Is Turkey Expensive to Visit? How to Travel on a Budget in 2023

Photo of author
Written By Sean & Louisa

Your #1 Resource For All Things Travel Turkey Related

One of the questions we get asked the most is; is Turkey expensive to travel to? No, Turkey is a really cheap place to visit, especially since the Turkish Lira is declining in value by the month.

But how much does a trip to Turkey cost? How cheap is it really? In this guide, we’ll be breaking down the cost of everything from transport, food, accommodation and attractions, so you know exactly how to budget for your Turkey trip.

How Much Does A Trip to Turkey Cost?

If you’re in a hurry and need a quick answer to how much Turkey is going to cost you, here’s a table showing estimates for how much you’re looking to spend in 2023.

After this, we will go into detail about how much each factor costs and how you can save money. All prices listed are in USD($).

The estimated daily costs do not factor in long-distance transport or the price of alcohol, as this will largely depend on the individual. If you don’t drink or plan to travel around Turkey, your daily budget will be cheaper.

ExpensesPrice Per ItemEstimated Daily Cost
Taxis & Inner City Transport$5-$10$15-$30
Long Distance Buses$19-$30
Internal Flights$60-$100
Total (minus flights, long-distance buses, souvenirs, alcohol):$36.00 – $350.00
Prices vary depending on your travel style

Cost of Transport in Turkey

Transport is where the majority of your budget gets eaten up. You can save money on attractions, food, and even accommodation, but the price of transport is not something you can haggle down and is also a necessity.

Here is how much you will need to budget for transport in Turkey.

Cost of Flights to Turkey

The cost of flights to Turkey will largely depend on where you are flying from. Since Istanbul is the most popular airport for layovers, flights from all over the world travel here.

There are two airports in Istanbul, Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW), and Istanbul International Airport (IST). Istanbul International Airport is where all international flights depart and arrive. Sabiha Gokcen International Airport is really used to domestic flights only these days.

You’re more than likely going to fly into Istanbul International Airport. The average price of a flight to Istanbul is as follows:

  • From Europe and the United Kingdom: $100-$300
  • From Asia: $400-$600
  • From the United States: $700-$1000

The price of the flight will depend on how far in advance you book. The earlier you book, the cheaper the price (usually)!

If you’re flying from the United States, Turkish Airlines are the only airline to operate direct flights. You can fly from the following airports:

  • Atlanta (ATL)
  • Boston (BOS)
  • Chicago (ORD)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
  • Houston (IAH)
  • Los Angeles (LAX)
  • Miami (MIA)
  • New York (EWR) & New York City (JFK)
  • San Francisco (SFO)
  • Seattle / Tacoma (SEA)
  • Washington (IAD)

The longest direct flight is from Mexico City which takes 14 hours. You can also fly direct from these major cities:

  • Amsterdam
  • Bangkok
  • Barcelona
  • Berlin
  • Brussels
  • Bucharest
  • Cairo
  • Dubai
  • Dublin
  • Hong Kong
  • Jakarta
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Milan
  • Paris
  • Rome
  • Seoul
  • Singapore
  • Tel Aviv
  • Vienna
  • Zurich
  • Vienna
  • Seoul

Cost of Internal Flights in Turkey

So your flight to Istanbul will be your largest expense. From here on out, it’s cheap, cheap, cheap! Fortunately, internal flights are really affordable in Turkey.

Most internal flights are operated by Turkish Airlines, Pegasus Airlines, or Sun Express. You can fly direct to and from Istanbul, Antalya, Izmir, and Cappadocia.

If you want to fly from Cappadocia to Izmir, you will need to change in Istanbul.

However, even if you need to change flight in Istanbul, the flights are really affordable and quite quick, with layovers only lasting between 1-2 hours. This is because a lot of people take these routes, not just tourists but locals as well. So they are strategically timed to allow you to transfer quickly.

The average cost of internal flights in Turkey is $60-$100 per flight. If you are booking the day before, then you might have to pay up to $120, but it’s very rare to exceed $100 if you’re organized.

