What it cost to live in Istanbul 1 month

Last Updated on December 12, 2023 by Ellen

We’re on the bus in Türkiye; a 4-hour ride south from central Cappadocia to the city of Mersin on the Mediterranean coast.

It’s a good time to total up the expenses for our recent month-long stay (actually 28 nights) in Istanbul.

As always, we recorded every cent we spent in our handy ‘Spending Tracker’ cell phone app.

Below are the figures from September 15 to October 13.

$744  —  Housing 

$374  —  Restaurants

$327  —  Charity/Gifts

$234  —  Supplies

$185  —  Travel

$157  —  Groceries

$99    —  Health

$66    —  Beer

$65    —  Excursions

$64    —  Local transport


$2,315  total for 2 persons / 28 nights

In our opinion, a VERY reasonable total for a long-stay in one of the most mesmerizing cities in Europe – and Asia!

montage of photos from istanbul

Some details

As always a few explainers:

– Our rent was an amazing deal! It was an older, unrestored place with a few ‘livable’ deficiencies. Most places in the same tourist-favored area (Istiklal) were three times the price. 

– ‘Supplies’ included $55 for a replacement iPhoneX battery, $75 for two Turkish SIM cards and two months of data/service (the highest rate we’ve ever paid while traveling), and some warmer clothes for our remaining cool weather time in Turkey.

– ‘Travel’ included $102 for Turkey visas (valid for 3 months). We arrived by bus from Varna, Bulgaria: total travel cost to Istanbul was only $83.

– During our final week, the Gaza/Israel war erupted. There were some protests and security concerns in Turkey. We laid low, avoided tourist hot spots and restaurants — and saved money.

ellen and theo in istanbul

Bottom line

Bottom line, a month in Istanbul for under $2500 would be impossible to duplicate without a similar rent cost. Someone on vacation could easily spend more in just one week, including airfare. Indeed, we noticed our Airbnb host has jacked his price for springtime dates.

Still, this slow-travel, budget breakdown shows that just like our summer stays in Romania and Bulgaria, it IS still possible to find great values in exotic destinations with advance planning and a little luck.

The bus is approaching the Mersin Otogar (bus station). Time to wrap up this blog post. We need to contact our next Airbnb host (4 nights) and find a taxi who understands enough English to get us to our destination. The adventure continues.

As always, be thankful and generous, happy trails & more beer.

Life is NOW!

Travel soon. The end is near.

Thanks for reading, “What it cost to live in Istanbul 1 month.”

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