Trafalgar is the world’s leading tour company with legendary travel itineraries and its Trafalgar Europe tours are one of the most sought after. They’re one of the brands under the larger The Travel Corporation group that’s a family-owned travel and hotel company based in America and Trafalgar is one of 40 other travel brands.
To say the brand has a pedigree in the space is an understatement as they boast 303 trips in 72 countries across 6 continents. They’re backed by honest reviews and their Unlocked Awards invite the thousands of past travellers using Trafalgar to share their stories which can help others find their own stories on their own tour adventures.
Halal travel is an industry that is booming right now and we thought we’d look at some Muslim-friendly Trafalgar itineraries for Muslims who want the adventure of a Trafalgar tour which is in line with their religious beliefs.
Top 3 Trafalgar Europe tours for Muslim travellers
1. best of Türkiye
Did you know that Türkiye straddles two continents and that there’s the European side of Türkiye and the Asia side? True story.
The majority-Muslim country is one of the more popular destinations in Europe for Muslims around the world as it shares both the architecture of Western buildings as well as ancient Muslim influences in the city of Istanbul.
To that end, the Best of Türkiye itinerary is one of the most Muslim-friendly Trafalgar Europe tours there are and the 14-day journey covers the length of 18 cities passing through highlights like the Old City Istanbul, Gallipoli, the cotton castle of Pamukkale, and Cappadocia, the location that launched a million Instagram hashtags.
The trip goes in an anti-clockwise circle around the coast of Türkiye stopping at amazing landmarks like Troy where a replica of the eponymous structure can be found (and entered), the ruins of the ancient Greek city of Ephesus, and the other-worldly thermal pools at Pamukkale.
Before heading to Cappadocia to marvel at its natural rock formations, stop in Antalya to explore the Roman city of Perge. There, you can see the original Roman pillars, theatre, and stadium, which will give you a sense of the ingenuity of the people who built the city without the machines we have today.
At Cappadocia, visit the underground city of Saratli and join Trafalgar’s signature Make Travel Matter Experience at King’s Valley eco-farm to learn from local host Ali who has taken over his grandfather’s garden and turned it into a sustainable farm.
Hopping on a hot air balloon here is highly recommended as you simply won’t find other places on earth with the same colour of rocks or formations. Trafalgar does not directly offer any hot air balloon rides in this itinerary, but as trips typically take off early in the morning to catch the sunrise, you’ll be up by 4am and back at the hotel before breakfast.
Speak to your tour director to arrange something on the side or you may opt to arrange your hot air balloon vendor beforehand. We recommend speaking to your tour director, however, as there are less than reputable folk out there who prey on unsuspecting tourists.
You will also experience Trafalgar’s Stay with Stories at Dilek Kaya Hotel located alongside the ancient Ortahisar rock castle. The next day you’ll see more of the unusual rock formations around Cappadocia with a visit to the Göreme Open-Air Museum.
The trip concludes with a stop at the capital city of Ankara. In the city, you’ll be able to find the Anıtkabir Museum, a memorial to the former leader of Türkiye, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. He was the man who attained independence for the nation and the grounds that were built to honour him are suitably grandiose.
You will also find the Hacı Bayram mosque which was built during the Ottoman Empire in the 1400s in Ankara. The site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list for Türkiye in 2016.
Day 9 of the trip will bring you back to Istanbul where you’ll be given the option to hop on the Bosphorus Cruise that takes you through the winding straits that split Europe and Asia. Along the strait, you’ll find old-world forts, lavish palaces, mosques, and universities. It’s an idyllic boat ride and you can see why some of the most wealthy in the past have built mansions and palaces here on the water.
Of course, if you’re in Istanbul, you cannot miss the Hagia Sophia mosque. What was once a Christian cathedral is now a functioning mosque that you can pray in or simply visit. All tourists are to be respectful of prayer times and not make noise inside.
This trip truly takes you on a round trip of all the essential stops in Türkiye while giving you plenty of room to have your own adventure.
2. best of morocco
The Kingdom of Morocco’s official and predominant religion is Islam, so like Türkiye, the country located in the North of Africa is safe for Muslim devouts who are looking for halal travel.
Though not technically in Europe, its proximity to Spain and Portugal makes it a frequent destination for travellers who visit the south of Spain amid their European adventure. With its Arabic, Berber, African, and European influences, Morocco’s travel landscape is truly diverse and it’s no wonder that many movies filmed there like Lawrence of Arabia, The Mummy, and Gladiator. Ironically, the movie Casablanca was not shot here.
That said, the Best of Morocco tour begins in the capital city of Casablanca. The majestic Hassan II Mosque is the 7th largest mosque in the world and is built partially on land and partially over the ocean.
From there it’s a clockwise journey following the coast towards Rabat then Meknes and on to Fes. In Meknes, you’ll witness firsthand the grand gate of Bab el-Mansour, an impressively ornamented gateway adorned by green and white zellij tiles.
In the city of Fez, explore the Medina of Fez, the second largest city in Morocco and is considered one of the most extensive and best conserved historic towns of the Arab-Muslim world. In Morocco, medinas are used to denote old parts of towns that are typically walled and contain narrow streets, fountains, palaces, and mosques. Many medinas are car-free.
Moving on, the journey takes you to Tinghir to see the ancient ruins of Glaoui palace where you will stay overnight at Trafalgar’s Stays with Stories accommodations, the African-styled Dades Xaluca Hotel. The location is unique in that it is a literal oasis in the desert and is surrounded by panoramic views of the Atlas Mountains.
