5 Reasons to visit artisan souks in Morocco.

the motoroamers

5 Reasons to visit artisan souks in Morocco.

One of the things we love about travel is the chance to integrate into a community, to rub shoulders with the locals. Whilst doing organised tourist activities are great, they don’t always give us authenticity. Souks in Morocco are one of the best ways to take a peak into a local’s life and I love myself a market. Do you want to come with me? Yes I thought you might. Check out my 5 Reasons to visit artisan souks in Morocco, for a bit of inspiration.

the souks of Ait Benhaddou
fresh produce sold in Morocco's souks

When I hear the word market, I always get a little bit excited. The prospect of not only buying incredible produce and putting that money into local’s pockets pleases me. As does, quite simply, the chance to meet with the locals. And yesterday, sat having an impromptu coffee in Foum Zguid with Anna who has been following us for years, I heard an artisan souk was in town. That was my morning planned; a little trot north of the town to fetch some supplies and breathe in the whole experience in this very authentic Moroccan town on the edge of the desert.

My morning’s adventures made me reflect on my love for these open air souks. Walking in alone didn’t phase me. Morocco is a safe place for a lone woman to wander, of course with the normal precautions respected. The air of anticipation filled every fibre of my body. Each souk is completely different, although one thing is common; it is packed full of locals buying and selling their wares and going about their daily business.

I knew I was close when the crowds gravitated towards the new mosque, like a colony of ants. The row of mopeds is the next clue, as are the overladen lorries who frequent these little gems. As I entered the main hub, I found myself awed by the pure talent of the artisans here. Doors, windows, fabulous carpentry and metal work, all on display. Then the market ‘quarters’ unfold. The area set aside for the freshest veg you will find, sold for absolute peanuts. The ‘nick-nack’ section where something and everything is available to purchase from spanners to brush heads. Then the butchers with all types of body parts, that perhaps I won’t detail with too much precision. Needless to say, Moroccans don’t let anything go to waste. And there’s always a haberdashery section with rugs, materials and bedding.

A village souk that is a community's lifeline
Butchers that sell every part of the animal so be prepared when visiting souks in Morocco

The colours, the sounds, the atmosphere are as vibrant as a singing bowl, the energy of which coursed through my body as I immerse myself in this little slice of Berber culture. If only I could have found a discrete place to take some shots, yet it really didn’t feel appropriate. The faces of some of the older folk, etched with deep furrows that surely must tell a story or two, just really needed capturing. Still they will stay as images in my mind.

Armed with some purchases ready for dinner over the next few days, I find myself falling head over heels with the joy of selecting vegetables. I can imagine that they have only just been picked, and knowing that the chances of any chemicals touching their skin is highly unlikely, it makes me a happy bunny. I revel in the buzz that reverberates around the makeshift stalls, the shuffle of folk doing the exact same thing as me, making me feel part of the community. And yet, I am looked upon with curiosity and sometimes amusement. After all, I am the only ‘foreigner’ here. Despite there being two campsites within 2 miles of the souk, I guess it is rare for them to see strangers, especially with cameras draped over their shoulders. Mind you, dressed with the biggest smile I think I was accepted, certainly by the market stall sellers who eagerly took my money.

The children particularly were keen to bid me ‘bonjour’, most likely in the hope of a bon-bon or a Dirham, and getting neither. I have long come to the conclusion that if children see the visitor as a source of their earnings, then they loose any sense of value for working as a fair exchange. This was advice given to us many years ago and it stays with me, however soulful those big brown eyes are.

Enriched by my partaking of Berber community life, my soul feels completely filled with joy at the whole souk experience. My eyes full of colourful images, my ears still ringing with the interaction of the crowd and my heart bursting with the intrigue and warmth that I felt. Visiting the many souks in Morocco certainly leaves you with amazing memories.

A seller of 'all sorts' in one of Marrakech's street souks
one of many souks in Morocco that you can experience in small villages

Five reasons to visit artisan souks in Morocco

So before I leave you, let me put together reasons to move beyond any uncertainty about visiting an artisan souk.

  • It throws you into the most primal and authentic of local traditions – shopping. The need for supplies runs through us all, irrespective of our country of origin. And whilst a supermarket might be easier, it is not as genuine. Souks in Morocco are just the best and it reduces our carbon footprint.
  • The produce you buy at these souks are second to none. Picked fresh that day, trays of dirt covered vegetables prove their earthiness, chemical-free. I have rarely seen such beautiful vegetables that are full of flavour and texture. It beats a supermarket any day.
  • You put money into the hands of local growers and not the supermarket ‘fat cats’. Whilst of course a supermarket employs locals, the wage they earn is miniscule in comparison to the shop’s profits. So, I much prefer to pay farmers at source. That way I know that I am making a direct impact.
  • It is safe to visit and no fears of wandering around a souk should be entertained. Of course precautions are wise; wherever you go, be a savvy travel, just don’t visit with any anxiety as it is unfounded.
  • The sensory experience is unbelievable. It’s like a symphony being played out in your mind, an art gallery without paintings and an emotional rollercoaster. When you stop to observe and become part of community life, what better experience is there than that?
A daily street souk in El Jadida

Check out a sneak preview of an artisan souk we visited in Zagora, to get an on the ground flavour of what it’s like. Plus if you would like to learn more about Morocco and visiting here with a motorhome, then click here for more comprehensive information from our blog and our Youtube Morocco Playlist.

Published: January 18, 2024
Category: Morocco | Travel Tips


  1. Jo Shingler

    I do love your descriptive way of writing Karen 😊 and I totally agree with your reasons to visiting these souks. The fresh produce on offer is purely organic and free from pesticides and as an allotment grower, that is so important to me. I love the interaction with the locals when exploring the souks which I think shows a deep appreciation of their works, traditions and love for what they do.
    We’re just visiting Aman Ali Arch on your recommendation 😊 Thank you!
    Jo Shingler (also known on Facebook as Jo Campbell)

    • Karen

      Hi Jo, that’s so lovely thank you. I adore my writing and photography, so when it’s appreciated, it really means the world to me. Thanks for taking the time to write. Hope you guys are having fun over here. Kx


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