Souks of Marrakech | An exceptional and unique shopping experience
The souks represent one of the main symbols of Marrakech and Morocco. To take full advantage of the experience, it is possible to benefit from a guided tour of the souks and shopping streets near the Jamaa El Fna square. Some guided tours also include the discovery of the Medina, the historic district of Marrakech and an excursion to discover the surrounding museums and palaces.
While visiting Morocco, it is unthinkable not to visit the souks of Marrakech! With more than 40,000 artisans, they are the most beautiful in the whole of the Maghreb (Morocco in Arabic). The souks of Marrakech are in the Medina of the city, the historic heart. They have been listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Babouches, carpets, clothes, spices, nuts, olives and local dishes, the souks are a real treasure! Our first piece of advice is going to be rather original: get lost! Forget your sense of direction. Do not use any compass. Only in this way will you make your experience particularly unique! When you are visiting the souks of Marrakech, keep only one thing in mind: dare to venture into the smallest alleys.
When you go to visit the souks of Marrakech, expect to be totally disoriented! You will find an explosion of colors and smells, and you will discover unique flavors in the various souks of artisan.
History of the souks of Marrakech
The history of the souks of Marrakech goes back several centuries. It is necessary to go back to the foundation of the city, in 1071. These daily markets were the meeting points with the inhabitants of the desert. The latter regularly came to buy or exchange goods. The souks of Marrakech also allowed caravanners to restock. At that time, the caravanners crossed the desert.
When we talk about the "souks of Marrakech", we are actually talking about 18 markets that are more or less independent of each other. They are all located in the center of the old city of Marrakech. Generally, there is a souk dedicated to jewelry, another dedicated to vases, etc.
Over the centuries, the souks became more and more important. In our time, they have kept all their authenticity. Merchants continue to sell unique spices and handicrafts. You will always find more than 40,000 artisans, distributed in the 18 souks of the city. Another special feature: the wonderful little restaurants in the medina which offer unique dishes!
What are the most interesting souks for tourists?
The Souq Smata
This is a real must see during your visit to the souks of Marrakech. The Smata souk is where you will find hundreds of models of slippers of all colors, some more fanciful than others.
In this souk, you will find all the objects and accessories made of leather. Here, it is the temple of wallets, belts, bags, shoes, and all other leather objects.
The Ahiak souk
Ahiak specializes in clothing: t-shirts, jeans, dresses, and traditional clothing.
The Zarbia souk
The Zarbia souk is the souk for items such as carpets, vases, ashtrays. and souvenirs.
Souk El Attarine
A true gourmet paradise, the Attarine souk is perfect. You will find there all kinds of spices from all over the world.
The Dhabia souk
this souk specializes in various jewelry, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and any other jewel you could think of.
How to get to the souks of Marrakech?
The souks of Marrakech are located in the historic center of the city, called the Medina. The souks are scattered all over this area. Most of them can therefore be reached on foot in a few minutes' walk, or by local bus and taxi. However, you will have to go to the Medina, and you can go there in various ways.
Knowing that traffic in Marrakech can quickly become chaotic, and that it is not recommended to drive there if you are not used to it, it is advisable to take a taxi to get to the medina and visit the souks of Marrakech.
You can get there from all over Marrakech, all taxi drivers obviously know the way to get to the medina. Be aware, however, that the price per kilometer costs between 0.18 euro and 0.75 euro depending on the company.
Many buses go to the medina of Marrakech, and from any part of the city. You can therefore take line 2 which goes around the medina. And if you have just arrived at Marrakech Airport, it is possible to take bus no. 19 going to the city center in 20 to 25 minutes.
What budget should you plan when visiting the souks of Marrakech and when to go there?
The budget for visiting the souks of Marrakech cannot be defined for everyone. Some will fall for precious stone jewelry while others will just pay a visit. However, you should remember that entry to the souks is free.
As for the products, spices cost between 30 and 60 DH, almonds and nuts between 80 and 120 DH, quality clothing costs between 90 and 300 DH while objects such as teapots, vases and other gifts cost between 30 and 150 DH.
It is therefore advisable to go there and visit the souks of Marrakech with a minimum of 300 dirhams to make the most of it, but know that, in any case, do not forget to negotiate! You should know that in Morocco, price negotiation is a real institution that also applies to foreigners.
Note: sellers often tend to raise their prices when dealing with foreigners.
Regarding schedules, the souks are generally open every day from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. approximately, but be aware that they are almost all closed on Friday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for the big prayer.
GOOD TO KNOW
Take a tour among the merchants before buying. The prices are not displayed, do not hesitate to ask the sellers.
Avoid visiting the souks of Marrakech with a personal guide. In the same way, avoid following a reel. The latter take a commission from the sellers.
The souks are pleasant for purchases around 9 a.m., when the sellers offer you lower prices. In Morocco, the first customer brings good luck. At the end of the evening, some will not hesitate to lower their prices if they have not sold enough.
Be careful ! Many pickpockets roam the streets and alleys of the souks.