Morocco Shopping Guide: the Best Things to Buy

Morocco Shopping Guide: the Best Things to Buy

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. The markets are full of items for sale and it’s hard to know where to start.

Also, the handmade arts are strongly valued in Morocco 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. 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.

Shopping in Morocco is a rich and fun experience

Ceramics

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.

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: tajine dishes, bowls of all sizes, jars, ashtrays, plates, vases, platters, tiles and boxes. The choice often comes down to how much you can carry home and I tend to buy smaller objects.

Moroccan ceramics are a must buy in Morocco

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.

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, rugs are everywhere in Morocco 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.

Shopping for rugs is a careful and considered endeavour though. 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 rug to your shopping list is the fact that a good quality carpet will last a lifetime…

Carpet shops are part of every shopping trip in Morocco

Brassware

Moroccan artisans have been crafting metal objects for centuries and the art has been especially prevalent since the 12th Century. 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 lamps and mirrors.

You can find some beautiful light fixtures and the decorated mirrors were a favourite of mine as a child.

Brass lamps are one of the many things to buy in Morocco

Babouches

The rows of those traditional leather slippers lined up in tiny shops make for great photography… To me, it is one of the most iconic images of Morocco… 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 babouches 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. Because they are light and can pack flat, they are the ideal footwear on aeroplanes!

Babouches are one of my favourite things to buy in Morocco

Pillow & Cushion Covers

With many styles and iterations, pillow covers are a good compromise if you are looking to add that tribal feel to your home. They are also easy to transport and a more discreet statement in a decor than a large carpet.

Shopping for homewares and cushions in Morocco

Leather

Leather is another symbol of traditional Moroccan craft and there are so many possibilities: clothing, handbags, shoes and homewares. The tradition of tanning and dyeing leather goes back many centuries and even today, the tanneries of Fes still use a technique perfected in the 13th Century.

In Morocco, you can find 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.

You can buy many leather bags in the markets in Morocco

Homewares

The handmade arts of Morocco are very well utilised in the design of homewares, big and small… When travelling in Morocco, you will have plenty of opportunities to find objects to bring home as decorative souvenirs. There are too many to list here but if you like a bit of a treasure hunt, Morocco is for you! I have a soft spot for tadelakt boxes and dishes, they look lovely in my bathroom!

Tea Sets & Glasses

When travelling in Morocco, you will certainly taste the mint tea and experience a central element of Moroccan hospitality. 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.

The 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.

Morocco has some simple yet beautiful glassware to buy

Those were my Achille’s heel on my last trip… I bought 2 sets of glasses when I already have some at home but what can I say… I fell in love with the colourful patterns, when my glasses at home were plain handmade glasses. 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, glasses are not the easiest thing to transport but you can count on merchants to package your purchases for travel!

Thuya Wood

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… However, the best use is made through the fine art of marquetry. However, 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.

If you are mindful of how sustainable and ethical your shopping is, you may want to buy something else. Personally, I received a huge amount of thuya objects when I was a child and I’m a little over it… I might have to explore it again next time and see if I find something to my taste…

Various wooden boxes are available for shopping in Morocco

Antiques

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 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.

Antique shopping in Morocco is also an option

Paintings

Morocco has a lively and sought-after art market. 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!

There are many hand paintings available to buy in Morocco

Painted Wood

This is another blast from the past for me… Those mirrors framed in painted wood made their way into my dolls’ house!

For your home decor, you can buy painted wood in Morocco

Textiles

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.

Textiles are high on my Morocco shopping guide

Clothing

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!

I love to buy dramatic and quality clothing in Morocco

Jewellery

There are different styles of jewellery in Morocco 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!

There is a vast choice of jewellery to shop for in Morocco

 

Purses & Handbags

In Morocco, the markets offer a huge amount of locally designed purses and handbags. I really hesitated over these hessian clutches decorated with colourful pompoms… but I couldn’t decide on the colour.

These colourful purses are so easy to shop for in Morocco

Baskets & 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 a small one at home. I briefly considered a larger one but already had many purchases to take home… They can get pretty bulky but if you are a basket person, these are probably the best you can find…

The wooden spoons and other kitchen items are easy to pack and looking at this photo gives me a slight sense of regret…

you are guaranteed to find quality baskets in a shopping trip to Morocco

Cosmetics

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.

