The Grand Souk El Had is pretty easy to find, but rather than stress about it, just hail a Petite Taxi (the small orange ones), say a prayer and climb in. Don’t forget to haggle about the price before you get in though – from the beachfront is should only be a few Dirhams for 2 of you.
The first view you will get is the pink colored walls of the old fort which houses the Souk – you will almost certainly be dropped off at gate 8 or 10, this is where there is a small car park. One thing to be aware of is the number of “guides” who will all tell you they are government approved etc – choose one if you want to as they will be very entertaining and informative, but beware, they will take you to several friends shops to show you some bargains, have tea etc – but it will cost you.
On our first visit to the Souk, we took a guide and paid the price at the spice seller friend….but lessons learnt!
The Souk has everything you can imagine. From ceramics, fruit and veg, livestock, fish, shoes , gold, leather….you name it or want it and you can find it. There are literally thousands of shops. If you have done your homework and want something specific, do work out a price before you go, as unfortunately they will try and increase the prices for tourists. Just be prepared to walk away and not show you want the goods you are after – they will sell it if they want to and make a profit.
Our big tip is to be friendly and speak to the shop keepers, whilst it takes longer to do a tour around, you will be less stressed and not look like a tourist!
On our last visit, we went with Layla, a friend from the village. Going with a local Berber speaking person changed everything and the prices seemed to tumble to unbelievable levels.
Set aside a good few hours just to mill around – it does get quite crowded despite the size of it, but its all under cover and reasonably cool inside. You will really feel the culture and experience Moroccan life in here – so enjoy it.
One thing you can also do here is have a really nice and cheap meal. Go to the top end of the Souk and you will find the food hall (or ask somebody). It is full of locals and as you walk in you will be urged to try everything by the stall owners. We usually go to a small fish place around the back of the main area – the service is quick and the food is excellent and very cheap.