Going onwards: Fez and Chefchaouen

by Michelle on October 7, 2016 · 2 comments

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After our Sahara trip, a group of us took a taxi to Fez, which took a crazy amount of hours. A few short breaks here and there, and 7 hours later, we were finally in Fez.

Surprisingly we had enough energy to wander around the maze like streets of the medina for hours afterwards, get dinner, drink mint tea, admire the mosques, and get lost every few minutes along the way.

As the third largest city in Morocco, Fez has a lot to offer, especially since its hailed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

I’ve actually never heard of Fez until I started planning my Morocco trip and looked for cities to fly in and out of, however it’s a pretty popular travel destination for Europeans…and after visiting, I can certainly see why!

Coming into Fez is a pretty cool experience because the drive into the city all seemed pretty normal and modern until you reach the famous Bab Boujeloud (Blue Gate).

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Once you walk into the old city, it feels like you’re transported back in time as souks, shops and cafes line the tiny winding streets.

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Al-Qaraqiyyin is one of the largest mosques in Africa, and can hold up to 20,000 people during prayer sessions! Built in 867AD, it began as a university. In fact, UNESCO has called it the oldest university in the world! For over 1200 years, it has been the leading spiritual and educational centre in the Muslim world.

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Today it functions as a mosque. Unfortunately, only Muslims can enter the mosque, so we were only able to take a picture from the main door.

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We enjoyed our meal at Cafe Clock in Marrakech so much, that we decided to go to the Cafe Clock in Fez as well. After having couscous and tagine everyday during our desert trip, the idea of some milkshakes and burgers seemed good! Yann got the camel burger which I was too scared to try…not after I made so many camel friends in the Sahara!

This restaurant chain with its funky hipster decor was actually founded by a British expat who created a place for other expats in Morocco. While we didn’t attend their nightly activities, they offer everything from Arabic and cooking classes, concerts, game nights and film screenings at their restaurant!

The tannery in Fez is also a huge attraction for most travellers there, but unfortunately we weren’t able to squeeze it into our schedule…

On our first day, we arrived in Fez around when the tannery was closing, on the second day, we spent most of our time in Chefchaouen, and on the third, we flew out of Morocco in the late afternoon, which didn’t give us enough time either. Oh well, next time!

Nonetheless, missing out on the tannery to visit Chefchaouen was definitely well worth it.

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Tucked in the Rif Mountains, Chefchaouen feels like a little blue mirage.

Historically, the city was founded in 1471 and because of it’s location in the mountains, because the ideal location for Moroccans to fight off the invading Portuguese, who had then occupied the coastal areas.

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You may know Chefchaouen as the blue town. Its vivid blue walls are intensely memorable and photogenic.

In fact, when I was planning this Morocco trip, the two places I wanted to check out most were the Sahara and Chefchaouen. I definitely wasn’t disappointed!

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Apparently the walls were painted blue by Jewish refugees in 1930, since blue is the colour of divinity in Judaism.

The city was actually closed off to foreigners for centuries, but currently, it’s a reasonably popular place for travellers.

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The medina is filled with tiny maze-like streets (why does everything have to be maze-like in Morocco?!) but getting lost in Chefchaouen only leads to more photo opportunities.

Seriously, every picture you take of the town could be a top contender for a National Geographic cover!

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Apparently Chefchaouen is also surrounded by vast marijuana plantations, so for those travellers who end up staying in the town for longer than expected, you certainly know what they were up to… 😉

Have you guys been to Fez or Chefchaouen?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Wanderer November 4, 2016 at 11:44 am

Fantastic food and “Blue City” these are the reasons to go there!

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Michelle Michelle November 8, 2016 at 12:39 am

Yes, agreed! It’s truly a memorable place to visit! :)

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