2024 Ramadan In Turkey Guide – Türkiye During Ramadan

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Post author Nicky

Written by our local expert Nicky

Nicky, originally from the UK, is now a local in Turkey. She moved to Marmaris, Türkiye for love 12 years ago and is now your Turkey travel planner.

The first day of Ramadan 2024 begins on 9th April and ends on 10th April.

Here is your guide to traveling in Turkey during Ramadan, an annual Islamic tradition.  The ninth month of the Muslim calendar is a special time of the year when Turkish people spend a month of fasting as a part of the Ramadan tradition.

You might be wondering how your holiday will be impacted. There are just a few things we’d like you to know about Ramadan in Türkiye, and this guide will answer all your questions about what is open and what changes occur.

Turkey Travel Blog_Guide To Traveling In Turkey During Ramadan

Türkiye is a Muslim country, meaning that during the holy month of Ramadan, you might notice a few differences if you happen to be traveling around the Türkiye.

The good news is that no matter whether it’s Ramadan or not, all visitors to Türkiye are welcomed with open arms. All you need to do is remember to respect the culture and be as knowledgeable as possible about what is happening at that time.

What Happens During Ramadan In Türkiye

Most beautiful mosques in Turkey - Suleymaniye Mosque - Fatih, Istanbul

First things first, let’s cover the fundamental question:

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the holy month for Muslims worldwide, not just in Türkiye. It is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, but the exact dates of Ramadan vary yearly by around ten days.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast (no food or water) from dawn until sunset and use this time for introspection and prayer. The call to prayer from the mosque indicates when it is time to fast and when it is time to break a fast.

Ramadan commemorates the month when The Prophet Muhammad first received revelations of the Quran (Islam’s holy book) from God. During this month, Muslims fast, avoid impure thoughts, pray, and focus on doing good deeds and spending time with family members and the local community.

Once fasting is broken (at sunset), Muslims come together with friends and family and share special meals together. Once Ramadan is over, Eid al-Fitr (şeker bayramı) takes place – a three-day public holiday when extended families come together to celebrate. This is one of the largest holidays in the Islamic world.

If you want to experience a time of celebration, plan your vacation around this three-day holiday or the holiest month of Islam.

Does Ramadan Affect Tourists In Turkey

Most beautiful mosques in Türkiye - Fatih Mosque - Fatih, Istanbul

In most tourist resorts around Türkiye, you won’t notice a difference during Ramadan; however, if you travel to Istanbul, Ankara, or another city/town that is more traditional, you may see a few differences.

Traveling in Türkiye is no issue during the religious month of Ramadan.

When Is Ramadan 2024

Ramadan  2024 dates

The first day of Ramadan 2024 begins on 9th April and ends on 10th April. This means that the Eid ul Fitr would most likely fall on, April 19, 2024

Are Things Closed In Turkey During Ramadan

Most Beautiful Mosques In Turkey - Blue mosque in Istanbul at sunset

Nope. Well, not at least in tourist areas. Restaurants and bars will remain open, and you will still be served precisely the same way. However, do remember that some of the waiting staff may be fasting, so try to be respectful and understanding of this.

That said, in some smaller towns and more conservative areas of the country, you may notice some changes in operating hours and daily routines during Ramadan.

For example, in smaller towns, some shops and restaurants may close during fasting hours (from dawn until sunset), and the pace of life may slow down a bit. Konya, as an example, restaurants will be closed during daylight hours.

What Is That Loud Banging During Ramadan

Most Beautiful Mosques In Turkey - Kocatepe Mosque
Kocatepe Mosque, Türkiye

In some places around Türkiye, you may hear the banging of the traditional drummers just before dawn. The Ramadan drummers are designed to wake people up from their sleep so they don’t miss their chance to fuel up for their day. This traditional practice tells people that it’s time to eat and drink something before fasting is about to start.

It can come as a shock the first time you hear it, especially if it wakes you up abruptly from your sleep, but now you know what to expect!

When the mosques send the prayer call at sunset, people start the breaking of the fast. Before this, they will pray, thank God for the meal they’re about to eat, and then tuck in. This often occurs in large groups, as families and groups break their fasts together. Most people break their fast in their homes, but you’ll also see people do this in restaurants.

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What You Need To Do For Ramadan In Türkiye

What To Wear In Turkey - Mosque Etiquette

For the most part, you don’t need to do anything specific other than being respectful of the culture and the fact that people are fasting. It goes without saying that you should dress modestly and cover your head if you’re a female visiting a religious site – this is the same both in and out of Ramadan.

Fasting during the daytime is challenging, and when Ramadan falls during the hottest months of the year, remember to be a little understanding if a waiter or shop owner doesn’t seem as chatty as usual. They’re doing something complicated by spending so many days of fasting but something which is extremely important to them and their religion. A little understanding goes a long way here.

