Shopping in Morocco is one of life’s greatest experiences. When traveling to Morocco for the first time, it is near impossible not to be distracted by the enormous number and variety of local shops, frequently stretching on for as far as the human eye can see. If you can haggle with local shop owners, purchasing some stunning treasures at remarkably affordable prices is possible.
While Morocco has traditional shopping malls in the country’s larger cities, the best way for tourists to shop is by getting lost in the local souks or other authentic stores. However, shoppers should always be aware of the local custom known as haggling, which, when correctly implemented, will allow you to purchase incredible products for inconceivable bargains.
How To Shop And What To Buy In Morocco?
Walking through Morocco as a tourist is a distinctly rare and remarkable experience. Vividly colored local Moroccan shops stretch on for as long as is normally conceivable.
The local Moroccan souks and shops are lined with memorable fragrant spices, handwoven blankets, outstanding leather bags, and the most colorful lavish carpets imaginable. Despite the known affordability of local Moroccan treasures, those reduced prices do not come for free. To successfully negotiate with local Moroccan shop owners requires skill or prior experience.
While there is nothing quite like picking up an authentic and distinct Moroccan product for next to nothing; however, it will require significant hassle as there usually aren’t any price tags on the items. At the same time, shop owners occasionally overcharge naïve tourists since most westerners are not accustomed to haggling in their country of origin.
Haggling is an important custom in Morocco and other Islamic nations, which should not be frowned upon by anyone traveling to the north African country. At the same time, tourists should not fear haggling or price negotiations as it is an interesting and unique experience. Without haggling, consumers cannot say they have experienced an authentically Moroccan shopping excursion.
In Morocco, it is accepted that shop owners will customarily offer a starting price of more than double the product’s actual value. Yet, with some negotiation, kindness, and curiosity, it is effortless to purchase a one-of-a-kind treasure for a staggeringly low amount of money, which this article will demonstrate.
What Is Important To Remember While Shopping In Morocco?
While shopping in Morocco, especially if you are not a local citizen, there are a few important things to remember, enabling you to have the more memorable possible experience.
In Morocco, the local markets are known as souks, although they can also be called souqs. Throughout Morocco’s numerous and distinct souks, shoppers can choose between the country’s various unique offerings. Usually, the best souks are found within the boundaries of the city’s archaic walls.
Moreover, traditional Moroccan stores, markets, or souks usually exclusively accept cash. While a few local stores will accept debit and credit cards, shoppers should not rely on them. Best shopping practices in Morocco dictate bringing some cash along, which will make the entire experience far smoother, more memorable, and more enjoyable.
The local Moroccan currency is the Moroccan Dirham, with Dhs being its accepted abbreviation. Usually, one American dollar can be exchanged for ten Moroccan Dirhams. This means that the currency exchange ratio is considered one to ten.
Furthermore, conversing and negotiating with local shop owners can be challenging for people unable to speak fluent Arabic or broken French in some of Morocco’s central regions. However, where there is a will, there is a way, with many local shop owners having numerous years of experience dealing with foreign shoppers.
The Best Way To Know How Much An Unlabelled Item Costs
It should be noted that authentic Moroccan items can be purchased from almost any store. Unfortunately, most Moroccan souks stores stock the same items due to high tourist demand.
While obtaining a unique item in Morocco can be a complex process for inexperienced shoppers, it allows foreign nationals to understand how much a specific piece of merchandise should cost.
Any westerner who has shopped in one of Morocco’s globally revered local souks will tell you that almost none of the items have price tags, making it difficult to start the negotiation process.
However, if you can spend a day walking around one of the north African country’s many souks, take it as it will allow you to better understand how the local haggling process and social norms work.
Tourists must remember that most shops near the city center or busy shopping squares will, on average, be more expensive to buy from. This is due to shop owners being forced to pay more rent due to the increased foot traffic, and local and foreign demand.
