Top 5 Markets you Must Visit in Morocco

Top 5 Markets you Must Visit in Morocco

Moroccan markets are the epitome of traditional shopping experiences for visitors and tourists. Here are the top five markets to visit!

Markets you Must Visit in Morocco

The primary reason people visit Morocco is the varied geography and diverse landscapes. Not only does Morocco has paradise-like beaches and desert dunes, but it also has majestic mountains and lush green valleys.

In addition, people from all over the world come to Morocco to visit the traditional and modern markets that offer state-of-the-art, quality, and affordable goods. Another reason to visit the country is that locals are the most tolerant Arab nation.

Berber and Arabian people living in the country are known for their friendly nature and warm hospitality. The country is peaceful, stable, and safe, welcoming tourists from different countries. Here are the top five markets you must go to in Morocco. Read on!

1.    Jemaa el-Fna SquareMoroccan markets are the epitome of traditional shopping experiences for visitors and tourists. Here are the top five markets to visit!

Jemaa el-Fna Square is one of the most famous markets in Morocco that becomes even more vibrant and lively at nighttime. It is the central square in the city with numerous shops, stores, and food stalls. You will love traditional dishes like tagine and snail soup. Jemaa el-Fna Square is also a hotspot for storytellers.

Keep in mind that storytelling is a centuries-old tradition practiced in Morocco. You can listen to stories on different subjects, including history, comedy, music, and long tales. It is a unique form of entertainment to enjoy in Jemma el-Fna Square. Besides, we recommend browsing and shopping for jewelry items, clothes, and fashion accessories at the most affordable prices.

  1. Performance Artists: Apart from storytellers, the square is teeming with various performance artists during the evening. You’ll see musicians, henna tattoo artists, and snake charmers, providing a unique and dynamic atmosphere.
  2. Cafes and Restaurants: Surrounding the square are numerous cafes and restaurants, many of which have terraces overlooking the bustling area below. It’s an ideal spot to enjoy a mint tea or a full meal while watching the vibrant life of the square unfold.
  3. Local Crafts: In addition to jewelry, clothes, and accessories, you’ll find a wide range of local crafts and artisan products. These include leather goods, pottery, lanterns, and spices, all of which reflect the craftsmanship and tradition of the region.
  4. Street Food: As you mentioned, the food stalls serve various delicious traditional dishes. You can try local delicacies and sweets, fresh juices, and much more. Each stall offers something different, allowing you to enjoy a culinary adventure.
  5. Safety: While Jemaa el-Fna Square is generally safe, it’s crucial for visitors to be aware of their surroundings and mindful of pickpockets, as it’s a busy area. Also, be prepared to negotiate prices, as bargaining is a common practice.

2.    Essaouira Fish Market

Essaouira Fish Market is an excellent place to breathe in the fresh air and relax after browsing the bustling Marrakech. Because the souks of Marrakech and Fez are pretty claustrophobic, it is wise to head to the fishing port and Essaouira market town to refresh yourself. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site.

In addition, Essaouira Fish Market is an 18th-century fortified seaport, boasting the original design, layout, and architecture incredibly preserved by the local authorities. You can find numerous fish species freshly caught by local fishermen. The prices are pretty affordable and won’t break the bank. The place attracts locals and tourists alike.

  1. Fresh Seafood: As you mentioned, the fish market in Essaouira provides a vast array of freshly caught seafood. Visitors have the opportunity to select their preferred fish or seafood, which can then be prepared and cooked at nearby grills and eateries for an immediate and delightful dining experience.
  2. Historical Significance: The town of Essaouira itself, including the old fortifications and medina, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The architecture reflects a blend of African and European styles, with the old city walls and the Portuguese fort offering picturesque views of the Atlantic Ocean.
  3. Local Experience: Visiting the fish market allows travelers to immerse themselves in the day-to-day life of locals. It’s a vibrant place where you can observe the hustle and bustle of fishermen, vendors, and buyers, all contributing to a lively atmosphere.
  4. Art and Craft: Apart from the fish market, Essaouira is renowned for its art and craft scene. The town has numerous galleries and workshops where visitors can buy unique pieces of art, traditional rugs, and woodwork crafted from the locally-sourced Thuya wood.
  5. Beach and Wind Sports: Given its coastal location, Essaouira is also famous for its wide sandy beaches and is a popular spot for wind and kite surfing due to the consistent winds.

