With its vibrant culture, rich history and stunning scenery, Morocco is a popular destination for travellers from all over the world. As with any foreign country, it’s important to be aware of local customs and laws, especially regarding alcohol consumption. Morocco is a predominantly Muslim country, and Islam influences many aspects of daily life, including attitudes towards alcohol. In this blog post, we’ll explore the rules and regulations surrounding alcohol consumption in Morocco and offer tips on how to drink responsibly during your visit.
Can I Drink Alcohol in Morocco
Understand Morocco’s religious and cultural context:
The majority of Moroccans follow Islam, and the Islamic faith discourages the consumption of alcohol. As a result, you may find that alcoholic beverages are not as readily available as in some other countries. It is important to respect local customs and beliefs when travelling in Morocco.
Alcohol availability in Morocco:
Although alcohol is not prohibited in Morocco, it is restricted and strictly regulated. You can find alcohol in most major cities and tourist destinations, especially in hotels, restaurants and bars catering to tourists. However, the availability of alcohol may be limited in more rural or conservative areas.
Legal drinking age:
The legal drinking age in Morocco is 18. If you’re under 18, it’s illegal to consume alcoholic beverages in the country.
Drinking in public:
It is generally acceptable to drink alcohol in licensed establishments such as bars, hotels and restaurants that have obtained the necessary permits. However, drinking in public places, especially in more conservative regions, is frowned upon and could lead to unwanted attention or legal problems. It’s best to enjoy your drinks within the confines of licensed premises.
Respect local customs:
When drinking alcohol in Morocco, it’s important to be respectful and considerate of local customs. Avoid excessive public displays of drunkenness or unruly behaviour, as this can be offensive to locals and lead to legal problems. Remember that modesty and decency are highly valued in Moroccan culture.
Be aware of Ramadan:
During the holy month of Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, and the consumption of food and drink, including alcohol, is not permitted in public during fasting hours. While non-Muslims are not required to fast, it is respectful not to eat or drink in public during this time out of consideration for those who are fasting.
Major tourist destinations such as Marrakech, Casablanca and Agadir have a more relaxed attitude towards alcohol, with many establishments catering to the preferences of tourists. These areas are likely to have a variety of restaurants and bars that serve alcohol.
As with any destination, it’s important to drink responsibly in Morocco. Know your limits, avoid binge drinking and be aware of your alcohol intake, especially if you’re in an unfamiliar environment. If you’re planning to drive, remember that Morocco has strict penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol prices and availability:
Alcoholic beverages in Morocco can be relatively expensive compared to neighbouring countries due to higher taxes and limited distribution. Expect higher prices, especially in tourist areas and upmarket establishments.
Traditional Moroccan drinks:
Morocco has a rich tradition of non-alcoholic beverages that are worth trying during your visit. Mint tea (known as “atai”) is the country’s most famous drink and is an integral part of Moroccan hospitality. You can also enjoy refreshing fruit juices and local mocktails that showcase the flavours of the region.
Alcohol is available from government-regulated stores known as “off-licences” or “liquor stores”. These shops are usually located in major cities and tourist areas. Note that the opening hours of these shops may vary and some may close during prayer times.
While drinking is more accepted in tourist areas, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings and the people around you. Drinking habits may differ between rural and urban areas, so be aware of local behaviour and adapt your behaviour accordingly.
Drinking in hotels:
Most hotels in Morocco serve alcohol in their bars and restaurants, even if they are not licensed to sell alcohol. This provides a safe and convenient option for tourists wishing to enjoy alcoholic beverages on hotel premises.
Buying alcohol as a non-Muslim resident:
If you are a non-Muslim resident of Morocco, you may be able to apply for a permit to purchase alcohol for personal consumption. The process may involve providing proof of residency and meeting certain guidelines.
During certain religious holidays or significant events, the sale and consumption of alcohol may be temporarily restricted or prohibited. It’s a good idea to check local news and updates on such occasions before planning your trip.
Alcohol and local cuisine:
Moroccan cuisine is renowned for its flavours and variety of dishes. Pairing your meals with local non-alcoholic drinks, such as fresh fruit juices or traditional mint tea, can complement the flavours and enhance your dining experience.
Interact with the locals:
One of the best ways to understand and appreciate Moroccan culture is to interact with locals. They can provide valuable insights into the customs and traditions surrounding alcohol, as well as sharing their favourite non-alcoholic beverages and cultural practices.
Can I Drink Alcohol in Morocco
Remember, the key to a memorable and enjoyable trip to Morocco is to embrace the local culture with an open mind and a respectful attitude. By familiarising yourself with the country’s customs and laws regarding alcohol, you can make the most of your experience while showing appreciation for the unique traditions that make Morocco a fascinating destination.