Chefchaouen is a rustic village that depicts authentic Moroccan living at its best, and is also the perfect starting point for some trekking through the Moroccan countryside. Historical attributes blanket the village at virtually every turn. Spend some time getting to know the locals over a relaxing soak in the Hammam. Stroll though the picturesque botanical gardens that are housed on the grounds of the famed Kasbah. Take in some culture at the museum and art gallery also located on the property grounds. Though Chefchaouen is painted over with a hue of blue, you’ll find nothing to keep you blue here.

Inside Chefchaouen

The Great Mosque located just next door to everything is an architectural structure that has a distinct spot in history. It was built in the 1400s. Visitors, however, may only admire it from the outside. A strict rule of not admitting Non-Muslims through the door is in place.

Just lying outside the village is an additional piece of Moroccan history–The tiny village of Targa dates back to the 1200s. Here, visitors will delight in viewing a stone castle and elaborate Mosque. These two places are cultural highlights that shant be missed by any true culture-seeking visitor.

Beyond Chefchaouen

One of the best attributes of Chefchaouen is the location. It rests at the base of the Rif Mountains, which are Morocco’s northernmost mountain range. Inside this mountain range lie picturesque peaks, gorges and valleys waiting to be explored. These physical attributes of the mountain range make it one of the most popular destination points for Rif Mountains trekking.

Essential Trekking Information

A trek in Chefchaouen spans five days (less or more is possible too). Each day consists of approximately four to five hours of walking. Exact hours spent walking each day will depend on individuals who set the pace. Every trekking adventure through the Rif Mountains starts at the village of Chefchaouen. At the conclusion of the walk, trekkers will find themselves in the charming village of Bab Taza.

As with other outdoor activities in Morocco, there is an ideal time to embark on a Chefchaouen trek. For the Rif Mountains, that time period falls between April and June. Snow and ice are frequent trekking companions for the months of November to March. These natural elements are quickly replaced with rain for the months after June to September. Natural elements like snow and rain can also make for an unforgettable trek though the mountain range. It is easily accessible on a year round basis, though a bit wetter, colder or muddier.

While on a trekking adventure through the Rif Mountains be prepared to handle camping style accommodations. There are a wide range of accommodations available for rental at the village starting and stopping points. Each village offers accommodations from backpacker houses to luxury hotels.

Be prepared with trekking supplies such as a map and snack food. These items are readily available from Chefchaouen. Portions of the trail can be difficult at times. Therefore, participants are advised to prepare accordingly with health and current physical fitness levels.

Trekking from Chefchaouen

This exciting Morocco hike begins in the charmed Chefchaouen. Trails twist and turn making way through the Jebel el Kelaa just north. Natural wonders of a vibrant spring (natural water source) are the first focal points of the journey. The spring leads to the highest point of the trek at Sfiha Telj. This point reaches 1800 meters, making for an unforgettable start.

Continue onwards as views of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea dart in and out of view on occasions. Just around the corner lies the quaint village of Azilane. From here, the trail winds down towards the village of Afeska. Here is where camp will be made for the first night of the adventure. Your Morocco tour guides will have all the food and lodging logistics prefigured to make it as little daunting as humanly possible.

Morning breaks and the trail moves on towards the village of Akchour. To reach this relaxation point, trekkers will pass through Afeska while soaking in views of streams and lush green surroundings. The forest eventually gives way to reveal a breathtaking mausoleum. This architectural structure resides in Sidi Meftah. Other amazing sites to behold on the trekking journey are later. A vintage bridge transpires at Pont Farda just outside the Imizzar village. With the dark of night just around the corner it is time to set up camp. This will be completed outside the village of Akchour.

The next day has rivers, dams and amazing views. Walk across the Akchour dam, cross over the Oued Kelaa River Bridge and take in the sights offered by Jebel Azra. This is a great place to stop and digest the views with your camera. The peak of Jebel Azra offers unforgettable picturesque windows that make the miles walked well worth the physical exertion.

After such incredible views from the day, weary trekkers will anticipate setting up camp for the night. This occurs just outside the Abou Bnar village. Day breaks and trekkers are greeted with pine tree forests paving the way towards Jebel Lakraa. Keep all eyes peeled to either side of the trail for amazing views that can not be seen anywhere else on the planet. The day ends in the Talassemtane National Park that creates a perfect end to a perfect day of a walking tour in the Rif Mountains.

The Chefchaouen hike winds to a close on the final day. You’ll first wake up in the winsome National Park and start heading in the direction of the ending village, Bab Taza. Once the village has been reached, enjoy a moment of relaxation in one of several cafes and then catch transport back to Chefchaouen proper.

by Sam Mitchell