Travellers visiting Morocco cannot pass up the opportunity to visit the renowned souks of Marrakech. Filled with local trinkets, fashion and homewares, the souks give off a distinctly nomadic feel of wonderment and exploration. Everything from pottery and leather goods to carpet and jewellery, can be purchased and traded in the souks. They’re a showcase of the handicrafts of locals- and the perfect opportunity to bring a small part of your travels home with you.
Expect to get lost
Arguably the most invigorating part of roaming the bustling souks of Marrakech is browsing the seemingly endless supply of enchanting Moroccan crafts. With over 3000 stalls spanning across countless alleyways and streets, it can be an overwhelming experience to tackle. While you may be inclined to follow a map the entire way, we encourage you to embrace your inner traveller and take your head out of the brochure and follow your desires. Discovering hidden gems off the beaten track is all part of the Marrakech experience.
Our top tip to feeling safe yet a little adventurous is to find a landmark that will help you identify your location. This will give you a point of reference whilst you barter your trinkets and indulge in the vibrant culture of the markets. At times, you can get caught up in the adventure and be led away from these landmarks, so don’t be afraid to ask shop owners or small families for guidance to get your bearings back.
Some locals may request a tip for their troubles, so be aware of this before asking for directions.
Take a break
Exploring the souks can be a shock to your sensory system, with many new colours, smells, and people surrounding you, it's normal for travellers to become tiresome quickly. However, with so much incredible craftsmanship to be explored, taking time to have a break and recharge is key to conquering the souks.
As you edge your way throughout the streets, take your glance upwards and you’ll be sure to find signs leading to an abundance of rooftop cafes. Nestled above the bustling street, you can take a moment of reprieve to sip on some authentic mint tea or indulge in a cold beverage. Basking in the buzz of activity beneath you while admiring the view in front of you can be one of the highlights of your souk experience.
Be Respectful when taking photos
Filled with plenty of texture, colour and beauty, the souks are teeming with content opportunities. While you may feel the desire to capture as much as possible, remember to always ask for permission before photographing people or their stalls.
Some locals aren’t fond of having their photo taken and will tell you so, and some may even ask for a tip for the opportunity. Respect and manners are key to ensuring everyone feels comfortable.
Be confident in your bartering
Bartering is a commodity throughout the souks of Marrakech- and part of the fun! While Westerns may feel less confident in their ability to haggle with pricing, as long as it’s respectful and polite, both the merchant and the buyers often leave happy. Keep your bartering light hearted and enjoy the negotiations.
To avoid any buyer's remorse, we suggest browsing various stalls before making your first purchase. Often, the deeper in the souks, the cheaper the process becomes.
Cash is frequently accepted throughout the souks. Often, merchants will ask to be paid in Moroccan Dirham, so it’s also a good idea to bring change with you for these situations.
Like many places, tourists can be targeted when in a high traffic area like the souks, so when carrying cash, keep it close to your chest in a zipped bag to avoid being pickpocketed while navigating the crowds.
Spare change is also great to have on hand to tip locals along the way.
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