Monday, June 15, 2020


Chefchaouen is a city in northern Morocco, a couple hours south of Tangier.
If you are familiar with Chefchaouen, you immediately recognize any of the photos, the stunning blue that pulls you in and holds you in a firm embrace. It's an embrace you will feel long after you've left, every time you see one of those photos.

If you've thought about going to Morocco enough to do some research, you've probably seen a photo of this stairway as it is shown pretty much every time someone even whispers, "Morocco..." It's not quite this blue, but it FEELS this blue when you're in it. It is absolutely immersive, especially when you're out early, early in the morning before most people are awake (when this picture was taken). That's also the only time you'll be able to get a photo like this without having to wait in a lineup of gushing tourists who can't wait to hold hands or kiss or do something Amazing (!) while being photographed on these stairs by the person waiting in line behind them.
Thankfully there are hundreds of beautiful spots to hold hands and take your picture in Chefchaouen if that's what you go travelling for, so no need to wait in line here.

So in between taking hand-holding photos, be sure to really explore. Wander down alleys in a direction you are positive is not where you're headed. Go up this hillside for a look over the whole town. Walk up the path to the mosque on the opposite hill for another great view. 

But most importantly, walk around. And spend some time here. 

It's a true joy to walk around this town. There are lots of stairs, and you will hear a fair bit of huffing and puffing from tourists and local folks alike, but there are also the main arteries which go in a generally horizontal direction for the most part.
There are loads of shops and shopping opportunities with many things being pretty reasonably priced. There are hidden shops and outdoor shops, tiny shops and shops that are a little less tiny, classy shops and shops that could use a makeover, shops that are neatly contained and shops that kind of spill out all over. 

There are lots of great restaurant options, enough cat-petting options to keep you busy for a week, several great hikes outside the city, and be sure to add to your door photo collection, they will become prized possessions over the years.

I highly recommend getting a lift out of town to do the hike to the Akchour Waterfalls. Ask at your hotel as they will know all about it. But it's a glorious two to three hour walk in almost alpine conditions ( I think it was five hours in and out), where you'll have to cross the creek about ten times in both directions on not particularly stable footholds that are most certainly not state recommended. Some require balancing on unsteady logs and holding a rubber tube/rope to stay dry.

We reached Chefchaouen from Asilah, which required an hour long bus ride to Tetouan (which shouldn't be too arduous for most people) and then finding a share taxi at Tetouan's taxi park (a parking lot full of white Mercedes vehicles) and going for a hair-raising one-hour drive at top speed, which generally won't push you beyond 6 or 7 Gs in any of the harder turns.
There isn't a bus service that I could find to get us in or out of Chefchaouen, so for the journey to Fes we opted for a private car. Many times more expensive, but far fewer g-forces.

Some of the images above are available as prints here.
You can see a little more of our experience in Morocco in this video:
It's a sampling of our time in Asilah, Chefchaouen, Fes, Meknes (including glorious Volubilis), Rabat, and Casablanca.

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