Things to do in Chefchaouen, Morocco: 1-day itinerary

Nestled in the Rif Mountains in the northwest region of Morocco, Chefchaouen is one of the most photogenic tourist destinations in the country. The city is known as “the Blue Pearl of Morocco” because of its blue-washed alleys and buildings.

Get lost in the maze of narrow winding alleys in the Medina at your own pace and discover beautiful terracotta-tiled houses with stunning doorways, picturesque courtyards, and souks lined with shops and street food vendors.

Plaza Uta el Hamman and Place El Haouta are two picturesque squares lined with cafes and restaurants where you can try Moroccan mint tea and enjoy local food delicacies. Derb El Assri is an ideal place to snap that perfect photo of the city’s gorgeous blue-washed walls.

To help you plan your vacation, we’ve put together this one-day itinerary which includes a list of the best things to do in Chefchaouen, as well as a few tips on where to eat and stay. As a bonus, we’ve also added a few suggestions for day trips from Chefchaouen.

Day 1

Morning: Plaza Mohammed V

Your morning walk in Chefchaouen begins at Plaza Mohammed V, a beautiful circular square built by the Spanish army during the colonization period. There is a cute fountain in the middle, as well as a flower garden lined with a few benches. Go for a walk between the picturesque orange trees and take a photo in front of the lovely frog pond.

Bab El Ain

One of the entrances to the Chefchaouen Medina, Bab El Ain is where you want to go next. It is the dividing point between the colonial side of Chefchaouen and the old town. A door to a completely different world, this historic gate is the ideal place to start your getaway in the old medina. Here, you will find a few food vendors selling everything from cactus fruit to hot chickpea cake. The name of Bab El Ain city gate translates to “The Gate of the Spring”.

Place El Haouta

There are two main squares in Chefchaouen: Place El Haouta and Plaza Uta el Hamman. Place El Haouta is the smaller square with a century-old ornate water fountain in the middle and a few shops and street food stalls. Frequented by both tourists and locals, this quaint square is one of the most iconic and photogenic areas of Chefchaouen.

Plaza Uta el Hamman

End your morning walk with a visit to Chefchaouen’s main square, Plaza Uta el Hamman. Located at the bottom of the medina and named after the hammams that used to circle it, this gorgeous open square is surrounded by a range of artisan shops, markets, cafes, restaurants, and the city’s popular blue-washed buildings. The square is also home to the city’s Grand Mosque which is used for religious worship. Although it is a bit of a touristy area, Plaza Uta el Hamman is a perfect place to grab a drink and enjoy jaw-dropping views of the Kasbah and the rolling hills in the distance. Don’t miss the nearby textile, carpentry, and leather shops.

Day 1 - morning Chefchaouen Tour Map

Afternoon: Kasbah

In the afternoon, make your way to the city’s 15th-century Kasbah. Located right next to the Grand Mosque in Chefchaouen, this historic clay-brown fortress has a lovely courtyard with a picturesque Andalusian-style garden. There is a former prison and a small art gallery that you can visit here. The main highlight of visiting the Kasbah is to climb the fortress and enjoy magnificent views of the medina and the surrounding countryside.

Ethnographic Museum of Chefchaouen

Inside the Kasbah, visitors will find the Kasbah Museum. Also known as the Ethnographic Museum of Chefchaouen, the small museum tells the story of the Moroccan heritage through an impressive collection of historic artifacts ranging from pottery and typical musical instruments to weapons, sculptures, and embroidery.

Chefchaouen Medina

You are now in the heart of Chefchaouen’s old medina. This is where you will find all of the picturesque blue-washed buildings. Go for a stroll through the labyrinth of blue-washed alleys flanked by ancient terracotta-tiled houses and souks filled with undiscovered gems. Compared to the hectic medinas in cities like Fes and Marrakech, the medina in Chefchaouen is a quiet area that offers a pleasant visit.

Where to take the greatest photos in Chefchaouen Medina—a difficult task given how picture-perfect the city is!

  • Derb Benyaakoub, a famous blue street in Chefchaouen, Morocco, is renowned for its striking blue-painted walls and murals. The street's vibrant atmosphere makes it a popular tourist spot.

  • El Haoubi House is a narrow little house, the prettiest blue residence in Chefchaouen, boasting intricate mosaic stairs and bursting greenery. Located near Mosquée Bab Al Souk, despite being a hidden gem, it's a must-see for those interested in Chefchaouen's unique architecture.

  • Derb El Assri: A tiny alley in the Medina, Derb El Assri, also known as Callejon el Asri, is a well-known Instagram street in Chefchaouen, recognised for its unique blue-painted walls and colourful flower pots decorating the walls, doors, and all-blue staircase. As one of the most photographed locations in Chefchaouen, it attracts tourists from all over the world. Arrive early to avoid having to wait in queue to take a picture!  

