The blue paradise of the breathtaking Chefchaouen medina in Morocco
Chefchaouen is a charming little town of about 40,000 people located in northeast Morocco, not far from the Mediterranean Sea. Located in the heart of the Moroccan Rif mountains, Chefchaouen is a delight for tourists, not only for its affordable prices, but especially for its picturesque old town recognizable with its houses with whitewashed facades covered with a very distinctive blue.
Chefchaouen was painted blue by Jewish refugees who lived there during the 1930s, reminiscent of the blue of heaven and paradise. The beauty of the mountain landscape of Chefchaouen is enhanced by the contrast of the bright colors of the medina (the old town). It is this beauty and the laid back atmosphere of the city that makes Chefchaouen a very attractive place for visitors. The main square of the medina is lined with cafes and filled to the brim with a crowd that easily mixes locals and tourists.
There is another reason why backpackers love Chefchaouen: the availability of drugs. Tourism in Chefchaouen is also driven by the presence of cannabis plantations (legal, one of the only places in Morocco where the cultivation of cannabis is tolerated). During the summer, around 200 hotels cater to the influx of European tourists.
Chefchaouen is also a popular destination because you can buy handicrafts not found anywhere else in Morocco, such as woolen clothes and woven blankets. The region's goat cheese is also popular among tourists.
The city of Chefchaouen was founded in 1471. Located in an enclave difficult to access, it dominated the trading route between Tétouan and Fez and served as a base to limit the entry and influence of the Portuguese (at the time) of Ceuta. During the 15th and 17th centuries, the city flourished and grew considerably with the arrival of the Moriscos and the Jews who were expelled from Spain. In 1920, the Spanish captured Chefchaouen to integrate it into the Spanish protectorate.