The best things to do in Chefchaouen will never leave you bored. From exploring the iconic blue medina to traversing the Rif Mountain range, this area of Morocco is filled with wonderful adventures and shouldn’t be missed.
I lived in Chefchaouen for three months, and I’ve taken the time to round up all of the best things to do, many of which you won’t find on any other lists. These off the beaten path experiences will show you the true Chefchaouen, so if you’re ready to break away from the tourist highway, keep reading to discover all that’s waiting.
17 Best Things to Do in Chefchaouen for a Unique Trip
Ready to dive into the wonders of Chefchaouen? Here’s everything to include in your itinerary for an unforgettable trip.
1. Get Lost in the Blue Medina
Without a doubt, the biggest draw to Chefchaouen is the blue medina. Coined the ‘Blue Pearl,’ one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen is get lost in the winding streets. Painted with all different shades of blue and white, it’s by far the most photogenic place in Morocco, with plant lined staircases, long indigo souks, and secrets hidden through every archway.
The medina is fairly large, and like most, it’s easy to get lost. That said, in my experience, the Chefchaouen medina is one of the safest in Morocco, even at night. In all my time here, I’ve never felt unsafe. The locals in the medina are also some of the friendliest I’ve encountered and will easily steer you in the right direction without trying to rip you off or expecting anything in return.
Though the Chefchaouen medina is not for the faint of heart. Built into the side of a mountain, the old city is steep, with endless stairs and slick slopes. Good walking shoes and a water bottle are highly recommended!
Tip for How to Get to Chefchaouen: Take a shared taxi instead of the bus to Chefchaouen to be dropped off closer to the medina.
2. Visit the Kasbah
Sitting in the middle of the media in the main square is the kasbah, an ancient fortress you can visit. Climb up the watch towers, stroll through the expansive garden, and soak in stunning views of the blue medina.
The kasbah also hosts an Ethnographic Museum, which is well worth the visit to understand the history and people of the area. Though the artifacts are interesting to look at, keep in mind there’s no information in English, but plenty of cell service for Google Translate.
Entrance for foreigners is 60 dirham (about $6). This is one of the top things to do in Chefchaouen.
3. Climb to the Spanish Mosque
Sitting high on a hill above the blue medina is the Spanish Mosque, and a hike to it is one of the best things to do in Chefchouan. Not only do you get to soak in the unique culture of the restored 1920s mosque, but you get an insane view of the entire medina below, especially picturesque at sunset.
While you can’t enter the mosque unless you’re Muslim, you can sit on the steps to enjoy the sights. There’s also a cafe to the right of the mosque (if you’re looking at town) that serves mint tea, coffee, and fresh orange juice.
4. Hike to the Panorama Cafe
If you feel like hiking a little further, about forty-five minutes past the Spanish Mosque is an incredible cafe with panoramic vistas of Chefchaouen and the valley below. It’s definitely more off the beaten path and among the most unique things to do in Chefchaouen, so if you’re looking to escape the crowds, don’t hesitate to walk up.
Just follow the mountain path until you see a sign for the cafe, where you turn right. Otherwise, you can also reach the cafe via a road that starts from the bottom of the medina. Don’t worry about memorizing the route beforehand. You can find the Panorama Cafe on Google Maps, and there’s good cell service the entire climb up.
Come hungry because the super sweet family makes a great tajine, or quench your thirst with a simple mint tea. They also offer simple camping accommodation for budget travelers exploring the Rif.
5. Cool Off by the River
Chefchaouen is bisected by the Ras El Ma river, which rushes through the town with several spots to sit by the water and chill out a bit. It’s especially lovely on hot days when you can dip your feet in the chilly water while sipping fresh juice.
There are several cafes along the river serving up tea, coffee, and just squeezed orange juice. I highly recommend stopping at the cafe across the Plaza Sebbanin Bridge. You’ll find a courtyard full of fruit trees and the best mint tea in Morocco. The owner adds fresh lemon from his tree to drinks for a charming spin on a classic.
If you’re hankering for a riverside meal, follow the river up towards the Spanish Mosque, and you’ll find a cafe that puts seats directly in the water, serving tajines.
6. Shop for Souvenirs
Aside from exploring, the Chefchaouen medina is a great place for shopping. The prices are reasonable, there’s great variety in the offerings, and friendly people to bargain with. Unlike other Moroccan cities, the people in Chefchaouen are super laid back, so shopping is generally a stress-free experience where you won’t get ripped off.
You’ll find lots of rugs and leather, local handicrafts, and canvases depicting scenes from the blue medina. There’s also lots of local produce to shop for delivered to the medina by farmers from the Rif.
7. Eat at Local Hotspots
While this isn’t exactly foodie paradise, one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen is indulge in affordable local cuisine.
The dining options are mostly Moroccan, save for the delicious Chinese restaurant La Petite Chengdu and Mandala, which serves pizza.
Almost everyone who visits Chefchaouen eats at Bab Ssour, which is pretty much always fully packed. Prices are super reasonable, the food is decent, and the views are quite good.
If you stray beyond the medina, you’ll find a plethora of local dives serving rotisserie chicken, tajines, bissara (bean soup), and couscous on Fridays close to the local markets.
I’ve eaten at most of the restaurants in Chefchaouen, and besides the ones mentioned above, try out the following places:
I also give a few more recommendations below for restaurants with a view.
