Laid-back Essaouira may have fews shops, but if you would like to spend longer chilling than haggling, then the seaside city’s hassle-free souqs are for you. All of Morocco’s popular merchandise are often found in Essaouira’s compact, easily navigable medina, along with side local specialties like thuya wood, vibrant local art, raffia shoes, and organic argan oil, the country’s liquid gold.

Handicrafts shop, Essaouira, Morocco. Image by Federica Gentile / Getty Images
Find handwoven bags and baskets purchasable along Essaouira’s streets
Best for arts and crafts

Essaouira is renowned for its skilled artisans turning fragrant thuya wood – a conifer native to northwest Africa – into all manner of boxes and ornamental objects, often inlaid with other woods or mother-of-pearl. Watch the marquetry artists in action at the Coopérative Artisanale des Marqueteurs.

Mashi Mushki – ‘no problem’ within the local dialect – may be a quirky gallery-cum-shop selling a variety of labor by local artists and artisans, including colorful paintings and prints, handwoven throws, bags, and jewelry. A minimum of 10% of its profits attends Project 91, which was found out by owner Jeremy Davies and organizes vocational education for young locals helping them find employment.

Danish collector Frederic Damgaard first visited Essaouira within the 1960s and decided to remain, opening the eponymous Galerie d’Art Damgaard in 1988. This pioneering art space still showcases the work of local painters and wood sculptors, like Mohamed Table.

Lovers of retro furniture could get through a couple of hours at Elixir Gallery (22 Ave distill), housed in Abdellatif Rharbaoui’s former restaurant. Over the years, he’s amassed a treasure trove of fabulous vintage finds – devour such relics as a Vernor Panton lamp, film posters, or antique Berber doors for a memorable souvenir. If it’s too big to hold, he’ll ship it to any corner of the world

Women wandering through the Carpet Market in Essaouira, Morocco. Image by leuntje / Getty Images
Shop for carpets of all shapes, sizes, and hues in Essaouira
Best for carpets and blankets

Can’t tell a boucherouite from a Beni Ourain? Head to Galerie Jama, where the knowledgeable owner Mustapha El Boussaidi has been working with Moroccan carpets since he was 11. He specializes in gorgeous vintage pieces – less carpet, more floor art – and may tell you its age, origin, and therefore the meaning behind seemingly random markings. It’s a no-pressure experience, and costs are fair for the standard, but there’s always some flexibility.

Housed in an old workshop, Pop-In (79 Derb Chbanat) is an offshoot of Mashi Mushki across the road, selling a mixture of old and new carpets and sequin-studded handers (Moroccan wedding blankets) at reasonable prices.

In the right-hand corner of Souq Joutier, Abdel’s no-name wardrobe-sized emporium is piled high with vintage silk blankets, handers, and natural-colored wool blankets complete with pom-poms. Mustapha at Koulchi (1 Rue Jbala) does a less expensive, contemporary combat these traditional blankets in brightly colored cotton and wool – and may even make them order

Sandals on North African tiles. Image by Ser Borakovskyy / Shutterstock
Pick up beach essentials and other accessories in town
Best for fashion and accessories

Essaouira’s first concept store, the super-stylish Histoire de Filles is that the brainchild of Parisian Christelle Pailly. Expect to seek out a curated mixture of Moroccan and Morocco-based designers of clothing for men, women, and youngsters, including Max & Jan, Las Chicas, Lalla bags, Luc Baille jewelry, and Cote Bougie candles.

Doum palm fibers have long been woven into simple sandals and shoes in Essaouira and may be found everywhere the medina; Rafia Craft sells more stylish designs for a fraction of the worth back home. Or treat your feet to some comfy babouche slippers handmade by Younes (Souq El Gazel, #181) in leather and suede, plain and decorated, pointed and round, in every color imaginable.

For arm candy, try Mohamed Ouchen’s shop (4 Rue El Attarine) for handcrafted leather bags, alongside boots, belts, and poufs, or visit Rachid (22 Rue Laalouj) for pretty woven baskets decorated in sparkly sequins or bling embroidery to hold your shopping.

Tara (45 Rue El Attarine) is that the place for eye-catching traditional jewelry from the award-winning Omar Samat, and with a couple of days’ notice, he can custom-make rings and earrings. At Corallo (176 Ave Mohammed Ben Abdallah), Stefano from Naples handcrafts one-of-a-kind pieces from silver and natural stones, including pearl, topaz, or turquoise.

Forgotten your beach gear? Gipsy Surfer stocks everything you would possibly need, from sunglasses to surfboards, alongside their own-design T-shirts made in Essaouira.

Close up of hands holding argan oil nuts. Image by Jeremy Woodhouse / Getty Images
Argan oil made up of pressed nuts are often utilized in cooking or to appease dry skin
Best for oils and spices

Sidi Yassine’s small boutique may be a showcase for his or her superb organic argan oil products. The 100% natural body oils are perfect for pampering dry skin and are scented with essential oils such as lavender, rose and ginger. The lip balms make great gifts. There are culinary-grade cold-pressed oils too, delicious drizzled on salads, and moreish amlou, the ‘Moroccan Nutella’.

Next door to Histoire des Filles, Christelle’s husband Pasha runs cafe-cum-boutique, L’Atelier. Take a sightseeing separate a fresh juice or smoothie and a bite from the vegetarian-friendly chalkboard menu, then refill on organic honey bursting with health-giving properties, olive and argan oil, spices, and homemade jams. They also stock covetable homeware from the likes of Los Angeles Verre Beldi and therefore the cooperative Arts Tissage Tam.

Pyramids of spices, Essaouira, Morocco. Image by Federica Gentile / Getty Images
Look out for perfectly formed pyramids of spices to assist you to create a tagine reception

You’ll find all manner of potions, powders, and pyramids of freshly ground spices in herbalist Seddiki Mohamed’s aromatic shop (203 Marche aux Epices). Look out for Ras El Hanout, a classic mixture of pungent spices used for stews and grilling, also as cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, paprika, and saffron which will assist you to create tasty tagines in your kitchen.

At Au Petit Bonhomme de la Chance, you’ll find everything you would like for a DIY hammam visit – black soap, mineral-rich rhassoul clay, scrubbing mitts – alongside herb tea blends, natural perfumes, and vitamin-filled cactus seed oil. The owner, Habiba Ajaoui, is that the co-author of Discovering the Spices of Morocco, available in English and French.

The tiny shop Villa Maroc sells Domaine Villa Maroc cosmetic and culinary argan and olive oils from their farm, certified by Ecocert.

Lantern lights for sale in the old market in Essaouira, Morocco. Image by Gavin Quirke / Getty Images
Rummage through Essaouira’s markets permanently bargains © Gavin Quirke / Getty Images
Best for souq shopping

The Sunday joutiya (flea market) is simply a brief walk from Bab Doukkala, where stalls stretch to the horizon selling everything from car parts to costume jewelry and secondhand clothes to cycles. you’ll bag a bargain if you’re prepared to rummage.

Less about shopping and more about getting a taste of rural life, the sprawling Sunday souq at Had Draa, around 30km from Essaouira, is as authentic because it gets. Berber farmers travel from miles around for the livestock auction – camels included – to sell their produce and catch up over a glass of tea. The definition of farm-to-fork, this market has an on-site abattoir, butchers’ stalls, and grills for when people get peckish. It gets packed so move out of the way if you hear a cry of ‘balek!’ (‘watch out!’). There’s a smaller, more manageable market at Ida Ougourd on Wednesdays.