Morocco is quite a liberal country in comparison to other Muslim nations, but there are still some important differences to bear in mind if it is your first time here.
Is Morocco a dry country? Morocco allows the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol must be purchased and consumed in licensed hotels, bars, and tourist areas. You can also buy alcohol in most major supermarkets. The alcohol section is usually in a separate room from the main supermarket. Any attempt to purchase or consume alcohol outside of these areas could result in problems with the police.
Licensed bars tend to have no windows because, while drinking is allowed, you are not allowed to be seen by those outside. There are a small number of bars and restaurants which permit drinking outside, but only tourists are allowed to drink in public. Many Moroccans drink alcohol but are restricted to drinking indoors.
You can legally bring alcohol into Morocco with you, but there are limits. The exact limits are not clear but it is generally accepted that you can bring 1 litre of alcohol in with you. Whether this refers to 1 litre of pure alcohol, or 1 litre of spirits, is not clear. Therefore, we recommend playing it safe and not bringing more than 1 bottle of wine or spirits. We don’t recommend bringing more than this, because all luggage is x-rayed by customs upon arrival (both at airports and ports) and trying to bring in too much alcohol could lead to problems.
However, alcohol is expensive in Morocco due to taxes, so it will be much more cost-effective for you to bring alcohol with you from your home country if you are on a budget and plan to drink during your time in Morocco.
There is a zero tolerance policy on drinking and driving, so hire a taxi company in Morocco instead.
Possessing, selling, and/or using illegal drugs may result in a long prison sentence, coupled with an expensive fine. The rules in Morocco are quite strict in drugs and you should avoid getting involved while you are here. Morocco has a problem with drugs smuggling in the north of the country, and there are regular police checkpoints. Tourists travelling in licensed tourist transport (like us) are not bothered by the police, but the police are always on the lookout.
Is hashish legal in Morocco? No it is not legal, but it is widely-used and tolerated. Morocco is the biggest producer of cannabis in the world, and it is widely grown in the Rif Mountains south of Tangier and near Chefchaouen. People often travel from Tangier to Chefchaouen for this reason. Bear in mind that in Chefchaouen, people are likely to approach you and offer you hashish on the streets. You should be careful with these people, but they will not harass you because what they are doing is illegal. Smoking hashish in Chefchaouen is likely to land you in any trouble but caution should be exercised at all times since this drug is technically illegal in Morocco.
This point is more for women than for men. There isn’t really a specific law, but it’s merely recommended that women – for their own safety – should wear clothing that covers most of their body. Clothes that reveal too much of one’s body should be avoided as it is unusual and may attract unwanted attention. This is an important cultural difference compared to in Europe. Morocco is very different in this regard, so remember to dress respectfully at all times in order to avoid potential problems, even if the weather is very hot outside.
In Morocco people are free to follow the religion of their choice, but the attempt to distribute Bibles or religious literature is against the law. You cannot attempt to convert Muslims. This is a serious offence so if your trip to Morocco involves a religious mission, extreme care should be taken because it is illegal. Professional advice should be sought.
It is important to be aware that Morocco is still a traditional Muslim country in this regard, and any evidence of homosexuality may lead to criminal charges. In practise you are unlikely to have any problems but this is an important point to bear in mind if you are travelling as part of a homesexual couple.
It is prohibited to have sexual relations with someone who is not your spouse. Keep this in mind when renting hotel rooms with someone of the opposite sex, as some hotels may insist that you reserve separate rooms if you are Moroccan. For foreigners, this rule is not enforced, so you will be able to share a hotel room even if you are not married. Moroccans would need to show a marriage certificate in most cases.
It is illegal to own and distribute pornographic material of any kind, and access to these types of website are blocked from within Morocco.
Taking photos of military sites.
This rule applies in almost any country, so to avoid potential problems you should not take photos of sensitive sites. Normally there will be a sign to warn you. You should try not to take obvious photos of soldiers, police or borders either. In most cases there will be no problem, but it is better not to cause aggravation.