Besides the Turkish Lira, can I use US dollars and/or Euros in Istanbul?

I mean particularly for paying in taxis, groceries and vegetable markets.

If this is possible, is there any additional cost for this? I.e. will I pay more if I pay to a taxi driver in US dollars?

2 Answers 2


With the exception of some hotels, some high-end (tourist-focused) retail, and many shops at the airport, the only currency used is Turkish Lira.

Anywhere that does accept other currencies will do it at a relatively poor exchange rate, so even where it's possible, I wouldn't recommend it.

However Money Changers are pretty much omnipresent in Istanbul - at least in the tourist focused areas. It's basically impossible to turn around and not see more than one. These will happily change your Euro or US Dollars into Turkish Lira.

Be careful when changing money as there are some scams. For example, when I was there a few weeks ago the exchange rate was around 2.44 Lira to the US$, however one money changer I noticed was offering 2.244, presumably hoping people wouldn't notice the difference...

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    On top of this, there are many exchange offices next to each other in places like Sultanahmet, Kadikoy and Taksim. Those will openly publish their exchange rates, and although they're situated literally next to each other, the rates may differ dramatically. I don't know why this happens, but that's not a scam, just pick the office with the best rates, you're not gonna get higher quality Turkish Liras or be exposed to lower risk if you choose one with worse rates.
    – downhand
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 12:44
  • IF you have a good bank, you might find that the best exchange rate is at an ATM.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Sep 8, 2015 at 19:03

Lonely Planet has a practical section on money costs in Istanbul:

US dollars and euros are easily changed at exchange bureaux. They are also often accepted as payment without being changed. Rates are similar whichever bureau you go to, with the possible exception of those in the tourist precinct of Sultanahmet.

I linked the entire article in case you're interested in reading the rest.

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    Lonely Planets guide is not very accurate for Turkey. I remember their section that you can always find someone speaking English. Complete nonsense and not only in the east. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 15:15
  • @VladimirF yeah, have a few friends who worked at LP (one of the top users on the site used to too). Sadly, while they do their best it often comes down to the researcher's experience, and sometimes if they don't go off the path too much, they don't give a realistic view. While the Uzbekistan etc one was mistake-ridden throughout, it was still very valuable to read for an idea, then you have to wing it at some point :) At least they're updated continuously.
    – Mark Mayo
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 3:31
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    Having been to Turkey many times, most recently only a few weeks ago, LP has this wrong. Or at least, if not wrong, they are ignoring the fact that any shop accepting USD/Euro will do it at such a shocking rate that it's simply a stupid thing to do.
    – Doc
    Commented Mar 21, 2015 at 21:54

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