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Istanbul Travel Cost – 1 Week Budget Breakdown

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Plan your trip and your Istanbul travel cost with confidence by checking out this comprehensive budget breakdown, including flights, accommodations, food, and more!

In this comprehensive budget breakdown, I share a detailed outline of my one-week travel experience in Istanbul, including the costs of flights, accommodations, food, transportation, and more. Whether you’re a budget traveler or looking to splurge, this guide will help you plan your trip and navigate the vibrant city of Istanbul, Turkey, with ease.

We’ll cover Istanbul travel cost, how much money to bring to Istanbul, budget trip to Istanbul tips, and more!

As a quick note, we are not backpackers; we rarely stay in hostels and are very cautious with street food. We like to save money where we can, but we certainly spend it on what is important to us.

This is not representative of what you will spend in Istanbul, even for the same period of time or season. This is merely an overview of what we spent and some of our tips and reasons for the amounts. Please use it as a guide to your future trip to Istanbul, Turkey!

Istanbul Travel Cost

This post is all about a one-week budget breakdown for your Istanbul travel cost.

Istanbul, Turkey Itinerary:

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1 Week (8 days & 7 nights)

We had a lovely one-week trip where we explored Turkey’s main tourist city, Istanbul. This city is the only city in the world that sits on two separate continents, both Europe and Asia. With an entire week dedicated to one city, we stayed on both sides of the continental divide, with two nights on the Asian side and the remainder of our five nights on the European side. We’ll dive more into where we stayed and what we did in the sections below (accommodations and activities, respectively).

Asia Side Istanbul – 2 nights

European Side Istanbul – 5 nights

Cost of Travel in Istanbul, Turkey

Flights

Total: $165

Since we now live in Eastern Europe, this was a short and easy flight for us. Istanbul actually has two international airports (IST and SAW) and is a major hub due to its location between Europe and Asia. The IST airport is enormous and beautiful and has a host of great lounges. The SAW airport is used for more budget airlines and sits closer to the city, making it an easy train ride to your hotel.

Entry Fees

Total: $155

At the time of our visit in late 2023, we did have to get a visa as US citizens. As of January 2024, US citizens no longer need a visa to enter the country for less than 90 days.

For our visit, we got e-visas ahead of time for $50 per person. However, I accidentally activated them for the wrong date (one day later). This was a bit of a rough blunder on my part since we had to either wait 24 hours inside the airport to enter (um, no?) or purchase new visas. They couldn’t change the ones we had, so we ended up having to purchase new ones and wait in a crazy long line. 

Accommodations

Total: $460

Average: $65 per night

We fared well in Istanbul with our accommodation costs. By staying in our favorite brand of hotels, we were able to use and earn points and get free breakfast every day.

>> Learn more about the benefits of Hilton Diamond Status.

The European side was much more in the heart of the action as far as tourism goes. We enjoyed our stay in the Sirkeci area. This put us within walking distance of some of the top attractions (Hagia Sophia one way and the Eminönü the other). We barely even needed to take public transportation from this location!

On the Asia side, we stayed along the water in the Moda Cadessi neighborhood, overlooking the famous Istanbul skyline (birds and boats included). This was a super accessible area with tons of great dining options within walking distance from our hotel. Public transportation was only a few blocks away with the underground train, the cable cars, and the ferry port.

Food & Drink

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Total: $330

Average: $41 per day

Average: $20 per person per day

The food. You are going to love the food and its prices. As with most places, the more touristy the area, the more expensive the food. We found the area around our hotel on the European side would run around $12-20 for an entree and maybe $5-8 for a glass of beer. Certainly, nothing too crazy. However, if you hop over to the Asian side, you will find some of the best restaurants, boasting traditional and modern cuisine for even more affordable prices. Note, too, that a lot of the meals are family-style, so they are large enough to share. We often only ordered one meal to share and were perfectly content.

Transportation

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Total: $50

Average: $6 per day

The public transportation in Istanbul was amazing. They had an underground subway, street-side cable cars, buses, and ferries. There were stops all over the place, and it was so easy to hop on and off, even as English-speaking tourists. We always use the Google Maps app to get our public transportation directions, and it works like a charm for our Istanbul transportation needs. You can also easily use your contactless credit cards to pay for your fares. Just place the credit card on the spot you put the ticket on the turnstiles, and you’ll get a green to pass through. They only accept MasterCard, and you can use the same card for multiple people.

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Activities

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Total: $160

For all the stuff we did in Istanbul over the course of a week, I was super impressed with the cost of everything. There are a ton of free options that are must-visits. This includes the Hagia Sophia, the Blue Mosque, Istiklal Caddesi, and many bazaars (if you can handle window shopping!).

On top of the many free activities, we also attended a Beşiktaş game for $25 per person. Just note, it is a bit complicated to get tickets as you have to register (and pay) for a Passolig card.

We also visited a theme park. VIALand is located north of the city center and accessible by public transportation. We purchased our tickets through Get Your Guide for around $50 per person.

Top Activities in Istanbul

Personal

Istanbul Travel Cost
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Total: $150

Since we visited in November, we honestly bought a lot of our Christmas presents here. There are a ton of great shopping destinations, and we found some gorgeous gifts! Be sure to check out the Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar. We found the indoor parts of the bazaars were busy and beautiful but limited in their prices and variety. If you go just outside the markets and shop in the crowded alleyways, you’ll find more unique pieces and a lot more “local” prices.

Pro Tip: Shop around. There are a lot of stalls selling similar items, and prices can vary quite a bit.

shop the bazaars with a pro

SIM Card

Total: $12

We always download an e-sim ahead of our arrival, and our trip to Istanbul was no different. We downloaded an e-sim loaded with 5GB of data for our weeklong trip. It was plenty of data and we had great service throughout the city.

Total Spend in Istanbul, Turkey

Cost of one week in istanbul, Turkey

Our Total:

$1,160 for 2 people

Daily Total:

$150 per day for 2 people

Value for Money:

Total: $1,160

Average: $150 per day

Average: $75 per person per day

All in all, we spent around $150 per day, including our accommodations, food, activities, and transportation. For an incredibly popular European destination, we were surprised by the affordability of our trip. We easily spent a week staying busy, enjoying the city. Next time we visit Turkey, we’ll likely take another few days to hit even more destinations in Istanbul.

Total with Flights: $1,325

This post was all about a one-week budget breakdown for your Istanbul travel cost.

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