Love to buy souvenirs Why
11 quintessentially Moroccan souvenirs (and where to buy them)
Every Moroccan traveler will want to bring home some typical Moroccan souvenirs for themselves or their family and friends. The country is full of unique, handmade things, from ceramics to carpets to leather and wood goods you can find everything your heart desires.
The question is always where you can best buy the respective things, because the country is large and each region is known for different goods.
But don't worry, even if you only visit a small part of the country, you will find all kinds of souvenirs in every part of Morocco. But be careful, there are big differences in quality and price.
Personally, I find shopping in the souks to be one of the most fun experiences and a good reason to visit Morocco! But the souks in Marrakech and Fes aren't the only (and nowhere near the best) places to shop. If you are shopping in the souks of Marrakech or Fez you should bargain hard, in the end you should probably pay around 40% of the first price offered.
To make your life a little easier, I have put together this guide that will show you where in Morocco you can best buy which souvenirs.
For more information before your first trip to Morocco, read my article on tips and tricks for traveling to Morocco.
Buying carpets in Morocco
Moroccan rugs are one of the most popular souvenirs, but they are also the most difficult to buy. You can find good quality carpets all over the country. The more rural the area, the more certain you can be that they are handcrafted. Every region, and sometimes even every family, has its own pattern. So it can take you a while to find what you are looking for. Most carpets are made of sheep's wool, some are made of camel wool and the thinner ones are made of cotton or rayon. It is often said that it is silk made from cactus, called sabra silk. This is apparently a lie to drive up the price. Further information are available here.
The price range is huge, but before you start looking for a "real bargain" here are some things to consider:
If it's cheap, it's probably not real. Not wool or not handmade.
A rug takes weeks, if not months, to make, so keep in mind that it may be paying a family's full monthly income (at least if you're buying direct or through a cooperative).
If you want to buy a rug in the souk of Marrakech or Fez, you should bargain hard, in the end you should probably pay around 40% of the first price offered.
Where to Buy a Moroccan Carpet:
In the part of the country where your type of carpet is made, fair prices are available in rural women's cooperatives.
You can also order a carpet, I recently had one made for a friend of mine. A woman in a small desert village knotted it, my friend sent me a picture of the desired pattern and size in advance. The price is really fair, especially compared to the website my girlfriend found the design in Germany on. Even if you include shipping and customs.
If you would also like to order a carpet, just send me an email or a message on Facebook or Instagram.
Buy Moroccan lanterns and lamps
Everyone knows the photos of Moroccan lanterns in the souks, and most people would love to take one home with them. You have to pay attention to what material it is made of and whether it will survive the transport home. If the lamp is on the light weight, it is likely made of aluminum and won't keep its shape in the case. So you should try to find a heavier lamp made of copper or brass. You can find variants with or without colored glass inlays, and which one you buy is a matter of taste.
Where to Buy a Moroccan Lantern or Lamp:
They're pretty much everywhere, but the good quality ones are a little harder to find. A good place is in the medina of Fez. It's best to ask a guide to take you to the place where they're made.
Buy tajines in Morocco
The traditional tagine can be found literally on every street corner in Morocco. There are street stalls selling them on the highways, and in every town they can be found in the souk. There are simple red versions with or without a metal plate on the bottom. These are used by every Moroccan family. In Tiznit they are traditionally glazed brown and with a dome-like lid. In some tourist places they can be found painted in different patterns, but that is a sign that they are a souvenir for tourists.
Where to Buy a Moroccan Tagine:
Everywhere in the country, from souks to street stalls.
Buying ceramics in Morocco
Other ceramics, such as bowls and mugs, can also be found across the country. The largest selection can be found in the large souks in Fes and Marrakech. But pay attention to the quality. They all look beautiful, with intricate patterns. Each region has its own patterns and colors. But not all are actually handmade. In my experience, the best way to find out is by looking for some imperfections as these are a clear sign that they were hand made. On my first trip to Morocco, my only souvenirs were a couple of breakfast bowls that I bought in the souk in Marrakech.
Where to buy ceramics in Morocco:
You should consider shopping in a smaller store outside of the big cities, as prices are likely to be better. Plus, you're likely to be directly supporting the person who makes them. One place known for green ceramics is Tamegroute, on the way from Zagora to M’Hamid.
Buy fossils in Morocco
Fossils can be found in many places in Morocco, but most of them come from near Erfoud in the southeast. One of the mountains there is a petrified coral reef where, with a bit of luck, you can even find starfish.
You can buy soap dishes, jewelry boxes and pendants for necklaces made from fossils.
The prices vary widely and depend on the size of the fossils, but also on the effort involved in polishing them into shape.
Where to Buy Fossils in Morocco:
The Erfoud area is where they are found and polished so you can expect the best prices there. At the same time, the money there goes to the manufacturer and not to the dealer. But you can find fossils everywhere.
