The souks (covered markets) of Marrakech form the teeming, bewildering sub-conscious of the city, a vast network of alleyways pierced periodically by shafts of sunlight. Each souk has a different specialty, be it rugs, leather goods, spices, metalwork or clothing. Haggling is compulsory; the first price the merchant mentions is usually a fanciful multiple of what they actually expect. French is handy but money talks and the traders know it often speaks English.
Sales gambits range from simple shouts to elaborate showcase routines served up with steaming tea. If you want to explore your luggage allowance you’ll find one of the largest assortments of carpets in the world, while more portable gift suggestions include filigreed tea glasses, distinctive pointed leather “slippers”, brass lanterns, serving platters, chess sets and baskets.
The souks start at the northern edge of Djemaa el Fna. Once you’ve entered it's best to simply wander the narrow, labyrinthine alleyways at will, and if you exit where you entered consider it a lucky bonus!