The same goes for if you’re dining in a restaurant in a holiday resort. Your waiter will be serving you as usual but may be fasting. Simply be understanding and a little compassionate.

Can You Drink Alcoholic Beverages In Türkiye During Ramadan

Yes. Though during Ramadan in Türkiye, you will notice that even Muslim drinkers stop drinking beer, wine, raki, or any alcoholic spirit during the holy month. But this only applies to Muslims; for you as a tourist to Turkey, no one would expect you to change your drinking habits. You will certainly still be able to buy and consume alcohol all across the country.

Is Türkiye Busy During Ramadan

Hisar Mosque Izmir, Turkey
Hisar Mosque in Kemeraltı, Izmir, Turkey

No more than usual. You will notice that the opposite is true for restaurants during the day – they will have fewer people. That is until it is time to eat at sunset. This is known as the iftar meal, and it is when cafes and restaurants become more lively and have special iftar menus.

Can People Wear Bikinis On The Beach During Ramadan

Yes. There will be no issue if you are out in public wearing your swimwear. All beaches and hotel pools will be operated as per usual. 

What Is Traditional Ramadan Food In Turkey

Some of the traditional foods you can try in Turkey during Ramadan will be:

Iftar Soup (Çorba)

A warm and hearty soup, often made with lentils, chickpeas, or wheat, is a common way to start the Iftar meal.

Dates and Water

Muslims often break their fast with dates and water, following the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad.

Pide

Ramadan pide, a type of Turkish flatbread, is a staple during this month. It’s typically topped with sesame seeds and served with cheese, olives, or honey.

Börek

Börek is a popular savory pastry filled with ingredients like cheese, spinach, minced meat, or potatoes. It’s often served during Ramadan.

Kebabs

Grilled meat kebabs, such as lamb or chicken, are commonly enjoyed for Iftar or Suhoor.

İçli Köfte

These are bulgur and minced meat dumplings, usually served with lemon and lettuce. They are a favorite snack or appetizer during Ramadan.

Lentil Dishes

Lentils are a common ingredient in Turkish cuisine, and you’ll find various lentil-based dishes during Ramadan, like Mercimek Koftesi (lentil patties) and Lentil Soup.

Dolma and Sarma

Stuffed grape leaves (dolma) and vegetables like peppers and eggplants (sarma) filled with a mixture of rice, spices, and sometimes ground meat are popular choices.

Traditional Desserts And Sweets

Turkish sweets, like Baklava and Güllaç (a dessert made with thin pastry sheets, milk, rosewater, and pomegranate seeds), are enjoyed to satisfy sweet cravings after Iftar.

Fresh Fruits

Fresh fruits like watermelon, apricots, and pomegranates are often part of the Ramadan meal, offering a refreshing way to break the fast.

Yogurt and Dairy

Yogurt and other dairy products are frequently included in Suhoor and Iftar meals for their nutritional value.

Tea and Turkish Coffee

Traditional Turkish tea and coffee are popular beverages, often consumed during Suhoor and after Iftar.

Final Word On Türkiye During Ramadan

Most beautiful mosques in Turkey - Grand Mosque Of Bursa
Grand Mosque O Bursa, Turkey

Overall, you won’t notice a massive difference if you’re traveling in Türkiye during Ramadan unless you visit a traditional part of the country. Ramadan is a very special month for Muslims, and every visitor to the country should respect it.

While you don’t need to do anything remarkably different during Ramadan celebrations, a little understanding and empathy will go a long way in this type of situation. You should also do your best to learn a little about what is going on to help enrich your visit and understand the locals and their traditional customs.

Remember that the exact dates of the Ramadan feast in 2024 are as follows:

The first day of the Ramadan feast begins on the evening of Tuesday, April 9, 2024, and the end of Ramadan will be Wednesday, April 10, 2024.

Ramadan In Turkey FAQs

MORE FAQs ABOUT RAMADAN IN TURKEY

What is Ramadan, and how is it observed?

Ramadan is an important Islamic holiday observed by Muslims worldwide. It is a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, sexual activity, and other physical needs from dawn until sunset. The fast is broken each evening with a meal called Iftar.

Is Turkey a Muslim country?

Yes, Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country. The majority of the population is Muslim, although there is also a significant secular population and religious diversity.

What is the significance of Ramadan in Turkey?

Ramadan holds great cultural and religious significance in Turkey. It is a time for spiritual reflection, increased acts of worship, and communal solidarity. Many Turkish Muslims observe Ramadan by fasting and participating in special prayers and activities.

Will visiting Turkey during Ramadan affect my trip?

It may have some impact on your trip. During Ramadan, operating hours of businesses such as shops, restaurants, and cafes may be adjusted. Touristy areas like Istanbul may not experience significant changes, but in more rural areas, there could be limited options and experiences available.

