Turkey Public Holidays Guide to Avoid Peak Travel Times

Turkey Public Holidays Guide to Avoid Peak Travel Times

Turkey was visited by over 50 million visitors in 2019. Despite cancelled travel plans in 2020, Turkey still promises to be a popular destination in 2021. So if you’re headed to Turkey, read our Turkey Public Holidays Guide to avoid the crowds while travelling in 2021.

Public Holidays in Turkey and What They Mean

We’ve listed the upcoming public holidays in Turkey in 2021 to give you an idea of when you should plan your holiday to Turkey.

New Year’s Day on Friday 1 January 2021

The majority of people in Turkey are Muslim, so only the Christian minority (such as Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, Bulgarians and Georgians) celebrate Christmas in Turkey. This makes Turkey a fairly calm destination in Europe during Christmas holidays. However, New Year’s in Turkey is celebrated with a lot of joy, and the high streets get a lighting makeover.

Places to Spend Christmas Holiday in Turkey

National Sovereignty and Children’s Day on Friday 23 April 2021

This is a national holiday in Turkey, dedicated to the children by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. It’s a special day where children receive more attention and join ceremonies and events. It’s only a day-long holiday, and doesn’t interfere with international travel much.

Labour and Solidarity Day on Saturday 1 May 2021

Another national holiday in Turkey, this day is dedicated to laborers and is known to bring huge crowds to the streets and spark protests. It marks the anniversary of tragic events that took place in 1977, between protestors and the police. Demonstrations normally take place in Taksim, Beşiktaş and Kadıköy. However, for the past few years, protesting in Turkey has been banned.

Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth & Sports Day on Wednesday 19 May 2021

Another national holiday dedicated to the youth of Turkey by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. On this day in Turkey, state ceremonies and sporting events are held to celebrate the young people. More traffic in popular districts and near schools can be expected.

Anıtkabir by Ahmet Demiroğlu

Start of Ramadan Feast on Wednesday 12 May 2021 - 15 May 2021

Ramadan is one of the two long holidays that Turkish people celebrate. Also known as “Sugar Feast” in Turkey, Ramadan is a 3-day long holiday and people tend to travel more domestically to see their relatives who live in regions of the country.

Democracy & National Solidarity Day on Thursday 15 July 2021

The most recent public holiday declared by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for remembering those who died during the failed coup attempt on the 15th of July, 2016. This national holiday doesn’t usually interfere with travel plans.

Sacrifice Feast on Monday 19 July 2021 - 23 July 2021

Sacrifice Feast is the longest public holiday in Turkey, going on for 4 days in July. Sacrifice Feast is a religious holiday just like Ramadan, according to the legend, Prophet Ibrahim was ordered by God to sacrifice his son to prove his loyalty. When he brought his son up to a mountain to kill him, God rewarded Ibrahim and brought him a ram instead.

Sacrifice Feast is celebrated with family dinners at home and as a tradition, male members of the family go to a mosque to join a morning prayer. By the orders of the Quran, wealthy people must help the poor by donating the meat of a sacrificial animal. During this holiday, temporary slaughterhouses are set up in parts of cities and people partake in “animal sacrifice”.

Victory Day on Monday 30 August 2021

An important national holiday for Turks, Victory Day marks the anniversary of Turkey’s victory over Greece during the Battle of Dumlupınar (1992). It’s celebrated with parades and car convoys by the locals.

Photo by Cagri Uzun

Republic Day on Thursday 29 October 2021

This national holiday begins on the 28th and lasts for 1.5 days. It commemorates the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey, on 29 October 1923. On this day, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk became the first president of the Republic of Turkey as the reign of the Ottoman Empire was replaced by democracy. Turkish people display patriotic celebrations with fireworks, events and by hanging Turkish flags outside of their windows.

Best Times to Travel to Turkey

The best time to travel to Turkey depends on your destination and your preferred type of holiday. Are you planning to stay at a resort and enjoy the goods that the hotel has to offer, or are you looking to explore the natural beauties? Can you handle the heat, or are you happy digging your feet into the snow?

May, beginning June and end of September are the perfect months for nature lovers and resort-goers alike. You can explore the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts before tourists start flooding, or you can visit the most beautiful plateaus and mountains at the Black Sea coast.

For those who are headed to Istanbul, the best times to visit Istanbul are May, September and October when the weather is not too hot but almost every day is sunny.

When Can I Travel to Turkey?

Flights to Turkey will be reduced but airlines will continue to operate during the lockdown. Call us today on 0208 661 1805 to book your flight. The restrictions in Turkey are more relaxed compared to the UK, however, everyone is required to wear a mask indoors as well as outdoors. Restaurants, pubs, beauty salons etc are open until 22:00.

Check out our blog for more travel inspiration or our Instagram for a visual version instead!


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