Morocco is a fascinating and exotic destination with many different reasons to visit. With a rich and ancient artisan tradition, the temptation of unbridled shopping is everywhere. With many trips to Morocco stamped in my passport, I have crafted the ultimate Morocco shopping guide to help you decide how to spend your money.
Morocco Shopping Guide
Moroccan crafts are of high quality and contemporary artisans are adapting age-old know-how in order to craft beautiful wares. Indeed, you have the choice between an artisan or a modern shopping experience. Don’t forget to read my guide on how to haggle in Morocco!
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Marrakech is one of the best cities in Morocco for shopping. In order to make the best of your Marrakech holidays , you may want to consider joining a shopping tour. Armed with a Marrakech map, it will also help you get your bearings around the city. You don’t have to buy you do the tour, but you will at least get an idea of where the best shops are and what prices you should expect to pay. Check out the additional information and current tour prices.
In this article, I have selected the best day trips from Marrakech.
Are you interested in viewing the crafting of products? It’s not always easy to find workshops in the medina and you may not be able to just wander in. There is also a tour that will show you around the different crafts and view how they are made. Check out the additional information and current tour prices.
Accommodation in Marrakech
Staying in the heart of Marrakech is the best way to be close to the shopping action. I have highlighted a few hotels in good locations. I do recommend you stay in a riad for a few nights during your holiday in Morocco: Hotel du Tresor, Riad Haraka and Riad Bayti are all reasonably priced options.
Ceramics are a highlight of any shopping experience in Morocco. The bright colours and intricate designs are a fascinating attraction of the Medina, however, there is a long history and tradition of ceramics in Morocco. Practised for thousands of years, the art of ceramics has strong influences from Islamic and Spanish invaders.
You may be familiar with the ubiquitous Moroccan ashtray… Or you would know the design of Moroccan tiles or Moroccan mosaic?
Throughout the markets, the range of styles, colours and shapes can be overwhelming. Mostly, you will find floral and geometric patterns with fine details, deep colours and intricate designs. The objects you can find range from the very small to the very large: Moroccan cookware known as tajine, Moroccan dishware, jars, Moroccan plates, vases, platters, tiles and boxes. The choice often comes down to how much you can carry home.
The main ceramic manufacturing centres are in the cities of Fes and Safi, and those names also refer to typical styles of Moroccan pottery. However, ceramics are available everywhere in Morocco.
The range available in the Medina is of the handmade artisan kind, but contemporary creations are also available in the more upmarket stores, such as the ones in the Rue Majorelle in Marrakech. Ceramics often have that slightly rough and handmade feel, which is part of their charm.
Safi pottery is the most recognisable and is very different from Tamegroute pottery, which is a plain green colour.
Carpets & Rugs
Another ancient tradition of Morocco still passed on from mother to daughter in far-flung villages, is the crafting of rugs. Usually made of wool and carefully knotted or weaved by hand, Moroccan tribal rugs are everywhere and represent a very important part of the Moroccan art of living. There are many sizes and styles, often created by Berber tribes, and a rug can be a wonderful addition to a home. It could be one of your most prized Morocco souvenirs.
Shopping for a Moroccan rug is a careful and considered endeavour though. It will likely take you to the heart of the Moroccan souk. You have to do your research and have a good think about whether such an item would fit into your home. Also, prices can vary wildly and you need to prepare for a hard negotiation. One very valid reason to add a Moroccan wool rug to your shopping list is the fact that a good quality carpet will last a lifetime…
Moroccan artisans have been crafting metal objects for centuries and the art has been especially prevalent since the 12th Century, with the technique of hammered brass. The different metals used include copper, silver, lead, tin, nickel and aluminium, however, the most common one is brass. Fes and Marrakech specialise in crafting fine homewares, especially brass lanterns and intricate Moroccan mirrors.
A Moroccan pendant light can be a nice element in a decor. A round brass tray or some Moroccan hanging lanterns could be on your shopping list.
Moroccan style lighting is usually fairly understated but this can make the mood of a room.
Seeing rows of Moroccan leather slippers or “babouche” is very evocative of Morocco. They also make for great photography… When I shop in the Medina, the colours and textures fascinate me, I can spend hours selecting my favourites.
I don’t know many people who admit to wearing slippers at home but in my opinion, the Moroccan babouche slippers are the most comfortable thing… They are the only thing I collect from Morocco, I have to buy several pairs on each of my trips.
Quality Moroccan slippers should be soft and mould to your feet after just a few wears. You can also find babouche shoes with a thicker rubber sole.
Are you looking for some Marrakech day trips after all this shopping? See below for some information on Morocco desert trips and Marrakech day trips.
