Tourists who turn up in Chefchaouen, a small city in Northern Morocco where the walls are drenched in blue, are hoping for the perfect selfie when they strike a pose.
However, first they must jostle with a small army of tourists seeking exactly the same thing. So photogenic is Chefchaouen that esteemed travel guide Fodor’s is fearing for its future, saying the off-the-beaten track destination has been ruined by Instagrammers.
Blue is the colour! Australian blogger Tilly Baker travelled to Chefchouen, Morocco’s most photographed city, in late November – joining hundreds of thousands who’ve made the trek to the North African country to strike a pose
The hashtag ‘Chefchaouen’ has currently garnered over 620,000 posts on Instagram and its popularity is showing no signs of slowing down.
Influencers, bloggers and backpackers all swarm on this Moroccan city on a daily basis, whatever the season, to stand on its eye-catching blue stairs.
Founded in 1471, and counting more than 42,700 inhabitants, Chefchaouen, also know as Chaouen, has always been one of the country’s most photographed cities. However, the digital generation have seen the number of visitors soar.
Its bright blue hues have earned Chefchaouen the nickname ‘Blue Pearl’ and it’s colourful stairs make a perfect Instagram backdrop.
How did it become so alluring? It’s believed Jewish refugees painted the walls blue upon arriving to Morocco in 1930, as a symbol of sky and heaven.
Others claim the colour goes back to the 15th century when Jews lived alongside local Moroccans and Moriscos (Muslims who converted to Christianity) and painted the buildings as a nod to celestial powers and to represent peace and safety in their pluralistic hometown.
French travel blogger Marianne made the journey to the northern mountains of Morocco, where locals have begun learning English and Chinese to try and capitalise on the selfie-seekers
More and more Instagram enthusiasts and travel bloggers are converging on the ‘Blue Pearl’ (pictured: Canadian travel and food blogger Annesha B)
The city’s blue walls and stairs are particularly attractive to bloggers who are looking for photogenic backdrops (pictured: Latvian blogger Aliki Life)
UK blogger Wit and Wishes, from Chelsea, poses on some of the Medina’s blue stairs. Locals and tourists report queues of people patiently waiting to take their own picture at every street corner
One thing is for certain, nowadays, its walls is make makes Chefchaouen popular with travellers.
While travel publisher Fodor add it to its list of places ‘ruined by Instagram’ earlier this year, locals say the enhanced interest has seen the city thrive.
One particularly creative inhabitant of the Medina – Chefchaouen’s old city, for example, has turned his house into a ‘museum’ and charged tourists 5 dirhams (around £0.38) for entry.
He told the Business Insider earlier this year: ‘All these people come and put photos of my house on Instagram and YouTube and Facebook. It’s famous now.
‘I have been able to fix my house and to have a business because of it,’ he added.
In the same article, it was reported that locals had even learned English to better serve tourists, and that some had tried their hand at Chinese because the tourist sight is proving so popular in the Far East.
European tourists have been flooding the city for years, and recently, Asian, Canadian and American peeps have joined in. Pictured: French content creator Bastien video
No-one knows where Chefchaouen’s blue walls come from, with tourists being told various theories including the paint reflecting the blue of the Moroccan sky
Locals have started to cash in on their town’s popularity and now charge tourists for pictures
Chefchaouen, also known as Chaouen, was listed as one of the places ‘ruined by Instagram’ by travel publisher Fodor’s (pictured: San Francisco native Gabby Lelaton)
Spanish blogger Lolo Vila with his partner sharing a kiss on the stairs
For locals, tourists bring a much-welcomed bustle around the town
Tourist Airun Airam having fun on the steps leading to the top of the Medina. Chefchouen was founded in 1471 by a Berber community