I was booked on a tour to Morocco on July 1, 2012. The tour was mediocre in the way that the food was just ok, the peddlers were unbearable and the trip was long….but the worst part was that the tour guide took us to some shops in Morocco including a rug store called Traditional Art Gallery. I thought it would be cool to buy a rug there to remember our trip which they were going to make with colors that I picked and I would receive it in 5 months for $3500. So I find out that the tour guide got a commission on the rug I purchased (hmm…), the bad part is I never received the rug so I got Visa to put a claim on to dispute the charge and Traditional Art Gallery doctored up papers to say that I refused it at the post office when it came. I never received a call or anything stating that the rug was there, nor did they ever send it. I checked the tracking number they used with the post office and it was a fraud. My bank took them to arbitration but never gave Visa my proof that the tracking number was a fraud and we lost. So not only was I screwed by VISA, the rug company got their money, the tour guide got his commission and I got NO rug. That was a very expensive tour and really wasn’t that much fun. Don’t buy anything from Morocco.
What to buy: Nothing!
Traditional Art Gallery sells many items but specializes in rugs that are handmade locally.
What to buy: Don't buy anything from these people. Very unreputable!
What to pay: I spent almost $3000 for a rug that has never been delivered and it has been over 3 months since I purchased it!
not relevant - sold by lots of different street hawkers.
What to buy: Beautiful 'geodes' split in half rocks that contain wonderful crystal formations in superb colours. We saw rocks whose exteriors were white mainly, but also saw one grey one. (I wish we had bought this when offered it!)
What to pay: 3 to 300 Euro
Taken to this establishment by the excursion provider, Julia Travel, via its Costa del Sol sightseeing brochure. The day trip to Tangier appealled but the shopping was only an incidental part of the tour. It was not what attracted us to buy the excursion or risk the VERY long coach journey, plus ferry, there and back.
Shop has 3 floors but the Julia Tours Guide, Enrique, took us all up to the 3rd floor where the carpets are arrayed.
What to buy: Almost anything can be bought - amazing food, fruit, vegetables; clothes; souvenir hats, jewellery, carpets - but the BEST THINGS in my honest assessment are the SUPERB geodes BUT NOT AT THIS SHOP UNLESS YOU ARE VERY CAREFUL AND KEEN EYED! (We were cheated when we chose, in a rush, so I suppose we are partly guilty, a rug (a small carpet).)
Geodes are rocks with beautiful crystal formations inside. Unsure IF these are legally sold since they are a finite local resource.... but street sellers, shops, many people offer them for sale.
We bought one and could easily have bought more! We are very keen on natural rocks, fossils, all that sort of stuff!
Even if not a rock fancier, I think these broken stones with their lovely interiors would appeal to many people with a love of beautiful things!
What to pay: Any price from 5 Euros to 100 Euros, depending on quality, size and where one buys it! Some street sellers start by asking for 50 Euro, some start at 10! It's hard for a non-expert to see whether the first is is simply owing to a keener profit motive of the first or a quality difference!
For the carpets, any sum from £400 / 500 Euro to any price at all - the carpets are marked in thousands of the local currency.
If you are considering a day trip to Tangier just for shopping, but will be in Grenada as well, in the near future, you may want to visit the shops near the cathedral in Grenada as an alternative There are two specific alleyways which sell all Morrocan goods. We found basicly the same items in these shops as those offered in Tangier and with a much lower level of hard sell from the shopkeepers. Consider also that return trip to tangier was 40 Euro per person.
What to buy: Leather purses, wallets, carvings, metalcraft.
What to pay: In Grenada you might pay less as the starting price in Tangier is very high and you must negotiate very hard to get a reasonable price.
The shop is on three floors, top floor is full of beautiful oriental rugs, second floor crammed with wooden carvings, boxes, silver jewellery, and ground floor was full of traditional Morrocan clothing.
What to buy: We were taken to the shop by our tour guide, Hassan (a local university lecturer). After a rug demonstration I was tempted by a beautiful 150 x 202 oriental rug. The price started at 3,000 euros, immediately slashed to 1,400 euros as a "special price", we left paying 550 euros. The rug was wrapped up in a neat package, small enough to take on the plane.
What to pay: 550 euros seemed a fair price to me, given the quality of the crafted rug. We also bartered on a Jallabad, which started at 120 euros, immediately cut to 60 euros, we left the shop with it having paid 18 euros. It was great fun bartering with the sales people, they were really friendly and the whole experience worth every penney,
You can buy leather goods in Tangier but you need to be careful and the quality can vary. There is also pottery, jewellery, blankets and rugs as well as other crafts. You need to bargain otherwise you will get ripped off but it can be fun. Be careful of what you can and cannot take through customs and do not trust the shop keepers to advise you. Do your homework before you buy. Ivory, snakeskin, coral and tortoise shell are all banned products.