  • Sidi Bouchouka in Chefchaouen, Morocco, is a renowned Instagram location primarily for its picturesque setting and vibrant blue-painted walls. It provides a stunning backdrop for photos, featuring broad blue stairs, vibrant tiles, and a blue entrance.

  • Paid set: This immaculately designed courtyard is one o the most Instagrammable places in Chefchaouen. Set up with a table, plants, and a pot, this little garden is an ideal spot to take photos. This beautiful spot is actually someone's home, and they've turned their courtyard into a paid photo set that you can use! Queue up in front and snap that perfect shot for just 5 Dirhams.

  • The Orange Juice Cart: This Instagrammable orange juice cart in Chefchaouen is known for its friendly owner, delicious orange juice, and beautiful setup with floating oranges. The owner even takes photos and videos for customers.

  • The Blue Street is located not far from the orange juice stand. There are hundreds of blue streets in Chefchaouen, but this street has the official name "Blue Street" because of its rich cerulean colour.

Bab El Onsar

The next place on your Chefchaouen walk route is Bab El Onsar, one of the gates of the old city. Located northeast of the Medina in the Al-Enaser neighborhood, this 16th-century gate is surrounded by bazaars offering everything from clothes and local crafts to traditional souvenirs.

Lavadero de la Ciudad

Your last stop is Lavadero de la Ciudad. You will find this area just a short walk from the Bab El Onsar city gate. Also known as the “City Laundry”, it was once a place where locals went to wash their clothing in the river. Nowadays, Lavadero de la Ciudad is where you can walk around and enjoy views of the river. Grab a freshly squeezed orange juice from one of the many local vendors.

Day 1 - afternoon Chefchaouen Tour Map

Other things to see in Chefchaouen

  • Lina Ryad & Spa: Located right in the heart of the medina, Lina Ryad & Spa is a 5-star hotel with a traditional Moroccan hammam. The good news is that you can use their spa facilities without having to stay in the hotel. Go for the full spa package which includes access to the indoor heated pool, full body massage, hammam, pedicure, manicure, and facial. The staff at Lina Ryad & Spa is very professional and will guide you through the entire hammam experience.

  • Hotel Parador: Sometimes finding a place in Morocco that serves alcohol seems like mission impossible. Wish to unwind with a glass of wine or beer while visiting Chefchaouen? Stop by Hotel Parador’s lovely outdoor patio and choose something from their extensive drink menu. You don’t have to be a guest of the hotel to be served alcohol.

  • The Spanish Mosque: Overlooking Chefchaouen, the Spanish Mosque is an ideal spot to get that perfect view of the city and the surrounding mountains. The 10-minute climb from the center of the old town is quite steep, but the views are definitely worth the hike. The best time to climb to the Spanish Mosque is in the evening for spectacular sunset views. The mosque itself is abandoned and there is not much to see here. Most people visit because of the magnificent views.

  • Chefchaouen Shops: Travelers will find a souk in the medina of any city in Morocco. Chefchaouen is also known for its colorful little shops that offer traditional handmade goods. Some of the local handicrafts that Chefchaouen is famous for are powdered paint, leather bags, woven baskets, Moroccan lamps, carpets, and hand-painted art. Haggling is part of the shopping experience in Chefchaouen and it is expected of you to negotiate the price.

Day Trips from Chefchaouen

  • Akchour and God's Bridge: A 45-minute drive outside of Chefchaouen, Akchour is a small town with a few restaurants and cafes. It is known as the jumping-off point to the Cascades d'Akchou waterfall in the Rif Mountains and the God’s Bridge which is a towering natural rock arch. A picturesque hiking trail takes you along the river to see the picturesque waterfall and stunning emerald pools. Nestled 25 meters above the gorge, the impressive natural stone arch known as the Bridge of God is also easily reachable from the small town of Akchour. If you are planning to visit both attractions, plan to spend about 6 hours.

  • Jeb Al Kalaa: If you have a day to spare in Chefchaouen, go on a hike to Jeb Al Kalaa. This beautiful mountain overlooking the city can be reached in about 6 hours. It is an intermediate hike and you can either go alone or with a local guide. Once at the top, enjoy sweeping panoramic views of the Blue Pearl of Morocco.

  • Tangier: Located a 2-hour drive from Chefchaouen, Tangier is a cosmopolitan city known for its palm-shaded squares, grand palaces, a colorful medina, and a few world-class museums. The picturesque Petit Socco (Little Souk) is where you will find the legendary Tingis café. Don’t miss the city’s museums: the Ibn Battouta Museum, the Kasbah Museum, and the Modern Art Museum. For breathtaking views across the Strait of Gibraltar, go to the magnificent 15th-century Bab Al Bahr gate in the Kasbah.

