Travel tips

Turkey: a travel money guide

By Emily Ward | Marketing manager at ICE

How much spending money do I need for my holiday to Turkey?

Turkey’s beautiful coastlines, thriving cities and fascinating history make it one of the top travel destinations in the word. Trips to Turkey are as easy to do on a shoestring budget as in real luxury, so if you’re wondering how much travel money to take you’re not alone. In this guide we’ll show how much you can expect to spend during your Turkey holiday.

Buying Turkish Lira

Currency: Turkish Lira (TRY) 

At the time of writing, the exchange rate between Pounds Sterling (GBP) and Turkish lira (TRY or TL) was 1 GBP : 7.10TRY.

Credit Cards and Banks:  ATMs are easy to find in the city, and most hotels, restaurants, and shops will accept credit cards.

Before you go, it’s a good idea to make sure you’ve got plenty of currency.

For great rates and maximal convenience, you can buy your Turkish Lira with ICE for  home delivery or get it on our prepaid currency card which lets you load Turkish Lira (and up to nine other currencies). It’s quick and easy, and means you don’t need to worry about carrying cash with you when travelling.

Food and drink costs in Turkey

Good food and drink can be the difference between a relaxing holiday and stressful one, but Turkey is renowned for its good value and delicious food, and its cities and coastlines are filled with great places.

If you want your trip to Turkey to be as cheap as possible, you’ll want to search for fresh fruit and veg from small stores (known as markets) and freshly-baked bread from local bakeries. You’ll be able to make a large meal for about 5TRY, or 8TRY with meat or cheese. For more convenience you can visit a supermarket: branches of Carrefour and Migros are all around the major cities.

You’ll never need to walk far to find a good restaurant in Turkey. The closer you are to tourist areas – especially beaches – the more prices will rise, but even here the cost of food is much lower than in the UK, and the portion sizes more generous.

In a city like Istanbul, a plate and a drink can cost as little as 10TRY per person, rising to about 20TRY if you want to splash out. A two-course dinner can start at 25TRY and can rise to around 55TRY for something truly delicious. Alcohol is taxed, so if you’ll be drinking you can expect to pay a fair bit more: about 50TRY for a bottle of wine or 15TRY for a beer. A glass of Raki, the traditional Turkish spirit, can cost between and 45TRY.

Turkish tea and Turkish coffee are each famous in their own right. A cup of tea or coffee in a cafe can cost between 2 and 8TRY, while in a franchise chain (like Starbucks), you’ll be paying up to 15TRY for a coffee.

Stay hydrated! Tap water can be unsafe in some regions of Turkey, so bottled water is your safest bet. A 1.5 litre bottle of water at a local market should cost between 1 and 3TRY.

Alcohol costs in Turkey

To keep your budget low in Turkey, head to the supermarket for alcohol rather than buying at restaurants. Beers start at about 7TRY per bottle and local wine at about 25TRY per bottle. There are plenty of stores selling alcohol as well, usually for slightly higher prices.

Transport costs in Turkey

Turkey’s cities typically offer an adult one-way ticket on local transport (city bus, metro, tram, ferry, funicular, cable car) for 5TRY. In Istanbul however, this reduces to 2.65TRY for a journey if you buy the Istanbulkart travel pass (with a 1.85TRY fee for changing the mode of transport during the journey). Taxis can be an inexpensive way of travelling as a group in a city, costing a base of 4TRY and rising to 3TRY for every kilometre you travel. Make sure you use a licensed taxi and insist on running the daytime meter to avoid scams.

Cost for activities in Turkey

History lovers and beach lovers alike are spoiled for choice in Turkey. While relaxing on a beach won’t cost you a penny, hiring a sun lounger will set you back 25TRY and drinks can be about 10TRY each. The crystal clear waters mean that boat trips are extremely popular, and you’ll be able to find prices per person ranging from 10TRY for a small fishing-boat trip to 215TRY for an all-inclusive all-day cruise.

Professional tour guides for Istanbul can be booked through travel agencies; a reasonably priced service is around 200TRY for a day. However, as most of the places of interest, such as the Hagia Sophia, are located within 10-15 minute walks from each other, many choose to conduct their own walking tour. Entry to monuments such as the Basilica Cistern is typically between 100-220TRY per person.

Authentic Turkish baths (hammams) are unmissable experiences in Turkey. In large cities such as Istanbul, prices start at 40TRY for a bath and massage and rise to 80TRY for an all-inclusive service.

Shopping in Turkey is another unique experience. You’ll find a bazaar in every city and town, selling products made by local artisans, often hand-crafted. The amount you’ll end up spending can of course vary wildly depending on your need and location. At the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, a small good-quality bowl should cost about 25TRY, while at the Spice Bazaar a good-quality box of tea should cost about 20TL. 80TRY should cover a handful of souvenirs for friends and family, but don’t forget to haggle!

How much to tip in Turkey

As with most other countries, if you’re planning your spending money in Turkey you’ll need to budget for tipping. Turkey’s tipping etiquette is fairly relaxed, with customs that mirror much of Europe.

• Restaurants and bars: 5-10% of bill
• Turkish baths: 10-20% of total fee
• Tour guide: 20-30% of total fee
• Taxis: round up the fare (nearest 5 or 10TRY)

Other costs

Don’t forget to budget for your tourist visa! This costs $20 (115TRY) and can be done through the Republic of Turkey e-Visa website between 3 months and 48 hours before your trip.

Average daily and weekly spend by real travellers in Turkey

The amount you’re likely to spend each day in Turkey really depends on how much is included in your accommodation fee. With full board (all meals and some drinks provided), you’ll spend by far the less, and it’s safe to budget around 110-130TRY per person per day. With half board (breakfast and evening meal provided), this will stand more around 180-200TRY per person per day, and with self-catering you’ll be looking at 210-230TRY per person per day.

Turkey holiday spending per day (excludes souvenirs and tourist visa)

Full board average daily spend – 116TRY per day

  • Drinks – 25TRY
  • Coffee – 8TRY
  • Bottled water – 3TRY
  • Turkish bath – 50TRY
  • Transport – 15TRY
  • Tips – 15TRY

Half board average daily spend – 141TRY per day

  • Drinks – 25TRY
  • Coffee – 8TRY
  • Lunch – 15TRY
  • Bottled water – 3TRY
  • Turkish bath – 50TRY
  • Transport – 15TRY
  • Tips – 25TRY

Self-catering average daily spend – 216TRY per day

  • Drinks – 25TRY
  • Coffee – 8TRY
  • Food – 85TRY
  • Bottled water – 3TRY
  • Turkish bath – 50TRY
  • Transport – 15TRY
  • Tips – 30TRY

Last checked and updated: 03.09.2019. All travel, accommodation, and activity costs are taken from the official providers’ websites.

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