The souks or markets in Morocco. Everything you need to know

The Moroccan souks

The typical markets of Morocco, called souks, are covered or open-air markets in the city center, usually in the heart of the Medina, or in the streets. They are then called fair markets. The word “souk” means great disorder, which is significant in Moroccan markets, because you can find everything. It ranges from food to all kinds of handicrafts. People come here to buy provisions, and people from the countryside to sell the remains of their crops. The stores are organized according to the variety of products: food, clothing, equipment, rural products, handicrafts, and services. Prices are not fixed and bargaining is normal.

The souk of Marrakech is one of the largest in Morocco. There are many markets in this city: the Souk des Tallendiers (copper), the Souk Rabia (carpets), the Souk Ahiak (fabrics and clothing), and the Souk Kassabine (spices), there are about twenty. The most famous is the Jamaa El Fna market. It is a huge market with nearly 40,000 artisans. It is located in the center of the old city, the Medina. You will find yourself in front of a large square crowded with street traders. You will be amazed by this display of products: spices, food, clothing, ceramics, jewelry, leather goods, and typical products of the countryside. Around the square, the alleys are full of small merchants. This market is so impressive that one day is not enough to visit it. This market is open every day. It closes very late at night, and there is always a lot of activity. You will also find restaurants and cafes where you can take a break from the hustle and bustle of buyers and sellers.

The most important souks in Morocco

The Tangier souk

The Tangier souk is a meeting place between the old and the new city. The streets become narrower and you will witness a mix of different populations, cultures, and languages, but what they have in common are the city’s markets. You will see the women of the Rif region parade in their colorful costumes. Among the souks of fruits and vegetables, meat, dried fruits, spices of all kinds, handmade jewelry, and products of the neighboring villages, you will meet snake charmers, musicians, dancers, a mixture of culture and traditions that intermingle in a deafening noise.

The market of Essaouira

Probably the souk of Essaouira is one of the most beautiful. It is called the Jdid souk. In addition to the products found in most souks in Morocco, such as spices, jewelry, bananas, watermelons, and avocados, you can stock up on fresh fish brought from the sea the same day. Among sardines, sea bream, whiting, and shrimp, you will find something to satisfy your appetite. In this market, you will find the specialty of the Essaouira region: argan oil. You will use it to give a particular hazelnut flavor to your dishes, or simply as a beauty product, for an anti-aging effect and skin hydration. You will also be able to admire the magnificent fabrics and skillfully crafted marquetry. Strolling through the medina or the surrounding streets, you will discover cabinetmakers working with thuja wood, creating beautiful objects.

Markets such as the one in Rabat offer another way to shop. You can go to the souk, to buy fruits and vegetables, meat, spices of all colors, small wooden objects, but also shop in the luxurious boutiques, which are located around the Medina. If you need to buy a carpet, Rabat is the right place. It is made of red wool and in the center of the carpet is a diamond-shaped medallion. Carpets are sold in the souks on Monday and Thursday mornings and at auction. The other particularity of the souks of Rabat is the sale of really magnificent silver jewelry, decorated or not with stones.

There are many markets in Morocco, you will like to visit the ones in Fez, Agadir, Ouarzazate, and other smaller ones such as Khenifra or Tanant. But be that as it may, you will enjoy strolling among this multitude of small traders, who will be happy to show you their know-how and, of course, to take the opportunity for you to leave with a small souvenir.

The souk of Marrakech

Marrakech is undoubtedly the tourist capital of Morocco, and its souks are very popular with tourists. If you don’t know what to do in Marrakech, visiting the souks is a good start. They have been installed in the Medina for more than 8 centuries and form a labyrinth of narrow streets where it is very easy to get lost. But don’t worry, you will find signs at regular intervals telling you how to get to the Jemâa El-Fna square. Don’t hesitate to ask for directions either.

Jma el fna souk

The souks of Marrakech are organized according to the classical principle and are therefore arranged according to the different sectors of activity operating in them. We distinguish 10 main ones.

The souk of Chouari

The Chouari souk specializes in wood. Here you will find the carpenters and cabinetmakers of the region. If you want to buy wooden souvenirs or simply admire the work of craftsmen, this is the place to go.

The souk of Haddadine

The souk of Haddadine is where the blacksmiths are. We highly recommend you go there, even if you are not interested in a lamp or a new grill for your garage. You can watch the craftsmen working iron in front of you, a sight worth seeing.

The Seffarine souk of Marrakech

Located in Seffarine Square, the souk of the same name is entirely dedicated to copper, brass, and tin work. You can also watch the craftsmen working there but also buy a wide range of copper products such as lamps, mirrors, and tea trays.

The Fekarine souk

Would you like to bring a tagine plate (emblematic of Moroccan gastronomy), a brightly colored vase, or any other ceramic object? The Fekarine souk is for you. Like the previous souks mentioned here, it is also a great place to observe the work of artisans.

The souk of Sabbaghine

Historically, the Sabbaghine souk is the souk of the dyers. Today, you can also find clothes or ready-made clothes here.

The souk of Zrabi

The specialty of the souk of Zrabi is carpets. You will find carpets of all colors and patterns, a real Ali Baba’s cave for carpet lovers. Every day, from 4 p.m., you also have the opportunity to participate in (or simply attend) the public auctions. An event that is the charm of this souk of Marrakech.

