This year Ramadan runs from Friday 27th June to Monday 28th July. It’s very tough on the locals (most of whom are Muslims), as they cannot consume food or drink, or smoke, during daylight hours, which is far more difficult and tiring to achieve in the long hours of summer light. However, they are very gracious and never complain about this. Needless to say, the visitor is best advised, out of politeness, to be discreet about eating, drinking and smoking during these times.
In response to the oft-asked question,’can you get alcohol during Ramadan?’ the situation is this:
1. Yes in most restaurants and hotels where they normally serve alcohol (note that many restaurants in the old town, especially in the Medina and on Place Djemaa el fna, are not licensed at all).
2. Yes, you can buy bottles in the French supermarkets, but beware of restricted hours. Early to mid evening is usually the safest bet.
3. STOPPRESS: the rules in the largest supermarkets are as follows: in the Marjane hypermarket, you will need your passport. The uniformed chap at the desk will take details. Access to Metro (known as Makro in Europe) requires a passport on all visits, Ramadan, alcohol or not.
In many ways Ramadan is a good time to visit Marrakech, as there is great joy when dusk descends and Moroccans celebrate the end of each day’s fasting. And there is also a tremendous choice of non-alcoholic drinks: a huge range of fresh fruit juices, including strawberry, mango and of course, orange; and an interesting choice of herbal teas and tisanes.