Morocco has interesting and natural cosmetic to buy

In Chefchaouen, you need to spend some time in La Botica de la Abuela Aladdin and shop for oil perfume and musk.

Argan Oil

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 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.

Argan oil is an essential to shop for in Morocco

Argan Oil has a nutty taste and is quite expensive. In Morocco, argan oil is used for dipping bread, in couscous and salads, and has some demonstrated health benefits. The cosmetic oil is used 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.

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.

While shopping in Morocco, try some olives and dates as treats

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

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 spices. I see it as exciting as shopping for shoes…

The colours and smells are a magnet and I often go overboard, however, authentic spices make such a lovely gift! The spices available in Morocco include ginger, black and white pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, cumin, saffron, anise, nutmeg, fenugreek… and of course the complex ras el hanout!

Spices are such fun to shop for in Morocco

Remedies

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!

There are plenty of intriguing remedies to buy in the markets of Morocco

Shopping in Morocco

Shopping in Morocco can be a fun and enriching experience, where you get to mingle with the locals. I will be writing more about the art of haggling in Morocco. 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…

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

For more city guides on Morocco, check out these posts on Chefchaouen and Tangier. On the Mediterranean Coast, I recommend checking out the Spanish Enclaves and the Controversial Spanish Islands.

Do you have favourite buys I could add to my Morocco shopping guide? Please tell me in the comments below!

If you are looking for more ideas on Morocco, please check out my Pinterest board.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Travel | Morocco | Travel Shopping | Marrakesh | Chefchaouen | Morocco Travel | North Africa | Travel Guide | Travel Tips | Things to Know | Marrakesh | Morocco Experience | Morocco Adventure | Active Holidays #morocco #travel #traveltips #travelshopping

25 Comments

  1. Lynne Nieman

    January 28, 2018 at 8:34 am

    I’d definitely be buying the sweets and the leather…although those shoes look very comfy! Nice post!

    1. Delphine

      January 28, 2018 at 11:37 am

      Hi Lynne, I highly recommend the babouches slippers, they are so comfortable and they come in so many colours it’s hard to resist! And who could resist so many handbags! And I love sweets that are not too sugary, it’s lovely with a glass of mint tea!

  2. Janine Good

    January 28, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Everything looks beautiful. I would probably go for a pair of babouches and get some argan oil!

    1. Delphine

      January 28, 2018 at 11:34 am

      Hi Janine, the babouches are my favourite thing to buy. I always have them at home and they are so soft and comfortable… I also wear them on planes as they are light and easy to pack! As for the argan oil, it really is the gold of Morocco. I use the edible oil in salads, it gives a lovely nutty flavour… And the cosmetic oil is great to mix with other oils to make a facial cleanser and massage oil!

  3. Sapna Kapoor

    January 28, 2018 at 9:55 pm

    Wow… very comprehensive list of things to buy with name of places to buy these. Quite helpful.

    1. Delphine

      January 29, 2018 at 8:38 pm

      Hi Sapna, thank you for dropping by. I have spent quite a lot of time in the medina and drooled over all these things to buy, so I know what I’m talking about! The great thing is that I still marvel at the choice everytime I go back.

  4. Annika

    January 31, 2018 at 8:44 am

    Oh all these things looks amazing. I’ve always wanted to go to Morocco

    1. Delphine

      February 1, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Hi Annika, a walk through the medina of Marrakech is a feast for the eyes, there is so much to see and buy! I hope you get a chance to visit Morocco some day, it’s an amazing country!

  5. Sandy

    February 7, 2018 at 6:55 am

    Delphine, this is such great information for the first timer! Thanks for putting this together and sharing with us along with the colorful photos. Some of the items are quite large so do the vendors typically have a shipping option? Do you have any tips for pricing or haggling of these things? I’m going to Morocco soon and would love to hear your opinion on that. Thanks again, great article!

    1. Delphine

      February 7, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Sandy, I hope you have a great trip to Morocco. My travel guide about Marrakech is due to be published tomorrow. If you are buying large items, the merchants definitely have shipping options but I’ve never used those, I’ve always carried my shopping in my luggage. As for haggling, it is very much part of the experience of visiting Morocco and it takes a little getting used to. I will be writing more about it very soon but for the basics, I would advise doing some research before getting ready to buy to know exactly what you are looking for. When you are ready to negotiate, take your time and always keep your sense of humour. And finally, be ready to walk away if you don’t get the price you want… Good luck!

