Everything You Must Know About The Currencies Before You Visit Istanbul

In this article, you can find everything you need to know about Turkish currency, what currency to chose, how to exchange and more.

1. TL Denominated Banknotes

There are 6 banknotes in Turkish Lira. The highest value banknote is 200 TL. The lowest value banknote is 5 TL.

200 TL

Dimensions: 72 x 160 mm
The main color of the banknote is purple.

100 TL

Dimensions: 72 x 154 mm
The main color of the banknote is blue.

50 TL

Dimensions: 68 x 148 mm
The main color of the banknote is orange.

20 TL

Dimensions: 68 x 142 mm
The main color of the banknote is green.

10 TL

Dimensions: 64 x 136 mm
The main color of the banknote is red.

5 TL

Dimensions: 64 x 130 mm
The main color of the banknote is purple.



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2. Coins

1 TL

Diameter: 26.15 mm, Thickness: 1.9 mm and Weight: 8.2 g

50 Kurus

Diameter: 23.85 mm, Thickness: 1.9 mm and Weight: 6.8 g

25 Kurus

Diameter: 20.5 mm, Thickness: 1.65 mm and Weight: 4 g

10 Kurus

Diameter: 18.5mm, Thickness: 1.65mm and Weight: 3.15g

5 Kurus

Diameter: 17.5 mm, Thickness: 1.65 mm and Weight: 2.9 g

1 Kurus

Diameter: 16.5 mm, Thickness: 1.35 mm and Weight: 2.2 g

2 x 50 Kurus = 4 x 25 Kurus = 1 TL.

3. Security Measures in Banknotes

There are many security measures in banknotes. Take the banknote in your hand, put it on a flat surface. Look at the banknote from different angles. There is a holographic that gives colorful and bright reflections. Here, there is the TL letter in a rectangular shape, and when you look at the banknote from different angles, the letters of TL become the value of the banknote. When you hold the banknote to light, you can see the safety strip embedded in the paper. When you look at the banknote with the eye at the horizontal level, the TL value of the banknote appears as a number in the heptagon shape in the bottom right corner of the Atatürk portrait. When you put the banknote in the light, you can see the numbers written by the Atatürk watermark and the banknote value. The banknote paper does not shine under blue light. But you can see the capillary fibers shining blue and red in the paper. On the Atatürk portrait, the value of the banknote in TL appears as a number. The red serial number shines, the black serial number shines yellowish green. If you suspect that the banknote you have is fake, you can make an inquiry here. You can query your banknote by entering the currency (TL / YTL), the value of the banknote, the serial and the order number of the banknote.

Estimated Daily Spend

A daily budget of 200 TL will be enough for you to travel comfortably to Istanbul. However, we did not add travel and stay amounts to this budget.

4. Traveling with a Low Budget in Istanbul


There are hostels as well as hotels in Istanbul. In Fatih or Beyoğlu, you can stay in a room with a double bed for under 100 TL per night. Moreover, these hotels are highly rated by those who have stayed before. In addition, there are hostels in many parts of Istanbul. You can also stay in hostels in Sultanahmet, Taksim, Kadıköy or Beşiktaş. Overnight fees of hostels are 50 TL and above.


You checked in to the hotel and went out to the city to have a beer. It is possible to find cheap bars all over the city. While going down the street, prices are written on the door of bars or pubs. For a beer, you pay 12 – 15 TL per person in an average bar.


If you want to shop, go to the district bazaar before visiting the malls. If you want to buy clothes, you can find many kinds of products cheaply in Beyoğlu Business Center on Istiklal Avenue, Terkos Passage, Beşiktaş Çarşı Sinanpaşa Business Center in Beşiktaş and Opera Onur Passage in Kadıköy.


Do not look for cheap places to have breakfast, because it will appear almost everywhere. Having breakfast with pastry, bagel, cheese, and tea is very affordable and cheap in Istanbul. Pastry shops are also very delicious and advantageous for breakfast. However, you may not want to eat pastries every day. Some breakfast venues also offer both cheap and delicious breakfasts. The average breakfast fee in these venues is 30 TL or more for two people. The total price of bagel, cheese, and tea is about 8 TL per person.

