Spanish Mosque is a great place the see the sunset.

8. Catch Sunset at the Spanish Mosque

If you walk past Ras El Maa waterfall and climb up a paved pathway (to the right) for around 20 minutes, you’ll find the city’s Spanish Mosque quietly sitting on a hill. 

It was built in the 1920s by the Spanish and was never actually used. So, while the building remains closed, it is perfectly positioned for watching the sunset over the beautiful blue city of Chefchaouen. 

Just try and arrive an hour or two before sunset since this place is popular and seats do fill up fast. 

Chefchaouen Kasbah
The historic Kasbah is a sight to see in the middle of the blue city.

9. Visit the Kasbah

Sitting right in the central square of the Medina, the Kasbah is a historic structure that dates all the way back to the 15th century. If you are wondering what to see in Chefchaouen, this is it.

It’s a clay building that was once used as a prison and that is now home to the Center for Research and Andalusian Studies and a tiny art gallery. 

It’s a great place to go if you want to explore a beautiful Andalusian-style garden and climb the Portuguese Tower for impressive panoramas of the city. 

It’s not huge and available signage in English is lacking, but most people don’t visit. So, it’s a great place to go to escape the crowds. 

Chefchaouen and Rif Mountains View
The Rif Mountains shown in the distance are home to Bouhachem Regional Nature Reserve.

10. Go Hiking in Bouhachem Regional Nature Reserve

One of the cool things about Chefchaouen is that it is tucked away in the Rif Mountains. 

So, this quiet little town is surrounded by beautiful peaks filled with excellent trails that are perfect for anyone who loves hiking. 

Most people who visit the area go to Talassemtane National Park. However, Bouhachem Regional Nature Reserve is also close by and much less crowded. 

It’s only around a 30-minute drive from the city and is an exceptionally beautiful place where you can go to explore local villages, see the rare Barbary macaque (if you’re lucky), and enjoy the mountains. 

Moroccan Gratent

11. Grab Dinner at Sofia’s

I am obsessed with the food at Sofia’s. Yea, everyone raves about Bab Ssour ,and while the food is good, I think the food at Sofia’s is better. 

I also love that Sofia’s is a totally woman-owned restaurant and a place where you can get delicious vegan fare too. 

Plus, all of the food is very Moroccan. So, it’s a great place to go if you want to taste delicious local cuisine.

I visited twice and got a veggie sandwich the first time that was just okay. However, when I returned I ordered the vegan soup and the vegetable tagine. 

Both were absolutely amazing and easily the best food I have ever had in Morocco – which is saying a lot since my boyfriend’s mom is an amazing cook. 

It’s also a very casual restaurant with plastic white chairs that are all lined up outside, just above Plaza Uta El Hammam. So, stop by and get ready for the meal of a lifetime. 

Things to do in Chefchaouen River area
Experience local life in the Chefchaouen River area.

12. Enjoy Ras El Maa

This tiny little waterfall sits on the northern edge of the town and you’ll spot it as you make your way to the Spanish Mosque. 

You’ll see fresh water flowing down from the mountains and can spot local women doing their laundry here on a warm day. 

It’s a great place to relax and you can admire the view from a stone wall or grab a fresh squeezed orange juice at one of the local restaurants near the river. 

Just be sure not to eat here since several eateries in the area were very unappealing. 

Shopping for Souvenirs in the Chefchaouen Medina
Shop for souvenirs in the colorful streets of Chefchaouen.

13. Go Shopping for Souvenirs in the Medina

The narrow alleys of Chefchaouen are filled with vibrant markets that sell a wide variety of local handicrafts, art, clothing, and carpets.

You’ll also love that the local vendors are extremely friendly. So, take your time shopping and one of them will probably invite you inside for a chat and a cup of mint tea. 

Get to know the friendly locals and learn about their culture before grabbing an awesome souvenir. If you’re lucky, you even get to see a weaving or cooking demo. 

14. Go on a Free Walking Tour

While the city is small and easy to navigate on your own, a free walking tour is a great way to meet a local and learn about the unique history and culture of this town. 

After all, many people become so consumed with photographing the beauty of this place that they don’t stop to learn about its history or the unique people who live here. 

This tour allows you to do just that, with Carlota and Ali as your excellent local guides. So, if you have time, definitely consider booking this free 2-hour tour

Just be sure to tip your guide at the end of the tour for their excellent service. 

15. Do a Day Trip to Tetouan 

Tetouan is a coastal city that sits about 1.5 hours away from Chefchaouen. It’s a great place to go if you want to escape the crowds since the city isn’t as heavily visited by tourists. 

To visit, you can take a Grand Taxi or opt to catch one of many daily CTM buses from Chefchaouen. 

Upon arrival, explore the Medina’s ​​other local highlights like El Ensanche, Hassan II Square, the gardens of the Ensanche, and the Archaeological Museum. 

A Note About Weed/Hashish in Chefchaouen

The climate and mountainous terrain in Chefchaouen are perfect for growing hashish, or whatever you want to call it. 

There are many farms in the area, and smoking/using this drug is a huge part of the local culture. Though to my knowledge, it is not legal to smoke weed recreationally in Morocco.

However, locals will likely approach you and ask you if you want some. It is up to you to decide what you want to do but please proceed with caution. 

Where to Stay in Chefchaouen Morocco

If you’re coming for a long weekend in Marrakech, we can’t recommend staying in an authentic riad enough! While some can be expensive, you can find a great stay at any price point.

A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with a central courtyard, typically including a garden or fountain. These are the typical picturesque places you see people staying in on their trips to Morocco.

    • Dar Hannan (8.8) Stylish riad with a terrific rooftop deck and walking distance to everything.
      • Dar Elrio (9.3) Unique decor, breakfast on the rooftop, and 5 minutes from the Medina.
        • VANCII Hotel (8.2) If you prefer a hotel, this is comfortable and next to the Kasbah.
    • Casa Perleta (9.3) Pretty traditional decor and walking distance to everything.

RELATED POST: 12 Best Riads in Marrakech, Morocco

Final Thoughts About What to Do in Chefchaouen

You now have more than enough things to do in Chefchaouen, Morocco to keep you busy for a couple of days. 

I hope this guide helps you plan the perfect Chefchaouen itinerary and that you fall in love with this striking blue city just like I did. 

Chefchaouen really is worth visiting and is an incredible place to explore. 

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Best Things to do in Chefchaouen

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