Tips for Visitors:

  • Early Visits: For the best experience, consider visiting the fish market early in the morning. This is when you can observe the fishermen bringing in their catch and the market is at its most lively and authentic.
  • Haggling: Like many markets in Morocco, be prepared to haggle for the best prices on seafood and other goods.
  • Wear Appropriate Clothing: Since it’s a working fish market, wear clothing that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty or wet, and opt for comfortable and slip-resistant shoes.

3.    Souk el AttarineTop 5 Markets you Must Visit in Morocco

Souk el Attarine is the most recommended place to visit in Morocco. It is a UNESCO World Heritage size in Fez, offering a maze-like infrastructure with hundreds of narrow valleys. Thus, Souk el Attarine showcases the history and tradition of Fez, Morocco.

So, if you want to explore the remains of medieval civilization and shop for traditional arts and crafts, Souk el Attarine is a must-go market in Morocco. Besides, you will find a wide range of beautiful goods for sale in the shops of Souk el Attarine.

These include but are not limited to herbs, spices, crafts, traditional clothes, incense, metal goods, etc. Almost all shops at Souk el Attarine are set up in mesmerizing and well-preserved old mansions, allowing tourists to explore the traditional Moroccan riad.

Souk el Attarine Highlights:

  1. Historical Importance: As part of the ancient medina of Fez (Fes el Bali), Souk el Attarine is situated in an area steeped in history. The medina itself is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, renowned for being one of the best-preserved historic towns of the Arab-Muslim world.
  2. Array of Goods: True to your description, the souk offers an extensive array of items, from spices, herbs, and traditional clothing to intricate crafts, metal goods, and leather products. Each item tells a story of the local traditions and craftsmanship that have been passed down through generations.
  3. Architectural Beauty: The market is set within beautifully preserved structures that reflect the architectural grandeur of medieval Moroccan design. Exploring the old mansions and traditional riads is an experience in itself, as these buildings showcase the exquisite mosaic tile work, carved wood, and stucco that characterize Moroccan architecture.
  4. Vibrant Atmosphere: The market is always bustling with activity, with locals and tourists mingling in the narrow lanes, vendors calling out to passersby, and the tantalizing aroma of spices filling the air.

Tips for Visitors:

  • Navigate Carefully: The labyrinthine layout of the souk can be confusing for first-time visitors. Consider hiring a local guide or using a navigation app to help you explore the area without getting lost.
  • Haggling is Expected: Bargaining is a common practice, so don’t be afraid to negotiate prices with vendors.
  • Respect Local Customs: When visiting the souk, dress modestly to respect the local culture, and be mindful when taking photos, especially of people or religious sites.
  • Plan Your Visit: The souk can get very crowded, especially during weekends and holidays. To have a more relaxed experience, consider visiting during the weekdays or early in the morning.

4.    Had Dra Souk

Had Dra Souk is a traditional country market away from the city. It is located in Had Dra between Marrakech and Essaouira. Keep in mind that Had Dra Souk is a Sunday market with hundreds of stalls and vendors selling a wide range of items.

It is an excellent place to meet locals and make friends. Although Had Dra Souk is a traditional market, it serves an important purpose of fulfilling people’s needs. However, the market also drives hundreds of tourists.

We recommend heading to the market early to see the cattle auction. You can also buy fresh organic products, including veggies, meat, fruits, and other agricultural products. Had Dra Souk is a fascinating meeting place for locals. Therefore, you can genuinely experience the authentic Moroccan culture.

5.    MellahTop 5 Markets you Must Visit in Morocco

Mellah is a traditional Jewish quarter in Morocco. Although the place has fewer Jewish people, it perfectly showcases the old traditions, history, and culture of this ethnic group in Morocco.

A wide selection of products and goods is available in the market, including ornate accessories for clothes making, colorful fabrics, jewelry items, classic designs, imported goods, and traditional pottery, artwork, and paintings.

Final Words

Morocco drives hundreds of thousands of tourists to explore the best markets. The long history, diverse cultural influence, and ancient local traditions still in action make Morocco is an excellent place for antiques, artwork, and crafts. You will find hundreds of shops in Marrakech and other cities that sell traditional items, including clothes, furniture, jewelry, pottery, décor items, etc.

  • Article based on personal opinion, experience and research.
  • Photos from Unsplash & canva.