The Smata souk

You are not one of those who bring back souvenirs just for the sake of it and want to keep a useful trace of your travels in the souk of Marrakech? Do not miss a visit to the souk of Smata, entirely dedicated to babouches. You will find them in all shapes, colors, and designs at often ridiculous prices. An ideal souk to buy unique, colorful, and affordable souvenirs that you can enjoy from the beginning of your vacation in Morocco.

The souk of Cherratine

The souk of Cherratine is also ideal for souvenir shopping as it specializes in furs and leather goods. Handbags, wallets, and belts are examples of what you can find here.

The souk of Attarine

For food lovers, the Attarine souk is an essential stop on a visit to Marrakech, as is the spice souk. You can admire a myriad of stalls with dozens of local spices whose smell is strongly palpable.

The Dhabia souk

Finally, if you want to take some jewelry with you, head to the Dhabia souk, where you will find numerous stalls of jewelers offering all kinds of local creations.

The souks of Casablanca

Casablanca olive souk

You will find many small souks in and around the medina of Casablanca. Three main souks stand out.

The souk of the Habous district

Located near the Royal Palace, the Habous district consists of a series of narrow streets whose architecture is a mixture of Andalusian, French, and Moroccan influences. It is particularly appreciated by tourists for its quiet character, ideal for walks.

You will find local handicrafts, spices, clothes, babouches, as well as a large olive market. There is also the Bennis pastry shop, which has existed since 1930 and is well known for the quality of its traditional Moroccan sweet and savory products. We highly recommend stopping by for a cup of tea and a snack.

Derb Ghallef Souk

For those who want to get away from the classic souk formula and look for bargains on other types of products, the Derb Ghallef souk is a good alternative. It specializes in electronic products. However, it is advisable to check the authenticity of the products you buy there, as there are also many fakes.

Derb Omar Souk

Located in the heart of the city and more than 140 years old, the Derb Omar Souk is the largest shopping center in Morocco and has more than 2,300 stores. Although many of the stores are wholesalers or semi-wholesalers, some traders cater to individuals. The three main sectors of activity (accounting for more than 70% of the stores) are textiles, clothing, and beauty products.

The souks of Fez

The city of Fez has several souks, including the souk El-Henna, that of the place R’cif or Attarine.

The souk of El-Henna

It is the oldest souk in Fez, located in the Medina district. It was originally a souk for the henna market (from which it takes its name), but over the years it has been widely opened to other trades. Today, the vast majority of products typical of Moroccan souks (leather, oils, spices, perfumes, clothing, fabrics, jewelry, and food) are found there.

It consists of a network of intertwined alleys, and the entrance and exit are through the Bab Boujeloud gate. Allow several hours to visit it all, as it is particularly extensive.

The souk of R’cif square

Located about fifteen minutes from the medina of Fez, the souk of R’cif square specializes mainly in food products. It is ideal if you want to enjoy local specialties prepared before your eyes, or if you simply want to see a traditional local market.

The souk of Attarine

The souk of Attarine in Fez specializes in handicrafts and you will find carpenters, brassworkers, and leatherworkers.

The Souk of Tangier

The largest souk in Tangier is the Great Souk. It is located in the center of the city, in the medina, right next to the square of April 9, 1947.

In the Grand Socco souk, you will find a wide variety of products such as clothing, fabrics, carpets, fruits and vegetables, spices, and a variety of traditional handicrafts. It also has numerous terraces where you can stop for tea or a bite to eat.

If you decide to go up to the Kasbah gate, you can watch the street performers (snake charmers, musicians, and storytellers) and enjoy a breathtaking panoramic view.

Please note that this souk allows vehicular traffic, so please be careful when walking down the street, and look both in front and behind you.

The souk of Rabat

The souk of Rabat is the central market and dates back to the 20th century. Located at the entrance of the Medina, it is very popular with the locals, as it deals mainly in food (vegetables, flowers, spices, fish and meat are the main products).

However, you will also find a craft area, which stretches for more than a kilometer along the Rue des Consuls. Rabat’s souk is also popular with tourists, as it is considered quieter than those in more touristy cities such as Marrakech.

Souk of El Jadida

There are several souks in El Jadida. They are less popular with tourists, so you can enjoy a quieter and more authentic atmosphere. There are three main souks in the city.

The central market

The souk of the central market of El Jadida is mainly dedicated to food products, especially fresh fish, which occupies almost half of the market. It is therefore an ideal place to discover the local gastronomy and enjoy fish from boat to plate.

The old market

The Old Market Souk is also dedicated to food products, making it very popular with the locals. If you want to discover the Moroccan souk experience without the tourist trappings, this is a good stop.

Lalla Zahra Souk

Located just outside the city center, the Lalla Zahra souk is very popular for its fruits and vegetables, which are reputed to be cheaper than in other markets in the city. There are also many second-hand stores for lovers of local crafts.

The souk of Ouarzazate

The souk of Ouarzazate is also called the central market and is located near Al Mouahidine Square. It mainly deals with food, but you will also find a handicraft center just outside the Taourirt Kabash where pottery, leather goods, spices, and carpets are sold.

Now you know all you need to know about Morocco and the souks you will find in the main destinations. Now that your imagination has been set in motion, it’s time to hit the streets and forge your own experiences. One last tip: bargaining is a way of life in Morocco, especially in the souks. Don’t jump at the first items, take the time to negotiate and see what the competition is offering.


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