From rust-coloured medinas and elegant, exotic buildings, to vibrant green gardens and bustling, spice-scented souks, Marrakech is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. However, aside from exploring ancient ruins or basking on a sun-bleached beach, shopping in Marrakech is a must for anyone visiting for the first time.
Marrakech shopping is an experience in itself, whether you’re visiting a covered market, a traditional bazaar, or one of the chic, sleek emporiums. Be sure to pack cash as cards are rarely accepted in the markets, and be prepared to haggle. Haggling is a large and fun part of shopping in Marrakech, once you’ve done it a couple of times, you’ll be haggling with the best of them.
Away from Marrakech’s main square, you’ll find a labyrinth of back streets and alleys, covered markets, and open workshops, which make up the souks. These are where the locals go shopping in Marrakech and where you can buy unique handmade gifts and authentic, Moroccan items. For beginners, the Souk Cherifia is a good place to start. Close to the Rue Mouassine, it’s a souk in miniature manned by a younger crowd selling stunning, hand-sewn fabrics and detailed leather bags.
Once you’ve got the hang of the Marrakech shopping rituals, then you can spread your bargain-hunting wings and visit the likes of Creiee Berbere, where embroidered carpets are the stars of the show, and Souk Haddadine, for handmade metal items.
If the dust and crowds prove too intimidating for you, there are some superb Marrakech shopping centres to explore. Shopping in Marrakesh malls is an entirely different experience, offering air conditioning, places to eat and prices that can’t be haggled over. The Carré Eden Shopping Centre has over 60 shops, from big-name fashion brands to its own supermarket. The top floor is a dedicated food court, where you’ll find a few familiar brands like Dominos Pizza and Starbucks.
The Menara Mall, just a short walk from the Es Saadi Palace, is a multi-storey Marrakech shopping complex and a great place to go if you’re travelling with children. The first and second floors are packed with shops that offer souk-style goods for sale, while the third floor and fourth floors are devoted to younger visitors. On the third, you’ll find a selection of rides and slides, while on the fourth floor there’s a play area close to the bars, cafés, and restaurants of the food court.
The Ancient Art of Haggling
As a rule of thumb, you should be aiming to pay around a third of the initial asking price. However, it’s also worth having a higher, maximum price that you’re prepared to pay, just in case things don’t go your way. Remember that you shouldn’t engage in haggling unless you’re genuinely interested in buying something. Traders spend their whole days negotiating with locals and tourists alike, and time-wasters are not looked upon kindly. Be sure to take some water with you when shopping in Marrakech souks, as the air can be quite dry and there’s no air conditioning to take the edge off the heat.