Turkey is an ever popular destination for travellers around the globe. Most travellers begin their journey in Istanbul, the transcontinental city with a melting pot of cultures. And everyone comes to experience its mouth-watering delicacies, historic monuments and vibrant bazaars. Having bagged myself some bargain flights to Istanbul I was determined not to break the bank. It is possible to spend the day on a very little amount of money. There’s cheap street food, reasonably priced stores everywhere and apart from the attractions that one have to pay for, there’s a lot to see and do within the busy and lively streets of Istanbul.
In a city where East meets West and two worlds collide my main priority was finding somewhere central to stay. Most people stay towards the Europe side of Istanbul or Sultan Ahmet District. But these are the one of the expensive part of the town. The best place to stay in my opinion is the Galata district or around the Beyoglu area which is next to the famous Taksim Square. There are plenty of shopping and dining options with a bustling nightlife. A recommended hostels in this area are the highly-rated World House Hostel and Chambers of the Boheme. Staying in this area, it’s easy to walk everywhere, to Taksim, or to the historical district all the monuments are. These hostels will cost you anything between Rs 800-Rs 2000.
Travelling in Istanbul
First thing to do is to purchase the prepaid and rechargeable Istanbul Card which costs around 10 TL, with fare credit of 4 TL (1 lira- approx 23 Rupees). Each ride will cost 1.95 TL and there will be discounts for transfers. So this one card solves most of the travel problem and also helps getting discounts at couple of places too. The Same card can be used for more than one people too. Just add credit to it. This Istanbul Card can be used for the metro, trams, buses, ferries and funiculars.
Walking is another good way to experience Istanbul. It’s easy to get around in Istanbul – in fact, it’s possible to visit most of the main attractions on foot. Simply put on a pair of comfortable shoes, and you’re good to go!
Since you are on budget will tell you to stay away from those pushy cafes & restaurants and go eating on the street side. Look out for büfes, which is a corner shop where you can find döner (similar to kebabs), soups and tost (sandwiches). Istanbul is kebab paradise with my favourite döner kebab (“rotating roast”) usually costs less than 7 TL. Döner kebabs are basically sliced lamb, beef or chicken roasted on a vertical rotisserie, and wrapped in a flatbread. Also try the dürüm, which is similar to the kebab but with a flat, chewy tortilla wrap instead of a flatbread.
Grab a döner kebab and a beer from the supermarket on the street head to a garden and enjoy your meal.
Don’t buy your souvenirs from inside the Grand Bazaar. In both the Spice and Grand Bazaar the most expensive items will be found in the shops inside the bazzar or the covered areas. Step out of the bazaar and buy souvenirs from the shops in the neighborhood located just outside the spice bazaar. Haggle if you want a good discount. Do not be afraid to slash the prices, especially when shopping in bazaars and street shops.
For Places to See in Istanbul Check Out my Istanbul Diary
My trip to Istanbul didn’t break the bank, but nor did I feel I missed out on anything. By venturing a little off the beaten track I managed to find some hidden gems. With these tips, you’ll be able to travel around Istanbul on a small budget. If you have any more tips or information please feel free to share for others 🙂