Are there any laws or restrictions for tourists during Ramadan in Turkey?

There are no strict laws or restrictions imposed on tourists during Ramadan in Turkey. Non-Muslim visitors are not expected to fast, and they are free to eat and drink during the day. However, out of respect for the local culture and those who are observing Ramadan, it is advisable to be discreet when eating or drinking in public during fasting hours.

Should I visit Turkey during Ramadan?

Whether to visit Turkey during Ramadan depends on personal preferences and your sensitivity to the spiritual atmosphere. If you are interested in experiencing the cultural and religious aspects of Ramadan, it could be a unique and enriching time to visit. However, if you prefer a more vibrant and bustling atmosphere, an alternative time may be more suitable.

What is Eid al-Fitr, and how is it celebrated in Turkey?

Eid al-Fitr is the celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. It is a three-day holiday filled with joyous festivities. In Turkey, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr by attending special prayers at the mosque, sharing meals with family and friends, giving and receiving gifts, and participating in community events.

How long does Ramadan last?

Ramadan is a festival that lasts for 30 days and involves fasting from sunrise to sunset. It is based on the lunar calendar, so the dates vary each year.

Will restaurants and attractions be closed during Ramadan in Turkey?

While some restaurants may be closed, this is not the case for the majority, especially in tourist areas. Attractions are also typically not affected by Ramadan.

Can I eat, drink, and smoke in public during Ramadan in Turkey?

While it is not illegal to eat, drink, or smoke in public during Ramadan, it is advisable to be considerate and avoid doing so out of respect for those who are fasting.

Is alcohol available during Ramadan in Turkey?

Yes, alcohol is still available for consumption during Ramadan in Turkey. Many locals and tourists continue to enjoy alcoholic beverages during this time.

What are some of the highlights of visiting Turkey during Ramadan?

Visiting Turkey during Ramadan offers a festive atmosphere with a sense of community. The daily iftar meal, where people come together to break their fast, is a special occasion. Additionally, there are fewer crowds, making it a great time to explore popular sites.

How should I respect Ramadan customs in Turkey?

To show respect, it is recommended to avoid eating in public if possible and be mindful of those who are fasting. Try to experience the iftar meal and appreciate the community spirit during this holy month.

Do all Turks have to observe Ramadan?

Yes, but there are some exceptions, such as young people, older people, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and those who are sick.

What is Şeker Bayramı, and what is its significance in Islam?

Şeker Bayramı, also known as Eid al-Fitr in Arabic, is one of the most significant religious holidays in Islam. It is a three-day festival that marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting observed by Muslims worldwide.

Why is Şeker Bayramı often referred to as the “Sugar Feast” or “Candy Feast”?

Şeker Bayramı is often called the “Sugar Feast” or “Candy Feast” because of the tradition of giving and receiving sweets and candies during this time. The Turkish word “Şeker” means “sugar” or “sweet,” and sweet treats are an integral part of the holiday celebration.

What are the pillars of Islam for observant Muslims?

The Five Pillars of Islam include Shahada (faith), Salat (prayer), Zakat (charity), Sawm (fasting during Ramadan), and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). Observant Muslims follow these principles as essential aspects of their faith.

What is Ramazan Bayramı (Şeker Bayramı)?

Ramazan Bayramı, also known as Şeker Bayramı, is the festive holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. It is a three-day celebration characterized by communal prayers, feasting, and exchanging gifts, sweets, and candies.

Does public transport operate as normal in Turkey during Ramadan?

Public transport in major Turkish cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir generally operates on normal schedules during Ramadan. However, it’s advisable to be considerate of those who are fasting and avoid eating or drinking on public transportation during fasting hours.

What historical sites will be closed during Ramadan? Will the Hagia Sophia Mosque be open?

Historical sites and museums in Turkey, including Hagia Sophia, usually remain open during Ramadan. Tourist attractions are typically unaffected by Ramadan, and visitors can explore these sites as usual.

Does the preceding month of Ramadan have anything special about it I should know?

The preceding month, Sha’ban, is considered a preparation period for Ramadan by some Muslims. While there are no specific customs or obligations associated with Sha’ban, some individuals may intensify their spiritual practices and preparations during this time.

Does Turkish Airlines serve food during daylight hours in Ramadan?

Turkish Airlines operates as usual during Ramadan, and they continue to serve food and beverages to passengers on their flights, including during daylight hours. Fasting passengers can choose to refrain from consuming food and drinks provided by the airline during the fast.

Is Ramadan from the Ottoman Empire?

No, Ramadan is not from the Ottoman Empire. Ramadan is a sacred month in Islam observed by Muslims worldwide. The Ottoman Empire, which existed from the 14th to the early 20th century, was a Muslim-majority state that observed Ramadan as part of its religious and cultural heritage.

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