Souk al-Had is one of the biggest covered markets in Morocco. It’s situated in Agadir, in the south-west of the country, a city that was devastated by an earthquake in 1960 which has now become the Moroccan beach destination par excellence.
You can virtually find any product at Souk al-Had, from fresh fruits and vegetables to cosmetics and crafts. Locals tend to go to there to get fresh ingredients, whereas tourists are normally the ones who stop at the babuchoues and leatherware stalls. You can also buy ceramics and other traditional Moroccan products. Get ready, it’s time to bargain!
Here are a few tips for souking like a pro:
- Photographing: unfortuntately some merchants won’t allow you to take pictures of their stalls, they can even come to you all angry if you try, so ask permission first or be very discreet with your camera.
- Spices: the colourful spice stalls are very eye-catching. Tumeric, ginger, cumin, saffron, paprika… they are what gives that distinct flavour to the delicious Moroccan traditional dishes, which also have incredible health benefits. A very good souvenir for your family.
- Carpets: experts claim that it’s very important to check the knots carefully before buying, although the complexity of this purchase goes far beyond that. Carpet-buying could be even considered an art: in fact, the transaction can take a few days until it’s completed. The first step? Learn about all the different carpet kinds and know clearly what you want (type, size, weight, price).
- Argain oil: this popular plant oil comes from the argan tree, which is endemic from Morocco. Luckily this oil is substantially cheaper at the souks (40 dirham or 4 euro for a small bottle) than anywhere else. The darkest type (from roasted argan seeds) is for culinary uses and the lighter type is for cosmetic uses (to nourish your skin and hair). If you get the chance, go see how they extract the oil from the seeds with the traditional method.
- Moroccan lipstick: it’s the perfect cosmetic to buy in bulk and give to your girlfriends as a souvenir. For 10 dirham or 1 euro, you get a funny purple, orange, green or blue lipstick that in reality looks pink when you apply it, although the pink tonality will depend on your body temperature. It contains some argan oil and it’s considered semipermanent because they add some henna in it, which makes the colour last much longer.