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Embracing the blues of this beautiful Moroccan city

Chefchouen (Manar Lezaar/YJI)

Chefchaouen, MOROCCO – If you spend time online looking at Pinterest or Instagram maybe you’ve come across pictures of a blue city. Yes! It is named Chefchaouen or Choauen and is located in the north of Morocco, just about 50 kilometers (about 31 miles) away from my ancestors’ hometown of Ouazzane. 

Chefchaouen is known for its blue buildings, roads, decorations and neighborhoods.

Everything in Chefchouen is blue, so if you are like me and your favorite color is blue, this city is blue heaven.

Chefchouaen is a small town compared to other Moroccan cities, with a population around 40,000.

The red pin marks the location of Chefchaouen, Morocco, about 64 miles from the Strait of Gibraltar. (Google Maps)
A home in the Old City of Chefchouen (Manar Lezaar/YJI)
A traditional fountain in Chefchouen (Manar Lezaar/YJI)

But it’s among the most famous locations in Morocco for many reasons.

Chefchouen’s exquisite location on the top of the beautiful Rif Mountains – some of the tallest and oldest mountains in Morocco – includes a rich cultural and historical background.

The mountains also have an economic story as home to one of the largest marijuana fields in Morocco, making it among the first exporters of this plant in the world.

Chefchouen’s weather and geographical advantage also makes it a great spot.

I believe Chefchouen has the best weather in the entire country. it’s fairly cold in the winter and warm in the summer, making it one of the biggest attractions in Morocco in all seasons.

Chefchoauen also benefits from all geographical advantages, it’s snowy in the winter, so you can enjoy the view of the white mountains from its rooftops. The city is surrounded by the Ras El Ma river and huge mountain falls.

The falls, known as Akchour Falls, are located right between two mountains that hold the city on their top. If you prefer beaches, Chefchouen has one of the cleanest  beaches in Morocco, and one of the most unique ones, as it is among the few in Morocco surrounded by forest.

A path to a family home in Chefchouen (Manar Lezaar/YJI)

The Chefchoueni people are considered “Jebala people,” which translates to people of the mountain. They are part of a group of people who live in northern cities and have a unique and famous accent.

If you speak Darija, or Moroccan Arabic, you could easily recognize that they are from the north just because of their accent and the way they mix the Moroccan dialect with Spanish words.

Houses and other buildings in Chefchoauen differ in style. They do not look the same at all, but they all share one color – blue.

A pedestrian walkway towards the center of the Old City of Chefchouen (Manar Lezaar/YJI)

The people of Chefchoauen decorate the outside of their houses with paintings, decorations, plants and other things to add to the beauty of the city. Some owners have turned their houses, located in unique and wonderful spots in the city, into museums, restaurants or hotels.

If you ever think about visiting Chefchouen, when you go to restaurants, always reserve a place on the rooftop. They might tell you that those places are occupied, but just stick with your choice.  Rooftop tables are few, and so they keep them for their clients or “VIP” guests.

But the beautiful view from a rooftop in Chefchoauen can allow you to see all of the things that I have talked about from one place.

Manar Lezaar is a Reporter with Youth Journalism International.

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