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Travel Istanbul Budget Tips and Strategies From the Locals!


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Gone are the days when Istanbul was a cheap destination. The last two years has seen high season hotel room prices increase 25%, inflation has pushed prices of goods and services higher and the country pays the worlds highest gas and electricity bills. So how to visit this world class city in high season and not break the bank? Some tips and strategies from the locals.

View From The Top

The main street in Sultanahmet is called Divanyolu, or as the tourists call it “Tramway street". Restaurants on this street charge big bucks for their location and rooftop views. A better strategy is to get a hotel with a fantastic rooftop view where you can enjoy breakfast while gazing out on Haghia Sophia and the Blue Mosque. Breakfast is included in the price of the room, so the view is free!

Reasonable hotels with great views are Petrol Hotel and Hali Hotel.

Dining A La Turka!

The Turks are great at picnics. In the summer months you can't walk through the parks without tripping over someone's blanket laden with dishes. So, to dine a la Turka, pick up some crusty bread, fruit, veggies yogurt, cheese, and olives at one of the local supermarkets in Sultanahmet. Bim and Dia, located in Cemberlitas are good local discount supermarkets. Greens in Beyazit and Cagloglu has a deli counter at the back for deli sliced meat and cheese. Cigdem Bakery on Tramway Street also makes some delicious sweet and savory items as well as baklava for dessert!

Coffee Culture

This coffee chain is always packed with locals. Why? Fresh coffee, great desserts and good prices. Free chocolate covered coffee beans round out your coffee buzz! Located on Nuro Osmania St. Near the Grand Bazaar.

Getting Around

You are not a local unless you have an Akbil dangling from your keychain. These pre-loaded plastic devices give you discounted fares all of Istanbul's transportation-tramway, ferries, trains, cable cars, metro and buses. There's a 7 lira deposit on the device, then you can put as much credit on it as you like. Get one at the airport when you arrive, and your fare into town will be a measly 2.10 lira on the metro!


Admission to every mosque in the country is free! Now that's a deal!

Go to for more holiday ideas, inside tips, and time and money-saving strategies! We specialize in personalized getaways to Turkey and Greece with options to fit everyone's budget. Contact us and together we'll create a tailor-made itinerary that fits your family's interests, pace and pocketbook!


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