If you’re thinking of visiting Morocco, you’re probably already dreaming about visiting the Moroccan markets and souks. The sights, smells and unique atmosphere make them excellent places to get closer to Moroccan culture, even if you aren’t intending to shop – but who goes to the souks without coming back with at least one souvenir?!
Moroccan souks began as small gatherings outside city areas where merchants would come to sell their goods. In smaller towns, the souk might still be a weekly event but in cities like Marrakech and Fez, souks are now a major tourist draw, covering huge areas and selling everything from slippers to carpets, pottery, beauty products and more. Read on for our pick of some of the best souks and markets to visit in Morocco.
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Souk Semmarine is a covered alley that sells pottery, fabrics, and textiles, while traditional Moroccan slippers (babouches), can be found at Souk Smata. This leads off onto Souks el Kebir and Cherratin, where you can buy lovely leather goods, such as bags or purses. For wood or metal items, there are specialist carpenters’ and blacksmiths’ souks – Souk Chouari and Souk Haddadine – and it's always fun to go to Souk Kimakhine, where you can see traditional Moroccan musical instruments for sale.
After you've eaten seek out the real highlight of the square – the storytellers. Storytelling is a traditional Moroccan practice that fuses comedy, topical subjects, and music into long tales, and it's a revered art form. So make sure you take some time to stop and enjoy this unique form of entertainment.
Some of the shops are set up in beautiful old mansions, so you can explore a traditional Moroccan riad while doing your shopping.
The souks fill the lanes of the town, but for something different to the usual slippers and woven throws, head down to the famous fish market there and try the freshest catch of the day.
For more inspiration on how to make the best of your trip to Morocco, our new Rough Guide to Morocco is out now. You can also check out a recent podcast episode from our friends at Insight Guides, which is all about the Fez medina.
Top image: Jemaa el Fna square crowded at dusk, Marrakesh, Morocco © Jose Ignacio Soto/Shutterstock