  • Tetouan: A day trip from Chefchaouen to Tetouan can be an unforgettable experience. With its Archaeological Museum, a beautiful central square with art-nouveau light towers, and the souk district where travelers can score everything from handcrafted jewelry to ceramic work, this vibrant city in northern Morocco is packed with tourist attractions. Don’t miss the maze of twisting streets in the old Medina which is listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Strolling through the old walled city, you will come across historical monuments, markets, shops, art galleries, and restaurants. It will take you about 1 hour and 30 minutes by car to get from Chefchaouen to Tetouan.

  • Qued Laou: A picturesque coastal resort in Northern Morocco, Qued Laou is a popular day trip option from Chefchaouen. During the summer season, this small seaside resort attracts many tourists and locals. The main attraction here is the beautiful beach with crystal-clear waters. Outdoor enthusiasts visiting Qued Laou can look forward to various hiking trails and discovering the surrounding mountains.

Things to do with kids in Chefchaouen

  • Explore Kasbah and Medina: Wander the winding alleys of the old Medina and the Kasbah with your kids. There are no cars or motorbikes in this part of town, so the little ones can freely explore the area and admire the beauty of blue walls and intricate doors. Don’t leave the medina before getting your kids some delicious Moroccan pancakes, also known as msemen.

  • Kasbah Garden: Wish to get away from all the hustle and bustle of the Medina in Chefchaouen? Take your children to the picturesque Kasbah Garden, an oasis of peace and tranquility in the heart of the city. This Andalusian-style garden has a nice water fountain, several benches, and most importantly, a small playground for kids.

  • Hike up to the Spanish Mosque: Wish to stay active while visiting Chefchaouen? Go on a hike with your kids to the Spanish Mosque, a beautiful white mosque from the 1920s nestled on the hilltop in Chefchaouen. It’s an easy 30-minute walk uphill from the town’s center. Along the way, you can grab some homemade orange juice from one of the local food vendors. You might even spot some farm animals along the hike. The Spanish Mosque is a popular place to visit for sunset and the views of the blue-tinted town are beautiful and totally worth the hike.

Where to eat in Chefchaouen

  • Cafe Clock: With locations in Fes, Marrakech, and Chefhaouen, Cafe Clock is a popular dining establishment that offers a blend of international and traditional Moroccan cuisine. Grab breakfast, lunch, or dinner on their rooftop terrace and enjoy the spectacular city views. The menu is extensive and includes dishes like falafel super bowl, vegetable pie, lamb tagine, and couscous bouhaloo with roast chicken. If you wish to try something different and unique, go for their specialty dish, the camel burger.

  • Morisco Restaurant: You will find Morisco Restaurant in the famous Outa El Hammam square in Chefchaouen. They have a lovely rooftop area where guests can have a memorable dining experience. Some of the dishes on the menu are specific to the region. For instance, the local ftour beldi, includes goat cheese, olive oil, eggs, and cheese. This breakfast dish perfectly captures the essence of Moroccan cuisine with rich and authentic flavors. Harria soup is a big crowd-pleaser at Morisco, as well as the Moroccan-style chicken tacos.

  • Restaurant Bab Ssour: Travelers who wish to sample authentic homemade food in Chefchaouen can reserve a table at Restaurant Bab Ssour. An alternative to the traditional tourist eateries in Outa El Hammam Square, Bab Sssour is tucked away in a small alley and mostly attracts locals. It's an old house with traditional furniture and the menu is quite short. The rooftop dining room looks spectacular and offers magnificent views of the city. As for the food, everything is absolutely delicious and the owner is usually there to recommend the best dishes of the day. Popular dishes include shrimp tagine, harira soup, mrouzia (with beef), and chicken pastille. Fridays at Restaurant Bab Ssour are reserved for freshly made cous cous.

  • Pizzeria Mandala: If you are a little tired of tagine and wish to enjoy Italian cuisine while visiting the city, make your way to Pizzeria Mandala. Located just a stone’s throw from the popular Plaza Uta el Hamman, the restaurant offers a range of pasta dishes and pizzas, as well as burgers and salads. The signature Mandala pizza is amazing and the spaghetti bolognese are cooked to perfection. Visitors with a sweet tooth should not leave this place before trying the chocolate fondue.

  • Chez Hicham: Located on Place Utta Hammam, Chez Hicham is a lovely hotel with a fabulous on-site restaurant. Their rooftop terrace provides an ideal setting for a pleasant dining experience. Start with the Moroccan soup and try popular dishes like spaghetti with meat sauce, chicken tajine with lemon, and the fresh seafood platter cooked in olive oil. If you are craving something sweet, go for their crème brùlée.

  • Chez Aladdin: Thanks to its central location on the main square, Chez Aladdin is one of the most popular restaurants in Chefchaouen. Guests love the Arabian décor and say how the views of the medina from the rooftop terrace are wonderful. The menu is extensive with plenty of tajines and couscous dishes. House specialties include vegetarian bastilla, kefta (meatballs), and anchovy tajine.