Cost of Long Distance Buses in Turkey

Long-distance buses are the most affordable way to travel across the country. If you’re planning an epic Turkey itinerary, this will be your most affordable way to get from city to city, and it can also be quite convenient too.

Most long-distance bus journeys are night buses. This is because the roads are quieter and safer at night. Since you’ll be traveling for 14-17 hours, we highly recommend you take a night bus if you have the choice to choose between the two. You also get to save on a night’s accommodation!

The price of long-distance buses is usually between $19-$30 depending on the route you take. Istanbul to Cappadocia is a long journey, so it might be at the top end of the budget. From Cappadocia to Antalya, you might find the prices are a little cheaper.

Long Distance Buses Turkey

Top tip: we recommend you book your bus ticket locally using the tour providers. We booked using FlixBus, and it turned out they used the local companies anyway, so we would have saved money by booking direct.

Make sure to book a day in advance, as the buses are usually full and you can’t buy a ticket from the bus driver.

The Cost of Inner City Transport

Getting around the cities in Turkey is super easy. In major cities in Turkey, there is a tram network, metro and bus route. The tram is the most affordable way to travel.

The tram network usually connects the suburbs to the city center, and passes by the top attractions. A single trip on the tram can cost you around $0.10 USD (1.85 Turkish Lira).


If you don’t get the tram, the metro and the bus are just as convenient and affordable. The average price of one journey on the metro or bus is $1.00 USD (15 Turkish Lira).

Make sure you get yourself the city card. In Istanbul, it’s called Istanbulkart, in Antalya it’s Antalyakart, and Izmir it’s the Izmirkart – you can see the theme, right?

You need one of these ‘karts’ to get around the city. You can get them from the airport or any major metro station.

taxi in turkey

Taxis are the most expensive way to get around, largely because drivers try to scam you. Very rarely do taxi drivers use the meters, and if they do, they like to take the “scenic route” which ends up costing you more. We recommend you take Uber in Istanbul and major cities, so you know how much you are paying up front.

The average cost of a taxi fare in Turkey is between 4.50-9 Turkish Lira ($0.25-$0.48 USD) per 1km

Top tip: If you’re getting a bus to Izmir, you can’t get an Izmirkart from the bus station, you need to take a taxi to the city center. I know, it’s annoying.

Read More: Can You Use The Euro In Turkey? Currency In Turkey Guide

Average Cost of Accommodation in Turkey

Your accommodation is really where you can save your pennies. You can find a bed in a hostel dormitory for as little as $8 USD per night, or you can splash out on a five-star resort on a beach in Antalya for $150 per night. It’s really down to you.

You can find hotels for as high as $500 per night, but those are really for romantic getaways and honeymoons. For the average traveler, or family, you wouldn’t expect to pay this much (unless that’s what you’re looking for!).

To break it down for you, here are the average costs of accommodation:

  • Hostels – $8-$20 per night for a dorm bed, $34-$75 per night for a private room
  • Hotels – $35-$80 for a 3-star hotel, $65-$100 for a 4-star hotel, $75-$150 for a five-star hotel.
  • Vacation rentals – $70 per night for a room, $120 for entire apartments, $250 for houses

Are you reading this from Turkey? Maybe you need a VPN!

If you’re already in Turkey, there is one thing you absolutely NEED: a reliable VPN.

You may find some of your favorite websites and apps are blocked in Turkey, such as popular hotel site

A VPN allows you to get passed this ruling and enables you to browse these sites without any hassle, and it’s completely legal.

We use Express VPN when we’re in Turkey and we’d recommend it to anyone. It’s affordable, quick, and easy to use.

Cost of Food in Turkey

The best thing about Turkey is the food. You can honestly spend less to nothing on food, which makes it one of the most affordable places to visit.

The average cost of a meal in Turkey is anywhere from $3-$6 per. You might pay up to $10 if you include drinks and desserts, which you definitely should because Turkish desserts are just yum!

Street food in Istanbul tends to be really cheap too, but do be careful when trying the stuffed mussels as the price racks up. Generally, stuffed mussels are charged per mussel. When we visited, the going rate was 5 lira per mussel, which is about $0.27 USD. Bargain!

