Source: Damien Ayers
Set in a charming village, Essaouira is known as the more mellow alternative to Morocco’s usually adventurous cities. Aside from the beaches, people flock to this cultural gem to experience shopping in the souks. If you ever catch yourself in Essaouira, come by and shop in the following recommended spots.
1. Traditional Souks
Source: Colin Houston
Visiting the souks is a great way to explore the city and to buy local wares at much lesser prices. You can find plenty of gorgeous artisan crafts here: from babouches and embroidered tapestries, to Argan oil and a myriad of spices.
2. Argan Oil Cooperatives
Speaking of Argan oil, you can acquire this liquid gold anywhere in Morocco. Essaouira happens to be where most of its trees are located, paving the way for the establishment of several women-run cooperatives in the city.
3. Had-Draa Market
Had-Draa is considered as one of the biggest weekly markets in Morocco. Open only on Sundays, this is the place to go if you want to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables, plus livestock and inexpensive souvenirs. Just skip to the sides if you hear “balek,” which translates to “get out of the way.”
- Address: 30 km. from Essaouira off to Marrakech
- How to Get There: Ride bus from Essaouira for 5 Moroccan Dirham.
- Opening Hours: Sundays from 5:00 am onwards.
4. Raffia Craft
Owned by local raffia designer Miro, this colorful shop sells high quality woven sandals and shoes made from dried and dyed palm tree leaves. Tourists have the chance to buy at lower prices, as the shoe line exports directly to European stores along with higher premiums.
- Address: 82 Rue d’Agadir, Medina
- Opening Hours: Monday to Saturdays from 10:00 am – 7:00 pm. Sundays from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.
- Telephone: +212-524-78-36-32
5. Galerie Des Arts Frederic Damgaard
Galerie Des Arts was opened by Frederic Damgaard during the sixties when Essaouira was just starting out as a creative hotspot. Using resinous material from the Thuja tree, he created colorful and whimsical paintings. The gallery also serves as depositary to the works of local artists and wood sculptors in the city.
6. Basma Boutique
Source: Mike Prince
Basma Boutique is a tiny stall along Skala that will grab your attention. It sells an interesting batch of curated curios, but their bestsellers include cute leather bags and flats in lively colors. The business woman, Hafida, is more than friendly and willing to help you buy the right piece.
- Address: 20 Bis Rue Skala, Medina
- Telephone: +212-524-78-34-66
- Website: https://www.facebook.com/Boutique-basma-913868232019289/
7. Galerie Jama
Essaouira doesn’t lack in places that supply quality local handiworks. One place is Galerie Jama, a specialty store owned by Mustapha El Boussaidi. He began making carpets at the age of 11. Inside you’ll see curated pieces of earthenware, silk belts, and tribal carpets. Lovers of Berber artistry will find the shop worth the money.
Have a good trip and travel!