Moroccan Pillows & Cushion Covers
With many styles and iterations, pillow covers are a good compromise if you don’t know what to buy in Morocco but are keen on a more exotic look for your home. Moroccan cushions are also easy to transport and a more discreet statement in a decor than a large carpet.
Pillows and cushions have a big place in the Moroccan lifestyle, where sitting on the floor is quite common.
Leather is another symbol of traditional Moroccan craft and there are so many Moroccan products: clothing, handbags, shoes and homewares.
Marrakech leather is good but the finest is in Fes due to a long tradition of tanning and dyeing, going back to the 13th Century. The souks of Marrakech and other cities usually have a scent of leather.
Moroccan leather goods come in all shapes: handbags, wallets, belts and shoes of all styles. In the Medina, the quality can be a little average but there are some very fine leathers in the chic stores of Marrakech. My pick? I always buy a small wallet when I travel, to hold local money. I am spoilt for choice in Morocco. Last time, I also treated myself to a beautiful suede jacket from this store.
The handmade arts of Morocco are very well utilised in the design of homewares, big and small… At home, I have a Moroccan tea set, a Moroccan tray and a Moroccan pouf… I am missing a large Moroccan mirror and I may be a little obsessed…
Moroccan light fixtures are a little trickier to transport. But Moroccan plates and bowls might work if they’re packed properly!
I have a soft spot for tadelakt boxes and dishes, they look lovely in my bathroom!
Tea Sets & Glasses
When you meet Moroccan people, you will certainly taste mint tea and experience a central element of hospitality in Moroccan culture. Wherever you go, mint tea is on offer, served in small glasses adorned with intricate details. Mint tea is made very simply, with green tea mixed with mint leaves and steeped in a small silver or brass teapot.
A Morocco tea set is complete with a matching tray and decorated glasses. Traditionally, mint tea is very sweet, but these days, cafes serve the sugar on the side, so you can dose it yourself.
Those were my Achille’s heel on my last trip… I bought two sets of Moroccan tea glasses when I already have some at home but what can I say… I fell in love with the colourful patterns, when mine at home were plain handblown Moroccan glassware. They’re equally beautiful, with a light aqua colouring and tiny bubbles in the glass, but I guess that’s how you start a collection!
Admittedly, a glass tea set is not the easiest thing to transport but you can count on merchants to package your purchases for travel!
Morocco is home to forests of thuya trees, especially around Essaouira. Thuya is a type of cypress and a fragrant and precious wood. Moroccans artisans craft an endless range of objects such as boxes… Thuya is very popular for Moroccan gifts or for bigger things like a Moroccan side table.
However, the best use is made through the fine art of marquetry, on a Moroccan tea table, for example. You need to be aware that the harvesting of thuya has been abusive in the past and the essence is getting a little scarce, so you’re unlikely to find large objects these days.
With its long history and many diverse cultural influences, Morocco has a very good stock of antiques. Marrakech has some very reputable antique stores, including in the Medina. There, you can find unique objects and Moroccan furniture that travelled through time and tell a story…
I find the Tuareg objects very interesting, however, this type of shopping is serious business. As this is Morocco, haggling is expected but you need to do some research before shopping.
An old Moroccan hanging lamp or a Moroccan coffee table made out of an old door would be a star element of your decor.
Moroccan art is lively and sought-after. Some contemporary artists are highly rated on the international art market. In the Medina, you are likely to find much cheaper paintings of much lesser artistic value, but these little naive scenes make a nice souvenir. I found some charming blue and white street scenes in Chefchaouen, and didn’t buy them… I regret it now but I can always go back!
Moroccan arts and crafts include painted wood. This is another blast from the past for me… Those mirrors framed in painted wood made their way into my dolls’ house!
Moroccan women produce some very fine embroidery or weaving, and some of it can be quite expensive. In Rabat, there is women’s coop in the Oudayas quarter, where you can buy some high-quality items. In a world of mass-produced fashion, a trip to Morocco is an opportunity to find some beautiful handmade textiles in rich colours. If you are crafty, some of those textiles can be used to create your own soft furnishings.
Moroccan fashion is associated with long, flowing garments and there is plenty to choose from. Whilst the quality of cheap garments can be pretty low in the Medina, there are some designer stores where the traditional silk trimmings are used to adorn high-quality garments. La Maison du Caftan in Marrakech is a temple to fashion temptation!
Is Morocco expensive for clothing and fashion? Yes, it can be. But the cheap stuff is low in quality so you may want to invest in a few statement pieces.
There are different styles of Moroccan jewellery and plenty of choice! The world of jewellery shopping in the Medina can be tricky to navigate… There are lots of fake antiques and the quality of the silver can be questionable.
