If you’re looking to travel to Chefchaouen, Morocco, look no further! The internet is plagued with advice forums on getting to and from this elusive blue city, but when we did our research they all seemed to be full of opinions telling people not to go – that it was not worth the trip, and it was too hard to get to.
We decided, nevertheless, to make the trek to Chefchaouen anyway, and tried two different modes of transportation to get to and from, so we’d be able to relay the message to those of you looking to add this gorgeous city to your Morocco adventure!
40 Euro Per Person
Good For: People who easily get car sick, saving time, people who want private rides, spreading out and getting comfortable, free water, wi-fi (available in some cars), people who don’t speak the local language
Bad For: People trying to save money, Visa Credit Cards
We decided to make Chefchaouen the first stop on our Morocco trip. We landed in Malaga, Spain, rode a bus down to Algeciras, then took a ferry to Tangier (for more on traveling from Spain to Morocco check out our article here). When we exited the ferry port in Tangier there was a man holding a sign with my name on it (*swoon* cause there’s nothing like private, easy transportation after a day of trekking!). He was so pleasant and kind, and we boarded a huge Mercedes van with air conditioning, water bottles and wifi for our journey. We all comfortably slept and felt safe the whole time. In fact, we were so comfortable we didn’t even notice how twirly the mountain roads we were on were. It should be noted: many Visa credit cards have Tangier Taxi flagged as a fraudulent company and will block you from paying on the website. I put the deposit for the taxi on my Visa through the website and had no problems with fraud, then we paid the remainder in Euro after our safe arrival in Chefchaoen.
Bus from to Tangier
12 Euro Per Person
Good for: People who want to save money, people who don’t have huge time constraints
Bad for: People who are easily car sick, people in a rush, people anxious about not speaking the local languages
On our way out of Chefchaouen we decided the most time-efficient trip would be to take the bus from Chefchaouen to Tangier in the evening, then board the overnight train to Marrakech. We were able to buy a bus ticket the day of at the bus station in Chefchaouen (a ten minute walk from the medina, or a short cab ride). If you plan to buy the day of, however, we highly recommend buying early! We bought our tickets around 10a for a bus that left at 6p, and when we arrived later to the bus at 6p, it was jam packed! If you are a person that is easily car sick (like me) or heat sensitive (also me) ask about “first class” when you buy your ticket, or if it’s possible to purchase the first row. We were forced to buy first class tickets since they were the only seats left on the bus, and it was one of the happiest accidents on our trip. The bus did not have air conditioning, and once we started moving the first few rows were the only spots to have any airflow from the bus driver’s open window. Also, the route out of Chefchaouen consists of small mountain roads with lots of twists and turns. Being able to look out the front window was what stopped me from being sick, but the rest of the bus was not so fortunate. A few people on our bus had carsickness and would throw up in bags, tie them up, then toss them out the window. That sounds awful, but most people treated it like it wasn’t abnormal at all (leading us to believe this is a fairly common occurrence on this bus route), and although it was gross, we never smelled vomit once (silver lining?)
Also, because this is a rather large bus for particularly small roads it takes the bus much more time to navigate. The bus also makes a few stops before Tangier. While we left at 6p, we didn’t reach Tangier until about 9:30p, just in time to walk to the train station and buy tickets for the overnight train, grab dinner at the Hilton, then dash off to Marrakech. If you’re low on time, it’s worth it to pay for the taxi, it’ll shave an hour and a half off your trip, and you’ll have AC.
Was It Worth It? Yes.
Most of the articles on the internet we read didn’t even bother talking about how to get to and from Chefchaouen, because people were too busy saying it wasn’t worth it, but we’d actually disagree. If you have three extra days to spare, then we say absolutely include this city in your journey. It’s a much smaller city than Marrakech, and we found the locals to be much nicer and much more welcoming. The sense of community was great, and it was nearly impossible to get lost since the medina was small enough that you’d eventually find your way back to where you started. We were also able to get the souvenirs we wanted for less in Chefchaouen than in Marrakech. The vendors were much less aggressive about haggling and started out with much more reasonable prices to begin with. (Still hate haggling? Check out our pro tips here.)
The food in Chefchaouen was also not to be missed. It was incredibly vegetarian friendly, and had much more of a “homestyle” feel whereas many of the Marrakech restaurants cater to tourists quite a bit and the food was much plainer. We also learned a lot about Berber culture and food from the locals in Chefchaouen.
Lastly, none of us could get over how impeccably beautiful this city was, and how happy the locals were to show it off. Countless people who would notice our camera would point us to a street where the lighting was perfect, or there were cool pops of color for our composition.
Keep in mind, it does take about 12 hours to get to Marrakech from Chefchaouen (why we took an overnight train, so we didn’t miss out on any daytime), 3 hours to get to Tangier, 4 hours to get to Rabat, and 5 hours to get to Casablanca. Enjoy!