Marrakech Shopping Tour, Marrakech

Marrakech Shopping Tour (Self Guided), Marrakech

Shopping in Marrakech is an extraordinary experience that captivates the senses. Perhaps no other shopping in your life will compare to it: vivid, bright, juicy colors of carpets, clothes, and shoes; enchanting smells of local perfumes and spices; crafts, handmade jewelry, pottery; and of course, the long shopping mazes and souks.

One of the most iconic shopping destinations in Marrakech is the bustling square Jemaa el-Fnaa. Here, you'll find an array of goods, from spices and food stalls to handmade crafts and traditional clothing. It's a sensory overload with its vibrant colors and aromatic scents, making it a must-visit for any traveler.

Another popular spot for shopping is Semmarine Market (Souk Semmarine). This labyrinthine market is a treasure trove of Moroccan handicrafts, leather goods, jewelry, and textiles. The narrow alleys are packed with stalls, offering a glimpse into the rich artisanal heritage of the city.

Rahba Kedima Square is another gem in the shopping scene of the city. The place is famous for its unique selection of spices, herbs, and traditional Moroccan medicines. The vibrant display of colorful goods here makes it a photographer's dream.

For those interested in Moroccan carpets and textiles, Souk Zrabia, or the Carpet Market, is a must-visit. This market is filled with intricately woven rugs, textiles, and other home decor items, showcasing the exquisite craftsmanship of local artisans.

If you're looking for fabrics and clothing, head to the Dyer's Market (Souk des Teinturiers). Here, you'll find a range of fabrics in different colors and patterns, as well as ready-made clothing, all dyed using traditional methods.

All this and more is included in our self-guided itinerary. If you're intrigued, place this tour on your "bucket" list and go for it now!
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Marrakech Shopping Tour Map

Guide Name: Marrakech Shopping Tour
Guide Location: Morocco » Marrakech (See other walking tours in Marrakech)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.0 Km or 0.6 Miles
Author: ann
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Jemaa el-Fnaa
  • Souk Semmarine (Semmarine Market)
  • Rahba Kedima Square
  • Souk Zrabia (Carpet Market)
  • Souk des Teinturiers (Dyer's market)
1
Jemaa el-Fnaa

1) Jemaa el-Fnaa (must see)

Jemaa el-Fnaa is the busiest and most visited square in the medina quarter of Marrakech and is a lovely place to visit any time of day or night. This square has been a central marketplace, commercial area and meeting place since the city was founded in 1062. When the Almohades dynasty overthrew the Almoravides in 1147, much of Marrakech was destroyed, but this marketplace was quickly restored.

Nowadays, along the one side of the market you can see famous souks, while the other side is lined with hotels, gardens and terrace cafes. The ambiance here is always lively with lots of people and noise.

During the day you can easily quench your thirst buying fresh orange juice or water from the numerous sellers dressed up in traditional attire and bearing authentic leather water-skins and brass cups. Among the exotic attractions found in this market are Barbary Macaques performing tricks or sitting on your shoulder while you pose for a picture, as well as snake charmers and acrobats.

In the early evening, the juice sellers move on and their place is taken by the bands playing all sorts of music to which young Chleuh boys dance to amuse the public. Storytellers settle down to regale locals with their tales (sadly not in English), magicians practice their art and medicine men sell plant remedies.

At night, the music steps up a beat while food stalls are installed and the square becomes a huge open-air restaurant. The stalls are numbered, so once you have found the one you like, don’t forget to jot down its number for when you return to this lively square again.

Why You Should Visit:
Totally in line with expectations. The square is a meeting point and bursts with energy and trade vibes. Noisy and exotic.

Tips:
The many stalls selling traditional food here pose greater risk of food poisoning than the restaurants. Select a busy restaurant with many locals in it as a sign of good authentic fare to enjoy. The other option is to eat at one of the several rooftop restaurants surrounding the square: great view of the action but less confronting, though slightly more expensive.
Beware of pushy salespeople, "free offers", people with animals (e.g. monkeys, snakes), pickpockets, motorbikes, bicycles and carts. If you visit at night, don't shop – it's too busy to do much. Just walk around and enjoy the atmosphere. During the day (ideally in the morning, when it's cool) is the best time to shop and bargain (bargain hard!).
Consider hiring a guide. Expect to pay $40 for 3-4 hours (agree on the price before hiring) as the Jemaa is massive and it is very easy to get lost. Make sure you tell the guide what you want to see.
2
Souk Semmarine (Semmarine Market)

2) Souk Semmarine (Semmarine Market)

Located next to the city's main square, Jemaa al-Fnaa, the visually appealing Souk Semmarine is the largest market in the whole of Morocco, where traders have been selling goods for the past 1,000 years. If you're after colorful accessories such as authentic bags, shoes, or clothes, then this is the right place to wander around. The henna artists, hawkers and other locals trying to take advantage of tourists can get somewhat overwhelming, but that is all part of the experience.

Besides the colorful textiles and the fantastic smell of spices, another notable attraction inside Souk Semmarine are the shops selling lamps with intricate designs that really come to life when light is turned on in the evening. Lamp-making is a classic art in Morocco and the skill is passed down from one generation to the next. You will also find plenty of shops selling amazing selections of pottery, brass/metals, belts, and other genuine products; as a matter of fact, many of the goods sold here are manufactured onsite and have remained unchanged for centuries.