  6. Jayne Sheets Fiocca

    February 26, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Very informative post Delphine. Thank you. We will only spend one day in Marrakech and we hope to go to the market. There is no currency exchange in Florida for Moroccan currency. Can US dollars be used in the market ? If not can you suggest the best place to exchange money after disembarking the ship. Your time is appreciated.

    1. Delphine

      February 26, 2018 at 9:11 pm

      Hi Jayne, aside from Moroccan Dirhams, the currency of reference is the Euro. Even if sellers take US dollars, I doubt that you get good value out of it… There are money changers available, such as Travelex and others, especially in large hotels. Another good alternative is to use ATMs. You can withdraw cash from banks such Credit du Maroc or Attijariwafa if you have a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.I hope this helps, enjoy your time in Marrakech!

  7. Jayne Sheets Fiocca

    February 27, 2018 at 4:23 am

    Thank you so much Delphine.

  8. Joan

    March 20, 2018 at 4:21 am

    Thanks Delphine. Heading to Morocco in 2 weeks and excited about the shopping but not the haggling. Any cities especially good to buy certain products? Essaoura for Arran oil products?

    1. Delphine

      March 20, 2018 at 7:06 am

      Hi Joan, Marrakech has the most comprehensive shopping, it really has everything… Some textiles are typical of the Rif Mountains (red with white stripes), a particular style of babouche in Tafraoute… but mostly, you can find everything in Marrakech. With Argan Oil products, you have to look out for the fakes… Argan Oil is expensive and is sometimes cut with vegetable oil. It’s best to buy from a cooperative if you can, and get a taste beforehand. For cosmetic products, it’s probably better to get them from a spa or a chic store (like the ones in rue Majorelle in Marrakech) if you want real quality. I really enjoyed shopping in Essaouira because people are so nice. There are some really funky shops with lots of herbs and remedies worth looking at. My post on Essaouira is due to be published this Thursday, I hope you will find it helpful.

  9. Mary

    June 8, 2018 at 6:20 am

    Great post thank you! The prices in Chefchaouen are the best! And please be aware that the Thuya wood is quickly becoming extinct because of this production- not sustainable to purchase!

    1. Delphine

      June 12, 2018 at 8:15 pm

      Thanks Mary, I did most of my shopping in Marrakech because there is so much choice! I was given so many thuya objects as a child, I actually got sick of it… I don’t buy it anymore but it’s still for sale everywhere…

  10. Catherine

    August 2, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    Hi, love the post. Great information and pictures. I’m traveling to Morocco in September and excited to do some shopping!

    1. Delphine

      August 4, 2018 at 9:16 am

      Hi Catherine, September is a great time to visit Morocco. The weather is still gorgeous but not as burning hot as it is in summer. Shopping is best mid morning, when the shops are first open, you can get some good deals if you are the first customer of the day!

  11. Kitty

    September 16, 2018 at 5:13 am

    This was very detailed– thank you! I found some tips that will be helpful during my November trip to Morocco.

    1. Delphine

      September 16, 2018 at 6:54 am

      Hi Kitty, I’m very happy that my post is helping you plan your trip to Morocco.Make sure you bring an extra suitcase because the shopping is very hard to resist! All the best for your trip!

  12. Leslie Etedgee

    October 3, 2018 at 6:50 am

    I have really enjoyed reading your post. Thank you for all of this valuable information. We are going on our first trip to Morocco in just a few weeks! I look forward to experiencing this country!

    1. Delphine

      October 3, 2018 at 7:46 am

      Hi Leslie, thank you for your message. I trust you will enjoy Morocco, it’s a beautiful country and the people are really friendly. All the best!

  13. Desirée travels

    October 18, 2018 at 11:57 pm

    Oh wow. I understand I must simply bring 72 empty suitcases to Morocco! I would love a carpet and some pillowcases for my home, some argain oil, some babouches for home, a new leather bag for myself and some spices for the kitchen. And of course, Christmas presents for everyone. Uh-oh! 😀

    1. Delphine

      October 19, 2018 at 7:05 am

      Hi Desiree, I’m glad you understand the very real quandary of shopping in Morocco! All the things you are after are available in the medina, you just need to check for quality and do some haggling! The main thing is to keep it fun, and of course to bring 72 extra suitcases! All the best for your trip!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.