The Markets in Tozeur: Ceramics are a great deal
I did most of my "souveneir " shopping in Tozeur. It was one of the last cities we visited so it made sense to buy it there rather than lug extra stuff all over the country with us! There is an area along the same road as many of the hotels that has a bunch of shops all in a row. I believe they call this area the zone touristique.
What to buy: The best deal by far, was for the pottery products. Bowls and dishes and pitchers all painted with beautiful designs. The bowl I bought was all of 2 dinars! ($2 about) The other thing I bought was a carved wooden chess set which was about 20 dinars.
What to pay: You must bargin or you will be ripped off! I wanted a bracelet and the 1st price given to me was 35 dinars! I talked him down to the 5 dinars it was worth.Related to:
- Budget Travel
If you are looking for something to bring home frorm the country, go to the souq and you have a big chance to find something nice or interesting.
But also when you have not the intention to buy anything, it's nice to stroll around in the winding streets of the old medina along the souqs. And who knows you will buy something anyway at the end after a lot of bargaining....
What to buy: Carpets, leather, brass & copper, clothes, perfume, spices, jewellery, pottery or a chica (waterpipe)
What I like, are the many streetstalls everywhere in Tunisia, selling almost everything. Are you looking for batteries, a plug, a special screw or what ever you need, look and ask around and you will find it.
This streetstall in Bizerte is selling all kind of herbs, spices and wheat. The most striking for me was the huge amount of dried red peppers hanging all around in the stall.
The souks of Tunis are the hugest ones, I've ever seen, but watch out for pickpockets and ... Bargain, BARGAIN, BARGAIN !!!
I bought very nice chess figurines, but you will have to bring time along, I was bargaining for about an hour.
What to pay: Maximum one third of the peice, and still you paid to much !!!
Soula Centre: THE place to buy souvenirs - with no haggling!!!!
It's quite a huge shopping complex in Sousse, close to the Medina which sells every kind of souvenir you can imagine all on 3 floors I believe... I suggest you buy all your souvenirs from here because you save the hassle of haggling out in the streets and the prices are sometimes cheaper than that you would have paid for!!!
What to buy: Anything from keychains to wooden statues to rugs to t-shirts to big hubbly bubbly bongs!
What to pay: Cheaper than stalls on the streets!
the little souk: Tozeur: berber carpets, plates and vases
it's a row of simple little shops opposite the Dar Cheriat Museum
What to buy: Berber carpets are not as precious or refined as the famous ones of Kairouan - but Berber carpets - woven in thick wool - with traditional geometric designs. The colours are very cheerful - so they also make wonderful wall-hangings.
Hand-painted plates and vases have designs ranging from traditional ones in blue tones (inspired by the decorations on the typical Tunisian ceramic tiles) to the Berber ones, painted in bright colours.
What to pay: about 20 $ for a small carpet, and 5 $ for a plate.
Art of haggling
The souks are where you test your ability to haggle, act, drink mint tea, roll your eyes and beat shopkeepers down to a price where honour and dignity are respected on both sides. Pay too much, and the shopkeeper will despise your stupidity. Offer too little and he will despise your greed. The secrets of success are good will, a sense of humour and especially patience. Now where are you going to put that silver coffee pot that you didn’t really need and which always drips anyway!?
One of north africas largest markets, there are plenty of bargains to be found. Stalls on all of the things you can think of.
What to buy: Look out for wooden ornaments - the tunisians make some lovely sculptures. Some of the leather (most of which is camels)is especially cheap.
What to pay: Dont forget to haggle for all of your goods(as mentioned in local customs tip)
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Port el Kantaoui marina.: Great bargains!!
Surrounding the marina at Port el Kantaoui are hundreds of shops,most selling the same things,you can buy lots of leather products from shoes,bags and jackets which are a good price compared to the uk.You can also buy pottery,sports clothes and trainers,drums and lots of things made from olive wood.The Tunisians love you to haggle the price with them,we always started by saying half the price they tell you.Related to:
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Kairouan carpets are the most renowned carpets in Tunisia. You can recognise them by its kind of point and by their typical hexagonal designs in the centre. In Kairouan you will find a lot of shops selling carpets, usually inside rich villas in the centre of the medina, like the one on the picture. So if you want to buy a carpet from Tunisia, go to Kairouan.
Shopping in Tunisia
Of course ill update this tip as soon as i do more mini trips around the country :-D
-I like the bracelets of the old medina in Tunis
-I don't like the stuff sold in Sidi Bou Said shops. And they are more expensive than in other places!!!
-In Monastir's Medina there is a very big big shop selling all kind of souvenirs and local craft. It was the place where i found more selection of everything
-Nabeul is famous for its pottery; Nabeul's Market is on Friday
-If you want to buy a carpet go to Kairouan; kairouan's carpets are the most renowned carpets in Tunisia
-There is nothing to buy in Bizerte
Be wise! Things like chicha, sculptures etc are found everywhere so its better to buy them at the end of the trip, otherwise you’ll have to carry them during all the trip :-(((
Aahahahah unfortunately I could tell you about other kind of markets here in Tunisia where I almost have a fidelity card but i can't. . . not while living in Tunisia!
Minerals in Chebika
If you are a collector of minerals (as I am), Chebika will be a paradise for you. The Atlas mountains are a natural mine of minerals and fossils. Here you can buy them at the lowest prices I've ever seen until now.
SOCOPA: Guaranteed quality, without the haggling
SOCOPA stores are government-run emporiums where you can buy local handicraft. It is strongly suggested to visit one before venturing into the medinas to haggle, since it will give you an idea of the price you should pay for items.
The other advantage of SOCOPA stores is that the quality of all the articles is guaranteed -- meaning you will not get ripped off. However, please note that contrary to nearly everywhere else in Tunisia, prices are fixed. The employees are usually very cooperative.
There are SOCOPA stores in the following cities (with phone number in parentheses):
TUNIS: Le Palmarium (71 348 860), El Omrane (71 288 439), Tunis-Carthage Airport (71 755 663)
DJERBA: Houmt Souk (75 650 040); Djerba Zarzis Airport (75 674 057)
NABEUL: Habib Thameur Avenue (72 285 007)
MONASTIR: Habib Bourguiba Mosque (73 462 190)Related to:
- Budget Travel
- Arts and Culture
Just in case you need some more camels, here is a list of souk days:
Ain Draham, Houmt Souk (Jerba) Kairouan, Maktar, Tataouine Miscellaneous items
Béja, Kasserine, Sedouikech (Jerba) Miscellaneous items
Adjum (Jerba) Jendouba, Sbeitla, Nefta.
Gafsa, Hammamet, Houmt Souk (Jerba) Siliana and Douz. There is a camel market in Douz
Djemmel, Mateur, Midoun (Jerba) Sfax, Tabarka, Zarzis, Monastir, Nabeul.
Djemmal-camels, Nabeul-livestock, fruits, souvenirs and spices
Monastir, Ben Gardane, El Mai (Jerba).
Monastir-carpets and rugs.
Sunday: El Jem, Korba, Ksar Hellal, Enfidha and Sfax. Miscellaneous items
the souk at the medina: Kairouan: allocha and margoum carpets
What to buy: Alloucha is a "rough" carpet of natural wool which uses mainly natural colours like white, beige, black, and all hues of browns. Traditionally there is a central lozenge with a floral design and large border of parallel stripes and geometric patterns. Margoum is another hand-woven local carpet which uses mainly geometric Berber designs. It's weight is lighter than the Alloucha and make uses of a multitude of bright colours.
What to pay: iot depends on how hard you bargain. Prices should depends on the number of knots per square metre.
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