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A Guide to Surviving the Souks, Marrakech

The souks of Marrakech are the largest in Morocco, so for first time visitors it can be very overwhelming and to be honest quite scary.

There are over 3000 stalls that sell everything from lamp shades to tagines to scarfs.  It’s like nothing you have ever experienced before and a bit of a shock to the system, so here is a A Guide to Surviving the Souks of Marrakech;

How to get around

Google Maps is great for getting around the souks, as it will show you where you are on the map and the direction you need to go in. There is also an app you can download called MarrakechRiad that give you a GPS map of the souks (also works offline!) The app also give you lots of advice on places to visit, how to get to locations via public transport, restaurants and lots more! 100% worth a download.

A Guide to Surviving the Souks, Marrakech

TIP – When wandering in and around the Souks be careful who and what you take photos of as people will ask you for money, and if you get lost and ask for directions will they ask for money.

Another way to get around the Souks is to book a tour or guide. I didn’t personally book a tour, but if you are a solo traveller I would definitely recommend using a tour as the Souks can get quite intimidating as there are lots of motorbikes and tourists.

Just remember not to fall for the ‘fake’ guides that are walking around as they over charge and will take you to the stores of their friends to make you spend money. During my visit to the Souks, we freestyled and just wandered through the Souks for a long time looking at the stalls and purchasing some items. The area is so big with lots of dark alleys we did get a little lost at times and joined the back of one of the tours to help us find our way out (ooopss)

TIP – if you are easily effected by caged animals and animal cruelty then please be aware that there are animals on leads (that shouldn’t be) and animals made to do things for people’s entertainment. It’s not easy to avoid these as they are dead centre of the Medine.

What to buy there

There are so many different stalls and things you can buy in the Souks. You can be walking past a shop that will be selling Cacti and next door they will be selling Tagines. I bought these amazing little bottles with Moroccan patterns and little souvenirs.

I wanted to buy so many different things such as a rug and also some vases but unfortunately I only had a carry on case with me.

TIP – You can mail items back to your country. There is a Post Office located just across from the center of the square Djemma al-Fna.

The Souks are most known for bargaining the price of the products they stalls are selling. Most of the stalls will allow bargaining but of course only if you are being polite. There is nothing wrong with getting your hustle on.

A Guide to Surviving the Souks, Marrakech

A Guide to Surviving the Souks of Marrakech

Be on guard

Marrakech and the Souks aren’t dangerous but as with travelling to other/new destination you have to be very cautious and on guard.

Whilst wandering around the Souks, stall holders will touch your arm to gesture you in to their stall, please don’t be alarmed by this as it will happen a lot.

When it comes to your belongings make sure you carry a bag with a zip that’s fastened and kept close to you as it can get a little crowded in the small walkways with lots of tourists and guide tours.

TIP – where sunglasses, you may think it’s rude but it’s not much easier to look at the stalls without making eye contact with their owners and they can be quite persistent.

A Guide to Surviving the Souks, Marrakech

Refreshments

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle or need to get out of the sun, there are a large number of restaurants and cafés around the square and surrounding areas.

We took a break and went into Café Restaurant Argana. We had a few smoothies to rehydrate and get out of the sun for a little while. This café was amazing, with some of the best views of the Medina square.

If you liked this post on A Guide to Surviving the Souks of Marrakech, check out this:
My 4 day in Marrakech, Morocco Itinerary

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6 Comments

  • Reply Ashley

    This looks like a great place to spend an afternoon! Thanks for all the tips you made it seems like a great trip.

    January 22, 2020 at 9:54 am
  • Reply Tal

    Thanks for these useful tips, I’m fascinated by Marrakech and hope to visit one day!

    January 22, 2020 at 9:55 am
  • Reply Fiona Mai

    I’m travelling to Marrakech this summer so I find your tips really really useful! Thank you for sharing!

    January 22, 2020 at 10:02 am
  • Reply Katie

    So many great tips here – I went around the medina with a friend and we didn’t get lost as such (we were looking for a short cut!) and some local kids tried to get money out of us 😂 I needed that map app!

    January 22, 2020 at 10:55 am
  • Reply Rahma Khan

    Morocco is a pretty intense place to be! I loved how resourceful this guide it. Thank you for sharing

    January 22, 2020 at 6:29 pm
  • Reply Rhonda Albom

    These are some really good tips. I wish the app was available back when I was in Marrakech. I remember paying a boy (only a couple of dirham) to get us back to the main alley of the souk on one occasion. A tour is a great way to start out visiting the souq to give you general orientation. I stayed at a riad in the medina and got great advice from them.

    January 22, 2020 at 8:42 pm
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