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We will be travelling from Europe to Asia with Turkish Airlines, with a layover at Istanbul Atatürk airport. While waiting at the transit zone for a few hours, we will probably spend some money on food and drinks.

Should we make sure to bring some local currency (Turkish Lira) or can we easily pay with Maestro, MasterCard or Euros?

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    Damn straight the food is expensive, I paid 5 million lira for a kebab once! Fortunately this was before they chopped off 6 zeroes ;) – jpatokal Feb 2 '15 at 22:37
  • @jpatokal I still pay millions in Indonesia ;) – Nean Der Thal Feb 2 '15 at 22:55
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    For a kebab? I hope your $80 doners are filled with Kobe beef and foie gras :P – jpatokal Feb 2 '15 at 22:57
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No, you don't need local currency. Istanbul Atatürk is a massive transit airport (>50m passengers in 2013), and virtually all shops are more than happy to accept credit cards. Some will even take euros, but the exchange rate will not be in your favor.

  • This is a good answer for most major airports, though outside Europe it'll be USD instead of EUR as the second preferred currency. At Korea Incheon they even list prices in USD, despite that the currency is not widely used outside the airport. – John Zwinck Feb 3 '15 at 10:38
  • Turkey is in Europe, so EUR is the foreign currency of choice. – jpatokal Feb 3 '15 at 10:40
  • I have just returned from Istanbul and can now accept this answer. I will edit because I have some extra info to add. – jeroen_de_schutter Apr 20 '15 at 12:17
  • Thanks, but please feel free to add a new answer with your up-to-date Info. – jpatokal Apr 20 '15 at 13:25
  • @JohnZwinck Depends. I've seen airports listing prices in local currency, US dollars, Euros, and British Pounds, all on the same sign. All depends on where the majority of their transit traffic comes from. E.g. a few shops at Moscow Sheremetschevo listed prices in Chinese Yuan, that terminal gets a lot of transit passengers from China. Same with some shops in Tashkent listing prices in Yuan and Rubles (they get a lot of people coming and going from China and Russia). – jwenting Apr 22 '15 at 15:03
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In the transit zone, shops will accept credit cards and cash in a lot of different currencies:

  • Turkish Lira (TRL)
  • Euro (EUR)
  • US Dollars (USD)
  • Pound Sterling (GBP)
  • Swiss Francs (CHF)
  • Japanese Yen (JPY)

I have also found at least one ATM where I could retrieve TRL and EUR with my Maestro debit card. This is useful if you need Visa to enter Turkey, because it can only be paid with USD or EUR, not TRL !

  • Thank you for adding the information regarding paying for a Turkish Via. – gamma_sponge Mar 20 at 16:17

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