From local antiques and souvenirs to traditional spices and clothing, souks are not only the best places to shop for unique finds, but also to soak in some local culture. Luckily for us, there are so many souks to visit across the region – each with their own charm. Here are 7 souks in the Middle East & Northern Africa region you need to visit – at least once…
1. Khan Murjan Souk, Dubai
This 14th century-style Khan Murjan Souk is truly a hidden gem – and one of the coolest souks in Dubai! Drawing inspiration from all corners of the Arab world, you can find everything including perfumes, antiques, clothes, herbs, and more!
Where: Dubai, UAE
2. Souk Al Mubarakiya, Kuwait
No matter what it is you’re looking for, you’ll probably find it at Souk Al Mubarkiya – one of the oldest souks in Kuwait. Get ready to bargain your way through this souk, which is a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Apart from shopping, you’ll also find a variety of local restaurants serving authentic Kuwaiti food – yum!
3. Jemaa El Fna, Marrakesh
Morocco is known for all of its souks and markets, but we believe Jemaa El Fnaa trumps them all! This outdoor souk in Marrakesh is definitely one to tick off your bucket lists. Open from morning to night, you can expect to meet snake charmers, storyteller, acrobats,live entertainers and more!
Where: Marrakesh, Morocco
4. Souk Al Zal, Riyadh
Tucked away in the Ad Dirah neighbourhood, this Saudi souq is a true hidden gem in the busy capital. You’ll find lots of traditional artifacts and antiques, clothes, pots, handmade carpets, swords and other armour, incense and even live antique auctions at Souk Al Zal historic artisan market.
Where: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
5. Souq Al Qattara, Abu Dhabi
Souq Al Qattara is a historic market that has been renovated and reopened – and is now one of our favourite souks in the Middle East region. Whether you’re looking for traditional clothing, luqaimat, handmade items, Arabic coffee or spice – you will find it all here. There’s even a traditional handicrafts market that takes place at Souk Al Qattara every weekend.
Where: Al Ain, Abu Dhabi
6. Muttrah Souq, Oman
Walk along the Muttrah Corniche and you’ll find Muttrah Souq – one of the oldest and most-frequented marketplaces in Oman. You’ll find everything here, from souvenirs and Bedouin jewellery to local garments and Omani artworks. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in Muscat.
Where: Muscat, Oman
7. Khan El Khalili, Cairo
One of the most famous tourist attractions in Egypt, the Khan El Khalili souk is definitely a must-visit. You’ll find everything from jewellery and clothing to souvenirs and home decor at this traditional market place.
Where: Cairo, Egypt
Cover image credit: Via Instagram | @okmuscat_off