Marrakech’s souk is a crazy place. Hundreds of little stalls and shops, and a few larger ones, packed into tiny streets, filled with thousands of beautiful things.
It’s worth visiting Marrakech just for the rugs. An 8×10 Beni Ourain rug, bought from the UK, costs up to £2000. Buy directly at the market and you’re looking at about a sixth of that. I picked up two on a recent family trip, and discovered a lot of interior design inspiration on the way.
On the advice of the hotel owner, I arrived around 10:30 when the souk opens for the day and it’s less busy. I would have happily stayed all day but I was with young kids, so we only stayed for a few hours each time we went. Marrakech souk is intense, and it can be overwhelming, especially the haggling.
We avoided the main square, Jemaa El Fnaa, because of the hassle you get from almost everyone you pass, and stuck to the smaller streets and market squares.
Don’t enquire about anything you’re not prepared to buy. Many shop owners are friendly with tourists, but others get borderline aggressive if you engage with them and then don’t buy.
I wanted to find a Beni Ourain rug for my living room. I’d been advised that 3500 to 4500 dhms (£270 – £350) was a good price for an 8×10 rug at the souk.
I fell for a massive Berber kilim for my bedroom while I was there too. After two hours of haggling, I paid 7800 dirhams (£600) for both rugs.
The kilim I bought (below) is huge – almost 10′ x 13′. I don’t want to think about how much it would have cost if I’d bought it from the UK.
The rugs were packaged up and I checked them as hold baggage when we flew home.
Baskets & Textiles
I picked up a few other goodies in addition to the rugs. A Moroccan wedding blanket cushion cover at 150 dhm (£11.50), and a couple of Berber baskets at 65 dhms each (£5).
Leather pouffe covers sell for 250 dhm (less than £20). I also bought a beautiful African bronze head figure for 300 dhms (£24).
Where to Eat
We stopped for lunch during one medina visit at Nomad, again on recommendation. It’s cute rooftop terrace is a gorgeous spot to escape the souk for an hour or two. And the food is very good.
Most merchants speak English and/or French. You can hire guides to help you navigate, but you’re better off opting for a map and navigating the souk yourself.