dollar gill r7T1PM5XGUc unsplash 1 scaled

Is Istanbul a Cheap or Expensive City?

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!

Is Istanbul a Cheap or Expensive City?

Istanbul, sometimes called “The Jewel of the Bosphorus”, is a culturally rich city that attracts visitors from all over the world. Many people wonder how expensive Istanbul is and whether it is an affordable destination for travelers.

That depends on what you are comparing it to. Istanbul is cheaper than most cities in Western Europe, such as London and Paris. When compared to other Turkish cities, it’s a bit more expensive due to its larger size, more international visitors, and greater cost of transportation and housing.

When it comes to the actual day-to-day costs of living in Istanbul, you can certainly find ways to save money. If you stay in budget-friendly hotels, use public transportation, and avoid eating at overpriced tourist restaurants, you can get by with a relatively small budget.

Accomodation Costs

Accommodation costs can vary significantly in Istanbul, depending on where you stay. Hotels are generally more expensive than hostels and guesthouses, while Airbnbs and private apartments can be more affordable options. That said, prices in Istanbul have been steadily rising in recent years, making it more difficult to find budget-friendly accommodation.

If you’re looking for cheap accommodation in Istanbul, you should consider staying in neighborhoods that haven’t yet become popular with tourists. Beyoğlu, for instance, is a great neighborhood for budget travelers, as it has a lot of smaller guesthouses and hostels located near public transportation and attractions.

Food & Drink Costs

Food and drink costs are usually quite affordable in Istanbul. Street food is especially inexpensive, and there are plenty of options available. Turkish staples such as döner kebab, kumpir (stuffed baked potato), menemen (scrambled eggs with peppers and tomatoes), and tantuni (Turkish tacos) are all very cheap.

If you want a sit-down restaurant experience, there are plenty of options available for reasonable prices. Even restaurants catering to tourists can be affordable if you opt for set menu meals or lunch specials.

Drinks are not as affordable in Istanbul as some would imagine. Alcoholic drinks can be pricey, but there are other options such as çay (tea) and ayran (yogurt drink) that are much cheaper.

Transportation Costs

Transportation costs in Istanbul can vary significantly depending on how you get around. For instance, public transportation such as buses and trams is cheaper than taxis and car rentals. The IstanbulKart public transportation card lets you ride the bus and trams for a reduced rate.

The metro system is also an affordable way to get around the city. Fares start at 3 TL (about $0.50 USD) and increase depending on distance traveled. You can save even more by buying a bulk card that lets you ride the metro for a discounted rate.


Overall, Istanbul can be considered a reasonably priced city when compared to other European destinations. It’s not as cheap as other Turkish cities but it’s still possible to find deals and enjoy a visit on a budget. Where you stay and how you get around can have a big impact on your expenses, so be sure to shop around and compare prices before making any decisions. For more detailed information about pricing in Turkey, check out

Insider’s Guide to Istanbul: A City of Rich Culture, History, and Affordable Delights

If you’re looking for an incredible travel destination that blends Western and Eastern traditions, Istanbul should be on your list. The city in Turkey has a rich cultural heritage and a bustling food scene that won’t break your bank, even with a modest budget. In this insider’s guide, we are going to explore why Istanbul is such a unique and fascinating destination and give you some tips to get the most out of your next Istanbul adventure.

The Best Attractions to Visit

Museums, palaces, and historic streets are just a few of the things you should look forward to seeing in Istanbul. Here are some of the top highlights:

1. Hagia Sophia: One of Istanbul’s most iconic buildings, the Hagia Sophia, served as a church and a mosque in the past. Now, it is a museum showcasing Byzantine architecture at its finest.

2. Topkapi Palace: The Topkapi Palace preserves the history of the Ottoman Empire, including their traditions, art, and lifestyle. It’s a fascinating glimpse of royalty and power from the era.

3. The Blue Mosque: Also known as the Sultan Ahmed Mosque, the Blue Mosque is an architectural wonder that will leave you breathless with intricate details in every nook and cranny.

4. Grand Bazaar: The Grand Bazaar is a shopper’s paradise. It’s one of the world’s largest covered markets, with over 4000 shops featuring Turkish carpets, copperware, ceramics, textiles, and spices.

The Best Dining Spots to Try

One of the reasons why Istanbul is such a favorite of foodies is the numerous restaurants, cafes, and bars serving up delicious Turkish cuisine. Here are some of the best places to try:

1. Beykoz Iskele Restaurant: Situated on the Bosphorus Strait, Beykoz Iskele Restaurant offers a stunning viewpoint while savoring seafood dishes.

2. Dürümzade: A local street food joint that’s a must-visit on any trip to Istanbul. Serving up döner kebab wraps with a plate of fries, it’s always packed with happy customers.

3. Hocapaşa Pidecisi: This place specializes in delicious Turkish Pide, a type of thin-crust pizza, that will tantalize your taste buds. Besides, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the famous Hagia Sophia.

The Best Cultural Experiences to Have

Turkey has a rich cultural heritage, and Istanbul is no exception. Don’t miss these cultural experiences during your visit:

1. Turkish Hammam: For a rejuvenating experience, a session at a Turkish Hammam is a perfect choice, where the traditional steam bath followed by an exfoliating massage will leave you feeling rejuvenated.

2. Whirling Dervishes: The whirling dervishes are one of the most iconic images of Turkish culture and tradition. In Istanbul, you can watch their incredible Semâ ceremony for an unforgettable experience.

3. Turkish Music: Istanbul has a vibrant music scene with traditional and modern genres. Attend a performance at the Cemal Resit Rey Concert Hall, which features acclaimed musicians and performers.

The Best off-the-beaten-path recommendations

While Istanbul has many popular tourist attractions, it also offers some great alternative options. Here are some recommendations:

1. Balat: Balat is a fascinating neighborhood, often overlooked by travelers. It’s full of colorful houses, street art, and trendy cafes. You’ll also find the famous Church of St. George in this area.

2. Princes’ Islands: Located off the coast of Istanbul, these islands are a delightful escape. With no cars allowed, visitors can explore by bicycle or on foot and relax on the beaches.

3. Suleymaniye Baths: Not as well-known as the Turkish Hammams, Suleymanie Baths are amongst the original historic baths in Istanbul and is worth a visit.


Istanbul is a city like no other. From its rich cultural heritage to its mouthwatering cuisine and affordable cost of living, it’s no surprise why it draws millions of tourists every year. With this insider’s guide, we hope your upcoming Istanbul trip exceeds your expectations and that you’ll be inspired to explore every avenue of this unique and captivating city.

dollar gill r7T1PM5XGUc unsplash 1 scaled

Is Istanbul a Cheap or Expensive City?

Experience Adventure Like Never Before: Book Your Tour Today!