The city that blue me away

In the mountains of Morocco, away from the big cities, is an old city painted all in blue. To get lost in this maze of streets is a study in just one colour.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.

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Chefchaouen, Morocco

It’s all blue. In every direction, there’s just more blue. Dark blue, light blue. Vibrant blue, dull blue. Blue, blue, blue, blue.

It’s what draws visitors here to Chefchaouen in the first place. And once here, it draws you in further, until you feel like you’re in a magical frozen or underwater world.

Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city

The old medina of Chefchaouen is not large but it’s the kind of place where you’re happy to walk the same streets over and over again.

As the light shifts throughout the day, the blue glow changes, and you can look at the alleys afresh.

And with freshness. The colour makes everything feel so crisp and clean.

Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city

This is a welcome difference from the larger cities of Morocco like Fez or Marrakech.

The streets aren’t large, they’re not full of shops, the crowds aren’t thick and there’s less mania to the atmosphere.

It’s another one of the reasons Chefchaouen has been a favourite stop along the Morocco tourist trail for decades. This is a relaxing break where the lack of sights is part of the charm.

In the town itself, it’s easy to spend a day wandering and trying to find new angles of blue. Up and down stairs, along the main arteries, through the small winding passageways.

The main square has open air cafes and restaurants where there’s no rush to move on. A slow lunch, a leisurely coffee, an hour or two catching up on emails from a cushioned lounge.

Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city

Surrounding Chefchaouen is a mountainous nature that’s also one of the draws. There are trails leading off to hikes for a day or even longer. It’s likely these will pass through local marijuana farms – another reason travellers have come here for years – but they are easily ignored.

Unfortunately it’s cold and wet for all of my time in Chefchaouen. The blue sky somewhere above is blocked by an almost constant blanket of grey. Although I had planned a hike to explore the mountains, I decide to spend my time in the medina instead.

Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city

Thankfully there’s still enough blue here not to need the sky to give it to me.

I think you’re best off just making your way to Chefchaouen and spending a day or two exploring. But if you’re short of time and just want to go and take some photos, there are a few options here:

 

Let me now share some more photos of this rich colourful urban environment, high in the green hills away from the oranges and browns that define much of Morocco’s landscapes.

Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city
Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city
Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city
Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city
Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city
Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city
Chefchaouen, Morocco, blue city

THE BEST ACCOMMODATION IN CHEFCHAOUEN

I think Chefchaouen is worth much more than a day trip and there are some wonderful places to stay in or around the blue buildings.

BACKPACKER

When it comes to great value dorm beds, Riad Baraka has the best in town.

BUDGET

You’ll find really good prices at the very friendly Dar Besmellah, which has a great terrace.

BOUTIQUE

With a very nice modern style, La Petite Chefchaouen has great rooms just on the edge of the kasbah.

LUXURY

Overlooking the town from a quiet hillside location, Dar Jasmine is a beautiful luxury option.

46 thoughts on “The city that blue me away”

  1. Amazing photos! Reminds me a lot of Jodhpur in India, which some people say is blue to detract mosquitoes (don’t know if that’s true). Do you know why this city is blue?

    Reply
    • I had heard the same thing about mosquitos – but another theory is that is was supposed to be symbolic of the sky and the heavens. I’m not sure if there is a definitive answer. I didn’t really question it and just enjoyed the colours ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  2. Wow, stunning. I had always gotten the impression that Chefchaouen was just a side trip or day trip type place in Morocco but I have been hearing and seeing more and more things lately that make me think that it is a highlight spot to visit on its own, and is worth a day or two of relaxing. Great photos!

    Reply
    • Oh yes, it’s definitely worth more than just a sidetrip. It’s a really relaxing place to stay for a night or two and it’s also good to soak up the atmosphere during different times of the day, not just for a few hours on a tour.

      Reply
  3. Amazing photos and amazing blue.A must visit place in Morocco. Everything is so stunning and completely eager me to plan a quick vacation there.

    Keep sharing and stay blue…

    Thanks
    Tanmay

    Reply
  4. HAHAHA Nice topic. I hope There also a rainbow city, you have been a colorful day even your sad I’m sure you’ll always smile ๐Ÿ™‚
    blue city it’s like a day dream feeling like a ocean deep ๐Ÿ˜€ . I love your blog Mr. Michael ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Reply
  5. Interesting place indeed! Although the vibrance of blue paints the whole place it still looks laid-back. I’m intrigued about the place and wanting to go there. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  6. OMG.!! I’m not sure how many of here have visited Jodhpur (Rajasthan) India. This places exactly looks like Jodhpur. The authenticity and traditional cultural is coming out so purely.
    FYI. the city is also called Blue City.

    Lovely post.!1 Keep sharing

    Reply
    • I’ve never been there, Howard, but I think I would like to go now. If it’s anything like Chefchaouen, it must be a beautiful place. Perhaps I could take a bunch of photos and do a compare and contrast post! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  7. Such a nice post! I recognize many of my favorite places during my stay in Chaouen! Even when raining the city is worth visiting, an amazing place an with Essouira my favorite place in whole morocco! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
  8. I’m from chefchaouen city and I have page in instagram I post amazing pic ..
    Can u follow me plz to see more pic about blue chefchaouen town
    My instagram
    Love_chefchaouen

    Reply
  9. Thank your Mr Mechael for this rich and wonderful article about the blue pearl of Morocco.
    No doubt that Checfchaouen or Chaouen (as locals call it) is one of the best cities to explore in Morocco.
    If you have any new adventure tour to Morocco, please feel free to contact us. It’s our pleasure to show you an Authentic Morocco

    Reply
  10. Wow, stunning. I had always gotten the impression that Chefchaouen was just a side trip or day trip type place in Morocco but I have been hearing and seeing more and more things lately that make me think that it is a highlight spot to visit on its own, and is worth a day or two of relaxing.ย Thanks for sharing the beautiful of this city I really love it.

    Reply

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