One of the things I love to do most when I travel is explore local shops, boutiques, and markets. Even though I’m often traveling with a backpack and have limited space to bring stuff back, I find this to be a great way to discover the art and culture of a new destination.
When I was traveling in Morocco last month, it was no different. Each town and city we found ourselves in, you were guaranteed to find some sort of market. Some were small and laid back, others were overwhelming like the medina in Fes which has over 9,000 alleyways lined with stalls.
The shopping was seriously unreal in Morocco and there were so many quality goods that I wanted to take home with me. Thankfully for my bank account, I only took home some small souvenirs mainly due to the limited space I have in my apartment back home and in my backpack I was traveling with. However, if you’re a shopper who can’t say no, you may want to consider a bigger or extra suitcase! If you keep reading and see just some of the great things you can bring home, you’ll see why.
The leather in Morocco is beautiful and will line so many streets as you explore the country. What makes these leather products unique is that it’s tanned in a medieval way that hasn’t changed in centuries. One of the most popular things to do in Fes is visit the Chouara Tannery where you can see men waist deep in large tubs filled with natural dye as they prepare the hides to become beautiful souvenirs. Get yourself some leather slippers, bags, wallets, belts, poofs, and more.
Keep in mind that leather products bought right at the tannery will be more expensive, and also make sure to ask what type of leather the product is made out of, as that changes the price. Sheep leather is cheapest, camel is more pricey!
Rose water and products
I had no idea rose water was such a big thing in Morocco until I discovered the town of Kelaat M’Gouna, known for their Festival of Roses that takes place each year. The town loves their roses and you don’t need to go far to find their rose products that can be used for all sorts of things from cooking to skincare to religious ceremonies. Plus, it’s usually so overpriced at home, you might as well stock up!
I can’t even count the amount of photos I took of all the beautiful pottery I found in Morocco. You can find dishes of all sizes, in every colour you can imagine and it’s all hand-painted. These make such a beautiful gift for your kitchen, but also as a decoration if you feel too bad using a work of art for food. A popular souvenir is your own tagine so you can recreate a Moroccan meal back home in your kitchen.
If you want to read more about appreciating the pottery in Morocco, I found this read by Journey Beyond Travel incredibly informative.
The perfect gift for the person who has everything and when you’re traveling with minimal room for souvenirs. Black soap is part of the traditional hammam bathing experience and it’s made from a mixture of oil and crushed olives, usually what is left from the olives after they are used for olive oil. The consistency is jelly like but it’ll leave your skin feeling fabulous, plus it’s a great product for when you’re exfoliating your skin!
This golden oil is plant-based and made from the fruit of the argan tree. Argan trees are an endemic to Morocco and the tree itself lives over 250 years. As you are heading towards Essaouira, it’s not uncommon to see argan trees lining the land and filled with goats. Yes, goats climb trees. These trees produce a fruit that the goats love and inside the fruit is a pit with a hard shell which holds the gold! This is what argan oil is made out of, the seeds inside the pit.
Argan oil is famously used in North America for its benefits to the hair but it can also be used for your skin, and in cooking.
When you think of Moroccan shops, you automatically think of the pictures you see of shops filled to the brim with gorgeous lanterns in all different shapes and sizes. It’s no surprise that lanterns are a popular gift to buy in Morocco and you won’t have to go far to find them. One thing to watch out for is aluminum ones since they’ll bend easy and be hard to bring back!
Mint tea is a staple in the Moroccan diet and you’ll be served it almost anywhere and everywhere you go. When served, it is always in a silver tea pot with little glass cups that are a bit bigger than a shot glass. The tea sets can be bought all around Morocco and make a perfect gift. Even if you aren’t a big tea person, the sets are often gorgeous to just use as a decoration in your home. Green glass tea cups are by far the most famous but you can find all sorts of different variations.
Quality Moroccan rugs back home can go for a ton of money, so if you’re looking for the perfect accent rug for your house, Morocco is definitely the place to look. You’ll find rugs in every colour, size and pattern you can imagine. Buying a rug/carpet in Morocco can get stressful quick because often the shop owners will just keep bringing out rug after rug in every colour you can imagine! It makes it hard to choose. But the most important thing to remember is to barter! Some of the costs I was getting in shops across Morocco were insane!
Here is a great guide by Marocmama on how to buy a rug in Marrakech.
Shopping can be so much fun while traveling and I found the shopping in Morocco to be extra spectacular. I wish I could’ve brought so much stuff home with me but that just means I need to return again, and preferably once I have a bigger apartment!
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