We ended up eating 20 mussels, which came to around $5.40 USD. It’s not a lot but if you go crazy, it adds up. We also bought an ice cream later in the day for 7 Lira ($0.38 USD) and then went to town in the Grand Bazaar.

Top tip: If you’re in Istanbul and you’ve spent a large amount of your daily budget already, head to Eminou and get a fish sandwich for your dinner at just 12 Lira ($0.65 USD). Here’s an image of the shop below so you know what to look for.

Don’t forget you have three meals a day on average, so remember this when you’re putting your daily food budget together.

Cost of Alcohol in Turkey

Alcohol in Turkey is really cheap and you can also find some exceptional Turkish wines from the Cappadocia region. We bought a bottle of wine for 30 Turkish Lira in Cappadocia ($1.60) and were able to bring it into a restaurant with us to have with our meal.

You should note that alcohol is rarely served in restaurants since it is a Muslim country. However, most places don’t mind you bringing your own but do ask before you whip out a bottle and start chugging.

In places like Antalya or Bodrum, you’ll find many bars serving alcohol. These cities have a nightlife culture, so you’ll find plenty of bars and clubs here serving a variety of drinks, from local beers, to international beers, and spirits.

The average price of alcohol is as follows:

  • Wine by the bottle – $1.60 – $3.00
  • Wine by the glass – $0.40 – $0.65
  • Beer – $1.88 for a local beer, $2.50 for an international beer
  • Cocktails – $7.50

Cost of Attractions in Turkey

After transport, your second biggest expense is your attractions. Depending on where you are in Turkey, you can expect to pay quite a bit for tours.

However, you can save money by either visiting attractions yourself and planning your own transport. Or taking tours from nearby towns and cities, rather than from Istanbul.

For example, a trip to Ephesus from Izmir is going to cost you $200 from Istanbul if you include flights, transport, and the entrance ticket. But from Izmir, it will come to $35 if you include the transport and entrance fee.

Train ticket from Izmir to Selcuk (stop for Ephesus)

Booking tours save you time in planning, but it tends to cost a bit more than doing it yourself. It can sometimes cost a bit more to book online than by purchasing from a local tour company, but it can also sometimes save you money – it really depends on the tour and the time of year.

We do recommend shopping around before booking attractions to see the most economical way of seeing things.

Fortunately, many things to do in Istanbul are free, such as mosques, parks, and visiting landmarks such as The Grand Bazaar. In Cappadocia, it’s free to hike any of the valleys.

You can also save money on attractions by getting an Istanbul Tourist Pass, which is a tourist pass that gives you discounts at 75 attractions in the city.

Zelve Open Air Museum

You can always find good deals for hot air balloon flights in Cappadocia when booking online.

The average cost of attractions is anywhere from $20 – $80 per attraction, depending on whether you need to organize transport and the type of attraction.

Read more: The best tours in Cappadocia

Cost of Souvenirs in Turkey

Everyone wants to get a souvenir on vacation and Turkey is the best place to do some shopping. You can take home all manner of souvenirs and gifts for friends and families, and with places like the Grand Bazaar being full of thousands of stalls, you can get really carried away when shopping.

To help you work out how much to expect, here’s the average cost of souvenirs in Turkey:

  • Turkish delight – $6 – $30, depending on whether you get one or a box
  • Turkish towel or textiles – $9-$18
  • Turkish tea / coffee – $12-$18
  • Turkish lamp – $48
  • Turkish rug – $50 – $100 USD (the cheaper ones tend to be factory-made knockoffs)
  • Nazar Amulet (Evil Eye) – $14
  • Herbs and spices – $1-$2
  • Ceramics – $12-$18
  • Baklava – $18 – $36

If you’re not sure what souvenirs to take home with you, here’s a complete guide to souvenirs in Turkey.

Note: you can sometimes haggle at markets such as the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar, but prices in stores are fixed price.


Additional Costs to Consider

We have pretty much covered all the usual expenses for a vacation to Turkey, but there are some additional costs you should allow for in your budget. We recommend you add 10% to your daily budget to cover any unforeseen purchases, such as medicine from a pharmacy or snacks.

