A hugely popular stop on any Morocco itinerary, the tiny little town of Chefchaouen is hugely popular – and for good reason. Chefchaouen (pronounced Chef-sha-wen) is perfectly quaint, undeniably charming and intruigingly blue!
Just why it’s blue is a bit of a mystery – there are various legends that tell tales of tradition and religion and also the more practical reasons, such as keeping the city cool and keeping the mosquitoes away.
Wandering the streets of this little town is a must, but, being situated slap bang in the middle of nowhere amidst the Rif mountains, Chefchaouen isn’t the easiest of places to reach. There isn’t a train station, so no use trying to use Morocco’s excellent rail network. That leaves a few options: bus, taxi, tour… or walk, I suppose…
Most people either visit Chefchaouen from Tangier in the north, or from Fez in the south. Our itinerary led us from Fez to Chefchaouen, after visiting Marrakesh and then continuing onto Casablanca. This post will guide you on how to get from Fes to Chefchaouen, using the bus, a taxi or taking a tour (I’ll save walking for another day…)
The bus network in Morocco is really good – services are clean, efficient and on time. The company who run the bus network is called CTM, although there are possibly other bus providers too, however CTM is the largest.
The bus journey from Fes to Chefchaouen is long – 5 hours. Our journey was on time but I would factor in possible delays when planning your trip. The roads are quite winding but there are beautiful views of Chefchaouen as you approach it so be sure to stay awake for the last part of the journey!
Easily enough, CTM’s website accepts international credit and debit cards, so it is possible to book your tickets in advance – even before you arrive in Morocco! However, you have to book your tickets at least 3 days in advance, so you have to be a little organised – this option won’t suit you if you’re winging it.
The website is a great place to find the times and durations of the bus routes, whether you book your journey online or not. The website is in French but is easy enough to understand even without speaking the language! The website is ctm.ma
Whilst I was in Morocco I booked my bus tickets in person at the bus station a few days before travelling. It really is that simple.
The CTM bus station in Fes is located in the city centre, it’s searchable on Google Maps. This is nowhere near the Medina though, which is where you’ll probably be staying. We bought our tickets in person at the ‘Gare Routière Principale’ (also searchable on Google Maps) – it’s just outside the walls of the Medina, off the R501 (the highway).
When you’re at the station you can ask about times, duration, availability, and buy a ticket and choose your seats. Bear in mind that there are only a couple of departures from Fes per day (only one when we visited in January), so it’s best to book your ticket as soon as you arrive in Fes to maximise your chance of getting a seat! You can’t sit on the floor of the bus or stand; CTM seem to take their health & safety quite seriously!
If you don’t want to rely on public transport, or if the timings of the bus don’t fit with your itinerary, you may want to take a taxi. This is the fastest way to get from Fes to Chefchaouen but is a bit more expensive than taking the bus! The journey time is still quite long; according to Google Maps it’s 3.5 hours but I would allow for four because of the road condition.
Your guesthouse will be able to book a taxi for you, but they may charge a little extra than if you flag one down or approach one at a taxi stop.
A Petit Taxi will likely refuse your request; they tend to stick to shorter journeys within the cities because the cars aren’t suited to longer journeys. You need to approach a Grand Taxi. Petits Taxis are usually small cars which seat three people (2 in the back and 1 in the front), and Grands Taxis are either larger sedan style cars or minibuses, seating up to six (four in the back and two on the front seat in a sedan). Petits Taxis in Fes are usually red.
The journey from Fes to Chefchaeouen should cost around 800-1200 dirham for the vehicle; between 200 to 300 dirham per person. You basically pay for your seat in a shared taxi, so it’s best to try to fill it if you can. Approach other tourists in your hostel to see if they are planning on travelling to the same place. One friend was quoted 260 dirham per person for three people in a grand taxi, or 200 dirham per person if they had four people. Remember that all prices are negotiable and I do advise you to haggle!
If you are planning on only spending a day in Fes, you may want to consider taking a tour, to save navigating public transport or organising a taxi if you are short for time.
Browse the tours below with Get your Guide, or check out those on Viator or TripAdvisor.
Accommodation in Morocco is one of the best experiences of your trip! I advise staying in a Riad, particularly in Chefchaouen, because they are so quaint and beautiful. We stayed at the Hotel i Campini in Fes and Dar Antonio in Chefchaouen.
Thanks for reading and happy travels!
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