This whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site
For many Muslim Desi’s in the West and Muslims in general, halal-friendly travel destinations are hard to find and plan for.
In the past few years, more websites and blogs have appeared aiming to counter this.
With the advent of the information age, more of us are adventuring across the oceans to discover history and culture that once felt out of reach.
Previously hidden locations are now accessible due to the global reach of social media and increasing accessibility to cheaper travel and flights.
It is good to remember that every country and region is different.
Keeping up to date with the local news is always a good idea when planning trips too. Research and local knowledge is your best friend.
Depending on an individual’s ‘haram to halal’ ratio, venues may be unsuitable due to serving alcohol, or not having prayer facilities.
Due to the diversity within the diaspora, some people are okay with staying in a mixed-gender facility, while others would prefer not to.
Alcohol-free venues are barely advertised and halal diets are rarely considered or catered for.
But with some extra research and planning, there are some workarounds.
That’s why we’ve listed some amazing destinations that you could consider, looking at some of the main attractions, affordability and halal-friendly elements.
Qatar – Doha
Qatar hosting the 2022 World Cup allowed the world to see some of the attractions on offer in this small but rich Gulf country.
Doha has restaurants and shisha lounges galore and the busy Souq Waqif is the well-known marketplace.
The museums and scenery alone are worthy reasons to visit this country.
Type: City Break, Tropical
Highlights: Modern Skyline, Museum of Islamic Art, Souq waqif, Katara Cultural village
Muslim-friendly facilities: Alcohol-free venues available, All halal venues available, Some ladies-only/secluded pools
UAE – Dubai
Dubai might usually be a stop-off on your way to other countries, but this city has a lot to offer Muslim travellers.
It has in recent years also become a popular destination for influencers.
5-star accommodation, attractions and experiences make Dubai a favourite for travellers with a bigger budget.
Being a Muslim country, the availability of Michelin-star food quality with an accessible menu is definitely alluring.
Type: City, Luxury shopping, Culture
Highlights: Downtown Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Beaches, Old Dubai, Sky pool
Muslim-friendly facilities: All-halal venues, Numerous alcohol-free properties, Ladies-only pools available
Turkey – Istanbul
Istanbul is a rich and historical destination for history buffs and people looking for a cheap family holiday destination.
Impressive world-renowned sites such as the Hagia Sophia and Blue mosque are a must-see for any Muslim traveller.
Affordability: Small to Medium budgets
Type: City break, Family
Highlights: Historic sites, Culture, Food, Architecture, Mosques, Museums
Muslim-friendly facilities: All halal food, Alcohol-free hotels/venues freely available, Beautiful Mosques, Easy access to prayer facilities
Brunei – Bandar Seri Begawan
Bandar Seri Begawan once was known as a fishing village, over the years of change, it has developed into a city of wide streets and palaces.
Brunei is a sultanate and Shariah law is implemented in the country.
Water taxis can be used to get to various places including the water village in which its inhabitants are very friendly and inviting to guests and tourists.
It is also the world’s biggest settlement on stilts.
Affordability: Higher budgets but relatively affordable
Type: City, History
Highlights: Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Night market, Water village
Muslim-friendly facilities: Halal food venues are readily available, Alcohol is not allowed to be drunk in public
UAE – Abu Dhabi
The capital city of the UAE.
Sites like the Sheikh Zayed grand mosque amongst futuristic skyscrapers are sure to be a unique experience but be prepared for high summer heat.
The Louvre in Abu Dhabi provides a blend of art, cultural design from all over the world and modern masterpieces.
Racing enthusiasts also frequent this Gulf holiday destination – if you were this way inclined.
Type: City break, Desert, Culture
Highlights: Cultural landmarks, Modern architecture, the Louvre, Desert safari, Racing
Muslim-friendly facilities: Alcohol-free rooms and properties available, Secluded and ladies-only spas and pools, Halal food available
Maldives – Malé
The Maldives consists of thousands of islands scattered across an area in the Indian Ocean.
The archipelago destination is one of the more glamorous halal destinations.
Male is the capital city and the most frequented by tourists.
There are also various options to build tailored halal-friendly holidays through travel agents.
While it is one of the more expensive holiday destinations when looking at affordability, the Maldives is a completely Muslim country.
In terms of halal food, it is one of the most Muslim-accessible places in the world.
