Morocco has been on my travel list for a while now and a flight to Marrakesh, Morocco is just a few hours from Barcelona. While I was in Spain, I could not pass up the opportunity to see Morocco as well. I enjoyed every moment of my time in Morocco – getting lost in the old Medina, drinking endless amounts of mint tea, hiking the Atlas mountains, enjoying a relaxing spa treatment at a hammam, going on a camel ride, and of course, shopping in the souks.
The souks are the outdoor markets in Morocco, featuring all types of Moroccan crafts, goods, foods, and spices. One of the many things I love about travelling abroad is shopping for unique items to bring back home. I make it a point to buy items that I cannot easily find at home, especially hand-made artisan goods, and items that represent the culture of the place I’m visiting. For this post, I am sharing my favorite items brought back from Morocco and some simple tips for shopping the souks.
What to Buy
Rattan and Other Woven Bags. I always find unique bags abroad and purchasing a purse was at the top of my list. These bags are super trendy right now, but I absolutely love them. I had the opportunity to watch a woman making the bags by hand in the souks.
Moroccan sandals. You can get unbelievable prices on hand-made sandals in Morocco. The sandals are comfortable and well-made. I actually hiked on the Atlas Mountains in these shoes
Berber scarf. I bought this shawl from a Berber Village while touring the Atlas Mountains. I was happy to make this purchase because it supported a co-operative of women from one of the neighboring Berber villages. Although my dress in Morocco was modest, it is also helpful to have a scarf handy when visiting the Mosques.
Other Handmade Goods. Wallets, purses, and other handmade leather goods are abundant in Morocco. I bought a few back as gifts.
Argan Oil. How could I travel to Morocco without purchasing authentic Moroccan argan oil? Argan is a more expensive oil and after watching the process to make it, both in Marrakech and during a visit to a cooperative where women make and sell the oil, I understand why. In Morocco, you can purchase the oil made for cooking or for cosmetic use. I am excited to add this to my skin and hair care routine. There are a lot of places selling “argan oil”. We bought ours from a specialty shop that sold argan products and spices, which I recommend.
3 Tips for Shopping in the Souks
1. Take it slow.
My first full day in Marrakech was spent exploring the souks in the Medina. I initially booked a tour to explore the souks with a guide, but it was cancelled. As luck would have it, I befriended another traveller and we explored the souks together. It was nice to get acclimated to the area and become familiar with the different parts of the souks. Have some fresh juice in the square and try the foods (like the delicious olives). There is a lot to take in, so take it slow.
2. Have a Plan
Between the calls from shopkeepers, the amount of people, and the shear volume of items, the souks can also be overwhelming. A little preparation goes a long way, so do some research and decide what types of items you are most interested in finding. It is helpful to ask your hostess, if you are staying in a riad in the medina, for advice on where to purchase those items as well. I also met a few Moroccans who let me know how much I should pay for different items.
3. Never Settle for the First Price
…or second, or third. Though you do want to pay a fair price, bartering, like in many other parts of the world is welcomed and expected. Have a price in mind that you want to spend on the item and don’t be swayed to increase it. Though I badly wanted a rattan bag, it wasn’t until my last day in Marrakech that I purchased one because the prices were above my limit. Even during that last exchange, I walked away several times before the shopkeeper agreed on my final price. So, say “No. Thank you.” and walk away if you have to. You can’t be too eager to purchase when shopping in the souks.
If you have never visited Morocco, I hope you have an opportunity to experience this magical place one day. You can see more of my summer travels on Instagram, @ayannainbloom.
Thank you for stopping by!
Outfit Details: Dress: Nasty Gal || Purse: H&M (old) || Sandals: Purchased in Morocco (featured in Post)