I’ve spent a lot of time in Morocco, and lot’s of people ask me about what to wear in Chefchaouen, the blue city. There are three things you need to think about here – first the practicalities such as comfort and warmth. Secondly, the culture and religion of Morocco requires that you dress conservatively and appropriately, so this needs to be taken into account. Thirdly, you need to think about colour, especially considering that the backdrop of your photographs will almost always be blue! Get all of these right in Chefchaouen, and you’re on to a winner! Also, the time of year that you visit will have an impact on what to wear in Chefchaouen, so I will mention appropriate clothes for summer and winter in this blog.
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Travel Clothes for the Journey to Chefchaouen
Remember that Chefchaouen is up in the Riff Mountains and doesn’t have an airport or a train station. That means that the only way to get there is overland by bus or by car. You can book direct private transfers through booking.com and also shared transfers through Get Your Guide from both Fez and Tangier. It takes around four hours to get to Chefchaouen from Fez and around two and a half hours from Tangier. This means that the first outfit you will need to think about is a travel outfit that you will be comfortable in sitting on a bus for many hours.
I opted for a light T-Shirt, Sugar Pocket yoga leggings (with pockets for my phone!) and a Tog 24 fleece for my journey. Some other great brands for comfortable travel clothes include Regatta, Peter Storm and Berghaus.
Dressing Conservatively for Morocco
It’s important to note that Morocco is a religious country, with approximately 99% Muslim inhabitants. It is a country where people are conservative and dress modestly. This means that tight fitting or skimpy outfits will not be appropriate and will certainly not be appreciated by the locals. You will need to dress conservatively for Morocco and consider the local customs and religion when you pack.
Saying that, this doesn’t mean that you need to wear frumpy or un-flattering clothes! Long dresses, linen pants, tunics and scarves are great for Morocco.
Avoid anything that reveals too much of your shoulder, legs or cleavage. This goes for men as well as women – men should avoid wearing short shorts or vests (anything that is too revealing should be avoided).
It is also a good idea to avoid clothing and scarves with garish prints or texts on them. Also avoid clothing animals or birds on them, because in Islam, it is not permissible to draw or make images of animate beings, whether they are humans, animals or birds that may misrepresent Allah (God).
A Scarf is an essential item for Chefchaouen
A scarf is a great thing to pack because you can use it to cover your head or keep your shoulders and cleavage covered. Go for something like this plain cashmere pashmina. It can also double up to keep you warm if the weather cools off a bit. Remember to pick a neutral and relatively plain colour.
Choose the Right Colour Fleece for Chefchaouen! (NOT BLUE!)
A fleece is essential for Chefchaouen as it can get quite cold up in the Riff mountains, no matter what time of year. Navy is a great option, but blue is not as it may clash. I total regret taking this blue fleece – but I only had one!) I would recommend a contrasting colour instead. This yellow Helly Hansen fleece is an excellent option. It means that you won’t get washed out or blend into the background (like I did!)
Footwear for Chefchaouen
Getting your footwear right is vitally important for visiting Chefchaouen. The city is beautiful, but the ground is uneven and also gets slippy when wet. There are also plenty of good hikes around Chefchaouen including The Akchour Waterfalls and Jbel el Kelaa. This means that a good, sturdy set of walking boots are non-negotiable! Mine are Karrimor Bodmin weatherlite women’s walking boots and they were perfect for Morocco.
Make sure that you also pack several pairs of good quality hiking socks. My favourite walking socks for Chefchaouen are these Bridgedale medium weight loop hole hiking socks.
As a second pair of footwear for Chefchaouen, consider taking a comfortable pair of sandals such as walking sandals or comfortable (and already worn in) leather sandals. I love taking my leather gladiator sandals to Morocco – they are comfy to wear and let my feet breathe.
What to wear in Chefchaouen in the Summer
In the summertime, temperatures in Chefchaouen can exceed 30 degrees, so you will need to pack clothing with light and airy fabrics. Linen, cotton and rayon are great for being comfortable and cool. Travel clothing designed to be breathable and allow air to circulate is a great option. My Regatta quick drying and breathable T-shirt has been used endlessly during my Morocco trip.
Dresses are a great option for Morocco in the summer, but make sure that they are maxi dresses so that they don’t show too much leg. The top of the dress should not show your shoulders or cleavage, and if it does, opt for wearing a shawl or light cardigan over the top.
