Everyone says Chefchaouen is one of the best places to visit in Morocco, so I decided to check it out. Starting from Tangier, I left my my luggage in the hotel, and went to the grand taxi stand with just my wallet, passport, and smartphone. The grand taxi station is right next to the central bus station in Tangier, which is not the same as the CTM station. Once I arrived there, I quickly entered a shared grand taxi and off we went. It cost me 70 dirhams. If you have luggage, there's a surcharge.
The reason why I wanted to get the the taxi instead of a bus is because this was a day trip. The new taxis get there in just 2 hours, but the bus takes about 3 hours. Roundtrip, that saves me 2 hours total. I was lucky because I didn't have to wait for both the first taxi to Chaouen nor the return taxi to Tangier. I specifically planned to go on a Sunday because I figured more Moroccans travel on the weekend, so there would be less time to wait for the taxis to fill up. If I had gone on a Tuesday for example, fewer people travel so I might have to wait a bit for the taxis to fill up. Both the taxis I took, going and returning, were the new generation taxis. They are faster and more comfortable than the old Mercedes taxis.
Going to Chefchaouen, I sat next to a guy from Greece, and we talked during the entire 2 hour drive over. He told me all about Greece and I told him about my country the USA. It made the time pass quickly. But either way, there are some very nice views on the road. You get to see mountains and a lake as you travel to Chaouen, which is what the locals call this town.
Once I arrived in Chaouen, I just walked, no taxi. Everything is uphill. You just keep walking up.
The medina (old quarter) is painted blue, which is very beautiful and great for taking pictures. This town is full of tourists, I saw travelers from China, Brazil, Greece, and lots of blonde and blue eyed men and women who looked like they were from Germany and Sweden or Northern Europe. I found some Americans as well. Chaouen is clearly very popular with tourists.
However, the medina is not the only thing to see! I walked to Ras el Ma, which is a small waterfall with some nice views. I also walked back down to this central square in front of the Kasbah. The restaurants here are very touristy and more expensive, so instead I walked away and found a restaurant away from the main tourist zone, called Twins. Instead of paying 70 dirhams like the other restaurants wanted to charge, at Twins I paid only 40 dirhams and got a big couscous with vegetables, a big piece of roast chicken, and caramelized onions and raisins. It was a very generous and delicious serving, for a fair price. It was also much less crowded than the restaurants on the main square.
After eating my delicious couscous, I went inside the Kasbah. The word Kasbah means fortress in Arabic. I paid 10 dirhams and walked around the garden, then went inside a former prison, which is more accurately described as a dungeon. But the highlight of the Kasbah was its museum. In my opinion, the actual museum was boring and not nice at all, but the reason why it was nice for me was for the views. You climb up several flights of steps, and from there you get beautiful views of the city, and its great for taking pictures.
Chaouen is a relaxed, calm, and very pleasant blue town. Keep in mind, only the medina (old city) is painted blue. The other parts of this town, including the Kasbah and main square, are not blue.
There were about 5 different guys who offered to sell me the local green herb, but I declined and told them I do not partake.
All in all, I only stayed in Chaouen for 4 and a half hours. For a solo guy traveling there without luggage or a backpack, it was fine. I saw most of what there is to see: the old town, the waterfall, the Kasbah, the market, and got to eat a delicious couscous at a good price. There aren't many things to do in Chaouen really, you pretty much go there to take pictures, look at the blue streets and houses, and enjoy the mountains which surround this town.
By the way, even though it's the middle of October, the sun was shining the whole time and the high was 30 Celcius, 86 Fahrenheit. It's a good thing I had good sunglasses, sunscreen, and wore loose breathable clothes. I think it doesn't start getting cooler until November. I do wish it wasn't so hot in the middle of October, but I managed.
I was very pleased and lucky that I got a new generation, comfortable taxi both ways, without any wait, for only 70 dirhams each way, 140 dirhams total.
My advice: If you are in Tangier, Fes, Tetouan, or Asilah, you should go see Chefchaouen. It's really nice and relaxing and picturesque. But if you are all the way down in Marrakech, Agadir, or even Casablanca, there is no need to go. Yes it's nice, but don't spend hours and hours to go there. Just go if you're already in Northern Morocco anyway.
Pro tip: Even though I very much enjoyed my 4 and a half hours in Chaouen, the city of Tetouan is closer to Tangier, also has mountain views, and also has a nice medina. The only real difference between Chaouen and Tetouan, quite frankly, is that Tetouan is whitewashed, not blue, and has MUCH fewer tourists. The medina of Chaouen is also a bit cleaner, precisely because they have so many tourists going there to take pics and post it on Instagram. But Tetouan is worth a try... you get almost the same experience. When I was in Tetouan it what mostly me walking around in a sea of locals, whereas in Chaouen I was surrounded by Germans, Americans, Spaniards, Chinese, and people from all over the world.Edited: 15 October 2017, 21:54