I souk di Marrakech they may seem stressful (and they can be) but I love them. In general, I love all the markets around the world: I like to get lost with my nose turned upwards, being guided by the scents of spices, the colors of the fabrics and carpets, the buzz and chaos that characterize them.
The smell of spices and the fumes of motorcycles, the sensation of warmth, the shouts of the vendors and the bright colors of the stalls full of bags, ceramics and lamps from "A Thousand and One Nights": prepare to feel overwhelmed all your senses when you enter the souk of Marrakech.
The souks are the heart of the medina of Marrakech: they are today and have been the center of trade in the city for more than a thousand years. Today it is a tourist attraction but still retains that exotic and chaotic feeling.
The word "souk" (also called "suq") literally means "market", but in the case of Marrakech it is improper to speak simply of a single market.
Inside the Medina, the historic center of the Red City, north of Jemaa el-Fnaa square, in fact, there are a series of souks, divided according to the products sold, which mix together converging one inside the other at form a huge indistinct market.
In this post I have decided to give you some advice and indications to visit the best souks in Marrakech.
Useful tips for visiting the souks of Marrakech
By KajzrPhotography /
Before starting to list the souks of Marrakech that you should really visit once there, I want to leave you some quick tips that will be useful to you.
Wandering around the markets of the city is an unforgettable experience, but to enjoy it to the fullest you will need to take some precautions.
If you are visiting Marrakech for the first time, you may want to consider taking part in a guided tour of the souk, but if instead you intend to deal with the confusion of this place alone, then I recommend that you follow my suggestions.
By Maurizio De Mattei /
- Take it easy. The souks of Marrakech are places full of confusion, where you will meet people ready to stop and entertain you trying to sell you anything. Enter the souk with a clear mind and let yourself go to chaos.
- Get ready to get lost. In the alleys of the market you will get lost for sure, so be ready. Bring a printed map with you to orient yourself or use your phone's GPS. Major places of interest, such as mosques, will help you find your way around. If you can't figure out where you are, preferably ask families or women for help: it will be more difficult for them to ask you for a tip to be accompanied out of the souk.
- Beware of pickpockets. As in all crowded places, it is easier to run into a few thieves: keep money and valuables in safe places.
- Learn to say no. Moroccan vendors will try to sell you everything and try to push you into their shops to let you admire their wares. If you are not interested, say no, but with kindness, never losing patience. Be gentle but firm.
- Contract. If you are going to buy something, always bargain. It is part of the local culture and souk experience. If you don't know how to do it or it's your first time check out my guide on how to bargain in a souk (the guide is aimed at Khan El Khalili in Cairo, but is applicable to any Middle Eastern market!)
Personally, if it's your first time in Marrakech, my advice is to join a organized tour: in this way you will learn to orient yourself better and with a guide you will be harassed much less by the salesmen who, trust me, can become really heavy and annoying.
There are tons of tours to choose from. These are my favorites:
- Marrakech: private tour in the SOUK among artisans and artifacts (from € 36 per person): a tour entirely dedicated to the souks of Marrakech! Dive into the chaos and let an expert guide teach you how to bargain successfully!
- Although not dedicated exclusively to the souks, I personally recommend you THIS GUIDED TOUR (in ENGLISH) that accompanies you for 3 hours to discover not only the best things to see, but also through the history of the city, telling its secrets and mysteries.
- If you want to do another really cool tour instead THIS NIGHT tour of the Medina it's an interesting choice.
- The best choice however is to opt for THIS PRIVATE TOUR in ENGLISH: not only is it customizable, but if you are with friends or family you also save a lot (the tour costs 60 euros, so 15 euros per person if you are at least 4).
At this point we can enter the best souks in the city. As I mentioned at the beginning, the Marrakech market is made up of many small souks, renamed according to what they sell, which are mixed one inside the other, creating the feeling of a huge and single market.
here are the souk di Marrakech that, in my opinion, you can't get lost.
1 – Souk Semmarine
Al Souk Semmarine you can really find everything: from shoes, to clothes, from ceramics, to carpets. This is one of the most touristic areas, but that doesn't make it any less impressive.
But what this souk is famous for is le typical Moroccan shoes: there is a wide choice for men, women and children (PSSSST: le Moroccan slippers have been put in catalogs by famous designers of the caliber of Chanel, Balenciaga and Prada!)
Beware that some of them may not be produced here, but from other countries: despite this they can be of the highest quality.
Moroccan shoes for women are loafers type that can easily be paired with trousers or a skirt below the knee - it might be a good choice to buy a pair when you are there to wear while traveling.
Read also: how to dress in Morocco
Here you will not only find Moroccan shoes, but also sneakers (some fake, some real), men's sandals, boots… in short, you can find everything.
Timetable: from 6: 00 to 18: 00
2 - Souk Ableuh
By Baptiste BRULANT /
Just outside Djemaa El Fna is the little one souk Ableuh where you will find olives and cucumbers, but also many, many spices.
If you love olives, try those marinated in harissa, a spicy chilli and garlic sauce.
Here you will also find the spices,: there are plenty of them, try the one of fragrant flavors used for stews and grilled meats. There are four basic flavors that are used for tagines and stews (saffron, turmeric, ginger and pepper), but every recipe can change, there is no limit to the imagination.
