One of the most frequently asked questions is "which currency shall i use in Istanbul?" or "do i need to exchange Euros/Dollars with Turkish Liras?".
The answer is YES,you need to exchange your currency with Turkish Lira.
Local currency of Turkey
Turkey is not a member of the European Union and the local currency is Turkish Lira.After 2005,Turkish government decided to drop 6 zeroes from Turkish Lira-TL and named it Yeni Türk Lirası-YTL (New Turkish Lira) in order to improve Turkish economy and reestablish it.
Starting from 1st of January 2009,Central Bank of Republic of Turkey started to monetize Turkish Lira again instead of New Turkish Lira and gave public 2 years of time to change the notes they have in their savings.So why am i writing these?
As in every country,tourists are the main targets to scam in everyway.If you want to prevent "out of circluation money scam" try to make your exchange in central exchange offices and banks.And always check the bank note when you have your change in market or in taxi especially.Some spoiled salesmen can try to foist a bad note on you.
Check "How not to fall for Istanbul taxi scam and how to get out of it if you fall" article for Istanbul taxi scams.
See the differences between
|5 Million Lira (outdated)|
|5 Turkish Lira (recent note)|
|5 New Turkish Lira(outdated)|
Why do i need to exchange my currency?
- You will be able to pay with credit card in many places such as restaurants,cafes,shops,supermarkets and even the museums.But there are some places where credit card or foreign currency is not accepted.
- You will need to exchange some money in order to pay your bill in the taxi or to buy some delicious street food when you walk around.Or some hotels,tour agencies might ask you to pay cash.
- I highly recommend you to exchange your foreing currency in exchange offices(Döviz Bürosu).They work with 0% commission,they are open until late hours in the evening and they offer much better rates than any bank in Istanbul.
- Keep that in mind that exchange offices located at the airports or closed to tourist attraction places offer lower rate.They still have acceptable rates if you compare with the banks though.Another thing is that stockmarket and Central Bank of Republic of Turkey are closed after 5 pm and they don't work on weekends.Some exchange offices work until late hours as i mentioned above but they might offer you lower rate after 6 pm or on weekends.It's flexible market.
Click here to find the rates of Central Bank of Republic of Turkey.Any rate higher than the list will be a good rate.Never exchange with lower rates than Central Bank's,even on weekend!
Is Dollar or Euro better to bring?
- Both currencies are usefull and valuable in Istanbul.But if you are citizen of Europe,i recommend you to bring Euros since they accept only Euros at the visa desk at the airports.
- U.S., Canada and Australia/New Zealand citizens may pay their visas with Dollars or Euros.You need to have exact amount to pay for the visa at the airport.Visa desk will not exchange your money.
- Please check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website http://www.mfa.gov.tr for updated information on which passport holders may require a visa before leaving their country. And you can have your online visa from https://www.evisa.gov.tr/en/ to prevent waiting at the visa desk at the airport.
How much money i am allowed to bring with?
- There is no restrictions on the amount of money that you can enter to country with.However they will ask you to fill out the declaration form if you come outside of European Union and and if you carry more the 10.000 € Euros.
- You can only take out more than 5000 $ Dollars or equivalent amount of other foreign currencies or Turkish Lira.
I have someTurkish Lira left.What shall i do with them?
- If you have time,you can exchange them with your currency again.It will not be the same rate of course,but still better then any rate at the airport.
- If you don't have time to exchange,do not worry.Check the airport exchange office rates.
- If the rates are too low,go and find the machine called bitcoin travellers box.
The machine has options such as;
-cash to wallet
-cash to gift card
-cash to donations.
When you go to "cash to wallet" option,you will see that you can transfer your leftover money to your Paypal,amazon,itunes,Google Play,ebay,bitcoin,or Qiwi account easily with 10 different language selections in use.
Or simply tip the hotel staff :))
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