Morocco: the Rif

My original plan was to take the ferry from Tarifa to Tanger, to follow the Atlantic coast, but I changed my mind. I decided to challenge myself. I’ll try to conquer the Rif Mountains. So I took a ferry to Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa.

After quite a chaotic border crossing, I was in Morocco. The atmosphere changed: suddenly everyone I passed on the street waved at me… I wasn’t in Europe anymore. From the border, I cycled for another 45k to arrive in Tétouan.

Tétouan is a beautiful yet not so touristic city. A perfect place to start a journey in Morocco. Touristic places in Morocco can be a bit overwhelming, in Tetouan this is not the case.

Tétouan has a colourful Medina. The city has a Christian, Jewish and of course Islamic influences. Like a lot of the Medinas in Morocco it’s a labyrinth of tiny streets. A perfect place to wander around and to get lost.

After two nights in Tetouan I hit the road again. Destination: Chefchaouen. I was prepared for the worse: a whole day of climbing. It wasn’t that bad. There were a lot of flat parts. You’re also never alone. Even remote roads are surrounded by vendors and shepherds. The trip went smooth, until the last 5 kilometres. Chefchaouen is on a hill, and it was quite steep to get there. I was staying at a camping above the city, which made it worse. It took me an hour to do five kilometres.

About Chefchaouen: the city is amazingly beautiful. Almost every building in the city is painted in blue. You feel like you’re walking around in a fairytale. Obviously the city is quite touristic. The local speciality is hashish. And a lot of people seem to sell it. And since I don’t really smoke those kind of herbs, I started to ignore the people who started a conversation with ‘my friend, where are you from?’, because even if you say you don’t smoke hash, they continue to try to sell it to you. Quite annoying.

From Chefchaouen I took the road again to go to Rabat. I passed a few more traditional villages, with people dressed in colourful outfits. From Souk el Arbaa, the roads were flat again. No more mountains for a while!

2 thoughts on “Morocco: the Rif

  1. Great report. The couple in coats look like dressed for winter, is it that cold?

    1. Not if you’re cycling 😉

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