Chefchaouen or simply Chaouen is Morocco’s stunning ‘Blue City’. Tucked away in Africa’s northernmost mountain range, the Rif Mountains, the otherworldly escape has the striking powder-blue buildings that mirror the usually cloudless Moroccan sky. The color choice was influenced by religious rather than artistic reasons. The Jews believed that by dyeing thread with an ancient natural blue dye and weaving it into prayer shawls, they would be reminded of God’s power. This tradition lives on in the regularly repainted blue buildings. Chaouen is currently a rich cultural combination of Berber tribes people, Jews and Muslims, together with descendants of the Moorish exiles from Spain who have lived there since the 1400s.
Chaouen is about three hours drive from Fez where we were based. We decided to spend a day tour in the “blue city” with a rented car and a hired driver based in Fez.
The three-hour journey took us back to the scenery of the medieval ages when camels were used as the main mode of transportation. A lone standing blue door along the main highway signaled us that we have finally entered the blue city.
A breathtaking view of the blue city suddenly emerged as we started to descend to the city center.
Oh yeah we definitely had to stop for that classic Chaouen shot!
Our driver was busy parking our car quite far from the lookout point as the parking rules were very strict so my wife and I took turns to have each of our photos taken.
Bienvenue a Bleuville!
Blue-colored cars, blue-painted buildings everywhere!
Almost all buildings were painted with a palette of blue.
Any striking color would come alive amidst the blue and white combination of the surroundings.
Our tour started from Chaouen’s main square.
We started traversing Chaouen’s maze-like, winding alleys.
Every corner at every turn enticed me to click my camera.
I could not stop taking photos of those blue doors and windows.
The hues of blue still followed us, naturally.
Here I am just so glad to be in the blue city.
Here are more photos of me and my wife showcasing the inner part of the blue city.
Those maze-like alleys were a challenge to our memories.
Next is the colorful scenery of Chaouen’s incredible street shops!
Leather and weaving workshops line Chaouen’s steep cobbled lanes.
It was a different experience roaming around the street shops.
We finally stopped to have our late lunch at one of the street side restaurants near the square with a colorful background and cozy ambiance.
Dining in Chaouen is incredibly inexpensive and a sure treat to the taste buds.
The incredible main dish of fried fresh fish, probably from the coastal cities of east Morocco, satisfied our hungry stomachs. I am a certified fish lover so I have stamped this fishy experience as one of my best.
As we prepared to leave Chaouen, my wife and I both had our parting shots in the blue city.
Oh wait, there is a bit of red in the blue city. In the shady main square of Uta el Hammam is the red-walled casbah, a 15th-century fortress and dungeon with ethnographic and art exhibits. Be sure to explore it.
If you have been to Morocco’s blue city, what are your fondest memories there? If you have not been there, what makes you want to go there?