This is an important question that we had when we were planning our summer vacation and we couldn’t really find any real information to answer our question. A quick google search turns up very little useful information about the subject and many of the results are message boards full of opinions and little fact (some of which are years old). On the other hand, the Rough Guide to Morocco says that it is “an unsatisfactory time to travel” and that “the month-long closure of so many eating places can also make like difficult if you are dependent on restaurants to eat.”
From our experience, the Rough Guide’s opinion was wrong! We found Ramadan an interesting and fun time to travel. Many Moroccans were very friendly, including one group at a restaurant including us while they broke their fast, and for the most part, Ramadan had little effect on our travels.
To correct the opinion of the Rough Guide, here are a few tips that I picked up while traveling during Morocco:
- Tourist attractions close earlier than normal (many at 3p versus 5p).
- Restaurants in tourist areas (Eg. around the Djemaa el Fna or in Essouira) operate normal hours. This includes being open for lunch and afternoon tea. Also, for those in Marrakesh, the juice vendors are in the Djemaa el Fna.
- Restaurants in other areas (Eg. Gueliz neighborhood in Marrakesh) are likely to be closed until 8/9p.
- Riads do not change their breakfast (and/or tea) schedule.
- Hammams do not change their schedule. The tourist hammams (like Hammam Ziani) will still serve tea & snacks.
- If you are worried about travelling, buses and trains do not change their schedules.
During our entire journey, there was only two times when we ran into Ramadan related problems. The first (and biggest) was trying to find food in Gueliz after returning from Essouira. It was right at sundown and nothing was open. We finally found a nice restaurant and the staff essentially let us join them in breaking the fast. They were really nice and gave us harira and sweetmeats to have with the meal that we ordered. The second one occurred in Tangiers when we had trouble finding a store to purchase some water mid-morning. About this second time, I am not sure that it was actually Ramadan that caused the stores to be closed (it could have been the fact that it was about 10a). At only one other point did Ramadan make us change our plans … we wanted to eat at a little place in Tangiers, called the Restaurant Ahlen, (for the second time) but they were closed during the day because of Ramadan.