Marrakech is an intoxicating city full of culture, cuisine, and of course, bargains. The city’s medina (old town) offers a plethora of stalls selling wares that have been homemade in the very same place. Whether you’re after a gift for friends back home, a souvenir fridge magnet, or some bespoke leather goods, there’s many unique trinkets available in the famed city’s souks, but sometimes it can be a little difficult knowing what to settle for.
To save you a bit of time, frustration, and valuable bartering energy for when you’re there, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to buy in a Moroccan market. Knowing exactly what you’re after helps focus the mind, while also ensuring you don’t get dragged around on an impromptu tannery tour with bags of goodies you didn’t want. But where to start?
Jemaa el-Fnaa is the main square in the city, and the easiest place to stick to when you don’t want to get lost. The main hub of the square itself is full of amazing stalls for food and drink, where you can sample the sweet goodness of fresh orange juice, sit down for an authentic tagine, and try more adventurous dishes like lamb’s breast or snail soup. Once fully energised, you can set out to tick off your shopping list
Often the first image of many tourists when souks are mentioned, it’s no exaggeration to say that spices in the Moroccan capital come by the bagful, in fact, you could even say sackful. Morocco is known as the land of spices and to bring a part of that home with you is an alluring prospect. Some of the most vital spices in the country’s cuisine are cayenne (felfla), cinnamon (karfa), turmeric (quekoum), cumin (kamoon), and saffron (zafrane), so these are the ones you should be singling out when you want to try your hand at some local specialities back home.
Fighting the spices for the title of the most quintessentially Moroccan export, handmade carpets and rugs have been a popular product for centuries. Most are made by the Berber people and come in varying patterns, designs, and material, with a majority made from sheep’s wool.
Another popular item to pack in your suitcase home are balgha, otherwise known as Moroccan slippers. These beautiful pieces of footwear can be made with an array of different accessories, with many having silver jewellery adorning them and some even displaying local artwork.
Made from the local tanneries, leather goods are everywhere in the souks, with wallets, belts, bags and shoes being just some of the most popular items. Marrakech has everything in all shapes and sizes readymade, while numerous stalls will also be on hand to make tailor-made items for you at an additional cost.
A popular item that’s both stylish and functional, many locals wear these kinds of scarves to keep the beaming sun off them, but they’re equally useful as simple fashion accessories.
Both the name of the meal and the pot you cook it in, how else are you going to cook this authentic Moroccan dish without having your own one at the ready when you’re home?
Far from being a complete list of everything on offer in the souks of Marrakech, this is at least a healthy starter for your research into what to buy in the Moroccan capital. Having a few ideas of what to get is a helpful tactic, but equally important is your penchant for haggling – but that’s a whole other blog…