You need to take a deep breath. Seriously. Even if you consider yourself a seasoned shopper, the sights and sounds of Marrakech can be overwhelming. I couldn't wait to visit the market in the old city (Medina). And it was total sensory overload. I tried not to make eye contact with any of the snake charmers (or snakes) that sit outside the covered souks. There was shopping to be done after all.
Here are my tips for the Best Shopping in Marrakech Souks:
1. Take it all in. As you walk through the Market (referred to as the Souks), there's so much to see. There are also bikes, motorcycles, donkeys and aggressive stall owners to contend with. I knew we would be there for two days, so I knew that I didn't have to make any decisions on the spot. If your time is limited I still suggest walking around first, have a cold drink and then go back. I couldn't get over the light fixtures -- although in the end we didn't bring one home -- but they're beautiful. Sometimes just taking it in is just as satisfying. Okay -- not exactly the same.
2. Negotiate. Luckily I was with someone who enjoys the art of negotiating. Not my favorite thing especially when it gets heated. For $10 more -- why all the fuss? What we learned is that the price you should go to is usually half what the owners first offer. And then you can go from there. I really didn't love being followed by one owner that really wanted me to buy his pillows.
3. Go to the Petite Boutiques at the Souk Cherifia off Rue Mouassine (conveniently located below my favorite restaurant in the Souk, Terasse des epices. We found that this area is owned predominately by one family and we loved them. You'll pay a little bit more here but it's less pressured than most of the shopping in the souk. I was so happy we found this area. They carry much of the same products as you'll find elsewhere -- it's just calmer.
4. Wear comfortable closed shoes. At the last minute I threw a pair of espadrilles (Sam Edelman) into my bag and I'm so glad I did. They had a little platform which took me off the ground and kept the dirt off. It rained one of the nights we visited the Market and I was especially happy to have them on. David also wore his AllBirds the entire time we were in the market. I tossed my espadrilles before we went home (I needed the extra space for our purchases) and they were really dirty. David, a true AllBirds convert, looked forward to throwing them in the wash when we got home.
5. Bring Money. You'll need to have local currency (Dirham) in most of the souk. In the Petite Boutiques at the Souk Cherifia we were able to use a credit card. They only take Visa or Mastercard, not American Express.
6. Keep your bag in front of you. I never felt unsafe in the Souk but you have to be mindful of where you are and the people around you. It can get really crowded so take care that your money is safely tucked away.
For shopping, we brought our Large Zippered Tote for carrying our purchases. And I wore our Mini East West Bag in Flax - it snaps closed in three spots and I used the zippered pocket for my money and credit card.