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?

  • 3
    Damn straight the food is expensive, I paid 5 million lira for a kebab once! Fortunately this was before they chopped off 6 zeroes ;) Feb 2, 2015 at 22:37
  • @jpatokal I still pay millions in Indonesia ;) Feb 2, 2015 at 22:55
  • 1
    For a kebab? I hope your $80 doners are filled with Kobe beef and foie gras :P Feb 2, 2015 at 22:57

2 Answers 2


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. Feb 3, 2015 at 10:38
  • Turkey is in Europe, so EUR is the foreign currency of choice. Feb 3, 2015 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. Apr 20, 2015 at 12:17
  • Thanks, but please feel free to add a new answer with your up-to-date Info. Apr 20, 2015 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, 2015 at 15:03

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. Mar 20, 2019 at 16:17

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