Chefchaouen On a Budget
Some of that peace and serenity, however, might be attributed to the fact that Chefchaouen is located on the edge of Morocco's marijuana growing region. The use of marijuana, while illegal, is widespread and tolerated, but the touts attempting to sell to you can be quite aggressive. They may be persistent or even threaten you, but if you simply smile, remain calm and repeatedly refuse politely, you'll usually walk away without a problem. On the flip side, some tourists hiking too near marijuana plantations have reported having stones thrown at them to scare them away. The best way to avoid this situation might be hiring a personal tour guide.
SightsLike in many Moroccan cities, the medina, or old town, is the main attraction for most visitors of Chefchaouen. Originally decorated by Jewish immigrants, the whitewashed walls of the town instantly calm tourists looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the larger cities in the country.
The waterfall, known as Ras el Maa, on the east side of the medina is a spot to witness the local culture and life of those who live in Chefchaouen. Many of them will meet here to cool off, chat and do their laundry.
If the tourists in Chefchaouen are getting to be too much, find an escape in the gorgeous Kasbah. This heavily restored fortress is surrounded by giant walls, and contains a small garden, Ethnographic Museum and a tiny art gallery showing the work of local artists. Have a look even it's just to see the lush green garden against the mountain setting.
For a stunning view of the whole medina, visit the ruins of the Jemaa Bouzafar mosque. On a hill just behind the waterfall, this mosque was restored in 2013, and offers a breathtaking view that's worth the hike.
But if that's not enough to quench your thirst for stunning photos, visit the hill of the Hotel Atlas. This outlook gives visitors a fantastic view of the town and valley especially during sunsets.
ActivitiesBeing situated right in the middle of the Rif Mountains makes Chefchaouen the perfect destination for any hiker. There is a popular backpacker path leading into mountains located just behind the waterfall. Just ignore the vast amounts of marijuana plantations and the farmers trying to sell it to you.
If you're feeling ambitious, you can attempt the challenging hike up Jebel al-Kalaa the peak overlooking the whole city. It's a fun trip, but can take up to 9 hours round trip. You'll also be walking through large marijuana plantations. The route is also not well marked so you may have to find your own path back to the trail at times. Pack plenty of water and snacks for this strenuous journey.
Food and DiningThe local specialty in Chefchaouen is baissara, but unfortunately, many restaurants don't serve this dish. So if you see it, take advantage. You'll also find Moroccan staples like the vegetable stew with goat or sheep known as tajine, the tomato soup known as harira, the kofte meatballs and the fish called tagras. When touring the city, you won't want to miss olives, olive oil and goat cheese sold in most shops around town.
If you find yourself searching for food in the medina, avoid restaurants in the Kasbah square. Many are overpriced and rather low quality kofte or harira.
TransportationGetting around Chefchaouen's two halves the medina and the new city- is walk able. Most attractions will be friendly to those on foot, but if you're planning on traveling outside, you may want to consider hiring a guide and/or a car.
Bear in mind, con artists are also a problem in Morocco. Some are in it for the long con spending days with you, showing you the city, gaining your trust and then stealing from you once you finally trust them.
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