Upon departing Tangier we planned a lunch stop at Chefchaouen, the Blue Pearl of Morocco, on our way to Fez.
Chefchaouen means “Look at the Peaks”. The town was originated in 1471, founded by Berber tribes as a base to launch attacks against the Portuguese. Having just arrived to Morocco from Granada we were surprised to learn that this was also the place where Jewish and Muslim refugees escaped to during 1492 and the Spanish Inquisition in Granada. The refugees brought Andalucian architectural style to the city buildings white washed houses with tiled roofs, balconies and patios. Interestingly, the pale blue wash color which gives Chefchaouen its reputation as “The Blue City” was not introduced until the 1930’s. The windows and doors were previously a Muslim green.
We actually first learned about Chefchaouen through Instagram as The Blue City has become a highly instagrammed destination.
Later in the trip we learned from local friends that “Chaouen” is a must stop for most Asian tourists to Morocco. It is one of the most popular sites in Morocco for visitors from China, Korea, and Japan. We imagine that its reputation as a highly photograph friendly city is the primary driver.
We should have known this as this was one of the only medinas we visited where we spotted a very visible Chinese restaraunt in the heart of the medina. There was a large crowd of Chinese tourist departing the restaurant as we walked by.
Later in the trip when Quan started craving rice and Asian food, we realized how hard Chinese food is to find in Morocco with the exception of Chefchaouen. We instead opted for a Morrocan lunch in a lovely restaurant overlooking the kasbah of Chefchaouen.
This was a lovely pit stop on our road trip across Morocco.