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Marrakech, Morocco’s bustling gem of a city, is bursting with rich history, aesthetic beauty, and vibrant culture all year round – and that includes the Islamic month of Ramadan.

You’re probably on this page because you’re curious what it’s like to visit Marrakech during a religious month. I’m here to reassure you that going to Marrakech during Ramadan will positively enrich your trip and experience!

<em>Two women walking on a street in Marrakech, Morocco</em> Best things to do in Marrakech during Ramadan

Two women walking on a street in Marrakech, Morocco

As a Muslim-majority city, Marrakech takes on a different vibe during Ramadan, with locals observing fasting, engaging in special prayers, and participating in various cultural traditions.

So in this blog post, I’ll delve into my personal experience of travelling to Marrakech during Ramadan, and share some of my top tips, recommended tours, must-visit places, and best things to do in Marrakech during Ramadan.

 

Fresh Moroccan mint tea served in a traditional "berrad" (teapot)

Fresh Moroccan mint tea served in a traditional “berrad” (teapot)

Do they celebrate Ramadan in Marrakech?

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and is deeply significant for Muslims around the world.

It’s a month of fasting, where Muslims abstain from eating and drinking from dawn until sunset. Fasting during Ramadan isn’t just about refraining from food and water, but also involves spiritual reflection, self-discipline, and acts of charity.

In Marrakech, Ramadan is an incredibly important month: locals eagerly await its arrival.

 

Riad La Maison Marrakech - one of the most beautifully designed places to stay in Morocco?

Riad La Maison Marrakech – one of the most beautifully designed places to stay in Morocco?

Where to Stay in Marrakech during Ramadan

There are plenty of incredible riads, hotels and guest houses all over Marrakech.

I stayed at the beautifully designed La Riad Maison Marrakech for a birthday treat, which was towards the higher end of costs, but we had an entire riad to ourselves and got to enjoy home-cooked Moroccan meals for breakfast and dinner.

The riad’s housekeeper Fatima was observing Ramadan, so it was really nice learning a little bit more about Ramadan from her firsthand. Here are some -top-rated options for where to stay in Marrakech during Ramadan:

Man cycling with a cardboard box on a bicycle with orange pink buildings in the background in Marrakech, Morocco

Man cycling with a cardboard box in the pink city of Marrakech, Morocco

Top Tips for Traveling to Marrakech during Ramadan

1. Respect the Local Customs and Traditions:

Ramadan is a sacred month for Muslims, so it’s important to be mindful during this time.

Dress modestly, try not to eat, drink or smoke in public during fasting hours, and respect local sensitivities.

I personally opted to cover up, clothes-wise, and didn’t eat or drink in public out of respect to the locals. The same goes for wearing clothes or shirts with words that might be controversial.

As a tourist, you’re unlikely to have any issues if you crack on with your behaviour as normal, but as the phrase goes: when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Be respectful!

2. Plan for Limited Business Hours:

Lots of businesses in Marrakech, including shops, restaurants, and tourist sites, will change their operating hours during Ramadan.

It’s important to plan ahead and check if places have reduced hours so you don’t get disappointed.

For example, Bahia Palace normally closes at 5pm, but during Ramadan, it closes at 3pm – and we witnessed other tourists be firmly denied entry at 2.45pm. So get to museums and landmarks early, then plan to wander the souks or walk around.

We had no issues with restaurants or cafés – all of them were open. Hardly any served alcohol – which wasn’t an issue for me, but if you fancy a drink, you’d be better off going to a hotel or a restaurant that specifically has alcohol on the menu.

3. Experience the Iftar Meal:

Iftar is the meal that breaks the fast after sunset, and it’s a very special time for locals.

Participating in an iftar meal can be a unique cultural experience, where you can experience traditional Moroccan dishes and witness the local camaraderie among.

Lots of restaurants and hotels in Marrakech offer special iftar menus – so you can opt to get involved with the cultural experience. Moroccan food is delicious, and what better way to experience it than as the locals do?

Two women walking on a street in Marrakech, Morocco

Two women walking on a street in Marrakech, Morocco

4. Embrace and Respect the Spiritual Atmosphere:

Marrakech during Ramadan is a time of increased spirituality, with locals observing special prayers, reciting the Quran, and seeking blessings. Embrace the spiritual atmosphere and deepen your cultural compassion by visiting local mosques, observing the Taraweeh prayers, and learning about local traditions.