The next stop on the itinerary is Ouarzazate, nicknamed the door to the desert, It houses Atlas Studios, one of the largest movie studios in the world. This is where all those Hollywood movies were shot like Lawrence of Arabia, The Man Who Would Be King, The Mummy, Kingdom of Heaven, Gladiator, and Babel.
On the same day, make your camp at Marrakesh, or the Red City, where you can visit the traditional souk (market) as well as the Bahia Palace. The city is distinct in that it has the Medina Quarter which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The final stop before heading back to Casablanca is the coastal city of Essaouira. Its medina is another UNESCO-listed area where you can enjoy a seafood lunch alongside a walk around the grounds to marvel at the architecture built according to the principles of contemporary European military architecture in a North African context.
3. balkan adventure
The 14-day Balkan Adventure takes you through 7 countries and 13 cities in the Balkan peninsula in southeast Europe. Balkans comes from the Turkish language meaning “chain of wooded mountains” or ‘swampy forest’ which is appropriate as mountains are plentiful here.
The actual amount of countries that are considered in the Balkan region is contested, but there are traditionally considered 11 countries in the region: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, Macedonia, Greece, Bulgaria Romania, with the westernmost part of Türkiye also included.
Of these countries, there are four Muslim-majority countries, i.e., Bosnia and Herzegovina, Türkiye, Kosovo, and Albania. On this itinerary, however, you’ll only be stopping in Bosnia and Herzegovina but the region is considered to be halal travel-friendly as well.
To give you a taste of what you’ll experience on this tour, you’ll be able to walk in the fictional footsteps of Count Dracula at Bran Castle in Transylvania, yes, it’s a real place.
Speaking of Transylvania, the pilgrimage begins in Romania at the capital city, Bucharest after which you’ll be heading to the central region of Romania which is called Transylvania. We always thought Transylvania was the name of a city or town, but to find out that it’s a big central region, one of eight regions, was a slight disappointment.
In Transylvania however, is Braşov, which has the aforementioned Bran Castle whose connection to Count Dracula is, sadly, tentative at best. Bram Stoker sets his blood-sucking story in Transylvania and Bran Castle best fits the author’s descriptions of the antagonist’s lair. But aside from that, there are no actual accounts of a Count who lived there named Dracula.
What’s real however is the old city of Braşov and you can join a Local Specialist who will reveal the city’s trading history and Saxon roots as you walk around Town Hall Square and see the Black Church, so named following the damage caused by the Great Fire of 1689.
Take a medieval turn at Veliko Târnovo, the former capital of the Bulgarian Empire which was also called the third Rome. Looking like it came out of Game of Thrones, the Tsarevets fortress is the main focal point of the town and was used to house royals.
Sofia is another city built atop the ruins of the Roman empire and whose architecture has been influenced by the Greeks, Romans, Ottomans and communists. The next country, Macedonia, was also influenced by the Ottomans and you’ll find mosques and bazaars when you join the Local Specialist on the tour of the city of Skopje.
Next up is Albania, which is also a Muslim-majority country and its capital Tirana is where you’ll find The Great Mosque of Tirana. The mosque is set to become the biggest mosque in the Balkans once it is finished but for now, you can still visit parts of it.
Interestingly, although communism fell in Albania in 1991 and as of 2016, there was still no central mosque for its people and many prayed in the streets. In 1992, the Albanian government announced plans to build a central mosque in the capital city of Tirana. The construction of the mosque began in 1994 and was expected to be completed in 2003. However, the project was delayed due to financial problems and political instability.
I recommend that you ask your tour director for more information about the central mosque in Albania. They will be able to provide you with the latest updates on the construction project and answer any questions that you have.
Day 9 brings you to Montegnegro’s Kotor and Budva. The latter is known as Montenegro’s Miami and the town by the Adriatic Sea is the centre of Montenegrin tourism.
After a night here we’re off to Bosnia, another Muslim-majority country in the Balkans. It’s difficult to imagine that it has almost been 30 years since the war ended in the country in 1995.
Both the city of Mostar and Sarajevo on this trip were once embroiled in the war but looking at the quaint cobblestones and the beautiful Miljacka river that runs blue through Sarajevo now, there isn’t a hint of the tragic war to be seen.
Sarajevo is a city where the East meets the West and is surrounded by forested mountains. Mosques mingle with Orthodox Christian cathedrals as centuries of religious history teem through its cobblestoned streets.
To get a grasp of the hardship during the war, head to the War Tunnel, an underground tunnel of hope that was built in 1993 during the Siege of Sarajevo, allowing war supplies and humanitarian aid to reach the city at the height of the Bosnian War.
Once the days are done, the final leg of the itinerary brings travellers to Belgrade in Serbia through the mountains of Bosnia.
Delve into the White City’s Celtic, Roman, Serbian, Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian history, then visit Kalemegdan Fortress, the symbol of the Serbian capital perched perfectly on a ridge overlooking the confluence of two great rivers.
Fun fact: Nikola Tesla was from Serbia and the Nikola Tesla Museum is one that is recommended by all to see.
A Word on Muslim-Friendly Trafalgar Europe Tours
Trafalgar does not explicitly market its itineraries as Muslim-friendly, but the itineraries in this list are all in Muslim-majority countries or countries with a significant Muslim population.
Trafalgar Tours does not provide meals that meet strict religious requirements. However, halal travel should not be an issue on these itineraries, as they are all in Muslim-majority countries.
Now that you know the best itineraries for halal travel with Trafalgar tours, what will be your first destination?
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