Museums in Istanbul

Many museums in Istanbul can be visited with a museum pass card. If you get a museum pass card as soon as you arrive in Istanbul, your museum trips will be free. You can find out which museums you can visit with the museum pass here.


There are many beautiful parks to visit in Istanbul. Ideal places to spend time and chat. One of them is Emirgan Grove. Especially the tulip time, the view is amazing. If you switch to Moda on the Kadıköy side, you can walk by the sea and have a picnic sitting on the grass.

Nostalgic Places

Some places in Istanbul are like a free open-air museum. In places like Balat and Kuzguncuk, you can wander the streets and breathe the nostalgic atmosphere. You can sit by the sea in Salacak and watch the Kızkulesi. Ideal for visiting the Old City and Grand Bazaar.

Bosphorus Tour

When it comes to Istanbul, buy an Istanbul Card. The fee is 6 TL. You need to load money after purchasing. You should definitely take a Bosphorus tour after receiving your Istanbulkart. Jump on the city lines ferry, take a round trip or a one-way trip. Round trip 25 TL, one way 15 TL. You can do these tours at night. The price of the Bosphorus tour, called the Moonlight Tour, is 20 TL.

Related Post: 12 Free Things To Do in Istanbul

5. Traveling with an Average Budget in Istanbul

If the money you allocate for traveling in Istanbul is a bit more, you can have a more comfortable journey. You will have more chances to choose for accommodation and restaurants.


If you consider paying up to 150 TL for double rooms daily, you can find very nice apartments and hotels. Bed and breakfast in some hotels and not in others. You need to consider this detail when you are researching prices and hotels.


Bars in Istanbul are located in Nişantaşı, Etiler, Levent, Ortaköy and Bebek, from Taksim, Istiklal Street to Tunnel. On the Anatolian side, on Kadıköy and Bağdat Caddesi. Bars on the side streets of Taksim Istiklal Street and bars in Kadıköy are very suitable for the average budget. You pay a maximum of 120 TL for two people for an average beer and bar snack in a bar. However, you can get information about prices before entering and sitting. They will usually help you when you want to see the menu before entering.

Islands Tour

The Islands tour is definitely one of the things to do when it comes to Istanbul. Princess Islands are natural attractions worth seeing. You can go to all the islands via city lines ferries. You can get off the ferry on the first island and go to the next ferry with the next ferry. It attracts a lot of attention, especially in Büyükada and Burgazada. Ferryboats depart from Beşiktaş and Eminönü to go to the islands. In summer, you should go to the islands to relax on the beaches, swim and live a fascinating time in crowded Istanbul. Going to the islands by city lines ferry with Istanbulkart 10 TL / person. Each transfer 10 TL / person. In Buyukada, you can rent a bike to visit the island and spend your whole day on the island.

Kumpir in Ortaköy

The baked potatoes of Ortaköy are known to everyone. The delicious meal from the baker is eaten by sitting on a bank by the sea. If you want, you can go to one of the coffees at the seaside and drink tea or something. Kumpir prices are increasing according to the ingredients put into it. Usually, 25 TL is taken for the plain baked potato. It is necessary to add an average of 1.5 TL for each material put on it.

Old City Tour

The region, where the museums and historical buildings of Istanbul are located, is the golden horn region. This place is known as Old City for Istanbul. You can visit Sultanahmet, Basilica Cistern, Topkapi Museum, Hagia Sophia and all the historical monuments in the surrounding area. While a Museum pass card is enough for some, you may need to pay extra for some places (such as Basilica Cistern). You can crown your all-day excursion with the wonderful meatballs you will eat at Sultanahmet Koftecisi.

Taksim – Beyoğlu Tour

There are many churches and historical buildings on Istiklal Street, which are free to enter. In addition, the entrance fee for buildings such as the Galata Tower is quite low. After visiting the tower, you can fill your stomach with tea and bagels. Or you can continue your way by drinking a beer here in a restaurant.

