Happy Ramadan 2019! Or, if you’re traveling to an Arabic-speaking country for Ramadan, wish locals “Ramadam Kareem.” While Ramadan is a religious holiday for Muslims throughout the Middle East, it also is an ideal time for travelers to experience Arabic culture. Observe traditional lantern displays and food-filled festivals in Cairo or witness locals praying at the magnificent Blue Mosque in Istanbul. Backpackers who enjoy quiet days and festival-filled nights should consider spending Ramadan 2019 in one of the top 5 holiday destinations for Ramadan.
When is Eid al Fitr & Ramadan 2019?
The dates for observing Ramadan are contingent on moon cycles but generally fall in the months of May and June. This year’s Ramadan begins May 6 and ends June 4. Eid al Fitre, which marks the end of the holy month of fasting, begins the evening of June 4 and ends the evening of June 5.
What to Expect & Tips for Traveling During Ramadan
Stock up on food and water at night. Many shops and restaurants close from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan. While your hotel may provide meal service during the day, if you’re out exploring during daytime hours, you’ll want to pack plenty of water and snacks.
Keep your excitement to yourself. Many Muslims spend the days of Ramadan fasting and praying. Be respectful of local culture by remaining quiet: resist the temptation to “Ooo and Aaah” when touring breathtaking mosques, and don’t walk around town playing music or videos on your mobile. Dancing – or even smoking – on the streets during daytime hours is highly frowned upon, and even chewing gum in public is a no-no.
Wear the right clothing. Many Middle Eastern countries observe more conservative dress codes than their Western neighbors, but during Ramadan it is essential for travelers to cover arms, legs, shoulders – and even hair in some countries.
Don’t get cuddly in public. Showing affection in public – even with a spouse – is considered extremely rude, and sometimes illegal, in certain countries. During Ramadan this rule is particularly important.
Plan ahead for crazy business hours. Many museums, attractions and even restaurants and banks are closed during Ramadan. Transportation also can be a trick. Book a hotel ahead of time and quiz the staff via email to know which attractions, markets and landmarks are open for tours during Ramadan.
1. Top 5 Places to Travel for Ramadan 2019 | Istanbul, Turkey
Visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul during Ramadan might be the only experience you need for the rest of your life, but sightseers also should pay a visit to Sultanahmet Square, especially for Eid al Fitre. At the end of Ramadan, Sultanahmet Square bursts with festivities that include music concerts, night markets, Quran recitations and tables and tables of Turkish food!
Turkish Food to Eat in Istanbul for Ramadan 2019
- Ramadan pide: large, round flatbread that is baked and often shared at mealtime.
- Gullac: a pudding (or custard) with pomegranate seeds and ground pistachio nuts.
Best Things to do in Istanbul during Ramadan 2019
Check In to Blue House Hotel, Step Out to Blue Mosque
Discover more hotels and hostels in Istanbul for Ramadan 2019
2. Top 5 Places to Travel for Ramadan 2019 | Fes, Morocco
Spending Ramadan 2019 in Fes guarantees a historic adventure filled with culture and food. Explore Fes El Bali, or the old medina, to see medieval walls and the Mosque and University Karaouiyne (Al Quaraouiyine Mosque and University), the world’s oldest university. The old medina also is a great place to try authentic Moroccan food, particular during the festival that takes place on the last day of Ramadan. While Fes El Bali is the most popular place to celebrate Ramadan in Fes, other public squares around the city offer fairs with music, light shows and plenty of Moroccan food.
Fun Things to Do in Fes for Ramadan 2019
- Visit Mosque and University Karaouiyne (Al Quaraouiyine Mosque and University)
- Explore Fes El Bali
- View ancient architecture at Al Attarine Madrasa
- Shop for handmade leather goods at Chaouwara Tanneries
Check In to Hotel Batha, Step Out to Fes El Bali
Discover where to stay in Fes for Ramadan 2019
3. Top 5 Places to Travel for Ramadan 2019 | Amman, Jordan
The Amman Citadel is the place to spend Ramadan 2019 in Amman, Jordan. A citywide initiative called “Citadel Nights” insures lively nights with fireworks, festivals and street food throughout the Ramadan holiday. Sightseers can count on traditional performances, music shows and seeing historical landmarks that denote the rich Roman and Byzantine culture that makes Jordan one of the most impressive cultural hubs in the Middle East. Plus, the Amman Citadel contains fantastic landmarks, like the Temple of Hercules and Byzantine Church.
Historic Landmarks to See in Amman during Ramadan 2019
Check In to Jabal Amman Hotel (Heritage House), Step Out to Amman Citadel
Discover more places to stay for Ramadan 2019 in Amman
4. Top 5 Places to Travel for Ramadan 2019 | Cairo, Egypt
Look for the city of Cairo to be lit with lanterns during Ramadan 2019. As tradition, locals light lanterns at sunset, signaling the end of the fast for the day. When lanterns begin glowing outside homes, restaurants and shops, Cairo locals begin filling the streets and markets. As Ramadan is signaled with lanterns throughout the city, there is no wrong place to spend Ramadan in Cairo. Book a hotel in Cairo near some of the city’s best tourist attractions, and you’ll more than likely find a Ramadan festival nearby.
Historic Sights to See in Cairo during Ramadan 2019
- Al-Azhar Mosque
- Giza Necropolis with The Great Pyramid of Giza & Great Phynx of Giza
- The Grand Egyptian Museum
- Sultan Hassan Mosque (Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan)
- Museum of Islamic Art Cairo
Check In to Fairmont Nile City, Step Out to the Great Phynx of Giza
Discover more hotels in Cairo for Ramadan 2019
5. Top 5 Places to Travel for Ramadan 2019 | Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai is a fabulous destination for Ramadan, particularly for adventure travelers looking for historical tours and educational experiences. In Dubai, the local government takes great measures to educate tourists – as well as the general public – about the significance of Ramadan. Join an event in a public square to see local entertainment and take part in amazing food festivals. Also, book a hotel that honors the holy month by giving guests Ramadan dining experiences each night after evening prayer times.
Fantastic Things to Do in Dubai during Ramadan 2019
- Jumeirah Mosque
- Grand Mosque (Nasser Rashed Lootah Masjid)
- Burj Al Arab
- Burj Khalifa
- Global Village, Dubai
- Dubai Frame