The narrow streets, the packed shops, the mercantile dealers, all the smells and impressions – the turbulent souks in the Moroccan medinas can be exhausting.
If you have never visited such a market before, the hustle and bustle can be quite intimidating. If you then hit the wrong seller, the whole thing quickly get a bitter aftertaste. Of course we want to prevent that!
Morocco and its souks are beautiful, exciting, unique places! With these tips, tricks and hints your visit there will be an unforgettable experience!
1. KEEP CALM!
A Moroccan souk can cause claustrophobic panic attacks. The crowds, the bustle, the volume, urgent salesmen, honking scooters, donkey carts … The absolute most important thing when visiting the market is to keep calm. Take a deep breath. And again: take a deeeep breath.
On the Internet, I happened to come across a sentence that perfectly describes it: „Absorb the chaos.“
It is also very important to take breaks. Not only to give your feet some peace, but also your eyes. You should sit down in a nice café, drink a sweet mint tea and watch the hustle and bustle from a distance. The best place in Marrakech: Jeema el Fna!
2. STAY FRIENDLY!
Even if you are jostled or pulled over the table (which, literally ALL tourists happen at some point!), The motto is: always stay friendly! Whether a visit to a Moroccan souk becomes a great experience or a nightmare often depends on ourselves and our „attitude“. Life in the souk and Morocco in general is much easier if you take it with humor.
3. COMPARE PRICES!
If you have the opportunity, you should absolutely compare the prices before you buy something – to get a feel for the price range. It can happen that the dealer in shop number 1 wants to have 5 € for a big straw hat and the dealer in shop number 12 wants 50 € for it – no joke, I speak from experience!
If you have little time and discovered a really great souvenir that you really want to have, you should of course strike immediately.
Bargaining is the nuts and bolts of Morocco – almost national sport! Except in supermarkets, restaurants and gas stations can and should be negotiated almost everywhere in Morocco for the right price. What feels natural for locals and is part of their daily lives is often difficult for tourists. You just do not know what would be a suitable amount.
A few rules of thumb: Moroccan sellers are masters of their trade! They know exactly what they have to say to pull the money from unsuspecting visitors. Never forget that!
Think about whether you really want that souvenir. Think about what the thing would cost at home. Think about how much you want to spend on it.
As a rule, the Moroccan seller calls you overpriced prizes – trying to bargain. Stay friendly, insist on a price reduction, but do not be presumptuous – who wants to pay only 3 € for a large Persian carpet, is not taken seriously! Advise to leave the shop (and really leave it if it does not meet you with the price).
If you can push the seller to 50-70% of the first price, you can be proud of yourself.
5. TO GET LOST IS PART OF THE JOURNEY!
Please do not panic! EVERYONE will sooner or later get lost in the endless maze of Moroccan medinas. But that’s just part of the ultimate Morocco experience ?
Tools like a road map or Google Maps can of course help. However, if you can not orient yourself anymore, you should ask the locals for help – preferably a shopkeeper. As a rule, Moroccans are extremely friendly and helpful and will gladly show you the way.