Istanbul Cost of Travel

Learning How Much It Costs To Visit Istanbul

Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and is a major draw for tourists from around the world because of its centuries of history, decent weather, and a wide range of attractions from cultural sites through to internationally renowned sports teams, and from its great selection of first-class food and drink options through to many types of leisure and entertainment for visitors.

This city of more than 15 million people truly has something to offer everyone regardless of their travel budget. No matter whether you are on vacation with a limited amount of money to spend, or you have saved up the funds for a luxurious trip, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Istanbul. But it can be useful to know more about some common costs while planning your trip.

The last thing that you want to have happen is to run out of money during the time that you’re in the city. That’s why it’s a great idea to pay in full for certain items so that they are already accounted for, and this includes the cost of your hotel, apartment or other accommodation. And then you should plan on having a set amount of Turkish lira on hand so that you can pay for things like taxi rides with cash. You could try finding an ATM in the city to withdraw some cash after you arrive, but note that you’ll likely have to pay high exchange fees for doing so.


Unless you are staying with friends or relatives for free, accommodation is likely to be your biggest expense while visiting Istanbul. And it’s also one of the spending categories with the most potential for fluctuation. If you’re looking for low-cost accommodation then one person might be able to find a cheap hotel or hostel that costs less than 500 Turkish lira per day. You’ll spend more, roughly 1,000 Turkish lira a day, for a two-person hotel room in a hotel with a higher standard of fixtures and fittings, and the increased cost is for the better quality room.


You can see much of Istanbul by foot, particularly if your accommodation is close to many of the popular tourist sites, historical landmarks and other leisure and entertainment options.

But if you need to get around the city in a vehicle, a bus is your cheapest option and you will only have to pay about 3 Turkish lira per ride. However, buses can be very crowded, and they can take a long time with their many stops until they finally get to your planned destination.

Alternatively, you might prefer the speed and privacy of using a taxi to help you with exploring Istanbul. This has the advantage of taking you directly from your pickup point to wherever you’re going, but it will also cost much more than a taxi. You should budget for spending about 45 Turkish lira per day if relying on taxis, and you might need more if you are planning many rides.

It’s always a good idea to keep some loose Turkish lira with you in case you take any taxi rides in and around the city, because you can use this change to tip drivers for a safe journey. Don’t feel obliged to give the driver a tip if you think that they didn’t give you a smooth and safe ride.

Food and drink

This is one of the Istanbul budget items that you can make as cheap or as costly as you’d like based purely on your own desires. If your intent is to eat and drink only at five-star restaurants then you will be spending a lot more money for each outing than those visitors who decide to save money by eating fast food or visiting less-expensive venues. A typical tourist could spend an average of 200 Turkish lira per day, which covers their breakfast, lunch, dinner.

Leisure and entertainment

Yet another daily budget category for your trip to Istanbul that will vary based on whatever your plans might be for your visit. If you intend on just seeing a handful of free or low-cost museums then you might only need about 10 Turkish lira a day for leisure and entertainment. But seeing sports games, going on guided tours, and pursuing other more expensive tourist attractions could require that you spend up to 300 Turkish lira every day and possibly even more.

Tips for incidental expenses and other spending

There are a few items that you should consider for your Istanbul vacation budget that are also dependent on how much money you have free to spend, and what you plan to do in the city. For example, an average person who visited Istanbul said that in addition to the various regular expenses, they also needed about 3,000 Turkish lira for a number of unplanned expenses such as buying souvenirs. Spread over seven days, that’s almost another 430 Turkish lira that you’ll need to plan on having with you, but if you don’t do much shopping you’ll need less money.

An average daily budget for Istanbul

Taking into account all of the above options, it’s clear that you have many different options for how you could spend your money in Istanbul. And those choices will vary in cost, with a holiday of cheap eating and maximum relaxing likely requiring much less money every day compared to the cost of a trip where you focus on big-budget items like fine dining and plenty of shopping.

But it’s possible to quote an average daily cost across all of those options, and the typical visitor to the city should plan for spending could be anywhere from about 800 to at least 1350 Turkish lira or more per day. This total expense covers accommodation, food, transportation, leisure and entertainment and other costs, but you might need more or less money for your plans.

For many international travelers, that’s a fairly affordable budget, and it helps to explain why Istanbul remains top of the must-visit list for millions of tourists year after year.