Istanbul: What a Dollar Can Buy You

Istanbul today is as exciting as it was in 1987 when I first visited the city with my dad. Then, on a short 2-day tour, we saw the Grand Bazaar, strolled through Topkapı palace, had a scrumptious meal of İskender kebab and went on a scenic Bosphorus cruise. Twenty-six years later, visitors to Istanbul can still enjoy the very same things, only with one notable difference: cost!

Prices here have gone through the roof, and I have to say it doesn’t surprise me. Right now, Istanbul seems to be one of the hottest destinations in Europe, so why not charge $22 for a museum or $100 for a seafood meal? After all, visitor numbers are up. While luxury tourists feel right at home here, backpackers  probably won’t (any longer). Only 20 years ago, they paid $15 for a hotel right in the heart of Sultanahmet; in 2013, they will be hard-pressed to find a sit-down meal for the same amount.

Fortunately, it’s not all bad news. If you are on a very tight budget, there are still a few bargains to be had for 1.8 Turkish lira or about one buck:

  • 1 glass of authentic Turkish tea
  • 1 ferry ride to Kadıköy located on the Asian side of Istanbul
  • 1 piece of delicious baklava at Karaköy Güllüoğlu (min. purchase of 3 required)
  • 4 liters (1 gal.) of drinking water
  • 1 rides on the tram from lively Karaköy to the historic center of Sultanahmet
  • 250 g of rose-flavored Turkish delight (lokum)
  • 0.35 liter of gasoline ($11 per gal.)
  • 1 nazar fridge magnet (amulet to ward off the evil eye)

3 responses to “Istanbul: What a Dollar Can Buy You”

  1. avatar Leonie says:

    This is true for a lot of cities, but I think especially so for Istanbul: Prices vary a lot according of area and type of place. Turkish tea for example can vary from 0,5 Turkish Lira a glass to 3 Turkish Lira! (And I am sure I just haven’t been to the places where it is even more expensive!)
    If you want really good tea though, you can get 2 glasses for a buck on your 1 buck ferry ride to Kadiköy! 😉

  2. avatar Cengiz says:

    Istanbul Istanbul I love you. my city

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