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Marrakech: A Wanderer’s Guide to Shopping the Charismatic Souk Markets

by Lola Méndez April 30, 2017

Marrakech: A Wanderer’s Guide to Shopping the Charismatic Souk Markets

Lola from Miss Filatelista shares shopping tips and dreamy photos from the rose-tinted city that inspired our Marrakech Crochet Swimwear

 

Shop Marrakech Geometry Crochet Top and Bottom Bikini | Moroccan Crochet Collection | Mer Culture Swimwear

Marrakech Geometry Crochet Top $65 and Bottom $55

 

Red sandstone medina wall Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

An enchanting amalgam of energy and chaos, Marrakech immerses travelers into a cultural seduction that deeply activates the senses.

From intoxicating smells of traditional home-cooked meals, endless textures of fabric hanging from the walls, vibrant colors of goods touted in the souks and zesty tastes of freshly squeezed orange juice;

The former imperial city is sure to leave you inspired.

Kilim carpet shop in Marrakech souk | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Kilim carpets in Marrakech souk | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

The entire walled medina is made up of red sandstone to honor the King whose rumored favorite color is dusty rose. During sunset, the city is bathed in an orange glow, bringing it to life.

Read on for insider tips that will help you discover and enjoy the unique rhythm of life in magical Marrakech

Rose peach sandstone medina wall Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Silver lanterns and swirly door in Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Peach wall ornate door Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Marrakech is fondly referred to as the Jewel of the South as has been a major trade destination since it was founded in 1062.

The custom of selling crafts in souks (markets) is still the main source of income for local artisans.

The medina is split up into various souks, organized by specialty products such as spices, pottery, carpets, silver, wicker and much more. 

Wicker weave baskets shop | souk market Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Wicker weave baskets | souk market Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Detailed handwork, especially that of basket weaving, is what inspired our Moroccan Crochet Collection

Using the method of crochet, our swimwear is handmade with love and care in a traditional village in Vietnam. 

We created a decorative, open-weave pattern to symbolize protection from the evil eye, a talisman seen all over Morocco, in our Marrakech Geometry Crochet Top and Bottom

Shop Marrakech Geometry Crochet Top and Bottom Bikini | Moroccan Crochet Collection | Mer Culture Swimwear

For an authentic shopping experience, we suggest venturing into the labyrinth of markets in Marrakech.

Rather than creating a list of souks to visit, choose a starting point and turn down whichever alley evokes your desire.

Play explorer for a day, you’re guaranteed to get lost in the most captivating way. 

No matter where you end up you’ll find yourself in a vibrant maze of hand woven carpets, bronze lamps, fragrant perfumes, flavorful spices, intricate ceramics and whatever else you pray will fit into your luggage.

Souk market alley Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Spice stacks | souk market Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Silver jewelry and ceramic souvenirs | souk market Marrakech | Travel Guide | Shopping | Morocco

Learning a few Moroccan phrases is key to having the most successful shopping experience.. And it's always fun to learn a new language!

  • Salam = Hello
  • Beslama = Goodbye
  • Labess? = How are you?
  • Shahal taman? = How much?
  • Rally bizef! = Too expensive!
  • Afek = Please
  • Wakha = Ok
  • La = No
  • Shukran = Thank You

Combine the last two, La shukran (No thank you) when you have no interest in purchasing an item.

Man etching silver lantern | Silversmith souk market Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Ornate silver lanterns | souk market Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Haggling is not just accepted but required

Vendors open prices at least three times higher than the actual value.

To get a better price -

  • Seem indifferent about the item. Showing too much interest will leave less bargaining room.
  • If you're not getting the prices you want, walk away from the stall.
  • The vendor will likely chase after you with a much lower offer.
  • If the price is still too high, remember that "La" (No) is a full sentence.
  • Don't fall victim to their pleas of feeding many children at home or calling you sister, it's all part of the bargaining dance.
  • With shopping, tours and photography always agree on a price in advance and never pay until after the experience.

Barter banter is friendly - vendors are used to overcharging tourists and will be amused by your haggling confidence.

You will likely be offered "Berber whiskey" but don’t worry, it’s just sweetened mint tea. It’s rude to not accept tea when offered, so do sip on the sugary concoction and enjoy this unique cultural experience. Who knows, you could even be invited to the vendor’s home to share a traditional meal, or if you’re really lucky, a wedding!

tea and herbs containers | souk market Marrakech | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

After all that shopping you are certainly ready for something to eat!

During your holiday in Marrakech, you must dine at least once with locals in the main square of ‘Jamaa el-Fnna’

The street food stalls here are regulated by the government and entirely hygienic; the King has even had dinner here with his family! Most of the vendors sell the same cuisine so choose a random number and dig in.

Daring eaters can try camel burgers or steamed snails. For those who are less adventurous, you will find an array of meat tajines, grilled veggies and fresh seafood.

Prawn seafood and mushroom Marrakech | Jamaa el-Fnna | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Food | Morocco

For a more upscale experience head to Café des Epices or Nomad Cafe both of which are operated by the same restaurateur, with modern twists on traditional dishes.

Both locations boast incredible views over the souks below and the minarets that are sprinkled across the horizon.

Arrive at either location right before sunset and you’ll be treated to a spectacular experience as you watch the golden hour soak the city below while Islamic prayer calls echo across the buildings.

souk market from above Marrakech | Jamaa el-Fnna | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

Tajine Marrakech | Café des Epices Restaurant | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Food | Morocco

souk market from above Marrakech | Jamaa el-Fnna | Travel Guide | Marrakesh Shopping | Morocco

 To see more of Lola Méndez's travels, please visit Miss Filatelista and follow her on Facebook and Instagram

 

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Lola Méndez
Lola Méndez

Author

Lola Méndez is a full-time traveler, sharing her adventures on Miss Filatelista as she adds to her collection of passport stamps. She travels to develop her own worldview and has explored 46 countries, Morocco being her favorite! Passionate about sustainable travel she seeks out ethical experiences that benefit local communities.


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