  • Restaurant Lalla Messaouda: Well-known for its homemade Moroccan cuisine, Lalla Messaouda is where you want to try delicacies such as lamb tagine, a salad of cooked greens called baqula, and chicken skewers. Complimentary sides here are plentiful and include everything from lentils to spicy chili paste. The décor is spectacular with ancient cave vibes.

Where to stay in Chefchaouen

  • Lina Ryad & Spa (5 star): In addition to being an ideal spot for spa treatments, Lina Ryad & Spa is also one of the best accommodation options in Chefchaouen. You will be positioned right in the heart of the medina, so as soon as you leave the property, you’re right in the hub of everything. This small and beautifully designed riad with deep blue velvet sofas, cool tile floors, and a gorgeous rooftop terrace with a view of the Medina looks fabulous. Guests can swim in the inviting indoor pool, enjoy traditional hammam and massage treatments, and try traditional Moroccan cuisine served in the dining area.

  •  Dar Echchaouen Maison d'Hôtes & Riad (4 stars): With a blend of traditional Moroccan architecture and modern facilities, Dar Echchaouen is a beautiful riad located just a stone’s throw from the city’s Medina and Kasbah. The property is perched on top of a hill and offers majestic mountain views. Go for a dip in the swimming pool, try the insanely delicious food at the on-site restaurant, and enjoy a refreshing drink on the outdoor terrace. Dar Echchaouen offers 12 rooms and suites, each decorated in traditional Moroccan style.

  • Dar Jasmine (4 stars): An intimate boutique hotel overlooking the city’s blue medina, Riad Jasmine offers 9 individually decorated rooms and suites. With its lush gardens, a beautiful infinity pool, and 5-star service, this hillside property with wonderful views is an ideal place to stay for couples on vacation in Chefchaouen. Relax with a drink in the old-fashioned lounge and enjoy breakfast which typically includes everything from freshly squeezed orange juice and avocado to eggs, pancakes, and different types of toast. Keep in mind that you will have to climb 150 steps, given that the property is located on top of a hill. However, you will see the views are well worth it.

  • The Vancii Hotel Chefchaouen (4 stars): Situated in the historic blue Medina of Chefchaouen and adjacent to the Kasbah fortress, the hotel offers a rooftop terrace with stunning 360 degree views of the city and Rif Mountains. The Vancii Hotel is located in the centre of the Medina and is minutes away from some of the best restaurants in the city.

  • La Petite Chefchaouen (3 stars): Located in the heart of the Medina and just a 3-minute walk from Outa El Hammam Square, La Petite Chefchaouen is a cute boutique guesthouse with accommodation options for both single visitors and families with kids. The riad is situated inside a thoughtfully renovated building and offers a lovely rooftop terrace, tastefully decorated and cozy rooms, and delicious breakfast. The staff is friendly and can organize sporting activities, day trips, and photo workshops upon request.

  • Casa Perleta: Welcome to Casa Perleta, an authentic riad with traditional Moroccan interior design. Tucked in a small alley just a few minutes from the Bab Souk gate, the guesthouse offers several cozy rooms decorated with textiles, paintings, and traditional furniture. Guests can enjoy homemade breakfast and dinner on the lovely rooftop terrace with an incredible view over the blue city. The star of the show is the interior patio with a beautiful fountain in the middle.

  • Dar Meziana: You will find this beautifully decorated riad tucked away in a charming alleyway in the medina, but away from the main hustle and bustle. Designed in Andalusian/Moroccan style with wood interiors and Chaouen furniture, Dar Meziana boasts a traditional Moroccan décor. Guests can enjoy panoramic views of the Medina from the rooftop terrace and choose between Moroccan and Western options for breakfast.

  • Casa Sabila Hotel is a charming guesthouse in Chefchaouen, Morocco, offering comfortable and stylish accommodations with a rooftop terrace and proximity to Ras El Ma Waterfall.

The best time to visit Chefchaouen

So, when is the best time to visit the Blue City of Morocco? The peak tourist season runs between June and August. However, the temperatures reach up to 35°C during this time of year and the city is packed with tourists. If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy moderate temperatures, we recommend visiting Chefchaouen in spring from March to May or in fall between September and November. This is the shoulder season and a time when travelers can avoid the crowds and save on accommodation.

Chefchaouen Festivals

  • Chefchaouen International Film Festival: Dedicated to short fiction and animation films, the Chefchaouen International Film Festival is the most anticipated annual event in the Blue Pearl of Morocco. Both foreign directors and producers from Europe and the US and Moroccan/Arab cinema stars can be seen at this prestigious film festival. In addition to film screenings, the festival organizes master class courses, press conferences, workshops, and seminars. The Chefchaouen International Film Festival is usually held in June.

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