Chefchaouen - The Blue Pearl of Morocco


From baby blues to ocean water hues, the color blue is typically associated with tranquility, relaxation, and, in this case, a damn-cool backdrop to capture some gorgeous photos. No, we’re not talking about Santorini, Greece. This is Chefchaouen, a must-visit destination in Northern Morocco, colored from ground to roof in assorted shades of blue. Nestled in the Rif Mountains of Northern Morroco, this quaint city will have you in complete awe of its blue-washed walls at every single turn, making it no surprise by its nickname, “The Blue Pearl.”  In addition to your SurfYoga Beer Morocco adventure, start or end your trip by visiting Chefchaouen to experience one of the country’s most visually appealing medinas and learn more about the history and beliefs behind the blues. 

Getting to the blue city

The best route to Chefchaouen will depend on your starting point and how much travel time you have to work with, and despite the distance to get there, 24-48 hours in “The Blue City” is plenty of time to explore. Common routes may include traveling from Tangier or Fez by bus or private transfer, and upon researching, you may discover that paths to this wondrous city could be more than a hop, skip, and a jump away, but putting in that travel time most definitely will not disappoint. As a reliable and frequented airport, consider flying into Casablanca and getting an all-inclusive guided tour to and from the blue city. While it’s a bit longer, with roughly a six-hour drive, if you enjoy the scenic route, consider this path, which may include a stop to visit Rabat, Morocco’s capital city, and soak in the miles of road lined with sunflower fields on your journey to Chefchaouen. Once in Chefchaouen, you’ll quickly learn that the alleyways and gorgeous blue corridors can be explored on foot.

Rabat, Morocco

Where to stay in the blue city

If you're considering a guided tour of Chefchaouen, you’ll likely be accommodated in a local hotel just a stone’s throw away from the iconic blue walls. This proximity allows you to immerse yourself in the city's unique atmosphere and explore at a leisurely pace. However, if you prefer to explore the city by planning your own logistics, a quick search on will reveal several cost-effective hotel options within walking distance of the city’s entrance. 

Why so blue?

Ask any locals or Google the origins of the blue colors that make up the uniqueness of Chefchaouen, and you’ll learn of many theories that propose why the city is saturated in blue. One theory suggests that painting “The Blue City” blue can be traced back to the town’s Jewish population in the 15th century when they escaped the Spanish Inquisition. According to folklore, Jews began painting the buildings blue to symbolize the sky and the heavens, serving as a reminder of the presence of God.

Other theories suggest that blue repels mosquitos, which may be a practical solution given the hot climate, while others believe the color blue painted everywhere is visually appealing. Some locals believe the shades of blue are reminiscent of the Mediterranean Sea or the Ras-el Maa Waterfall, where the people of the town get their drinking water, the life-sustaining water source helping them survive in this environment.

Whatever the origins of Chefchaouen’s notable blue colors, they have contributed to its identity and set it apart from other Moroccan cities. Today, the vibrant shades of blue that adorn the walls, alleyways, and even the walking paths attract visitors from all over the world, drawn by its visual beauty and charisma. Perhaps the people of Chefchaouen knew about Instagram's insta-worthy photo posting strategy before Instagram was even a thing.

Activities in Chefchaouen

Part of this enchanting city's attraction is walking around and simply taking it in. From the mint tea to the tagines and pursuing the many local goods throughout the medina, you can easily spend hours taking in the culture just by exploring the area. After you’ve snapped your photos, grabbed a bite, and checked out some gorgeous hand-made Moroccan carpets, consider calling it an early night to prepare for a morning hike to see the sunrise over a gorgeous viewpoint at a Spanish mosque. This relatively easy .9-mile hike will make you feel even more in awe of the city’s beauty and energized for more exploration for the day ahead.

With so much diversity in landscape, culture, and environment, it’s no wonder Morocco is a must-visit tourist destination. As you factor Morocco into your travel itinerary, ask yourself, “How often do I travel to AFRICA?” And then book that trip. Curious about other bucket-list destinations in Morocco? We figured you would be, and how could you not? It’s the place to be this June. Will we see you there?