Today I’m tackling an important subject you’ve probably asked yourself while planning a visit to Morocco…what souvenirs to take home from Morocco! It’s true we have some amazing shopping but don’t worry if shopping isn’t for you. There’s plenty to do and see that doesn’t involve buying anything. Back to the issue at hand!
You’re coming to Morocco and you want to know what to get.
Depending on where your visit to Morocco takes you will alter what you should bring home for souvenirs. While it’s true you can get most anything, anywhere there are different cities and regions that produce specific goods. For example argan oil in Tangier is going to be much more expensive, and potentially a worse quality than if you bought it in Agadir. Morocco is a shopping paradise but take care to ensure you’re getting the best quality goods possible.
It goes without saying that if you’re interested in buying argan Morocco is the place to do it. Argan is grown in the southern regions of the country. The oil is extracted from roasted seeds. There are two types of argan; cosmetic and culinary. You’ll want to specify which you’re after. True argan is thick, a golden yellow color and smells very nutty. It is sold in bottles as just oil and you’ll also find many products with argan infused into them. Some of my favorites are argan shampoo and argan hand lotion.
Best locations to purchase: Agadir, Essaouira and smaller villages in the region.
There is no doubt that you will see hundreds of different types of Moroccan ceramics during your visit. Plates, bowls, cups, decorative pieces the list goes on and on. Moroccans love bright colors but there are more and more neutral tones popping up in the souks. If you are after a particular color don’t hesitate to ask the shopkeeper. If you’re flying you can ask to have these items wrapped or plan to take some bubble wrap with just in case. There’s nothing worse than discovering shattered pottery in your luggage.
Best locations to purchase: Each city has a specific color and style they’re known for. The cities of Safi, Fez, and Meknes are best known for their pottery and designs.
See More: Safi: The Pottery Capital of Morocco
From fanciful dresses to basic djallabas, Moroccan clothing is certainly distinguishable. Many items are still handmade and very affordable. For women tunic tops and linen dresses are great purchases to make in Morocco. Be careful with bright colored items and wash separately for the first few times in case the color bleeds. Men can find tradition and woven hats as well as well made tailored items if time permits. Avoid purchasing items that you think look great on the streets of Morocco because they may not be as practical once you return home.
Best locations to purchase: anywhere. You may see some difference in styles and designs based on the region.
Today leather is being made in much the same way it has been for hundreds of years. The famous tanning souks of Fez are one of the most photographed sites in all of North Africa. Leather is used for any number of things, from leather bags to slippers, poufs to book bindings. You will find many different qualities of leather made with different types of skin including; camel, cow, sheep, and goat. The price of the product depends on the type of leather.
Best locations to purchase: Fez, Marrakech, and Rissani
A handmade Moroccan lamp or lantern is a great souvenir to take home and be instantly transported back to Morocco. You will find a wide range of sizes, weights, and materials. Lighter weight lanterns are the most affordable but are typically made from aluminum. You won’t want to pack these in your baggage as they’ll likely bend and if you don’t have space to carry it on, paying to send it home may not really be worth the value. Instead invest in a more heavy-duty fixture. Metal lanterns with glass are suitable for indoor or outdoor display.
Best locations to purchase: lanterns are largely the same across the country but you may find subtle differences between craftsmen and geographical locations.
Another lasting tradition in Morocco is the creation of etched metal. Much of the work is on decorative pieces but is also found on more practical things like teapots, trays, and jewelry. The items that can be bought are a mixture of hand stamped and machine stamped pieces. A careful inspection should be able to indicate which is which. Anything machine created will be uniform whereas even the best artist will vary slightly with his design. You can purchase brass, silver, and copper etched items.
Best locations to purchase: Fez and Sefrou
See More: Touring Fez, Morocco with Kids
There are two primary types of instruments found in Morocco; Arab and indigenous inspired. The famous Gnawa musicians of southern Morocco introduced a variety of instruments to the spectrum. You can purchase oud’s- the traditional Arabic guitar across the country. For gnawa instrumens head to the southern coasts or the Sahara to find authentic pieces and possibly even a lesson or two!
Best locations to purchase: Marrakech, Essaouira, and the cities near the Sahara
See More: Making Moroccan Drums in Fez, Morocco
Spices and Dried Goods
The quality and flavor of spices from Morocco is much better than you’ll be able to find in most markets in North America and Europe. They also make an inexpensive and easy gift to transport. Saffron, turmeric, cumin, and ras al hanout are some of the most well known spices to purchase here. Other food items include almonds, walnuts, figs, dates, and olives. Argan oil (culinary grade) is also a prized item. You can pick them up at nearly any hanout (shop) selling dried goods. Avoid shops that appear only to sell to tourists as you are sure to be overcharged.
Best locations to purchase: across Morocco. Saffron comes almost exclusively from Tailouine. Depending on the region and the time of year you may be able to get better quality. For example dates are harvested in November/December in the Sahara and almonds appear in early spring throughout the north.
Rugs and Carpets
The most prized purchase for many visitors to Morocco? A rug, and for good reason! Moroccan rugs are beautiful and there are dozens of options and price ranges available. Even the most expensive rug bought in Morocco will be far less expensive than if it were purchased in the United States. This is one purchase you may want to save until the end of your trip. This will give you the opportunity to see what is out there and practice your bargaining skills- you’ll need them! While many purchases in Morocco can be done quite quickly, you should expect a rug purchase to take much longer. Take your time choosing, don’t show too much interest, bargain hard, and be willing to walk away if the price isn’t right. You also should remain realistic as many rugs can take several weeks to make.
Best locations to purchase: there are many different kinds of rugs, you’re more likely to find the best deals on the rugs that are local to the region you are in.
See More: 7 Tips for Buying a Rug in Marrakech
If you can’t make it to Morocco or you forgot to bring something home, you can find select items on my Etsy store.