Related Post: 5 Top Tourist Attractions in Istanbul



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6. Traveling with an Extra Budget in Istanbul

If you come to Istanbul with a lot of money in your pocket, you have many alternatives to do. Many trips and tours take place in the same way as cheaper methods, but you can make the holiday special.


You can experience the reign in Istanbul. For this, there are hotels such as palaces and flashy places. There are hotels from 500 TL to 3500 TL per night for the accommodation. Especially Çırağan Palace, Four Seasons Hotel, the hotels with a very high nightly rate, offer you a magnificent view and a wonderful stay.

Rent a Boat

Rent a boat for a wonderful day on the Bosphorus. You can only rent hourly for the Bosphorus tour, or you can rent a Bosphorus and islands tour and rent it daily to swim in the sea. If you want entertainment on the sea at night, book a boat restaurant.

Go to İsfanbul

İsfanbul is an ideal place for both shopping and entertainment. Here, entertainment and shopping concepts were brought together and a theme park was created. There are adventure games and toys designed for adults and children, as well as restaurants to eat and a shopping mall.


Luxury brands in concept stores. You can spend the whole day shopping in the shopping malls such as Zorlu Center, Vadistanbul and İstinyepark, which also include luxury brands. In addition, the Grand Bazaar is suitable for gold, precious stones and jewelry.

Go to the pub

Although there are taverns that are suitable for an average budget, the most entertaining, most touristic (and most expensive) ones of the tavern culture are usually found in the taverns in Çiçek Pasajı and Nevizade Sokak. If you want to go not only to a tavern but also to a club concept, you should take a look at our article with the best views of Istanbul.

Related Post: The Best Fine Dining Luxury Restaurant in Istanbul

7. Bargaining

Bargaining is almost a rule in Istanbul, especially in shopping in Old City. Everything you buy from the Grand Bazaar and Sultanahmet (including carpets and rugs – especially them) is subject to bargaining. The important thing is when you bargained. For example, you can ask the account that came after eating the restaurant in detail and check what you have eaten. However, if you try to bargain on the account after eating, the waiter and everyone working there may perceive it as an insult. Usually, bargaining is not done in department stores (in chain brands like IKEA), restaurants, and so on. Apart from that, it is important to negotiate in small stores, small shops, souvenir shops before finishing shopping.

8. ATMs

You can find the ATMs of the bank you are working with by downloading the bank’s application to your phone. If you do not want to download applications, you can also find them from Google Maps. If you can not find an ATM around you, you can definitely find it in the shopping malls and metro stations. The bank you work in your country, a bank that will certainly cooperate in Turkey. In addition, it is possible to withdraw cash from all ATMs by paying costs. If you want to withdraw Euros or Dollars, you have to look for signs (Euro, Dollar, GBP) on ATMs. If you want to withdraw the foreign currency in your account by converting it to Turkish Lira, you will suffer losses because it converts at a lower exchange rate than foreign exchange offices. For this reason, you should make the right decision by comparing the interbank commission and the exchange rate. It takes too long to tell, once you do it, you get used to it.

9. Currency

Exchange rates in Turkey are three ways: the exchange rate set by the Central Bank, foreign currency exchange rates determined by the free market, and the financial institutions. There are slight numerical differences in each system. You can use foreign currency branches while you exchange foreign currency. When you convert the foreign currency made over the bank to Turkish currency, you will get lower figures. Exchange offices are suitable for this job. Foreign exchange offices in the country start working at 09.00 in the morning and finish working at 19.00. Foreigners are not allowed to be open 24 hours. Exchange offices are closed on Saturday and Sunday. However, exchange offices at airports are open 24/7.

10. Tip

Tipping, as it is anywhere in the world means thank you in Turkey. If there was a service that you enjoyed a lot, you would like to thank you for leaving a tip before leaving the restaurant. The tip is given in return for many services. Especially in restaurants, it will be enough to tip 10% of the account. No tip is required to take away, street vendors or fast food.



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