Chauen or Chefchaouen is a municipality and a city in Morocco, capital of the province of the same name. It is located in the northwest of the country, in the foothills of the Rif Mountains, near Tetouan. It belongs to the Tangier-Tetouan-Alhucemas region.
Chefchaouen, which is its name since the independence of Morocco in 1956, is easy to reach by car crossing to Ceuta from Algeciras, or by direct flight from Madrid to Tangier.
In both cases, you must pass through the city of Tetouan, whose medina is well worth a visit, and proof of this is that it has been declared a World Heritage Site.
And from Tetouan you will go up little by little along a winding road, in which it will be impossible to pass even a bus, which will take you to the foot of the mountains where the city of Chefchaouen is located.
– Entrance arch to the Medina of Chefchaouen
Your visit to Chefchaouen should focus on walking and enjoying the charm of its medina, for which I advise you to enter through its main door. This access is arranged with an entrance arch located to the south of the medina, which you find on the main street that crosses this small Moroccan city from west to east. Well, indeed, when you arrive in Chefchaouen, do not expect to find a small town, but it is a small city of about 43,000 inhabitants, capital of the province of the same name, in the Tangier-Tetouan region.
–Souk of the medina of Chefchaouen
From the entrance arch of the Medina of Chefchaouen you must go up the narrow alley that at the end will take you to the nerve center of it, the Uta el-Hamman square. This alley is a true souk with a succession of souvenir, clothing and craft shops, which if you visit Chefchaouen on a bridge or during the holidays, you will find it overflowing with people, to the point that you can feel some overwhelm. From this alley, another souk-like alley starts to the right, which in fact is advertised as a commercial street, which leads you to the back of the alkasabah located in the square, from where you will also get to it.
–What to see in the medina of Chefchaouen?
To continue your visit, from Uta el-Hamman square you must continue going up through the different alleys of the medina. You should know that Chefchaouen is located in the foothills of the Rif mountain range, a mountainous area of always surprisingly green landscapes, in such a way that the small town and its medina extend on a mountainside. In this walk through the alleys of the upper part of the medina is where you will discover the true charm of Chefchaouen. Although there are still shops, most of them local artisans, you will find yourself especially in a residential area that encloses corners with the great charm of the prints of the facades of the houses with the characteristic blue color. Stairs, arched passages, interior patios … there is the charm of Chefchaouen. also known as the Blue Town. If you are a fan of photography, you will not get tired of discovering those corners.
Artisan shops in Chefchaouen.
Local artisans and artists will show you their artistic works in the shops dotted around this upper part of the medina.
Painters, potters, iron craftsmen, sculptors…; In short, it will be difficult for you not to take an artistic souvenir from Chefchaouen, of course, after the usual and essential haggling.
On this walk you can refresh yourself with an orange juice (0.50 euros) freshly squeezed in front of you. Or buy dyes, or the typical djellaba.
–Waterfall in Chefchaouen.
On your walk through the medina you must continue climbing in a northeast direction until you reach the exit arch that opens in the wall in that area, and then go down to the waterfall and the washing places.
It is an area that on holidays is filled with visitors, especially Moroccans, who cool off in the pools that form in this gorge where the water runs down, and where the washing places are located.
There you can see the peasant women who gather with their typical and colorful straw hats, which they sell to tourists or, failing that, they ask you for a tip for taking a photo of them.
–Where to eat in Chefchaouen.
The vast majority of restaurants in Chefchaouen are concentrated around the Uta el-Hamman square or in its vicinity.
BAB SSOUR restaurant.
Those who know this beautiful town well advise against sitting down to eat on some of the terraces in the square. Instead, the restaurant recommended by locals is Hassan, at the top of the square. Quite large and very touristy, there you will find a menu to choose from with Moroccan dishes at a good price.
Another recommended restaurant is Casa Hassan and Riad Hicham, easily recognizable by its covered viewpoint and its terrace that rises above the square.
You also have Moroccan specialties, and you can eat well with a menu that with drinks will cost you less than 10 euros. And, without a doubt, the best way to end your day in Chefchaouen is to sit down, now, on the terrace of a café in the square to drink a typical green tea with sugar and fresh mint leaves. I anticipate that you can spend hours watching people wander, in a mixture of cultures. You will see from the most exotic local characters, to the many tourists, both Western, Japanese and even Chinese. In short, a visit that I anticipate will always remain in your memory.