Tunics with three quarter length sleeves are a great option – I lived in my tunic during my trip to Morocco and my trip to Oman. They are perfect for Islamic countries and extremely comfortable.
Even in the summer time, temperatures in Chefchaouen are lower than in other parts of Morocco (such as Marrakech or Rabat). Therefore, it is important to still pack a few warm clothes including long sleeved tops, walking trousers and plenty of layers.
Don’t forget the Thermals and Warm Pyjamas!
Even in the summer time, Chefchaouen can drop substantially in temperature at night. Regardless of the time of year that you visit Chefchaouen, you should consider a warm base layer and also warm pyjamas as it gets cold at night, especially in the winter time! In general, the mistake that people make when packing for Chefchaouen is that they don’t think about warmer layers or warm pyjamas like these!
What to wear in Chefchaouen in the Winter
In the winter you need to pack your wardrobe for cooler weather – it will be between around 4-17°C in the winter months of December, January and February. A fleece and rain jacket are essentials. Take a rain jacket that is wind and waterproof and preferably made from a durable and breathable material such as Gortex. My waterproof travel jacket is from Peter Storm.
Jeans, walking trousers, long sleeved active wear tops and fleeces are great for Chefchaouen in the winter. I also took a couple or pairs of soft cycling shorts and a long sleeved thermal top from Under Armour as a base layer. You can buy cycling shorts and thermal base layers on Amazon quite cheap, with prices starting from around just £10.
Considering the Colour of your wardrobe for Chefchaouen
It’s tempting to try to match the colour scheme of Chefchaouen by packing all blue. Of course, a couple of comfortable light blue or navy maxi dresses wouldn’t go amiss!
However, quite often your photos will come out with a colour clash or blue overload if you pack a purely blue wardrobe for Chefchaouen. I regret not considering this during my packing and made the mistake of taking a blue fleece without thinking about it. Sometimes it went well, but most of the time it clashed with the background or looked washed out.
Therefore, I would think about packing a variety of whites and pastels as well. You might also want to consider other contrasting colours for your Chefchaouen wardrobe, such as yellow or orange. These would ensure some really great striking pictures for Instagram.
Swimwear for Chefchaouen
I didn’t actually go swimming while I was in Chefchaouen, but there are swimming pools in some hotels and a few local places where you can sunbathe or swam (including some waterfalls). Again, it is important to remember to respect the local culture and so bikinis are not suitable for Morocco. Go for a surf suit or a swim suit with shoulders and cycling shorts inbuilt so you don’t reveal too much flesh – otherwise it will offend the locals. You could also consider a full body swimming costume with a T-shirt over the top. You can buy full swim suits on Amazon from around £30. If you will be travelling extensively in Morocco and/or other Islamic countries then I strongly recommend that you invest in one of these.
Essentials to Pack for Chefchaouen
- Scarf or Pashmina to be used as a head scarf or to cover the neck and shoulders.
- Comfortable walking boots (mine are Karrimor Weatherlite).
- Several pairs of quality medium weight walking socks (mine are Bridgedale).
- A second pair of footwear such as hiking or leather sandals.
- Breathable T-shirts and long sleeved blouses or linen tops (no vest tops or spaghetti straps).
- Leggings (such as Sugar Pocket yoga leggings) and three quarter length tunics.
- Maxi dresses that cover the cleavage and shoulders.
- Cargo trousers or hiking trousers (avoid camouflage as they signal army to locals, which you will want to avoid).
- A comfortable zip down fleece in a contrasting colour such as this yellow one from Helly Hansen.
- A waterproof and breathable Gortex or stretch fabric Jacket such as this one from Peter Storm.
- A base layer such as soft cycling shorts and long sleeved thermal.
- Comfortable and warm pyjamas (it can get cold at night!).
- Cotton underwear and sports bras (great for hiking) – I love my New Balance sports bra!
- Full body swim suit (if you plan on swimming or bathing).
- Plug Adapter for Morocco (it’s the same as Europe with two pins) for charging your gadgets
Oh, and one more thing – don’t forget your Lonely Planet Morocco. It’s full of great recommendations on where to eat and where to stay. It’s also great to have a guide book to read when you are on public transport or don’t have internet.
Further Reading on Morocco
If you found this article helpful, you might also like to read…
- Visiting Chefchaouen in winter
- Is Chefchaouen worth visiting
- How to spend one day in Casablanca
- Is Rabat worth visiting?