There is no shortage of ceramics in Morocco and the Medina in Tangier is no exception. While it is unlikely you will find really good quality items here, you certainly won’t be disappointed with every day items. There are tagines, bowls, little pots and cups – small enough to carry home and they make great gifts. Just be sure to bargain as they will go a little on the high side for their quality.
One of the reasons I decided to take the day trip to Tangier was to buy Oriental rugs. I love Oriental rugs. My mom had nothing but Orientals when I was growing up (photo 4 for one of hers)
After lunch the tour guides took us up to the third floor of a building (I do not remember the name of the shop) where rugs were hanging all around the room. After a short explanation of how the rugs were made, they started spreading out the rugs on the floor. Soon it was layered several rugs deep.
I had in mind to buy two of my daughters that I thought would appreciate them each a small rug. After I did that, I saw a rug that I could not resist that was primarily yellow and greenish in color (most of the rugs were blue or red tones) and bought it for myself.
After we got finished, it was quite late. I looked briefly at the stuff on the 2nd floor (leather goods mostly) but did not buy any. Since I was the only one in the group seriously interested in rug buying, all the others in the group had left, and I was worried that I would not be able to find my way back to them. But two of the guides escorted me back to the bus (fending off the steerers from other shops and street vendors) and I did make it back to the group and to Spain and my mom.
What to buy: Oriental rugs. The guide on the main tour explained to us how to care for the rugs when we were driving through some of the more featureless parts of Spain.
What to pay: You have to bargain. I'm not sure if I got a good deal or not, but I did my best.
We went to the same 3 floor rug shop (mentioned in someone else's rug buying tip), brought here by our tour guide, Hassan (supposedly a history professor at the local university)....and then on to the spice shop presentation.
What to buy: The rugs were absolutely beautiful, and if the representations are truthful, truly a good buy. I purchased a 3x5 silk hand-knotted rug, which started at $950. US. Bargained down to $300. US and, after they expertly wrapped it, it fit into my husband's backpack for the trip home. Have been told by wiser and more knowledgeable rug owners that I obtained a great buy. At any rate, the rug is absolutely beautiful. I wished they had an online presence but they claim they can't sell on the internet.
What to pay: 1/3 or less of their original price
I drove from Tangier 18 km westwards to Cap Spartel - the most north-western point of Africa. I found a few street stalls full of clothes, local craft and souvenirs put around a parking lot .
What to buy: I liked some alabaster figures and leather containers for water but being at the beginning of expensive in total trip I didn't start to bargain and didn't buy anything in Tangier.
What to pay: Generally , the first price was lower than in Tangier and by the Hercules Cave. The final price depends on your bargaigning skills.
I didn't shop (except short window shopping) in Tangier for at least three reasons:
- I was at the beginning of 30-day trip around Morocco = I had enough time to buy some gifts or local craft somewhere else,
- I never do shopping in touristy, especially border areas which usually offer neither local nor inexpensive craft,
- I was told that Tangier is quite expensive (right!) and uncomfortable place to do any shopping by a visitor (mostly right!).
I drove to visit the Hercules Caves and I found a few stalls with more fake than local craft there. First prices were even higher than in Tangier's medina.
What to buy: I liked only some simple clay pottery like large barrel-shaped plant pots easily to find in... OBI Home & Garden supermarket, 3 min. away my home :-). But if you like figures of Hercules or knights riding a camel, woolen caps (like on my picture), very colorful ceramic dishes and other displayed goods... start to bargain and be very patient to finally make possibly good deal.
In Tangier I would eventually buy... simply a set of nice postcards.
What to pay: I didn't want to buy anything by the Hercules Caves. So I didn't start time consuming bargaigning. Anyway, I would expect higher final prices at this place than in others in Morocco.
Hit the market in Tangier any night and you can pick up some pretty unique gear. I got some class morroccan pointy slippers and a arabic style gown which now looks great under a blazer for a night out at home, wioth the slippers the comfiest if ever owned! Souvenirs are alos readily available. The prices are next to nothing at the market.
They also have shops that sell nike trainers for a third of the preice as the EU, but be warned, if you go in you may as well buy something! we went in and got followed all the way to our tent and back again the next day for a pair of air max.
What to buy: Local clothin, sports goods.
What to pay: less than 2 quid
As part of our day tour to Tangiers we visited a carpet dealer. The sales pitch was strong, with intense bargaining. As usual, I was terrible at bargaining! I'm sure my purchase made the seller's day! Oh well, I do enjoy my rug!
After our carpet demonstration we were ushered into a huge area where there was just tons of merchandise. Everything from Leather goods and clothing to beautifully carved wooden furniture and ornate pottery and dishes. We were all left there for a while, hoping we would find something we wanted to buy. I found the prices to be quite steep.