It can be a deeply moving experience to witness the devotion and reverence of the Islamic community during this month. If you’re staying in a riad or homestay, your hosts – if Muslim – are highly likely to pray multiple times per day during Ramadan.

Give them space, peace and privacy to worship. Have respect and avoid behaviour that may disrupt their fasting or prayers.

5. Stay Hydrated and Respect Fasting Locals:

It’s fine to eat and drink in the day, but just remember locals are fasting during Ramadan. As mentioned, I’d recommend not eating or drinking in public out of respect for the local customs – unless you’re in your hotel or at a restaurant!

That said, it’s really important to stay hydrated, especially during the hot weather in April. When I went, it was over 30 degrees celsius in the day, which got extremely hot when we were walking around.

Make sure you carry a water bottle around and sip throughout the day discreetly. Stay hydrated, and consider bringing dissolvable electrolyte tablets with you if you get prone to dehydration.

Read on for the best things to do in Marrakech during Ramadan!

Badi Palace in Marrakech, a beautiful pink-stone palatial rui

Badi Palace in Marrakech, a beautiful pink-stone palatial ruin

Best Things To Do in Marrakech during Ramadan

1. Admire the Koutoubia Mosque:

The Koutoubia Mosque is the largest mosque in Marrakech and holds significant religious importance for the local community. During Ramadan, the mosque is illuminated – its stunning architecture is a true sight to behold!

Non-Muslims aren’t allowed inside the mosque, but you can still appreciate its beauty from the outside, admire its tree-lined boulevard, and witness the locals engaged in prayers and rituals.

Above the souks: pink rooftops of the Medina

Above the souks: pink rooftops of the Medina

2. Explore the Medina:

The Medina of Marrakech, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a labyrinth of narrow streets, bustling markets, and historic landmarks. During Ramadan, the Medina takes on a unique charm with locals preparing for iftar and carrying out interesting traditions.

Take a leisurely stroll through the Medina, immerse in the local culture, and experience the sights, sounds, and smells of this historical part of Morocco.

Admiring the stunning ruins and tilework at El Badi

Admiring the stunning ruins and tilework at El Badi Palace

3. Visit the Saadian Tombs:

The Saadian Tombs are one of Marrakech’s gems. Discovered in 1917, they date back to the 16th century. These tombs were rediscovered after being sealed up for centuries and offer an exhilirating glimpse into the city’s rich history.

Explore the beautifully preserved chambers and admire the intricate tilework and decorative details. Skip the queues with this combined Saadian Tombs & Palaces Marrakech Tour!

Love taking photos? Check out the 11 Best Instagram Spots to Visit in Marrakech!

A man standing in an archway at Badi Palace in Marrakech, a beautiful pink-stone palatial rui

Arched doorway in Badi Palace in Marrakech, a palatial ruin

4. Visit the Palaces: Bahia & Badi

Bahia Palace is a gorgeous palace and garden complex that showcases Moroccan architecture and design. Built in the 19th century, the palace features intricately tiled courtyards, lush gardens, and exquisite tilework.

During Ramadan, the palace was absolutely packed with tourists when I visited – it was almost overwhelming.

But in comparison, there were hardly any tourists at El Badi! Badi Palace was my favourite place in Marrakech – a maze of majestic ruins that became a serene oasis outside of the hustle and bustle. I appreciated the tranquility and beauty of Badi.

Side note – if you’re buying tickets at the sites, make sure you’ve got enough local currency in cash! They don’t currently accept card. (Updated: September 2023)

Fancy a local insight into the palaces? Check out this Marrakech Highlights: Majorelle, Bahía Palace, Mellah & Souks: Private Tour!

Bahia Palace in Marrakech, a 19th Century palace full of intricate tilework and elegant courtyards

Bahia Palace in Marrakech, a 19th Century palace full of intricate tilework and elegant courtyards

5. Enjoy Traditional Moroccan Cuisine:

Moroccan cuisine is renowned for its bold flavours, aromatic spices, and diverse influences. During Ramadan, food becomes a special community ritual as families come together for iftar meals after a day of fasting.

Trying traditional dishes like tagine, couscous, pastilla, and harira is one of the best things to do in Marrakech. Plenty of local restaurants and food stalls offer special Ramadan menus – so get involved! Why not do a Moroccan food tour?

And actually… why not try cooking Moroccan food while you’re at it?