Also, some sellers swear to genuine stones including polished amber but this incredibly fragrant tree resin has become quite rare in Morocco. So, don’t be fooled but enjoy the shopping, there are some great statement pieces around! Also, Marrakech prices vary greatly!
Purses & Handbags
To add to your list of Marrakech souvenirs, why not pick up a locally designed purse and handbag? I really hesitated over these hessian clutches decorated with colourful pompoms… but I couldn’t decide on the colour. Moroccan accessories are quite easy to pick up and mix with any outfit.
Baskets & Wooden Spoons
I can’t imagine anyone would be at a loss about what to buy in Marrakech but if you need more Moroccan gift ideas, think of basketry and wooden spoons. Basketry is plentiful in Morocco, from the small to large. I love the plain palm fibre ones with leather handles and I have several ones at home. They can get pretty bulky but if you are a basket person, these are probably the best you can find…
On the other hand, wooden spoons are great Moroccan items to bring home and are easier to pack.
A journey to Morocco wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the rich fragrances of Morocco. My childhood memories are full of orange blossom, mint, roses, amber and various spices… These days, you can take these smells home through locally made cosmetics. A visit to a well-appointed spa will introduce you to new body care products such as ghassoul and savon noir…
In the markets, look for cosmetic rose water and orange blossom water. As for the make-up department, kohl and face tint can be found in the medina.
Argan oil products are everywhere and a Marrakech shopping guide would be incomplete without a mention. There are many argan oil benefits so read on…
In Chefchaouen, you need to spend some time in La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin and shop for oil perfume and musk.
Original argan oil is an extraordinary success story in Morocco… The oil is produced by pressing the kernels contained in the fruit of the argan tree, a dry shrub tree endemic to Morocco. The women’s cooperatives producing the oil hold a strong social function and it’s important to buy argan oil from the right suppliers.
Culinary argan oil is everywhere but a lot of cheap brands mix sunflower oil and some places falsely advertise themselves as women’s cooperatives.
Natural argan oil has a nutty taste and is quite expensive. In Morocco, edible argan oil is used for dipping bread, drizzled on couscous and salads, and has some demonstrated health benefits. In cosmetics, there are many argan oil uses in face, body and hair products. Those products are widely available outside of Morocco but if you buy pure argan oil, you can actually mix your own oils.
It’s a great product but finding the best argan oil can be a bit of a quest!
Olives, Dates & Sweets
Food should definitely part of your Morocco shopping experience. The local markets have plenty of stalls where you can buy olives, dates, peanuts, dried figs and various sweet biscuits and cakes… Come on, indulge a little… Morocco has a very fine art of living, the small details of hospitality are very important.
Olives are offered as an appetiser in most restaurants and there are so many flavours available in the Medina… I recommend you sample those snacks as everything is fresh and flavoursome.
Sweets are some of the best gifts from Morocco.
Morocco is famous for its sweets mixing spice and floral flavours. There are some great patisseries in the Casablanca Habbous medina and also in the Gueliz district of Marrakech.
Spices are an essential part of the culture and local cuisine and should definitely be part of your Morocco shopping! In Marrakech, the Place des Epices has many stores laden with colourful Moroccan spices. I see it as exciting as shopping for shoes…
The colours and smells of the Moroccan spice mix are a magnet and I often go overboard, however, authentic spices make such a lovely gift! The spices of Marrakech include ginger, black and white pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin, saffron, anise, nutmeg, fenugreek… and of course the complex ras el hanout, a well-known Moroccan seasoning.
Unusual remedies are a lesser-known aspect of Moroccan culture and traditions. This may be for the more adventurous traveller… but why not try the various teas and herbal remedies available in the Medina? This funky stall in Essaouira has plenty to choose from!
Shopping in Morocco
Marrakech shopping can be a fun and enriching experience, where you get to mingle with the locals. You can trust this guide as I have bought most of the things listed above: some I use every day and some things were more impulse purchases… But these are the best things to buy in Marrakech!
To give you a good idea of prices, I recommend visiting the Ensemble Artisanal. Only a few minutes from the Koutoubia, this state-sponsored shopping complex has the same things that you find in the medina but the prices are fixed and quite fair. Once you do that, you are ready to haggle your way through the medina. I have more information on the things you need to know before travelling to Morocco and also 20 reasons why you should visit Morocco. If you are intending to drive in Morocco, I have a comprehensive guide here. Trust me, there are some spectacular roads…
Finally, knowing what to pack for Morocco is important…
Haggling in Morocco
Marrakech Day Trips
Things to know before Travelling to Morocco
Do you have favourite buys I could add to my Morocco shopping guide? Please tell me in the comments below!
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