Turkish National Public Holidays 2024

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Do you know when all the Turkish National Public Holidays fall in 2024?

On Turkish national public holidays, banks, post offices, schools, government departments and many private businesses are closed. If the weather’s good it feels like everyone is on the road, headed somewhere, and waterfront walks and breakfast places are jampacked with mums, dads and kids plus all their relatives. During two of the longest breaks in the Turkish National Public Holidays calendar, Şeker and Kurban Bayram (usually nine days, incorporating two weekends), thousands of people visit their families in their home towns or go on holiday. It’s a chaotic time to travel, multiplied by a zillion because the exact length of these two particular holidays often isn’t decided until the week or so before. Despite bus companies putting on extra services, every major otogar (bus stations) is overflowing with passengers holding tickets and would be travellers hoping for a last minute miracle.

Although most government and many private museums are shut on Turkish national public holidays (with government departments, banks – including some private ones – having a half day off the day before), tourist centres such as Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir and Bodrum can be extremely busy. Intercity flights, buses and trains are always heavily booked at these times so it’s a good idea to arrange your transport and accommodation well in advance if you’re planning to travel around Turkey during these periods. If you’re coming from overseas and need a tourist visa, click here to learn how to get one (my post includes a link to the official Turkish government e-visa website). Do note that you can no longer get a visa at the airport on arrival anymore.

You’ll see flags absolutely everywhere on Turkish National Public Holidays

Please note mask wearing is no longer mandatory in Turkey but as I unfortunately know from personal experience, post Covid nasty bugs and other lurgies are still doing the rounds, so if you think you might be coming down with something, please mask up. If not for your sake then for mine. Despite being pretty healthy, if someone sneezes in Taksim I get the flu in Kadikoy.

Finally, if you do plan to drive while you’re here, take care, particularly during Turkish national public holidays when roads are busier and drivers crazier than usual. Here are some driving tips you might find useful.

My 2024 Turkish national public holidays list includes all the important dates in the nation’s history and major religious events (marked as R when not an official holiday). While it’s mostly business as usual on many religious days in Turkey, during the holy month of Ramazan it can be difficult to find restaurants open for lunch in towns and villages outside major city centres.

1 January: New Year’s Day
11 January: Regaip Kandili R
6 February: Miraç Kandili R
24 February: Berat Kandili R
10 March: Ramazan Arefe gunu – public service half day holiday
11 March: Holy month of Ramazan begins
5 April: Kadir Gecesi R
9 April: Şeker Bayram Arife Günü – Religious half day holiday before Şeker Bayramı. This is a gazetted half day off but most employees in private businesses work the full day.
10 April – 12 April: Şeker Bayramı (also known as Ramazan Bayramı) – a feast of chocolates and sweets.
23 April: National Sovereignty and Children’s Day (Ulusal Egemenlik ve Çocuk Bayramı)
1 May: Labour and Solidarity Day1
19 May: Commemoration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day (Atatürk’ü Anma Gençlik ve Spor Bayramı)
15 June: Kurban Bayram Arife Günü – Religious half day holiday before Kurban Bayramı. This is a gazetted half day off but most employees in private businesses work the full day.
16 June – 19 June: Sacrifice (Kurban Bayramı) Feast
15 July: Democracy and National Solidarity Day2
16 July: Aşure Günü R
30 August: Victory Day (Zafer Bayramı)
14 September: Mevlid Kandili R ()
6 October: Liberation of Istanbul – not a public holiday but historically imported.
28 October: Republic Day Arife. Half day holiday before Republic Day. This is a gazetted half day off but most employees in private businesses work the full day.
29 October: Republic Day (Cumhuriyet Bayramı)

I hope you find this helpful. Feel free to print out this list, save it on your computer and share it with your friends on social media.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2024

Planning to come to Istanbul or Turkey? Here are my helpful tips to make the most of your trip.

For FLIGHTS I like to use Kiwi.com.

E-SIM are the way to go to stay connected with a local phone number and mobile data on the go. Airalo is easy to use and affordable.

Even if I never claim on it, I always take out TRAVEL INSURANCE. I recommend Visitors Coverage.

I’m a big advocate of public transport, but know it’s not suitable for everyone all the time. When I need to be picked up from or get to Istanbul Airport or Sabiha Gokcen Airport, I use one of these GetYourGuide website AIRPORT TRANSFERS.

ACCOMMODATION: When I want to find a place to stay I use Booking.com.

CITY TOURS & DAY TRIPS: Let me guide you around Kadikoy with my audio walking tour Stepping back through Chalcedon or venture further afield with my bespoke guidebook Istanbul 50 Unsung Places. I know you’ll love visiting the lesser-known sites I’ve included. It’s based on using public transport as much as possible so you won’t be adding too much to your carbon footprint. Then read about what you’ve seen and experienced in my three essay collections and memoir about moving to Istanbul permanently.

Browse the GetYourGuide website or Viator to find even more ways to experience Istanbul and Turkey with food tours, visits to the old city, evening Bosphorus cruises and more!

However you travel, stay safe and have fun! Iyi yolculuklar.

1. Labour and Solidarity Day
In Turkey, Labour and Solidarity Day (Emek ve Dayanışma Günü), internationally known as May Day, is an occasion for people to celebrate improvements in working conditions and to demand better conditions for skilled labourers and union workers. In recent years peaceful demonstrations have turned ugly, and in Istanbul much of the public transport system is shut down to prevent large gatherings. It’s wise to plan your movements accordingly.

2. Democracy and National Solidarity Day
On July 15, 2016 a failed coup took place which resulted in the deaths of at least 241 people, including seven civilians who were shot dead as they resisted the coup forces near the Akıncı air force base north of Ankara. In the immediate aftermath of the coup, a number of structures and public spaces were renamed, most notably Istanbul’s Bosphorus Bridge, which was renamed the “July 15 Martyrs’ Bridge.”

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