Welcome to Saudi Arabia, a land rich in traditions and cultural diversity. Among the myriad of customs, the Holy Month of Ramadan stands out as a time when the entire country transforms into a tapestry of spirituality and celebration. 

If you’re planning to visit Saudi Arabia during Ramadan, here’s everything you need to know to make the most of this unique experience.

Understanding the Significance of Ramadan

Ramadan is the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide. It is a time for spiritual reflection, self-discipline, and communal worship. Muslims engage in fasting from sunrise to sunset, refraining from food, drink, and other physical needs during this period. The objective is not just abstaining from worldly pleasures but also fostering empathy for those less fortunate.

The month concludes with Eid-Al-Fitr, a joyous celebration rewarding those who have fasted diligently. Streets come alive with festivities, marking the end of a month filled with prayer, introspection, and acts of charity.

When Does Ramadan Take Place in 2024?

Ramadan 2024 in Saudi Arabia is expected to commence on the 10th or 11th of March and conclude on the 9th or 10th of April, subject to the moon sighting. As the Islamic calendar follows a lunar system, it’s advised to check the exact dates closer to your visit, as they may shift by approximately 10 days each year.

Iftar & Suhoor in Saudi Arabia

Iftar, the evening meal to break the fast, and Suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, are cherished moments during Ramadan. Saudi Arabia takes these meals to a grand level. From high-end luxury Iftars to local markets offering traditional delicacies, there’s something for every palate. Exclusive Ramadan tents set up by renowned hotels provide a luxury dining experience, making it the perfect time to explore the diverse culinary scene.

For a taste of authentic Saudi cuisine, consider checking out some of these popular restaurants.

  • Najd Village
  • Al Saudi
  • Suhail Restaurant


Working Hours During Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

The pace of life in Saudi Arabia shifts during Ramadan. Public and private sector working hours are often reduced to half-days for the entire month. If official matters are on your agenda, it’s crucial to check the operating hours of offices in advance.

On a brighter note, many establishments, including restaurants and malls, extend their working hours well into the night, allowing for a unique blend of late-night exploration and cultural immersion.

Eating & Drinking Etiquette During Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

In respect to those fasting, eating and drinking in public during daylight hours is prohibited. Restaurants open later in the day for Iftar, serving up traditional Saudi fare alongside dates, juices, and more. It’s essential to be mindful of these rules to ensure a harmonious experience during your visit.

Some of Saudi Arabia’s Ramadan 2024 rules are yet to be announced, so keep an eye out for updates.

What to Wear During Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

Modesty in clothing is a pivotal practice during Ramadan. While there’s no specific Ramadan dress code, it’s advisable to opt for modest and appropriate attire covering shoulders and knees for both men and women. Checking the dress code of each location beforehand is recommended, as some venues may enforce specific rules during Ramadan.

Riyadh Boulevard

Things to Do in Saudi Arabia During Ramadan

While the pace may shift during Ramadan, there’s no shortage of exciting activities to indulge in. Beyond the traditional attractions, here are some additional recommendations to make the most of your time in Saudi Arabia during this holy month:

  • Night Markets and Festive Stalls: Explore the vibrant night markets and festive stalls that pop up throughout the month. These markets offer an authentic glimpse into Saudi Arabia’s history and culture. You can shop for traditional souvenirs, clothing, and other items while relishing delicious Iftar and Suhoor meals. The lively atmosphere is a testament to the city’s spirit during the month which is why it is one of the best things to do in Ramadan.
  • Mosque Experiences: Take the opportunity to visit some of Saudi Arabia’s renowned mosques during Ramadan. The grandeur of mosques, such as the Imam Turki Bin Abdullah Grand Mosque, is heightened during this sacred month. Experience the recitation of the Qur’an echoing through the minarets and immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere.
  • Historical Exploration: Saudi Arabia is a treasure trove of history, and Ramadan provides an excellent backdrop for historical exploration. Wander through Jeddah’s Al Balad District or Riyadh’s Diriyah District, discovering the rich cultural heritage embedded in the architecture and stories of these places.
  • Shopping Extravaganza: Ramadan in Saudi Arabia brings forth some of the best shopping deals and offers. Malls and markets decked out in festive decor offer a unique shopping experience. Take advantage of special Ramadan and Eid deals, and shop to your heart’s content.
  • Special Ramadan Events: Attend special events organized during Ramadan, which might include educational, comical, or business-focused gatherings. While entertainment and music events take a back seat, you can still engage in activities that promote learning and cultural exchange.
  • Explore Unique Stores and Markets: Discover the charm of traditional markets like Almaigliah, which stands as an authentic icon of local culture. These markets provide an opportunity to purchase the finest natural incense and other traditional items, adding a touch of local flavor to your Ramadan experience.
  • Extended Mall Hours: Keep an eye out for changes in working hours, especially during the last ten nights of Ramadan. Many shopping malls, such as Panorama Mall and Riyadh Park, may remain open all day except in the afternoon. This is an ideal time to indulge in some retail therapy.

Ramadan in RIyadh

Dos & Don’ts During Ramadan in Saudi Arabia

  • DO follow the government-imposed Ramadan rules and respect local culture.
  • DO adhere to a modest dress code, considering those fasting.
  • DO be mindful of eating and drinking in public spaces.
  • DO wish people ‘Ramadan Mubarak’ or ‘Ramadan Kareem.’
  • DO make reservations for Iftar and Suhoor plans.
  • DO educate yourself about Suhoor and Iftar timings.
  • DON’T be disrespectful towards cultural traditions.
  • DON’T photograph without permission.
  • DON’T play loud music in public spaces.
  • DON’T engage in public displays of affection.

Eid-Al-Fitr Celebration in Saudi Arabia

The conclusion of Ramadan is marked by Eid-Al-Fitr, a time of joy, feasting, and festivities. Witness light shows fireworks, and special dining experiences as the entire city comes alive. Residents enjoy an extended holiday, creating a vibrant atmosphere perfect for embracing the spirit of Saudi Arabian culture.

Visiting Saudi Arabia during Ramadan is a unique opportunity to witness a blend of spirituality, cultural richness, and festive celebrations. Embrace the traditions, savor the cuisine, and join in the joyous atmosphere that defines this special month in the Kingdom. Ramadan Kareem!