Buy scarves / turbans in Morocco
You can find the typical Moroccan scarves and turbans in dozens of colors and different lengths. However, the traditional ones are blue, all other colors are essentially made for the tourist. This is one of the few things I really have to talk myself into all the time, I'd like to have one of every color. But one of my goals was to be more minimalistic, so that's not going to happen.
The price varies with the length and should be around 50-80 DH. You can of course also find the scarves that women use to cover their hair. And in the more rural areas, the Berber women sell their traditional throws. Their style varies depending on the region, in Merzouga they are black with neon-colored embroidery.
Where to buy scarves and turbans in Morocco:
If you book a desert tour, you will likely get a scarf that you can wear as a turban included in the price. If not, and you want to buy one, you can find them all over the country. But they are traditionally worn in the desert, so the best place to buy one is Merzouga or Zagora / M’Hamid.
Buy blankets in Morocco
I love the thick Moroccan wool blankets. But it's really hard to find beautiful ones these days. Moroccans tend to buy polyester blankets, so these are almost the only ones to be found everywhere. I saw a really nice camel rug in the souk in Fes, but since it was on the second day of my trip I couldn't and didn't want to buy one. After moving to Merzouga, I really wanted one because the winters get very cold here.
On the way from Meknes to Chefchaouen, I finally bought one in Ouezzane in a small shop in the medina. It is made of sheep's wool, handmade and I still have to clean a bit, there is still some grass stuck between the wool here and there. But I got it for a good price, it's very warm and I love it more than anything.
Of course, you can find other types of blankets and throws in many places. The prices vary as much as the styles.
Where to buy blankets in Morocco:
Almost everywhere. But check the quality of the material before you commit to a price.
Buying dresses and jellabas in Morocco
Moroccan women like to dress in bright colors! You can find dresses and caftans in different styles and colors almost everywhere. But most of it won't really fit in style at home, so be sure to buy something that you will actually wear when you get there. My summer favorites are the thin and light caftans with prints or embroidery. They are perfect for a day at the beach and are usually wide enough to put on your bikini underneath.
I was given a very nice traditional dress that is a bit warmer and I can't wait to finally wear it for the next occasion (e.g. a wedding).
I also bought a yellaba for those cold winter evenings, but that's something I personally wouldn't wear at home. They are available in different qualities, the lighter ones are mostly made of synthetic, the heavier ones are made of wool. The colors range from gray to beige / brown to green, and prices vary based on quality.
Where to buy clothes in Morocco:
Pretty much everywhere, but prices tend to be better in smaller towns.
Buy argan oil / amlou in Morocco
The argan tree can only be found in a small area in Morocco, which makes the argan products a unique Moroccan souvenir. The oil can be found in two varieties, for food and for cosmetic purposes.
The food version is much more expensive, but oh so good! I use it for salad dressings and in amlou. Amlou is a mixture of ground almonds, honey and argan oil. It's just the best with fresh, warm bread for breakfast.
In cosmetics, argan can be found in everything, skin and hair care, soap and shampoo, etc.
Where to Buy Argan Products in Morocco:
The best places to buy argan products (synonymous with the best price and quality) are between Essaouira, Agadir and Taroudant, where the argan trees grow. It is best to try to find small local cooperatives that produce the oil locally at a fair price.
Buying leather in Morocco
The leather tanneries in Morocco have become very famous through Instagram, especially the one in Fez. As a result, leather shops are now more frequented for photos than for shopping. So don't be surprised if someone asks you for money when you enter the store. Just tell them you really want to buy something and they'll be sure to let you in for free.
Even so, it's still a good place to shop for leather shoes, jackets, bags, and more. The quality varies of course, you can find everything from camel to calfskin. The colors are all made from natural ingredients, e.g. bright yellow is made from saffron (or, I suspect, sometimes from turmeric).
Where to buy leather products in Morocco:
Since the main tanneries are in Fes, Marrakech and Taroudant, you will find the largest selection there. I also saw very nice leather work in Essaouira and I am sure the prices there are better than in Fes and Marrakech.
Buy spices and dates in Morocco
Probably the most popular thing to buy in Morocco is spices. They come in every shape and color, and sometimes even a fake version. This is especially true for saffron, so make sure it's real saffron before buying. Check the quality (in feel and taste). The best spices can be found in the untourist places where the locals shop. You can ask for most spices freshly ground if you're not sure how long a pile has been in the sun.
Dates are another great souvenir to buy in Morocco as they grow plentiful in the great valleys. The fresh date season starts in October, but you can buy dried dates all year round.
Where to buy spices and dates in Morocco:
Spices can of course be found everywhere, as the locals also buy them very regularly. The best places for dates are close to where they are grown. A date festival takes place in Erfoud every year in October.
I hope this guide to buying souvenirs in Morocco will help you find the right gifts for you and your loved ones. If you have any questions, leave me a comment or send me a message on Facebook or Instagram!
For your further planning, you can also read these articles:
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