How to Shop in a Morocco Souk

morocco soukEven if shopping isn’t among your favorite activities, browsing in Morocco’s lively souks is a worthwhile cultural experience. And if you happen to enjoy shopping, then you’re really in for a treat—imagine colorful, regional handicrafts from floor to ceiling and artful displays of culinary delights. Either way, it is helpful to know what to expect before joining the clamor.

A souk is an open-air market. Many travelers tend to associate “souk” with the winding alleyways of the expansive and historic medinas in Fes and Marrakesh. While these two UNESCO World Heritage Sites are among Morocco’s iconic attractions, the neighborhood souks in large cities often offer similar goods and better prices. Many big city souks are open seven days a week, though most have limited hours on Fridays and weekends. (more…)

Top Attractions in Marrakech

Bahia Palace MarrakeshThe “Red City,” as Marrakech is known, is bursting with all the delights of a Moroccan metropolis. A visit here can be understandably overwhelming. While days, weeks and even years can be spent immersing yourself in the city’s charms (an estimated 10, 000 Europeans have retired here), here is a guide to the best the city has to offer.

If you see only one thing in Marrakech, let it be Djemma el Fna square. In the shadow of Koutoubia Mosque, the square is the pulsing center of the old medina. With its circus of performers by day and food stalls by night, the chaotic energy is as tangible in the air as the smell of cinnamon tea and lamb tajine. And though it seems like a spectacle designed only to separate tourists from their dirham, its cultural significance has merited a UNESCO designation as a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”. Watch how the shades of humanity change from the morning orange juice vendors to the afternoon snake charmers, water sellers, dancing Berber boys and chained Barbary apes. By evening it morphs into the busiest such square in all of Africa. The sights and sounds, the tastes and smells—indulge them all, and even if you only have a day, you will have truly known the bustling heart of Marrakech. (more…)