Type: Beach, Tropical
Highlights: White sand beaches, Bungalows over the water, Scuba diving, Wildlife (Whales, Manta rays)
Muslim-friendly features: Alcohol-free Property available, Ladies-only spa and private beaches/ secluded beaches, All halal food venues
Pakistan – Skardu
Pakistan has some beautiful areas including the Skardu district which boasts beautiful views and a relaxing mountainous getaway in Gilgit-Baltistan
Affordability: Small to medium budget, Cheap for Asia travel
Type: Nature, Mountain ranges
Highlights: Waterfalls, Satpara Lake, Mosques, Khaplu Fort
Muslim-friendly facilities: Although not advertised as such almost all venues will be halal friendly.
Lebanon – Beirut
If you are particularly adventurous, some travellers have flown to Beirut in Lebanon.
This holiday destination is a bit harder to navigate and off the beaten track as tourism is a bit of a smaller industry here.
Day trips can be arranged to see various sites and depending on how much you are willing to spend you can have a cheaper holiday or spend your time and money at the many shisha venues around.
Bear in mind, Beirut has a nightlife scene you may not have been expecting.
Affordability: Medium budget
Type: City break, History
Highlights: Beirut Souks, National Museum, Ancient ruins, Corniche/Promenade, Churches and Mosques
Muslim-friendly facilities: Alcohol-free rooms, Halal food available readily
Jordan – Petra
If you are interested in Middle Eastern history, Jordan is one of the best countries to visit.
The country has five UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Due to Jordan’s relatively small size, visitors should be able to see most sites in the country in a week.
In Petra, explorers can visit the 200-year-old city that is carved into red mountain rock and in Wadi Rum, visitors can stay in Bedouin camps.
The Dead Sea is worth visiting – also known as the lowest point on Earth.
Type: History, Nature
Highlights: Rock-cut structures, Ancient architecture, Dead Sea, Wadi Rum Safari
Muslim-friendly facilities: Many hotels and resorts only serve halal food, Alcohol-free sites
Uzbekistan – Samarkand
Uzbekistan is a destination many travellers forget or overlook.
If you are wanting to immerse yourself in history and imagine yourself strolling through the medieval Middle East, this is ideal.
Affordability: Small to medium budget, cheap for Asia travel
Type: History, Architecture
Highlights: Silk Road historical landmarks, Mosques, Bazaar, Striking Architecture
Muslim-friendly facilities: Some alcohol-free properties, Halal food available
Indonesia – Lombok
Lombok is lesser known than Bali – where many partygoers travel for their holidays.
Lombok is a little different, it is an island holiday with a relaxing atmosphere.
It is number one on the Indonesia Muslim Travel Index (IMTI) as Indonesia has the largest Muslim population in the world.
This makes planning a halal trip relatively easy.
Affordability: Small to medium budget
Type: Beaches, Tropical
Highlights: Sea turtle hatchery, Tranquil beaches, Natural scenery, Waterfalls, Snorkelling and diving
Muslim-friendly facilities: Alcohol-free venues available, Some all halal food venues, Secluded private pools available
Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia is a mix of beaches, tropical jungles and bustling modern skylines.
Kuala Lumpur being the capital city, offers an exciting boiling pot of history, culture and architecture.
A magical bucket list must-see is the blue tears in Kuala Selangor.
Due to special chemical reactions, water in certain areas in Malaysia appears to glow blue. Kuala Selangor is an hour’s bus ride away from the main city.
Affordability: Medium budgets
Type: City break
Highlights: Street markets, Temples, Petronas Twin Towers
Muslim-friendly features: Alcohol-free properties available, All halal food venues, Halal street food available
Turkey – Antalya
Antalya is a beach holiday destination good for honeymoons, or just for a rejuvenating and relaxing getaway.
Turkish Baths, museums, mosques and madrasahs are among some of the highlights this city has to offer.
Another highlight is the hot air balloon flights which can be booked as full-day tours in Antalya.
Affordability: Small to medium budget
Type: Beaches, Resorts
Highlights: Vibrant markets, Beaches, Ancient ruins, Food, Hot air balloon
Muslim-friendly facilities: Ladies-only outdoor beaches, Various halal venues, Variety of alcohol free properties
Morocco – Fes
Cited to be the oldest city in the country, Fes is situated in inland Morocco.
This whole city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The walled city contains the oldest university in the world standing today, gardens, maze-like markets and medinas.
If you are a history buff and interested in Islamic history in particular, this would be a good holiday destination.
