Find out if we’ve got your favourite pastime covered in our dedicated special interest holidays travel guide or just search for a few more ideas to help you have a really worthwhile week away rather than just a boring break at the beach. This page is all about what special interest holidays entail and how you can choose between small group and tailor made options to ensure you get the most out of your holiday.
Top destinations for halal holidays
Far from being 'tricky travellers', we know that many Muslims really 'get' responsible travel in as much as they're interested in meeting local people and finding out more about an area's cultural heritage without being intrusive. With this in mind, our recommended halal holidays take place in countries and regions with mainly Muslim populations: Sri Lanka, Turkey, Morocco and Jordan, for example, as well as the Thai island of Yao Noi that's well offshore from the brash beach resorts of Phuket.
From the Islamic heritage of Amman to the Roman ruins of Jerash, a halal holiday in Jordan presents the pieces required to put together a more detailed picture of the region, as a whole. Travelling south, along the Kings Highway, chapters of the Quran unfold as Mount Nebo, Kahf Al-Raqim and the battle site of Mu'tah, Al Karak, come into view and pave the way to the Dead Sea for a float and a soak in the warm, salty water.
Featuring the world's oldest university, al-Qarawiyyin, founded by Fatima al-Fihri, as well as the UNESCO-listed medieval medina quarter, Fes El Bali, the city of Fes makes Morocco an absolute must for anyone planning a halal holiday. Roman ruins at Meknes and Volubilis are easily accessible from Fes and well worth seeing prior to travelling to the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca.
3. Sri Lanka
Connecting with the cultural cornucopia of Sri Lanka is what makes a Muslim's journey all the more enjoyable with Tamil, Malay and significant Islamic influence adding to the island's abundant tropical landscapes. Discover halal food stalls in Colombo, local mosques for salat and family-run cottage industries, as well as Sigiriya Rock Fortress, the Temple of the Tooth and safaris in Udawalawe National Park.
Explore offshore from the busy beach resorts and you'll find an altogether more authentic Thai experience as you meet Muslims living on the island of Yao Noi. Find out more about local school projects and what it means to live off the land as a coconut farmer, as you embark on an Islamic adventure in the Andaman Sea surrounded by rice fields, modest mosques and all of that beautiful blue water.
Retaining remnants of the Silk Road, Byzantine era, and beyond, Istanbul provides incredible insight into Islam's importance across Europe and Asia. Starting at Sultanahmet Square opens up access to Hagia Sophia Museum, the Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar, as well as opportunities to purchase locally produced, hand-painted Iznik tiles and pottery and, of course, delicious baklava and Turkish delights.
If you'd like to chat about Halal or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
Halal holidays advice
Nabeel Shariff, Director at our halal holiday specialists Serendipity Tailormade Travel, explains what halal holidays mean to travellers:
Keeping the faith
“Halal tours or halal holidays allow Muslims to enjoy their holiday whilst observing the requirements of their faith, which includes eating halal food, having praying facilities and, in some hotels, making the most of gender segregated pool areas or spas. The main difference is we take into consideration the needs of Muslim travellers, such as finding somewhere to pray during the day or ensuring they are experiencing authentic local culture whilst also ensuring their faith requirements are not compromised.”
“On our tours, we focus on a very family friendly approach and make itineraries accessible to all types of travellers. Our selection of halal-friendly hotels often offers guests more privacy in their rooms, which may also appeal to some non-Muslims. Similarly, hotels may be quieter, so no noisy nightclubs or casinos.”
You are what you eat
“Of course, a non-Muslim may come on a halal tour to experience the culture of Islam alongside people who practice the faith. However, Muslim dietary requirements can’t be compromised. This doesn’t mean guests have to eat meat items – they can be pescatarians or vegetarians. It just means the preparation of the food is not cross-contaminated with non-halal items.”
Time to pray
“There are five daily prayers. These can be prayed anywhere (we’ve prayed on beaches through to forests!), however it is especially nice to pray with others at a mosque. Travellers are recommended to dress modestly in order not to offend the local people, and alcohol is prohibited in Islam – even though many Muslims will turn a blind eye – so halal holidays do not encourage intoxication.”
“An understanding of Muslim travellers would be great to set aside any misconceptions that it’s a difficult or tricky clientele to welcome. We would love to see non-traditional Muslim travel destinations such as South America or Southern Africa providing halal facilities, as Muslim travellers are often looking to travel to new places.”