My third day in Morocco was probably my busiest and most eye-opening. Although Chefchaouen is only a 2-hour drive from Tangier, still in the same northwestern quadrant of the country, the different landscapes we travelled through really broke down some of my preconceived notions about the country’s landscape. I had pictured Morocco as dry and deserty, which of course is not wrong in its entireity, just a gross oversimplification. The Sahara’s popularity has overshadowed the diversity of Morocco’s landscape, much of which is mountainous.


The city of Chefchaouen is located in the foothills of the Kaʻala mountain, a part of the Rif mountain range. Our drive was winding and followed the rise and fall in altitude through the mountains. About halfway, we stopped at a quick rest stop which featured a restaurant (Restaurant Sed Nakhla) and a view of the Nakhla Dam and lake.

Barrage Nahkla.

We stayed for around twenty minutes, enough time for some pictures of the beautiful valley, a bathroom break and a cup of my favourite – the Moroccan mint tea. Our driver annouced the break was done and rounded up our group to get back into the vehicle. We ended the drive just outside the city of Chefchaouen, as the streets are too narrow for vehicle traffic. Our driver informed us he was to be our guide, a service we did not expect, nor had the intention of paying for. After some discussion back and forth, we relented and let him guide us around the city. He was patient with the abundance of photos we took, showing us to some of the best locations for pictures along with historical and trendy sites and shops. He also assisted in dismissing insistent merchants and calling off cat-calling men, so we became grateful for his presence.

Approaching Chefchaouen.

We stayed primarily in the old city area, where the city sits on a steep incline, with narrow streets ascending and descending as we wandered the city. Many streets include vendors, in stalls or shops along the route. And the blue does not disappoint. Every street, every home is washed in blue.


After touring the city for a few hours, our guide left us to our own devices. We stopped for food at a restaurant on the second floor of a building. As we were eating in the middle of the afternoon, the restaurant was almost completely empty. I got a vegetable couscous dish and more mint tea. After our meal and resting our feet, we got back to exploring the city.

Once we had taken a sufficient number of photos, it was time to shop. We combed through many stalls to find souvenirs. I have collected a keychain from every city I visited, so of course I had to find one here. As well, my friends were on a mission to find the best priced argan oil (which was difficult due to the numerous options we had, too many choices one might say). This is one of my regrets from Morocco, that I didn’t take advantage of my opportunity to stock up on argan while I was there. In fact, I was running short on cash and decided not to purchase any.

Walking through a street market.

We met up with our tour guide at the edge of the old city in a busy square where vehicles could get through. We climbed back into the van and began the journey back to Tangier, this time with no stops.


We ate in Tangier at a small pizza place, and walked around a little more before returning to our apartment. The next morning we had to hail a taxi and head straight to the airport, so Sunday night was our last chance to explore Morocco. The country is really incredible and our weekend trip only began to scratch the surface of the amazing landscape and culture of Morocco.

As Morocco was the first Muslim-majority country I have visited, there are a few things I learned that would have made the trip go more smoothly. I’ll list them below, but feel free to add more suggestions in the comments.

  • Bring/wear modest clothing. The definition of modest can vary from culture to culture, but in general try to stick to loose-fitting clothing that covers at least shoulders, midriff, collarbone, and skirts or pants that go below the knee. While dressing modestly doesn’t guarantee you will be free of harrassment, it shows your respect as a tourist to follow social norms.
  • Make sure to travel safely. Stay with your group, and especially as a woman don’t travel alone. Morocco is not by any means the only country that I have experienced harrassment, but we did have some very nerve-wracking encounters. I think being visibly foreign did attract more attention than I’d received in other countries. Try to avoid walking at night, and stick together. I would not recommend solo travelling as a woman to Morocco.
  • Stand your ground. Some of the vendors and salespersons can be very forceful. If you’re from a country like Canada, where being polite and non-confrontational are socially expected, it can be difficult to make it clear you are not interested in a product or service. Be firm and absolute if you are trying to refuse a sales offer.
  • Knowing some French or Arabic can go a long way. In most touristy areas, there are people who can speak English, but having a member of our group know some basic French helped a lot.
  • Research before you go! Morocco has so much to offer, make sure you know what you want to see to plan your visit in the right part of the country (for example, Tangier is not the city to visit if you’re hoping to see the Sahara).
  • Drink as much mint tea as you can. There is nothing better.

Have fun and safe travels everyone!


Published by immersivetraveller

I am a recent graduate with a BA in Honours English. I enjoy creative writing and language learning as well as travelling and exploring.

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