8. Dine With a View
One of the best things to do in Chefchaouen is enjoying a meal with a view. With sprawling vistas of the ancient blue city and the towering mountains, al fresco dining here is unforgettable.
Tons of restaurants throughout Chefchaouen have terraces, which means epic views from wherever you choose.
Some favorites include:
9. Hang Out in the Square
You can find the beating heart of Chefchaouen in the city’s main square, Plaza Uta el Hamman. It hosts the kasbah in the center, surrounded by dozens of restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions.
The evenings bring live music to the square, and it’s a fun place to hang out to watch the entertainment and grab a meal. If you plan on eating in the square, Morisco is the best restaurant in my opinion.
10. Walk Along the Old City Walls
Exploring the Old City Walls is definitely one of the more off the beaten path things to do in Chefchaouen. In fact, most people don’t even know they exist. Though with a keen eye, you can spot them from the bottom of the medina, sitting at the base of the mountains, protecting the charming blue old city.
You can visit the walls by climbing to the very top of the medina. Follow them uphill for insane views of the city framed by crumbling arches, and the chance to encounter farmers, goats, and donkeys.
11. See Life Outside of the Medina
Many people who visit Chefchaouen never leave the medina, but there’s plenty to see outside of the old city. On the streets around the medina gates, you’ll find the true local life, with fresh markets on every corner, women selling bread, overflowing cafes, and kids playing after school. Have a stroll through the neighborhoods to get a glimpse at true life in Chefchaouen.
This is also where you should go to buy groceries if you have access to a kitchen or are staying in Chefchaouen long term.
12. Go to the Weekly Market
Way at the bottom of town is a weekly market that happens each Monday and Thursday. Visiting is among the best things to do in Chefchaouen to experience local life, with Berber farmers from the mountains, Chaounis flocking the streets, and stalls with everything you can imagine.
The heart of the market is mostly vegetables, but on all the surrounding streets, you’ll find people with their goods spilling from bags and spread out on cloths. I’m talking live chickens, old electronics, tree saplings, crates of dates, and beyond.
It’s kind of a mess to navigate, but it’s a one of a kind experience while visiting the Blue City.
13. Hunt for Walking Taxi Street Art
As you wander around Chefchaouen, keep your eyes peeled for walking taxis, graffitied all over the place. This unique street art is created by a Chaouni local, who found inspiration when he was stranded by a taxi and left with no choice but to walk hours home.
The taxis are tucked away in every corner of the city with different colors and witty sayings. Searching for them is one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen.
14. Get Clean at a Local Hammam
While a couple of fancy riads have upscale hammams, one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen is visit a local bathhouse for an authentic experience
There are a few to choose from, but I personally recommend Hammam Elrahma, outside of the medina. The staff doesn’t speak English or French, so communication can be a bit tricky, but they’re very patient and committed to ensuring you get what you’ve come for.
I went for a classic hammam with black soap, a shampoo, and a full body scrub. It cost about 100 dirhams, including a towel, and the attendant exfoliated me until I came out shining.
You share the experience with other friendly locals, who are quick to smile and make you feel comfortable. Inside the hammam, you wear only underwear, so bring a spare pair to change into.
Also, like most traditional hammams, men and women go at separate times. Women have the hammam until 8 pm, and men are able to go after.
15. Watch Sunset From the Top of Chefchaouen
There’s nothing quite like a sunset in Chefchaouen. As the sun starts to sink behind the mountains, the sky bursts into vibrant yellows, bright oranges, and sweet pinks, blasting the blue medina with a palette of new hues.
Watching sunset is definitely one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen, so don’t miss out! Either hike up to the Spanish Mosque, the city walls, or a tall terrace and let the sky put on a show for you.
16. Explore the Rif Mountains
Chefchaouen is tucked away in the Rif Mountains, making it a stellar home base if you want to explore the range. There are lots of short and long walks through the craggy, rocky peaks that you can enjoy on your own and experience with a local guide.
If you want to hike in Morocco, Chefchaouen is definitely one of the best places to be. With endless amounts of mountainous terrain to explore, the Rif will not leave you disappointed.
17. Take a Day Trip to Akchour
Since it’s such a small area, one of the best things to do in Chefchaouen is take a day trip to Akchour, which is paradise on earth. Akchour is the gateway to Talassemtane National Park, and it’s brimming with waterfalls, rivers, and crazy rock formations, all accessible via well maintained trails. Keep your eyes and ears open for monkeys in the trees!
Akchour makes nature super accessible, and in the summer, it’s the best place to swim with crystal clear water everywhere you look. Though the warm weather brings crowds, so be prepared.
The main attractions in Akchour are:
If you visit Akchour, be there around midday for ample sunlight. It’s also worth stopping at one of the many cafes for a tajine. The tajines I’ve had in Akchour are truly the best I’ve had in all of Morocco.
To get to Akchour, you take a shared taxi from the stand across from Cafe Dahab in Chefchaouen. It only costs 25 dihrams per person (one way), and the trip takes between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the route and speed of your driver. The scenery during the drive is amazing, traveling through villages along winding mountain roads.
The taxi will drop you off at the Akchour taxi stand, which is at the top of the town. Walk down the hill past the main restaurants and shops to the start of the walks, which are just beyond the big dam.
A word to the wise: get a taxi back from Akchour before dark. By 6 pm, there are hardly any people left, and it’s much more difficult to secure a ride back to Chefchaouen.