At the same time, the most traditional and authentic Moroccan shops are normally located just outside the city’s center. It should be noted that these hard-to-find shops are also far cheaper than their rivals located in the city center.
This demonstrates the importance of researching and gaining insight before embarking on the most memorable shopping experience of your life so far. The best way to shop in Morocco is to first explore the local markets before selecting a store outside the city’s bustling center. You can save more than 40% on the final purchase price if successful.
What Products Should I Buy In Morocco?
The number of stunning local Moroccan products you can choose from is significant, making the process slightly overwhelming for first-time shoppers.
However, we have curated a list of the must-have items from Morocco, which should always include leather poufs, local ceramics, woven blankets, spices, and incredible pottery creations. Don’t let shopping in Morocco’s truly diverse souks get the better of you, as once you have overcome the first-time jitters, the overall experience will be life-changing.
Moroccan Leather Poufs
Morocco’s diverse and vast selection of remarkable leather poufs has become famous all over the world. Traditional Moroccan leather poufs are uniquely embroidered with stunning local patterns and shapes.
It is worth noting that the leather poufs can be unstuffed, meaning their core materials can be removed, making it easier for tourists to take their purchase back home with them in their limited luggage space. Some people in western countries, especially America, import authentic Moroccan leather poufs and sell them with an incredible 1000% markup.
The astronomical amount of money western consumers must fork out for imported Moroccan leather poufs appropriately demonstrates their associated demand, quality, and African authenticity.
However, if you find yourself strolling through one of Morocco’s famed shop-lined back alleyways, you can purchase a small Moroccan leather pouf for just over $15 United States dollars (150 Dhs).
If you prefer a larger Moroccan leather pouf, with the right haggling tactics, it should not set you back more than $30 (300 Dhs), further depicting how significant the markup is in western countries. Furthermore, local shop owners can effortlessly darken the leather pouf if desired, although they cannot usually lighten the highly demanded Moroccan item.
In addition to the globally admired leather poufs, Morocco is famous for producing among the most vividly colored, uniquely styled, and distinct ceramics the world has seen to date.
Various designs of ceramic plates and bowls can be seen at the front of numerous stores located within Morocco’s market or souk district. Furthermore, many of Morocco’s authentic ceramic bowls and plates are utilized by local restaurants, accurately demonstrating their cultural and historical significance.
Most of Morocco’s souk district’s authentic ceramic designs are orientated around floral depictions, while the plates usually include incredible decorative metal fragments.
In our experience, a high-quality Moroccan ceramic plate should set you back nearly $30 (300 Dhs) if you employ the correct negotiation or haggling tactics. However, it should be noted that successfully transporting your stunning ceramic purchases is a complex process and could result in a few of them being damaged beyond repair.
Moroccan Woven Blankets
Morocco’s outstanding hand-crafted woven blankets are a sight to behold for many first-time tourists.
Considering Morocco’s vast lineup of desirable, high-quality, and authentic products, woven blankets are frequently considered the best option for western tourists. A vibrantly colored and enormous Moroccan-themes woven blanket usually costs in the region of $40 (400 Dhs) if you successfully haggle with one of the local shop owners.
Moreover, shoppers willing to travel to the Marrakech or Essaouira souk regions can pick up one of the woven blankets for as little as $30 (300 Dhs). A lesser-known Moroccan consumer item is the one-of-a-kind wedding blanket.
Usually, a Moroccan wedding blanket consists of hand-sewn designs coupled with white color, round ornamental pieces, and even a unique fringe pattern. However, locating local shop owners selling the local wedding blankets all year round can prove challenging unless you are willing to travel to the more desolate regions in the north African country’s mountainous village areas.
Furthermore, wedding blankets are a historic Moroccan cultural tradition, with the rarest wedding blankets usually sewn and donated to local women to celebrate their recent union. Due to the low production and cultural significance associated with Moroccan wedding blankets, they will usually cost tourists nearly $220 (2.200 Dhs) if you can locate a seller in the first place.
