Chefchaouen - The 'Blue Pearl'
Hidden in the rugged Rif Mountains in Northern Morocco, a 3 hour drive south from Tangier, the unique 'Blue Pearl' of Chefchaouen was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2010. Dominated by the two towering peaks from which it takes its name, this small community of 43,000 people has become famous for its blue-washed and strikingly picturesque medina. Founded in the 15th century, the town was the centre of a semi-independent emirate and for a long time was off limits for Christians. Enter through the Bab el Ain and wander at your leisure through the narrow twisting alleys of the medina, perhaps stopping for a refreshing mint tea at the main square, Plaza Outa el Hammam, with its welcoming open air restaurants.
Most visitors explore this charming town on a day trip from Tangier or Fes, but there are now a number of pleasant guest houses and small hotels (not luxurious, but clean and comfortable) for those travellers who want to break their journey and overnight here to spend more time in the medina.
We recommend the tiny 5-room La Petite Chefcaouen Guesthouse right in the heart of the Medina, or the larger Dar Echchaouen, the latter boasting a lovely outdoor swimming pool with a view over the rooftops.