Liam writes articles and guides on visiting various places and locations, like the Edradour Distillery.
Get Ready to Bargain and Haggle in the Marrakech Souks
Many tourists visit Marrakech for its amazing shopping experience. The labyrinth pathways, which form the Marrakech souks of the Medina, seem to flow continuously with a vivid assortment of shops and stalls selling everything you could possibly imagine.
This guide highlights a number of key items to consider purchasing on a trip to Morocco, with an idea of how much you should pay for some of the items you might wish to buy with this recipe for success in the souks of Marrakech.
Buying items in the souks is a significantly different experience for tourists used to set price purchases in many cultures. Therefore, this guide initially will help explain the bargaining process in the souks of Marrakech before introducing some of the many items you can buy.
Marrakech Bargaining, a Logical Way to Do Business
While it may seem a little illogical to many cultures, in Marrakech, bargaining is customary and an expectation when you're shopping in the souks. It's an art that has been around since the beginning of currency and showcases the simplistic nature of money management.
Bargaining for the shop owner is all about supply and demand and they will set their initial price ridiculously high for an item. Even if it has little financial value, their initial gambit will always seem exceptionally high, so be aware as holidaymakers often tend to panic upon an initial offer.
Bargaining is all about initial impressions, so if the seller sees you're wearing a very nice Tag Heuer watch (even if it's a fake!), a fancy Canon DSLR camera and designer clothes, they're likely to set their initial bargaining price higher. Also in areas of the souks where there are large numbers of tourists passing through, prices will be higher and bargaining even small amounts off the asking price can be quite difficult as just like back home stores in tourist and high footfall areas often incur increased rental costs.
Haggling in Marrakech can be a very enjoyable experience for many tourists and often becomes a highlight of their trip. Be aware that the vendors are rarely hurried and willing to take their time over any negotiation often offering tea and demonstrations on the handicrafts of the local artisans during the process.
Bargaining In Marrakech for a Cashmere Scarf: Think You Could Do Better?
|Offer||Stated Price||Price Converted To $ / £|
Sellers Initial Offer
130 / 80
My 1st Offer
12 / 7
Sellers 1st Revised Offer
59 / 36
My 2nd Offer
16.50 / 10
Sellers 2nd Revised Offer
35 / 22
My 3rd Offer
21 / 13
Seller Asks You to State Your 'Final Price'
24 / 15
Points to Consider to Get a Bargain in the Souks
- Remember: You can walk away if you're not happy with a price. (But not if you've agreed on a sale)
- Don't get overawed by the vendor's initial highly inflated offer. It's always going to be a silly price so laugh at it.
- Show a genuine interest in the workmanship of the product for sale but don't be completely besotted by an item, as the seller will see that enthusiasm and raise prices accordingly
- Consider how much you would pay for an item at home. In the Marrakech souks, aim to pay less.
- Always pay by cash. Some vendors don't take cards and in cases where they do there have been incidents of fraud so be aware.
- Bargaining can be a great acting experience. Think of reasons why you wouldn't pay a certain price at home and use them. Stating that you believe you could get a better price elsewhere often works.
Add Some Moroccan Decadence to Your Home Lighting
Whether they bring memories of a fine evening meal in a lavishly decadent Riad or you accidentally stumbled your way through the souks deep into where their manufacture takes place, a Moroccan lantern is a great way to bring home some of your fond memories of Marrakesh without breaking the bank.
You'll find them in any size you could want. From a 5 cm tall tea light holder to a half metre high giant beacon for the garden, there is so much to choose from when shopping in the souks.
Be aware of transporting anything back home that has glass panels, as these will often need to travel in your hand luggage on the plan to ensure safer handling.
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Expect to pay from 50-60 Dirham upwards for a small-sized lantern and always have an idea how much you wish to pay and never go over that threshold when bargaining—no matter how exorbitantly high the vendor's initial price.
Tagines Are a Little Heavy to Bring Back With You
Moroccan food can be fantastic and those amazing tagines that you've eaten could be made to be just as good at home. However Moroccan tagines are heavy and space consuming, so it's probably better not to buy one to carry home with you.
If you desperately want to buy a tagine, there are some lovely ornamental tagines you can buy which are less than 10 cm in diameter which you could pick up for less than 50 dirham. You can't cook with them but they'll be a fantastic talking point on your fireplace at home so you can tell your friends and family about your magical Marrakesh adventures.
The Souks Are a Great Place to Pick up a Scarf or Pashmina
If you love scarves and pashmina's Marrakech could be the place to go shopping. The souks are awash with lots of stalls selling the most amazing pashminas both in luxurious cactus silk and amazingly soft cashmere. These scarves are a great gifts for fashion addicts and those that tend to feel on the cold side throughout the winter months.
Designs range from amazing floral inspired knits to bright colourful tie-dyed designs although you can also pick up a fake Burberry scarf which will likely be of better quality than those sold by the brand itself.
How Much to Pay for a Marrakech Pashmina?
For a Cashmere Scarf (as pictured) expect to pay around 150 Dirham.
For a Silk Scarf expect to pay around 70 Dirham
Berber Shoes (Babouches) Crafted From Leather
Marrakech is a great place to buy leather goods. The traditional Berber artisans make some very impressive looking slip-on leather shoes which are known as babouches.
A shoe stall will light up with a rainbow of colour with leather shoes in colours of every possible shade. If they don't have the colour they could likely find you a pair too. There's a pair for everyone
What Should I Pay for a Pair of Babouches?
Look to pay maximum 80 Dirham for a pair of babouches in the Marrakech Souks
You Can Also Pick up Some Amazing Carpets and Rugs
One of the most amazing things the Berber artisans produce are their fantastic carpets and rugs. The traditional berber style carpets tell as story with specific notations upon them which have meaning within their life.
These carpets, while exquisite, are incredibly heavy and will be difficult to transport home with you. Fortunately there are companies that import and sell these style carpets so you can pick up a Moroccan souvenir from home.
No need to buy these in Marrakech unless you want to be stung for an extortionate extra fee back to the UK on Easyjet who charge around £15 or more per extra kilo of luggage.
Where Can You Go in Marrakech If You Don't Like to Bargain?
If you're looking for amazing handmade artisan produced items like those you see in the Souks.but feel overawed and uncomfortable with the bargaining process you can head to the Centre Artisanal on Av Mohammad 5 on the way from the Djemaa el Fna out of the Medina.
The prices are slightly higher than you could be paying in the Souks but these are really high-quality products. In many of the stores you can watch the artisans producing the items in front of you.