Shoppers can haggle some local shop owners down to $150 (1.500 Dhs) in the best-case scenario, although you can purchase a lower quality wedding blanket for just under $70 (700 Dhs) at certain times of the year.
It is worth noting that local shop owners selling woven blankets or wedding blankets usually sell similarly-styled Moroccan pillows. While Moroccan pillows are not as highly demanded as many other authentic products, they are normally a bargain and can cost less than $25 (250 Dhs).
Shoppers can purchase similar items online or from western stores importing the merchandise; however, the prices are exorbitant, meaning you should take one back home if you happen to visit Morocco.
As much as Morocco is globally famous for its ceramics, woven blankets, and leather creations, the north African country has always been associated with the world’s most unique and fragrant spice selection.
Morocco undoubtedly has among the most diverse and inexpensive spice selections imaginable. However, it is crucial for foreign shoppers to always negotiate with local shop owners as the prices are never fixed.
Moreover, spices are permanently and deeply entrenched within the broad Moroccan society. Traditionally, spices have been an essential part of the local Moroccan cuisine and culture, meaning it is recommended to purchase a handful of authentic examples to take home with you.
While you can find spices in numerous authentic Moroccan stores, the most impressive selection can be found in Marrakech. Specifically, the Place des Epices is the most famous Moroccan store selling some of the world’s best and most diverse spices. In addition to effortlessly being the most fragrant spices consumers can buy globally, they are usually also the most colorful.
When shoppers walk through one of Morocco’s world-famous souks, the unique blend of spice smells and colors becomes a figurative magnet, continuously attracting tourists from all over the globe.
If possible, the best spices to purchase are ginger, pepper, cayenne, cumin, cinnamon, paprika, nutmeg, and even saffron. A lesser-known Moroccan spice tradition is called ras el hanout, which can be closely associated with western seasoning, although far more flavorsome.
Moroccan pottery is easily among the most desirable, highest-quality, distinct, and rare items any shopper can purchase after traveling to the culturally-significant north African country.
The best place to shop for authentic Moroccan pottery is Safi and Fes, which are two of the north African country’s most historic cities. While ceramics and pottery are similar, it is far more complicated to locate a local store owner selling the former all year round.
Considering authentic Moroccan pottery, the best examples of traditional or contemporary pieces of work can be found in the town of Medina. However, most upmarket stores in Morocco will offer shoppers some form of local ceramic or pottery designs.
Moreover, Safi pottery is usually the most highly demanded, highest quality, and most expensive available to foreign shoppers. Despite local and authentic Moroccan pottery being sold in various online stores, they are normally associated with enormous markups, demonstrating the importance of purchasing a unique iteration on your travels within the north African country.
Moroccan Rugs And Carpets
It is worth noting that authentic Moroccan rugs and carpets are among the most distinctly valuable items currently available in the north African country.
Moroccan rugs and carpets are deeply entrenched within the local culture, with the tradition passed down between generations. In addition, the most authentic and priceless creations can usually only be found in far-out Moroccan villages.
While various iterations can frequently be found in other Moroccan souk regions, the items’ associated quality and authenticity are slightly diminished.
The rarest forms of Moroccan carpets consist of unique wool-based materials, which the local women normally weave or knot together by hand. Furthermore, authentic Moroccan tribal rugs can be seen in most houses, businesses, or shopping regions throughout the north African country as they are a vital artistic representation of the region’s ancient heritage.
Once you have located a distinguished local shop owner selling various iterations of Moroccan rugs or carpets, it is easy to understand why they remain so highly demanded in 2023. Local rugs and carpets can be purchased in various styles, shapes, and sizes, meaning you can buy a customized piece of Moroccan art to take back home as a souvenir.
