Shopping is incredible in Marrakech! The first time I went to Morocco I saw tourists stocking up on lanterns, rugs, leather and more. I was super jealous because there was no room in my overpacked carry-on suitcase to bring home treasures (also I was studying abroad in Spain with nearly no budget or home to decorate), so I vowed to return one day with a huge suitcase specifically for all my Moroccan finds! A decade later, my husband and I took a two-week trip around Morocco including four days in Marrakech -- and we filled our spare suitcases to the brim!
Since Marrakech is one of the largest cities and most popular tourist destinations in Morocco, you can find great products from all over the country. However, knowing what to buy in Marrakech and navigating the souks can be both overwhelming and exciting. You can get great deals, but you often have to haggle. Knowing the best things to buy in Marrakech and the going rate will help you avoid getting ripped off! (By the way, we stayed in the dreamiest hotel in Marrakech!)
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Advice for Shopping in the Souks of Marrakech
Before we dive into what to buy in Marrakech, let me share a few tips to make shopping in the souks a success. By the way, you should know that Morocco uses the Dirham. Ok, here's some shopping advice for the souks of Marrakech:
- You have to haggle! In the souks, it’s common to negotiate 30-50% less than the original asking price.
- Don’t act too interested when shopping.
- If you’re negotiating a smaller item like a pair of slippers, sometimes showing the cash of your final offer (exact amount -- nothing more) is enough to get the seller to agree to take the offer.
- Start walking away once you’ve made your final offer. The seller might accept right before you leave.
- When shopping for a rug, use the fire test to ensure it is made from wool not synthetic fabric. Wool is better quality and will not ignite. If a vendor knows the rug is synthetic, he will likely get nervous when you take out a lighter and ask to do the fire test.
- Have smaller bills. Vendors (and taxi drivers) never seem to have change.
- If you are interested in several items from the same shop, bundle the items together to get a better deal.
- Be respectful You can be a strong negotiator and still be friendly!
5 Things to Buy in Marrakech and their Prices
Here are some of the best Moroccan souvenirs to take home!
1. Argan Oil
Price: 70-120dh for a 100ml bottle
I bought five bottles of Argan oil of various sizes because it makes a great gift. Cosmetic argan oil works wonders for skin and nails and it’s much cheaper in Morocco because of all the argan trees in the southern part of the country. You may have heard of the brand Morrocan Oil. It’s an incredibly popular hair product in the US, but you’ll pay 3x less for Argan oil in Morocco. This is why I stocked up!
By the way, Argan trees grow in the south of Morocco, so if you’re going to cities in the south like Agadir or Essaouira, you might want to wait to buy Argan oil there. Also beware of fake oil. It’s best to buy from a pharmacy or a reputable co-operative.
2. Leather Goods
Price: Starting at 60dh Babouche slippers; purses for 200-400dh, poufs for around 200dh
The leather making techniques in Morocco have remained unchanged for centuries. You can find leather purses, jackets, poufs, and the famous Moroccan babouche slippers (which can be made of raffia too. See this Madewell pair). The Moroccan babouches can be found between 60dh-90dh in Marrakech, and you'd pay $75 plus for Madewell's version of babouches in the U.S.
The leather in Morocco is made of various types of animals including camel, sheep, cow, and goat. The price depends on the type and quality of the leather, but it is typically much cheaper than what you’d pay in the states for leather goods. For example, you can buy a West Elm leather pouf (made in Morocco) for $299 and pay only about $30 USD for it in Marrakech.
If you go to Fez, (I wrote all about Fez here!) which is known for their leather goods and a place I’d highly recommend, you can get even better pricing. However, I found the selection to be better in Marrakech with more modern styles. In either city, it’s best to find a shop that specializes in leather or is a leather workshop. The quality and pricing tends to be better.
Prices: Starting at 250dh for small, aluminum lanterns and 1500dh for larger heavier lamps.
Price: Small rugs from 700 dh; typical rugs start around 3,500-6,000 dh although large vintage rugs can cost upwards of 15,000dh.
The ultimate souvenir is a Moroccan rug! These beautiful, handmade rugs can go for thousands of dollars in the states. Many of the rugs are made by Morcoccan Berber tribes and use bright colors. There are incredible rugs of all styles and sizes and are a fraction of what you’d pay at home. We took home a small kilim rug for our kitchen that was around 800 dh, as well as a long, colorful Berber runner for 55% less than the original asking price. Shopping for rugs is a process and you absolutely must negotiate.
5. Straw bags and clutches
Prices: 40 dh for a clutch; 80-160 dh for totes and purses
There are tons of great straw bags in Marrakech! You can find colorful sequin totes, pom pom clutches, and natural straw purses for a steal! I met up with these Moroccan photographers who took me to a great place to shop for straw bags. It was a square within the souks next to the popular restaurant called Nomad. There are tons of options there! I bought a medium-sized circular straw bag with leather straps for the equivalent of $15.
Happy Shopping in Marrakech!
I hope this gave you some great ideas for which souvenirs to buy in Marrakech and a good sense of what to pay. The souks are an experience in itself and the place to go if you are looking to score a deal.
If you are looking for luxury Moroccan goods, you can find high-end boutiques like Rue 33 Majorelle near Majorelle Jardin (be sure to check out my blog post including how to beat the line at Majorelle Jardin (a must-see in Marrakech!).
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