Chefchaouen in blue

The bus from Tangier to Chefchaouen (2018), also called Chaouen, takes about two and a half hours. Nestled in the Rif Mountains, it’s been called one of the most beautiful towns in Morocco. It’s also been called a typical Berber village, and is sometimes known as the “Blue Pearl.” Founded in the 1400s as a military post, it was settled by Spanish and Portuguese, and became a refuge for Jews and Andalusian refugees fleeing persecution in Europe.

Our riad, Dar Aldea, climbed up the side of a mountain. At the top was a view of the town and landscape, a breakfast nook, a laundry spot, and a wonderful place to relax. Breakfast was served in many tiny plates. Our room had bunk beds; my son’s toes were visible above me.

The medina, the historic old quarter, is a maze of twisting, winding, hilly streets with blue-washed walls, stairs, and doors. We wandered for hours, entranced by the narrow blue passageways, poking into shops here and there, talking with storekeepers, friendly but insistent.

A market rimmed Place Outa el Hammam, the center of town. Colorful carpets, pottery, spices could be found in the medina and around the town streets.

We followed children and families down to a pool, a welcome break on a hot day.

A friend asked readers of her novel, Two Spoons of Bitter by Sonja Mongar, to photograph themselves reading the book around the world.

Morocco series: MarrakechEssaouira, Tangier, Chefchaoen

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

42 thoughts on “Chefchaouen in blue

  1. I didn’t visit Chefchaouen during my time in Morocco, but it’s an omission I hope to rectify one day. Your photos are beautiful, I especially love the one with bags of spices (?) set against the blue wall. There’s something special about meals in general, but breakfast in particular, that’s served in multiple small bowls and plates. An array of dishes for breakfast seems so luxurious and distant from one’s usual bowl of cereal.


    1. Thank you, Leighton. I do love the array of little dishes, figs, jellies, condiments, even the breads. It reminded me of Japan and other east Asian traditions. Westerners always seem to be leaning toward fast food, even at breakfast!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The town looks so exotic. I had to do a double take on the second photo–at first glance it looks Tibetan. The sky-blue architecture is pleasing especially when contrasted with non-blue walls.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Breakfast looks delicious, Ruth. Was there ever an explanation as to why so much blue is used on the exterior walls and doors? The shade is pleasing nevertheless. Also, I like the stair/ramp passing by “Casa Aladdin” – works for walkers as well as wheels 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen varied explanations for the blue, most common is that the Jews brought it as one of their customs, but I’ve never heard of that from anyplace else before. One website suggested six or seven reasons. Your guess is as good as mine!


  4. Chefchaouen was my favorite city I visited in Morocco– not only because it was so vibrantly blue, but also I actually found the vendors to be less-aggressive with selling souvenirs and whatnot. The city felt a lot more relaxed and easy-going compared to the bigger ones like Marrakech and Fez. I’d return to see more! Thanks for taking us on your journey throughout Morocco; I look forward to reading where you go next!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m surprised! I’ve seen photos of Jodhpur but have never gotten out of the Golden Triangle area in India. Chef. is a small town, nowhere near the size (and bustle) of Indian cities, so it was charming and kind of intimate.


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