Here are some other expenses to consider:

  • Water. Bottles of water tend to cost around $0.16 – $0.38. However, tap water is drinkable in many cities. You can also take a water filtration bottle such as Grayl or LifeStraw and save money on buying water.
  • Sun loungers or umbrellas at the beach. If you’re planning on visiting one of the many beaches in Bodrum, Antalya or Fethiye, then you may have to pay for a sun lounger. Some places allow you to use a lounger outside a restaurant if you buy a drink or snack. Otherwise, the going rate is about $5.38 (100 Lira).
  • ATM fees. Depending on your bank account, you may get charged ATM fees. Most ATMs don’t charge a fee, but your bank might. Check with your bank before visiting.
  • Tipping. It’s customary to leave a 10% tip in Turkey. Places that usually require tipping is restaurants and cafes, and sometimes hotel chambermaids. You don’t have to tip your taxi driver, but they usually appreciate you rounding up the fare.
  • Resort tax. Some five-star hotels and resorts will charge an extra 6-18 Turkish Lira in tax per night. This is about $0.43-$1. This isn’t a huge amount but it can add up.
  • Visa. Some countries require a visa for Turkey. Americans can no longer get a Visa on arrival and must pay $56.50 for the Visa plus an additional $40.00 service fee.
  • SIM card. You’re going to want a SIM card so you’re always connected to the internet, right? The cost of a SIM card can vary depending on the data plan you go for. Here’s a comprehensive guide to sim cards in Turkey to help you decide.
  • Travel insurance. There are many different providers who offer travel insurance, so it’s a good idea to shop around. You should make sure your travel insurance covers hospital bills and medical emergencies. Obviously, we don’t want any accidents, but it’s always a good idea to be prepared. You should also make sure it has trip cancellation cover, especially if you plan to visit Bodrum or Fethiye in the summer. This is because wildfires can sometimes happen and disrupt your travel plans.
sim cards in Turkey for tourists

Cost of Living in Turkey

Are you considering moving to Turkey? Or are you planning to stay for a month or more working as a digital nomad? Then you might be wondering whether Turkey is expensive to live in.

The short answer is no. The typical cost of an apartment is around $530 USD per month. On top of this, you have internet costs which are around $11 USD per month.

After that, the cost of living comes to around $350 per month on average, if you cook meals yourself and take public transport.

It’s estimated that the cost of living in Turkey is about 61.25% less than in the United States, with rent coming at a whopping 86.29% lower than in U.S.

FAQs About Whether Turkey Travel Costs

Here’s what people usually ask us about whether Turkey is expensive:

Is Turkey expensive for a holiday?

No, Turkey is incredibly cheap, especially if you opt for budget accommodation and dine at local restaurants.

How much is a Coke in Turkey?

Coca Cola costs 8 Turkish Lira, or $0.43 USD.

How much is a beer in Turkey?

In restaurant and bars, a beer will cost 35-45 Turkish Lira ($1.88-$2.42) depending on whether you get local or international.

Is food and drink cheap in Turkey?

Yes, food is very cheap in Turkey. You can get a kebab, gyro or pide for as little as $3 USD.

Final Verdict: How much does it cost to travel to Turkey?

So there you have it, this is how much it will cost you to travel to Turkey. As you can see, there is a lot to consider when planning your trip and working out your budget. I bet you thought it was easy, right?

It’s really easy to get carried away and go over budget, especially with booking tours and shopping for souvenirs.

To make matters easier, here’s how much we would recommend for a daily budget in Turkey:

  • Solo travelers or backpackers – $50 per day
  • Couples – $80 per day
  • Families – $120 per day

As we mentioned earlier, it’s a good idea to add 10% to cover emergencies – though we hope you don’t need to use it!

The prices listed in this article are based on the prices from February 2023 and are subject to change. This is because the Turkish Lira is always fluctuating. Who knows, it may even be cheaper when you visit!

If you have any more questions or would like to add something to this guide to help a fellow traveler out, reach out to us in the comments!

Disclaimer: Some of the links above are affiliate links. That means if you book or make a purchase through the links, we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you! The money will help run this site! Thank you!

Leave a Comment