6. Take a Traditional Moroccan Cooking Class:

Moroccan cuisine is a highlight of any trip to Marrakech. Taking a traditional Moroccan cooking class can be a fun way to experience local customs during Ramadan. Learn about typical ingredients, techniques, and flavours, and prepare traditional Moroccan dishes under the guidance of a local chef.

A cooking class is an educational (and yummy) activity that allows you to bring a piece of Marrakesh’s culinary culture back home with you. Here are some top-rated Marrakech cooking experienes:

7. Witness the Local Ramadan Traditions:

Ramadan is a time of rich cultural traditions in Marrakech, and witnessing these traditions gives us a unique insight into the local way of life.

Locals are engaging in acts of charity, such as giving food or money to the less fortunate, which is a really important aspect of Ramadan.

As mentioned earlier, you can witness the Taraweeh prayers, which are special prayers held in the evenings, and experience the community worshipping together.

8. Visit the Mellah (Jewish Quarter):

The Mellah is the historic Jewish quarter of Marrakech and offers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s diverse cultural heritage. Explore the narrow streets, visit the Jewish cemetery, and admire the beautifully decorated synagogues.

During Ramadan, the Mellah takes on a special atmosphere with locals and tourists alike coming together to celebrate the spirit of the month. Marrakech’s culture feels built on spiritual respect.

9. Visit the YSL Museum and Jardin Majorelle:

The YSL Museum and Majorelle Garden are cultural cornerstones in the heart of Marrakech.

The garden, known for its vibrant blue buildings, exotic plants, and tranquil vibe, was designed by French painter Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and was later revived by fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent.

During Ramadan, the garden offers a peaceful retreat where you can relax and appreciate the beauty of nature. Meanwhile the YSL Museum, designed by architects Studio KO, is well worth the visit.

Not only is it stunning as a building, but you learn about how Yves Saint Laurent was deeply influenced by Marrakech and Moroccan culture, and brought those lines and colours to the world through fashion. The Berber Museum was a delight too!

I really recommend buying the combined ticket so you can see all three destinations in one easy go.

10. Unplug out in the Desert and Mountains:

If you’re ready to escape the hustle and bustle of the souks for a day, then the stunning Atlas Mountains are nearby, ready and waiting to embrace you for a desert experience.

Plenty of tours will pick you up from your hotel and take you out of the city on a short drive to get into the sandy wilds of the desert. (Please note, I don’t personally advocate riding animals like camels due to animal ethics.)

Better yet, if you fancy a birds-eye view, why not ride a hot air balloon?

11. Experience Marrakech Nightlife during Ramadan:

While the nightlife scene in Marrakech is definitely a bit more toned-down during Ramadan due to the fasting observance, there are still lots of fun experiences to be had.

After the evening prayers, the city comes alive at night, with locals and tourists coming together for lively discussions and festivities.

The bustling streets of the Medina are aglow with beautiful lanterns and lights, and you can see the local community engaging in social gatherings and entertainment.

Lots of traditional music and dance performances take place during Ramadan, giving you a peek into the city’s cultural heritage and ways of creative expression.

Beneath an umbrella a Moroccan vendor selling fresh fruits and bananas on the road side, with a vibrant blue door and bicycle in the background

Should You Travel to Marrakech During Ramadan? …The Answer is Yes!

Travelling to Marrakech during Ramadan can be a unique, enriching experience – it definitely was for me.

What’s it like in Marrakech during Ramadan?

I found the city felt introspective and reverent, and I personally learned so much about Islam and developed a much deeper understanding of Muslim culture and expression after visiting Marrakech during Ramadan.

From experiencing the local traditions and delicious cuisine, to exploring the historic landmarks and museums, there are so many incredible things to do in Marrakech during Ramadan.

By respecting the local customs, planning your activities in advance, and immersing yourself in the culture, you’ll have an incredible time.

I hope you found this guide to the best things to do in Marrakech during Ramadan useful!

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Are you planning to take photos on your trip? Check out my guide, 11 Best Instagram Spots to Visit in Marrakech!

Mel Legarda

Melissa Legarda is the founder of illumelation. She has worked as a travel blogger, creator and writer since 2015, and has collaborated with well-known brands worldwide. She has helped over 1,100+ students improve their travel photography skills since launching her creative courses. Her mission is to encourage and empower others to travel and create more. Find her on Instagram.

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