Ramadan in Tunisia

Page update - Jan 21, 2023

Is a vacation in Tunisia convenient during the month of Ramadan? What restrictions are waiting for tourists in hotels and on excursions? Read the answers and see the exact dates of the month of Ramadan for the coming years.

Briefly, what is Ramadan

It is the 9th month in the lunar Islamic calendar. The months in the Gregorian and Lunar calendars do not correspond. In the month of Ramadan, the Prophet Mohammed received the text of the Koran, so the month is considered to be sacred for Muslims.

Most Muslims observe fasting during the whole month of Ramadan: do not drink, eat, smoke from sunrise to sunset, do not even chew gum and do not bathe. The sick and infirm, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers, people in heavy labor or on a hard journey are exempt from fasting.

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr - not to be confused!

If you read the reviews of tourists, you will find the phrases like this, "We arrived at the hotel. Because of Ramadan there are so many Arabs there. They are noisy, they eat right in the pool, there are not enough plates in the restaurants. It's horrible!". The situation described is quite real, but it is NOT during Ramadan.

During Ramadan it is customary to fast. Muslims spend the month mostly at home, they don't go to hotels. But immediately after Ramadan comes Eid al-Fitr, which lasts for several days.

Eid al-Fitr is a festival during which it is customary to eat a lot of food, spend money and have fun. On Eid al-Fitr, Tunisians go to the All Inclusive hotels and are joined by neighboring Algerians. It is therefore strongly advised to plan your vacation to either leave Tunisia before Eid al-Fitr or arrive afterwards.

Hotels are overcrowded on Eid al-Fitr, and there are often not enough plates or cutlery in the hotels' restaurants, and pools are overcrowded. Hotels often sell more bookings than they have rooms. It can happen that tourists arrive at a hotel and there are no rooms available. The tourists are either offered to check into another hotel, or they have to wait an indefinite amount of time before getting a room. Eid al-Fitr is the worst time to holiday in Tunisia.


The start and end dates of Ramadan change every year - shifting forward by 10-11 days every year.

Year Ramadan Eid al-Fitr
2020 April 24 - May 23 May 24-26
2021 April 13 - May 12 May 13-15
2022 April 3 - May 2 May 3-5
2023 March 22 - April 21 April 22-24
2024 March 10 - April 9 April 10-12

The exact date of the beginning and end of Ramadan is confirmed by the National Committee for the observance of Ramadan in Tunisia. They receive moon phase data from all 24 provinces of the country. If the correct phase is reached, they confirm the beginning (end) of the month and an official announcement is made by an imam on television.

It is also possible that the date is shifted one day forward or backward from the forecast.

If you are going to a beach hotel and don't intend to leave it

In this case, Ramadan has no effect on your vacation. In hotels, restaurants and bars are open as usual and alcohol is available without restrictions. All Inclusive recognises neither holy days nor the holy month.

There are even fewer holidaymakers in Tunisian hotels, as there are no tourists from Islamic countries. It is customary for Muslims to spend Ramadan at home.

Some hotel employees may be tired, slow moving and slow thinking, as they are fasting (not eating or drinking during the day) and they may find it hard.

Observe only two rules of conduct:

First. After landing, try not to drink or eat before boarding the tourist bus. In Tunisia, the law does not prohibit eating and drinking during the daytime of Ramadan but it is better not to make others angry. It is not a long walk to the bus, there is no problem to be patient.

Secondly. If you really want to smoke after the flight, then move far away so that as few people as possible see it.

Try to plan your vacation so that you can leave before the end of Ramadan, because hotels will be overcrowded during Eid al-Fitr.

There is no need to know anything more about Ramadan if you are not going out of the resort area. But if you're going into town or on excursions, you'd better read this page to the end.

How does Ramadan affect the price of tours and hotel rooms?

If you're going to buy a package tour, you're unlikely to save money. Theoretically, hotel occupancy during Ramadan is always lower, hence the package tours prices should go down. But in practice this does not usually happen.

If you are traveling on your own, you may save money. Hotels often give discounts for accommodation during Ramadan.

Eid al-Fitr has a great influence on prices. The room prices can "skyrocket" by up to 2 times.

What are sahur and iftar?

Muslims are not allowed to eat from sunrise to sunset during fasting.

It is allowed to eat before sunrise, it is called "suhur". One usually eats a carbohydrate light meal.

It is allowed to eat after sunset, it is called "iftar". This is a full course meal. During fasting, iftar is the main meal for a Muslim, and for some it is the only meal of the day.

For tourists, this is an important point! In Tunisia, it is customary to eat a large Iftar immediately after sunset. As a consequence, restaurants and cafes are packed to capacity just after sunset and people are left sitting there for hours.

The only place where you can have dinner after sunset is the hotel restaurant. In the city, you will have to look for a free table in the restaurants and don't know what you will find.

For iftar, Tunisians eat: flatbread, lalem (thick soup made of noodles and lentils), bsisa (pasta made of barley or other cereals), brik with egg or tuna, couscous.

Rules and restrictions for tourists

In resort areas

There are almost no restrictions. Hotel bars serve all kinds of alcohol and all kinds of food and drink. Cafes and restaurants in resort areas are open on a normal schedule, only a few are closed during the day if the owner is particularly religious.

Outside resort areas

Many small shops are closed during the day. The big supermarkets Carrefour, Monoprix, and Magazin General are open as usual, but the alcohol departments are closed. During Ramadan in Tunisia, it is very difficult to find alcohol outside hotels.

Tunisian laws do not oblige anyone to fast, nor do they forbid you to drink, eat or smoke in public places during the day. However, we advise you to avoid from eating and drinking in public places. Why provoke negativity in those around you?

Attractions are open as usual. Water parks and amusement parks are freer than usual. It is not customary for Muslims to be entertained during Ramadan and swimming is generally prohibited.

Transport operates on a regular schedule. However, on the Eid Al-Fitr eve, transportation can be crowded as people travel to their hometowns.

Most cafes and restaurants are closed during the day. Some are open, but they close their summer porches and draw curtains over their windows. In the evening, all the eateries are full and there are usually no tables available.

There is no law in Tunisia expressly forbidding cafes and restaurants to open during the daytime of Ramadan. However, there is a special Mzali decree from 1981, named after Prime Minister Mohamed Mzali, who issued the decree.

According to the Mzali decree, restaurants and cafes must have permission to operate during Ramadan in the daytime. However, the decree does not specify what kind of permit this is, who and how it should be issued, or how many establishments can obtain it.

As a result, there is total confusion. In some towns, the local authorities give such permits, in some towns the police close the cafes everywhere, somewhere all the cafes work and the local authorities do not pay any attention to it. According to unofficial statistics, there were about 600 cafes operating in the capital, Tunisia, in 2017, a very small number.

The bottom line

If traveling in Tunisia during Ramadan, stock up on water and snacks in advance and don't eat or drink in public places.

What else you should know

- During Ramadan there is less demand from vendors as it is not customary to spend money. You can therefore bargain for a better price during the holy month. For the best deals, see our review "Best gifts and souvenirs from Tunisia".

Have a great vacation in Tunisia and read our interesting pages about the country (see the pages list below). © 2020-2024