What`s your favourite color? Mine is blue. All tones of blue. So when I found out about the blue city of Chefchaouen, in Morocco, I was obviously mesmerised. Who introduced me to Chefchaouen was my photography teacher, Enric de Santos. Himself a fan of the city who has been there many times, he talked about Chaouen with a shine in his experienced eyes. This was all it took to make me and my good friend and classmate Anapaola fall in love with the city.
I remember the first time I heard about Chefchaouen. My photography teacher, Enric de Santos, is a fan of the city (he has been there many, many times) and showed us some pictures of it. Blue is my favourite colour so the idea of a whole city painted blue already appealed to my eyes. It took me one look at this pictures of Chefchaouen for a dream to be born: I had to visit it when I went to Morocco.
My friend and classmate Anapaola felt the same. We started to make plans of going to Morocco together, but there never seem to be a good time to do so…
Can you believe this is real? A whole city like this?
When, 4 years later, we finally managed to organise our much dreamed trip to Morocco (Anapaola had moved back to her country Guatemala after her studies; I remained in Spain), Chefchaouen was clearly on the top of our list of cities to see. We hired a guide to accompany on our trip; this was great because two girls traveling alone throughout the country is not always easy or the safer way, specially if you want to cross the country from north to south and outside the touristic path (you will need a car for that).
When deciding our itinerary, they suggested that we`d skip Chefchaouen because we only had a week and the places were far away from each other. We said NO. The dreamy blue city was a no deal. We had to see it.
Later on that trip I found out that every city in Morocco has a different color: Chaouen is blue, Fez is a creamy yellow, Marrakesh is terracota… I`ll tell you about it in future posts!
There are many theories about why is the city painted blue. One of them says it was introduced in the 1930`s by a group of jewish refugees that went to live in the city, and the blue represents heaven… I don`t know if that`s true, but for sure you can feel like you are walking on the sky when passing by all-blue streets. In some of them, even the ground is painted blue…
The doors of the city deserve a paragraph of it`s own. Every door is different, I could have published a book just on the Doors of Chefchaouen. An unique characteristic of an even more unique city…
I went in March and Chefchaouen is in the mountains (thats the reason of the name: Chaouen means “horn” because of the shape of the mountain where the city`s at). It was really cold, specially during the night and early in the morning. The next day we woke up before sunrise to walk up the hill and see the sunrise from the mountain. Brrr!!!
As I almost slept-walked up the hill (I`m not a morning person…) I admit that I was coursing in my mind and dreaming about coming back to my warm bed at the hotel, but when we got there, those views were definitely worth it:
Also being able to photograph the city when it was still sleeping, with all the streets still empty before the craziness of the day started…
What to see in Chaouen: Just wandering around the streets of the Medina is already amazing, but after that, the central square is a great place to have dinner. Surrounding the gates of the old fortress, it has a lot of life, really good and cute restaurants and the most to-die-for souvenirs and ceramic stores… I regretted not buying some pieces that I saw there, hoping I would find that later in the Souk of Marrakesh, and I never did. Chefchaouen it´s famous for it`s unique artesanal pieces and some things you can only find there. So if you like it, my advice is: Buy it.
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We only had one day in the city and to me, it was not enough. I wanted more time to explore the blue streets and alleys and do some shopping. And of course, take more pictures. But if you are not a photography-maniac like me, the Medina (the old town, where the blue are is) can be seen in one day, if you spend the night (I also had one of the best breakfast I`ve ever tried here, with local crepes, bread, homemade cheese and jams). This is the only blue city in Morocco so I suggest you definitely try to include it on your Moroccan trip! I loved it!