However, experienced foreign shoppers will tell you that searching for the best supplier of Moroccan rugs and carpets can be a significantly challenging process. Usually, your search will lead you to the innermost areas of Moroccan souks, requiring extensive and accurate prior research.
In addition, you should consider if the item will seamlessly integrate with your home’s current décor design, as the Moroccan theme can be overpowering to some shoppers. While high prices indicate a premium product, this is not always the case with authentic Moroccan rugs and carpets, with the correct price requiring extensive negotiation with shop owners.
Any person that has traveled to Morocco previously will agree the country is a hidden gem. From incredible scenery to unmatched souk districts, the north African country has something to offer to anyone.
While it should be noted that the Islamic culture has a strong and entrenched position in Morocco, it is part of the distinctly remarkable and often life-changing tourist experience.
Morocco is a hidden gem located in the northern areas of Africa. Shopping in Morocco can be a daunting experience for first-time visitors; however, it can be life-changing if done correctly. If you are fortunate enough to travel to Morocco soon, local ceramics, pottery, spices, woven blankets, and leather creations should be at the top of your shopping list.
FAQs on Morocco Shops
Are there shops in Essaouira
Located a short distance of under two hours from the bustling city of Agadir, Tiznit is home to a delightful, small medina. In the coastal resort town of Essaouira, the increasingly sought-after medina houses a variety of art galleries, a jeweller’s market (Moroccan jewellery is divine), and numerous shops offering an assortment of items.
Ranging from indigenous thuya woodcrafts and argan oil-derived products to beach attire and bespoke leather goods, there’s something for everyone, even local Moroccan food products and most vendors accept credit cards/
The ambience in the medina is rather laid-back, with the shopkeepers being more amiable and less insistent than their counterparts in neighbouring Marrakech medina, providing a far more pleasant shopping experience.
Should I haggle when visiting Morocco shops?
Haggling is deeply ingrained in Moroccan culture, playing a vital role in daily transactions. Emphasising social interaction, haggling in Morocco is an art form, with buyers and sellers engaging in friendly banter. Bargaining requires patience, respect, and a sense of humour, ultimately establishing a connection between both parties, and contributing to the vibrant atmosphere of Moroccan souks and markets.
What are the Best Morocco Souvenirs?
Some of the best Moroccan souvenirs to bring home include:
- Argan oil: Renowned for its health and cosmetic benefits, argan oil is a versatile, natural product unique to Morocco.
- Leather goods: High-quality leather bags, wallets, and shoes, often crafted in traditional tanneries, are sought-after souvenirs.
- Berber rugs: These handwoven, colourful rugs represent the rich cultural heritage of Morocco’s Berber people.
- Pottery and ceramics: Intricately designed and hand-painted, Moroccan pottery makes for beautiful decorative pieces or tableware.
- Spices: The array of Moroccan spices, such as saffron, cumin, and ras el hanout, are perfect for recreating authentic Moroccan dishes.
- Lanterns: Handcrafted Moroccan lanterns, adorned with intricate patterns, create a warm, enchanting ambience remding you of this North Africa idyll..
- Djellabas: Traditional Moroccan clothing, such as djellabas, are comfortable and stylish, reflecting the country’s rich cultural identity.
- Thuya woodcrafts: Hand-carved wooden boxes and ornaments made from indigenous thuya wood are unique, artisanal keepsakes.
If you buy souvenirs try and get them from the original artisans if possible, go to the argan oil farmers for argan oil products and purchase a bottle of pure oil from the argan tree. Within the old city walls of Fez you can find the world renowned tanneries which will give you higher quality leather slippers and Moroccan products made of leather. Don’t forget brass lanterns or large rugs can also be found in various shops.
Green tea and Maghrebi mint tea are widely enjoyed in Morocco, typically accompanying meals and snacks. The tea, often served with a generous amount of sugar, features varying sweetness levels depending on the region. These popular beverages not only showcase Moroccan hospitality but also form an integral part of the country’s rich culinary culture.