In fact, spices are regularly used in Moroccan cuisine to flavor dishes: in addition to taking some for yourself, consider bringing them as gifts to your loved ones and friends, you will make a great impression.
Timetable: from 6: 00 to 18: 00
Be careful when buying saffron. In fact, you often buy anything else! Here are 3 ways to test if what you are about to buy is actually what they tell you to be:
1 - smell. Royal saffron has a sweet smell
2 - avoid buying it in powder form (easily "cut" with turmeric for example), better in pistils. Check that the pistils have various shades of red - often a uniform color means artificial coloring.
3 - price. When saffron costs less than 10 euros per gram it is very likely that it is fake
If you go with a guide ask him for advice on where to buy it!
3 – Souk Kchacha
I have never hidden my "perversion" for spices and dried fruit: for this reason the souk Kchaca it is undoubtedly one of my favorites: infinite quantities of figs, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and dates, lots and lots of sweet dates are displayed on the counters.
If you love this fruit you absolutely must go here and have a feast! You can also find them in beautiful packaging: they are a great gift to take home for friends.
Timetable: from 6: 00 to 18: 00
4 – Souk Haddadine
Il Souk Haddadine It is also known as the souk of the blacksmiths: here, amidst the sound of hammer blows, you can buy lamps and bespoke handmade objects.
If you've fallen in love with the typical openwork metal lanterns, this is the perfect place to buy one! I love them: unfortunately I always went to Marrakech with only hand luggage and I didn't have space, but next time I take my suitcase and fill it!
Here you will find a multitude of stalls and shops with all possible and imaginable styles of Moroccan lamps, from antique to modern ones, from garden ones to hanging chandeliers. In short, for me it is a kind of paradise!
Timetable: from 6: 00 to 19: 00
5 – Souk Siyyaghin
Rings, necklaces, bracelets and many other small and fine objects in gold and silver in typical Berber style: if you love jewels and are looking for something special, I am sure you will spend a lot of time at the Souk Siyyaghin!
The thing I advise you to pay attention to is silver items. Pay attention to what kind of silver you choose (the best ones have “250” printed inside which indicates parts per million), some cost less because they are less pure.
If you are careful, however, you can also do some great deals, you can find precious things at a much lower price than ours.
Timetable: from 6: 00 to 17: 00
6 - Souk Chouari
This is the market for carpenters and turners, but among the many objects in inlaid wood you can also find beautiful wicker baskets.
Il Souk Chouari it smells of wood and beeswax which is used by artisans to finish objects.
A real corner of authenticity and beauty.
Unfortunately the plane will not allow you to take home with you huge furniture, but if you are looking for some particular object, this is the right place to look for it (and you can ask if it is possible to send it).
7 – Souk Seffarine
Il souk Seffarine it is the market for copper and brass workers. Here you will find lamps, but also tea trays and mirrors, brass pots and various cookware.
8 - Souk Fekharine
Di javarman /
Il Souk Fekharine is the market in Marrakech dedicated exclusively to ceramics.
Strolling among the stalls and shops, your gaze will be lost on the meticulous work of the artisans.
It is likely that here you will find many tajines, the traditional pots where you can cook typical Moroccan dishes once back home.
9 - Souk Sabbaghine
Il Souk Sabbaghine is the dyers' souk, one of the most characteristic corners of all Marrakech and literally a paradise for photographers!
The colored wool of bright shades ranging from red, to ocher, to blue and the men who laboriously work in front of large pots give unique and unforgettable images.
This is by far one of the best souks in Marrakech and one of the places that you cannot miss on a trip to this city.
10 - Souk Smata
In Marrakech there is really a market for everything… and the Souk Smata is the one dedicated to slippers and belts!
Here you will find myriads of colorful slippers, the most famous footwear in Morocco.
11 – Souk Attarine
By Matej Kastelic /
Al Souk Attarine you will find a little bit of everything, but the main product of this market is spices.
Let yourself be guided by the scents and buy some bags to take with you on your return to rediscover the scents of Morocco even at home!
12 – Souk Kimakhin
Another of the really characteristic corners of Marrakech is the Souk Kimakhin, the market dedicated to stringed instruments.
13 - Souk El-Bradiia
The protagonists of this souk are the amphorae of every type and make.
14 - Souk El-Btna
On the benches of the Souk El-Btna, instead, you will find leathers and hides. For many, here, the smell is too strong, so be prepared: the fumes are caused by the way the leather is tanned and in some cases it is understandable that it can be annoying.
15 – Souk Zrabi
This is the carpet souk, one of the most famous products in all of Morocco. Here you can find rugs of all shapes and colors, including the famous Berber rugs.
Il Souk Zrabi is another of the markets not to be missed in Marrakech: in addition to the magnificent colors, it is very interesting to observe the people intent on working on the loom.
I hope my indications will be useful if you decide to immerse yourself in the confusion and liveliness of the souks of Marrakech!
- RECOMMENDED TOURS
- Marrakech: private tour in the SOUK among artisans and artifacts (from € 36 per person): a tour entirely dedicated to the souks of Marrakech!
- Although not dedicated exclusively to the souks, I personally recommend you THIS GUIDED TOUR (in ENGLISH)
- THIS NIGHT tour of the Medina it's an interesting choice.
- THIS PRIVATE TOUR in ENGLISH: customizable and if you are at least 4 SAVE!