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Turkey currency: All the information about the Turkish lira

by Elena Escudero | July 24, 2019
Banknotes in Turkey

What is the currency in Turkey?

What currency does Turkey use? The official Turkey currency is the Turkey lira (TRY). One lira is 100 kuruş. You will also see that there are 200, 100, 50, 20, 10 and 5 lira bills; and coins of 1 lira and 5, 10, 25 and 50. 

If you're in a tourist area or a large city, you may spot prices marked up in euros, US dollars or pounds. If you choose to pay with euros, the merchant will choose the exchange rate they apply. It's best to pay in the currency of Turkey if possible.

Hotels and airports are not the best places to exchange currency in Turkey. The best thing is to exchange only a few liras there, enough to get to the Grand Bazaar area in the centre of Istanbul, where you can go to an exchange bureau. There is where you will get better exchange rates, since there is a great competition between these establishments. Also make sure that the banknotes are in good condition, if not they will not be accepted.

Turkey currency to USD exchange rate

The current exchange rate from Turkey currency (the Turkey lira) to USD is:

  • 1 TRY = 0,037 USD
  • 1 USD = 27 TRY

How do you pay in Turkey?

If you are going to use travellers checks, keep in mind that they will charge you high commissions and that the change will be unfavourable. Using other means of payment is better.

If you want to use credit or debit cards, it is advisable that you inform your bank beforehand that you are going to travel and ask if they have a banking partner in Turkey (this will minimise the fees). MasterCard and Visa debit and credit cards are accepted in most establishments (American Express is reserved for upscale restaurants and hotels).

As for ATMs, they are abundant in this country. You will find that exchange rates and commissions are usually favourable at ATMs. Of course, try to always use ATMs in bank branches, since you will be exposed to scams if you use the street ATMs.

hot air balloons in Turkey

Haggling, as in many places, is an art. In fact, prices are always inflated up to 50%, because the buyer is expected to offer less. We recommend that if you really like an item, do not show interest: look at many things pretending to be distracted, be amazed at the price they give you and make a counter offer for less than half. Keep in mind that you are in control.

Is Turkey expensive to visit?

Istanbul has higher prices than other areas of the country. To give you an idea: a double room in the centre can cost you 100 lira or more; a taxi from the airport will be 35 lira; a tram ticket, 2.75; a meal for 2 people, 40 lira in an average restaurant; a cup of tea or a 1/2 litre water bottle costs 1 lira and a 1/2 litre beer costs about 6 Turkey lira.