When shopping at Souk Semmarine, or anywhere in Morocco for that matter, you should haggle for a better price. While the concept of haggling may be strange for some Western visitors, it is actually a deep-rooted way of life for Moroccans. Shopping and haggling go hand in hand, so don't hesitate to secure a better deal. If the price is under 200DH, give half; if it is over 200DH, divide by 4. If they don't accept your offer, leave and go away – you'll find your stuff in another store.

Tip:
Stalls typically open between 9–10am and close around 7–8pm. In the middle of the day, temperatures can become a little too high for many, so the best times to visit are early morning / early evening. Also, be on your guard for scooters and avoid taking pictures of monkeys or snakes as their owners will 100% know that you have done it and will ask for money.
3
Rahba Kedima Square

3) Rahba Kedima Square

If you want to get the feeling of stepping back in time to early Marrakech, don't look further than the Rahba Kedima. This is one of the best market squares (though really more of a triangle) in the Medina district and is friendlier and more spacious than the souks, with ready-to-haggle vendors setting up their wares on the ground or on trestle tables. More traditional and more street-market-style than other, busier spots, it's also a great area to see basket weavers in action.

Aside from traditional hand-woven baskets, raffia bags, and colorful rugs, you will find a superb array of woolly hats, as well as all kinds of exotic herbs and spices. Some of the stands offer a mind-boggling range of goods: dried scorpions, leeches for medicinal purposes, snails (whose slime, you will be assured, does wonders against wrinkles) and other strange and sometimes rather repulsive objects used for witchcraft and black magic. Should you get tempted by low prices for chameleons and other reptiles, don't forget that taking such animals home with you is illegal due to quarantine laws.

When you've had enough shopping, have a mint tea in the famous Café des Epices, which also sells freshly made juices, sandwiches, salads and crepes. Watch the market work in the 'jardin' downstairs or enjoy the view from the terrace upstairs.

Why You Should Visit:
Like any bazaar, this market square has quite an impact and will keep you spellbound.
It's very easy to lose yourself in the array of Moroccan articles, spices and smells.

Tip:
Whatever original price you are offered, 1/4 it and that will be somewhere near the real cost.
Be aware of anyone giving you directions to or leading you up a backstreet, as it's more than likely you'll be mugged.
4
Souk Zrabia (Carpet Market)

4) Souk Zrabia (Carpet Market)

The bustling markets worldwide exude a consistent air of chaos, yet stepping into the souks – the vibrant heart and soul of Marrakech's finest markets – takes this frenzy to an unparalleled level. If the concept of a 'souk' is foreign to you, take a moment to unwind with a soothing mint tea at one of the quaint cafes scattered across the square. Prepare yourself for an immersive encounter that lies ahead. Exploring the souks is undoubtedly among the top activities in Marrakech, destined to etch a vivid recollection of Morocco's visuals, sounds, and aromas into your memory.

Adjacent to Rahba Kedima, a pathway on the left leads to yet another bustling square. This space, once utilized for slave trading but now transformed into one of Marrakech's premier markets, harbors the covered carpet souk known as Souk Zrabi. A diverse array of carpets and rugs awaits your selection here. Eager vendors stand ready to narrate the intricate lineage of Moroccan carpet craftsmanship. Should you hold a penchant for exquisite rugs, this locale beckons as your ultimate sourcing destination.

Historically, this market hosted slave auctions every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, primarily trading sub-Saharan Africans under the purview of Arab slavers, until the French takeover in 1912. In contrast to the vigour of other Marrakech markets, the ambiance here adopts a more serene quality, affording you the pleasure of perusing merchandise without enduring the pressures of an insistent salesperson.
5
Souk des Teinturiers (Dyer's market)

5) Souk des Teinturiers (Dyer's market)

Pass through the open archway next to the Mouassine fountain, a historic landmark. Upon entering, you'll step into Sebbaghine, the vibrant Dyers Market of Marrakech, known as Souk des Teinturiers.

Whether you possess a fondness for textiles, an appreciation for hues, or a curiosity for all things artisanal, a visit to the dyers district will undoubtedly captivate you. As you stroll along the slender alleyway and emerge into a spacious area, your gaze will be met by bundles adorned with an array of vividly colored wool.

For over a century, these dyers have toiled diligently, extracting exquisite pigments from natural sources such as plant-based dyes like woad and saffron, and mineral dyes like indigo, cochineal, and sandalwood.

From the crack of dawn, these masters of pigmentation gather around large cauldron-like vats. They dedicate their days to working with a diverse range of textiles, spanning from supple leather to luxurious silk.

If interested, artisans can introduce you to dyeing's basics—a fascinating experience. This method's standout feature is its lasting, unchanged, hands-on, and natural approach from start to finish, proving to be the best way to treat textiles.

By quietly observing, you'll see the marketplace changing. But traditional methods remain unchanged, showing dedication to craft. No shortcuts or compromises here; this ethos defines skilled craftsmanship and artistic pursuits in the marketplace.

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