Affordability: Small to medium budgets
Type: Historical city
Highlights: Museum, synagogue, mosque, medina
Muslim-friendly facilities: Alcohol-free venues available, All halal venues, Ladies-only spas and hammams
Mauritius – Flic-en-Flac
Mauritius is a Creole-speaking island known for its lagoons and reefs. Snorkelling, kayaking and paddle boarding are activities available.
Eating out can be a bit pricey, especially in more tourist areas but the local and street food is affordable and very tasty.
Most of the meat on the island is halal, however, always double-check if unsure.
Type: Tropical, Beach
Highlights: Markets, Pristine beaches, Water activities, Creole cuisine
Muslim-friendly facilities: Halal food available, Some alcohol-free venues, Some private pools and spas available
Egypt – Hurghada
Hurghada may be more of a touristy destination but this is understandable given the reasonable prices, the availability of resorts and the development in the area.
A good family holiday destination due to the various water parks around.
Excursions can also be booked for ‘The Valley of the Kings’ and Safari trips in the Desert.
Affordability: Medium budget
Type: Beach, Diving destination, History
Highlights: Coral Reef, Scuba diving, Valley of the Kings, Desert safari
Muslim-friendly facilities: Some all-halal venues, Limited alcohol-free properties, Halal food nearby
Sri Lanka – Colombo
Sri Lanka has not only beautiful beaches but spiritual sites in abundance.
One German traveller explained his trip to The Gangaramya Temple on TripAdvisor, saying:
“This place is so beautiful. For 400 RP (child admissions free) you can visit this temple and the one on the water.
“There are extremely beautiful statues, paintings and an atmosphere of calm and peace.
“We happened to witness a wedding ceremony. Stunning. Absolutely go there!”
Affordability: Medium budget
Type: Coastal City, Tropical, Wildlife
Highlights: Gangaramya Temple, National Museum, Cuisine
Muslim-friendly facilities: Some alcohol-free rooms are available, Limited all halal venues
Singapore is a futuristic city with an incredibly rich history and diversity whilst still being able to accommodate Muslim tourists from all over the world.
Whilst whole venues may not be alcohol-free or halal-friendly, there are abundant venues offering halal foods and even a whole Arab quarter.
The mix of Chinese, Malaysian, Indian, English and Arab cultures ensures an interesting trip.
Affordability: Medium budgets
Type: City break, Culture
Highlights: Gardens by the Bay, Chinatown, Little India, Arab Quarter
Muslim-friendly facilities: Limited alcohol-free venues, Limited all halal food places, Limited ladies-only facilities
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sarajevo
This charming city is full of history and culture, with a mix of visitors of all ethnicities and religions, the city caters for all.
Sarajevo is a must-see for anyone travelling in the Balkans. It is accessible via train and bus throughout the Balkans area.
Usually, visitors end up staying longer than originally planned.
The dark history of the area is outlined after a visit to the Museum Of Crimes Against Humanity And Genocide. Described by Jennifer E on TripAdvisor:
“Incredibly heavy museum, but well worth it.
“I spent 90 mins here, and probably only read half of what was there. Harrowing stories of survival.
“Several rooms to wind through. It’s a small-budget museum but well done.”
Affordability: Small budgets
Type: European city break, Culture
Highlights: History and culture, Old Town, Sufi monastery, Mosques
Muslim-friendly facilities: Limited halal-only venues, Limited alcohol-free venues, Halal food available
Albania – Tirana
Albania is a country that recently opened up to tourism, with most visitors being backpackers travelling throughout the Balkans.
In a predominantly Muslim country, Tirana is the metropolitan centre, with lots of interesting history and a mix of cultures blending together.
The cultures of coffee, shisha and bars provide local people with vibrant social spaces.
Architecture in this region is very brutalist but there is some interesting street art.
More importantly, it is a European country with a closed currency, which is always good to bear in mind.
Affordability: Small budget
Type: City Break, History
Highlights: Skanderbeg Square, Blloku district, Nuclear Bunker museum, Mosques and Churches
Muslim-friendly facilities: Some venues have halal food on request, Limited alcohol-free rooms/venues
In the wonderful world of travel, exploring halal-friendly destinations is like embarking on a deliciously diverse global adventure.
From the bustling bazaars of Istanbul to the tranquil waters of the Maldives, these 20 destinations prove that halal travel is a passport to unforgettable experiences.
So, pack your bags, satisfy your wanderlust, and let the beauty of these places whisk you away on an unforgettable journey.
To broaden your holiday planning, here are some useful sites to check out: