Ramadan (Ramazan) in Turkey

Page update - Apr 3, 2023

What can tourists expect in Turkey during the holy month of Ramadan? What you can and can't do during Ramadan? What are the pros and cons of vacation during Ramadan? Read the answers on this page, as well as lots of interesting information about the customs and traditions of the month.

Briefly, what is Ramadan?

It is the 9th month in the lunar Islamic calendar, and the month considered to be sacred. During this month, Muslims fast, namely do not eat, drink, smoke during the day.

The month is called "RamaZan" in Turkey, but it is called "RamaDan" in most Islamic countries.

Ramadan and Ramadan Bayram are different!

This is a very important point!

Ramadan is the holy month when Muslims fast. Ramadan Bayram is a 3-4 day holiday in Turkey, which comes immediately after the holy month. Do not confuse the two!

Vacationing during the month of Ramadan has many advantages, although there are also some disadvantages. This is a time that can be called favorable for tourists.

Ramadan Bayram (also known as Sheker Bayram, the 'Sugar Festival') is the worst time for tourists as hotels are packed with Turks and waterparks are overcrowded with queues.

If you decide to come to Turkey during Ramadan, try to leave before Ramadan Bayram.

The exact dates are determined according to the Islamic lunar calendar, dates change every year. See the table below for the calendar.

Year Ramadan Ramadan Bayram
2022 3 April - 2 May 3-5 May
2023 23 March - 21 April 22-24 April
2024 10 March - 9 April 10-12 April
2025 28 February - 29 March 30 March - 2 April

An important note! A few days before the event, the exact date is confirmed by a special religious committee that observes the phases of the moon. The date may change even a few days before the event.

If you stay in a hotel in a resort area

If your vacation in Turkey only needs a beach, a sea, and All Inclusive. If you don't want to leave your hotel or go on excursions or into town. If your hotel is located in a beach area, rather than in the city. In that case, you may not think about Ramadan at all. Just remember three rules:

First, you have to leave before the end of the holy month, that is, before the start of Ramadan Bayram;

Secondly, try not to drink or eat after getting off the airplane until the tourist bus (if you are going on a package tour) or until the hotel (if you are going on your own). Many people around you are fasting (not drinking and eating until sunset), they are hungry and thirsty. Don't make people angry;

Third, if you want to smoke after the flight, smoke somewhere away. The less people see, the better. The fasting people are not allowed to smoke. Don't make people angry.

There's nothing else you need to know about Ramadan. There won't be any restrictions in the hotel. It's no secret that Turkey's resort areas have a life of their own, separate from the rest of the country. The whole country has the holy month, but resorts do not.

If you are going to the city or on excursions or if the hotel is in the city, read on.

In detail, what is Ramadan?

It is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is the month in which the Prophet Mohammed received the Quran, hence is considered holy to Muslims.

Believers fast during Ramadan. It is forbidden to eat, drink, smoke from sunrise to sunset. Pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, the infirm, the sick, those on a long journey are exempt from fasting.

The goal of the fasting is to bring up patience, restraint, and humility in the believers. The observance of fasting during Ramadan is one of the five "pillars of Islam" that is the five obligatory precepts to which a Muslim must adhere.

Turkey is a secular state. The law in Turkey does not oblige anyone to fast. Even alcohol is not forbidden by law during the holy month.

Of course not all Turks fast. There are no exact statistics. The Institute for Religious Affairs of Turkey published a statistical study which got a figure of 83%. It looks unbelievable because part of the population of Turkey are Alevists who do not fast. About 2% of the population are not Muslims at all. Among Sunnis many honestly admit that they allow themselves to drink water during the day. It is believed that about 50% of the population fasts strictly.

What can't tourists do?

As we have already said, the laws do not require anyone to observe the fast. There are no additional restrictions for tourists during Ramadan. The recommendations for behavior are usual. Read our in-depth review "What is not allowed in Turkey".

We recommend observing special measures of decorum and respect for a foreign culture. Don't eat and drink in public. You can eat and drink at the nearest eatery. Or wait until there are no people around. Why provoke negative emotions in those around you? It makes no sense.

What is Ramadan Bayram?

It is a 3-4 day holiday which begins immediately after the month of Ramadan, also called by the Turks as Sheker Bayram. In Arabic, it is called Eid al-Fitr. In many countries, it is called Uraza Bayram.

These are the days when the fast is over. It is customary to eat well and plenty of food, to have fun, and to spend money. In Ramadan, it is customary to be modest in all things, and Muslims accumulate money. In Ramadan Bayram, this money is spent. Read more in our review "Public holidays in Turkey".

And what's the best way to eat a lot in Turkey? ALL INCLUSIVE, of course! Turks go to AI hotels by the thousands. They also fill up the water parks and amusement parks. That's why we recommend tourists either leave before Ramadan Bayram or come afterwards.

What are suhur and iftar?

During Ramadan, Muslims cannot eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. More precisely, from the first rays of the rising sun to the last rays of the setting sun.

Muslims do not look at the sun themselves and define these moments by the azan (call to prayer from mosques minarets). When the first azan is sounded for morning prayers then the fasting is started. When the fourth Azan is sounded for evening prayer then the fasting is over, one can drink and eat.

It is allowed to eat until the first rays of the sun. The meal is called "suhur". Usually they eat something light, carbohydrate based, no meat or fatty foods.

An old custom has been preserved in many cities in Turkey. Drummers walk through the streets and bang as hard as they can. This is how they wake up the believers for the suhur meal. It usually takes place at 3 o'clock in the morning. There is only one thing you can do to get away from them, wear earplugs. Naturally, they do not act in resort areas.

It is allowed to eat after sunset, it's called "iftar". Turks usually have a light and easily digestible meal and a full dinner with meat at night. A loaf of bread, soup, pickled vegetables, and dates are the usual iftar meal.

In some towns and districts in Turkey, iftar is organized at the expense of the municipalities and for all who wish to attend. Even tourists are allowed to take part. Tables are set up near mosques.

Is it a good idea to come on vacation during Ramadan?

There is nothing wrong with a Ramadan vacation. Sightseeing and transport work as usual. Restaurants in resort areas work as usual. Only in cities and towns, some eateries may be closed during the day, some offer a shorter menu, as there are far fewer visitors.

Even the consumption of alcohol is not forbidden by law. Naturally, it is an offense to be drunk in a public place in any case.


There are very few people at the water parks, as locals don't come there as it is also forbidden to swim. The public beaches are almost empty.

Restaurants and cafes are much less crowded. But this applies to ordinary towns in the country. In resort areas, eateries work as usual.

Once the sun goes down, the festivities start: musical instruments are played, shadow theaters are staged, and costumed actors walking on streets. Mosques and streets are lit up. This is the case in the country's towns and cities, but in resort areas everything is as usual.


All of the disadvantages listed below apply in areas outside resorts. There are none of these in resort areas:

- Some businesses may operate on shorter hours. For example, banks or exchange offices;

- Some restaurants and cafes close their summer verandas during the day, you can only eat indoors, and they even cover the windows with curtains so that you can't see in from the street;

- You probably won't be able to have dinner right after sunset. Restaurants are full of people for iftar. You will have to wait for seats to become free;

- The hum of drums in some towns, as we detailed above;

- Some restaurants, cafes and bars do not sell alcohol.

What else

- Apart from Ramadan Bayram, there are other religious holidays in Turkey which have their own special features. For a calendar and descriptions, see our in-depth review "Public holidays in Turkey";

- For general rules of conduct, see our review "What not to do in Turkey".

Have a great trip to the cities and resorts of Turkey, and read our interesting pages about the country (find the pages list below). © 2020-2024