Istanbul: Is the Cost of Visiting Cheap?

Old Jul 30th, 2009, 07:12 PM
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Istanbul: Is the Cost of Visiting Cheap?

I heard a rumor: Istanbul is a great and cheap trip.

I want to get away by myself for about 5 days in mid-October without spending over $2000 (that includes pocket money). I just found a flight to Istanbul for $600, and that sounds great to me. But I'm wondering if the cost of being there-- food, decent hotel, transportation, activities--is relatively inexpensive too.

Can someone give me ballpark numbers in US dollars? I'd appreciate it.

And if it helps, when I typically go out, I spend:

Lunch: $15-$25
Dinner: $25-$80
Cultural Events/Shows: $50-$125

How do Istanbul prices compare? I'd like to come under the low end if possible. Also, if you have recommendations for nice but reasonably priced hotels (up to $80 per night) that would be great. I prefer to spend more on activities rather than accomodations...but I'd still like a clean and convenient room.

Kali, from Washington, DC
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 01:48 AM
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I definitely recommend you visiting Istanbul. It's a great city where the cultures of four world civilizations are mixed, a city located on two continents European and Asian at the same time, a city of contrasts, a city that has it all.

As a rule, tourists who visit Istanbul like to stay in either of these two areas of Istanbul, either in historical area of the city Sultanahmet where all the major sightseeing places of the city are located. Here is a big number of interesting historical places that you definitely got to see if you are in Istanbul.

Or you can stay in Taksim, it's the area that is famous for Istikleal Street interesting for tourists and active night life. Night life is in full swing here. Also, there are plenty of bars, restaurants and clubs here.

So, I recommend you staying in either of these two areas, but you need to visit all of them. During the daytime it's better to have excursions in Sultanahmet, but in the evening take a cab and got to Taksim. Taxi cabs in Istanbul are not very expensive.

The cost of one ride on public transport in Istanbul will cost 1 dollar. In average 8-10$ will be enough to have a lunch. Also, don't forget that breakfast will be included in the rate of the hotel for you.

As for hotels, I would be more than happy to recommend you some good and inexpensive hotels on here that fit your budget plus a gift of free transfer to the hotel, but I'm afraid that moderators of this forum will consider it as advertising, so if you're interested feel free to shoot me an email:
[email protected]

Good luck!
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 02:38 AM
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Given your budget you should be able to do Istanbul very comfortably indeed. It leaves about USD$200 a day for a hotel room. You could afford for eg. a deluxe room here or stay here and enjoy its incredible terrace -
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 03:30 AM
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You will have a very nice vacation with this budget.
Istanbul is unique, you have a lot to see and visit, the food is very good, the views are splendid.

You have 5 days, and this is for me, exactly the time to spend there.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 04:36 AM
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During a trip last May my wife and I had excellent meals for much less than the amount you're willing to pay. As far as hotel rooms go, we rented a suite (two bedrooms, small living room, sumptuous breakfast for two, friendly and helpful desk clerks) for about $260 a night at a convenient location near the Blue Mosque in Sultanahmet. The least expensive rooms in the same hotel run about $130 per night during the high season.

We enjoyed our vacation a great deal. The city is exotic yet European, the people are friendly, and the sense of history is overwhelming. I recommend it highly.
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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 05:07 AM
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We stayed at the Ada Hotel Istanbul, in the Sultanhamet area, this past February and we're so pleased. The prices were low (a double room starts at 59 euro per night) but the rooms were very nice and the breakfast spread wonderful. Breakfast is on the top floor and from the outside deck you get wonderful views of the Bosphorous. We were within walking distance to everything in the Sultanhamet. I would not hesitate to stay here again.

Overall we found Istanbul to be very reasonable, especially when compared to other large European cities. The food was delicious and we were almost lways within, sometimes under, the budget guidelines you mention. Lunches were very affordable because doners and Turkish pizzas were always really good and pretty inexpensive.

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Old Jul 31st, 2009, 08:13 AM
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Click on my name and you will find my Turkey trip report. We stayed at the Hali Hotel in the Sultanahmet for 65€ per night (I suspect that the price for a single person would be less) and the restaurant prices I list at the end of the report are for two.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 08:31 AM
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You will definitely do well in Istanbul on that budget! Transportation, food, drink is all relatively inexpensive. We stayed at the Dersaadet Oteli in Sultanahmet last year and thought it was great--fantastic location, very helpful staff, small but very comfy, clean rooms. The rooms on top floors are slightly bigger with good views, but you pay more.

More info and pics from our trip in our Istanbul post at
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Old Aug 3rd, 2009, 08:53 AM
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What I found a bit expensive in Istanbul was wine - not sure about other alcohol. I travel alot in France, Italy and Spain where there is usally pitchers of house wine CHEAP. Also we went into a small store to purchase wine to drink in our hotel room and it was pricier than in the earlier mentioned countries. BUT overall, your budget works fine. There is ALOT of inexpensive street food or cafeteria type restaurants. We were only there 3 days - I did not get to try all the tastey items I saw on display. There was also some really good pastry, plus baklava. Most of the big sites (like Haji Sophia, Topaki Palace) are priced about the same as sites in other EU countries. A few are free - like the Blue Mosque and Grand Bazar (if you are not buying!) One thing to keep in mind, sometimes prices are negotiable - like for a taxi ride, items to buy, etc. People watching is free and very enjoyable! You will have a wonderful trip.
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