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I am contemplating traveling to Turkey and Istanbul during Ramadan. Turkey seems more liberal than other Muslim majority countries, so I wonder the effect of Ramadan are during that time.

  • Will restaurants be closed during the day?
  • Will tourist attractions be closed during the day?
  • Will I miss out on any other opportunities that would normally be available when it is not Ramadan?
  • I can't believe nobody has answered this. I have experienced Ramadan several times in Sarajevo, which is perhaps similar in some ways but probably different in others. I expect tourist sites will be operating, as life pretty much goes on as normal. I don't know what to think about restaurants but I'd be surprised if you couldn't find at least some food during the day in the city. Evenings are likely to be mildly festive. I would jump at the chance if I were you; it will probably be more interesting rather than less. If I am wrong I hope someone will set the record straight. – phoog May 21 '16 at 4:26
  • I can't speak for Turkey, but in Morocco, chances are you won't find many restaurants opened during the day except for McDonald's etc. – vincenth May 21 '16 at 6:38
  • @phoog I expect tourist sites will be operating, as life pretty much goes on as normal This is the same as in Turkey. but I'd be surprised if you couldn't find at least some food during the day in the city For Turkey, if one restaurant is closed, almost always there is an open one near by. There is no such a thing "couldn't find at least some food". Evenings are likely to be mildly festive. I would jump at the chance if I were you; it will probably be more interesting rather than less This is exactly the same as in Turkey. Much more fun places like Sultanahmet – Soner Gönül May 23 '16 at 7:49
  • @SonerGönül thanks for confirming. Interestingly, the New York Times is currently running an opinion piece that argues against government-mandated observance of Ramadan (and also against government bans of Ramadan observance). The author, Mustafa Akyol, writes My city, Istanbul, offers a good model. Here, we have no laws governing Ramadan. Many people decide to fast, many people decide not to fast. The latter can enjoy restaurants and cafes during the day, and some perhaps even enjoy bars at night.... – phoog Jun 6 '16 at 4:39
  • @phoog Turkey is much more moderate about those argues even muslim make up %98 of population based on 2008's statistics (little bit less right now). Probably "fast" will be never as a law and never be forbidden. The author is usually right about what you saying. Most people don't mind if you eat or drink something on street. But as I said; most people.. Not all of them. Some people are just fanatic to Islam and they don't respect any other believes or no believes and they usually do violence who does not apply fast rules in Ramadan. Mustafa seems kind of optimistic to me about that. – Soner Gönül Jun 7 '16 at 14:56
17

I'm from Turkey and I live in İstanbul for 10 years, I will gladly answer that..

Will restaurants be closed during the day?

As far as I can see, this depends on the location. In some small and conservative cities, most of the restaurants will be closed until Iftar (or some of them closed all day long). In İstanbul, most of them will be open during the day. You will never be in a situation like "I couldn't find any food to eat" no matter where you visit by the way. Also, most of bars and pubs will be closed during Ramadan even if they are located in a touristy place like Taksim Square.

Will tourist attractions be closed during the day?

If your attraction is appropriate for Ramadan, you will be fine doing it. For example; if you drink alcohol on the street (since alcohol is haram in İslam, some people are more sensitive during Ramadan about it) or you wear low-cut dress or really short miniskirt, this will not be viewed as appropriate for Ramadan (in most people's minds) and you might get reactions from some people (I know this because it happened to my girlfriend).

I checked all the attraction types in TripAdvisor and no, you will not miss any of those activities just because of Ramadan.

Will I miss out on any other opportunities that would normally be available when it is not Ramadan?

I don't think so. All tourist activities will be the same comparing with other parts of a year.

But please be aware

Unfortunately, some people will be unnecessarily angry since they will be hungry from Suhur to Iftar and they do their daily jobs as well, their tolerance of some usual things will be decreasing during Ramadan. I strongly suggest you to not mess with this kind of people.

  • "Tourist attractions" means things that tourists go to see: Museums, monuments, theme parks, etc - basically anything you'd see in the "Things to do" section of TripAdvisor. It doesn't mean any of the things you refer to. – CMaster May 23 '16 at 10:38
  • @CMaster I checked all the attraction types in TripAdvisor and no, you will not miss any of those activities just because of during Ramadan. – Soner Gönül May 23 '16 at 10:51
  • @sonergonel Can you update that section of your answer to indicate that then? – CMaster May 23 '16 at 12:31
3

Will restaurants be closed during the day?

No, all the restaurants and bars are open where the main attraction anywhere in Turkey

Will tourist attractions be closed during the day?

They are open as usual.

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