Backpacking in Turkey on a budget – How much does it cost?

Backpacking in Turkey on a budget – How much does it cost?

In this article, we share how much it cost to visit Turkey on a budget!

 

 

Backpacking in Turkey turned out to be quite cheap! Not as much as its neighbouring country Georgia but after hitchhiking across Europe, it was a welcomed change to our budget.

 

The food was not as overpriced as in France, the price for a night in a hostel was at least half of what we paid in Italy and the generosity of the Turkish people made us sometimes feel like we weren't spending any money at all. Add to that some housesitting opportunities and the ideal weather for camping - except during winter - and you have a country that is not only cheap but ideal for backpackers.

 

In this article, we will help you save your travel budget in Turkey with some useful price lists and tips.

 

Backpacking Turkey on a budget - Journal of Nomads
Two hitchhikers on a budget ready to explore Turkey

 

 

Do you want to go backpacking in Turkey? Check out these 9 beautiful and unique places worth visiting in Turkey!

 

 

Just keep in mind that the prices in big cities such as Istanbul and Ankara and along the Mediterranean coast (Antalya,Bodrum...) tend to be a lot higher than elsewhere.

 

 

How much does food in Turkey cost?

 
Restaurants:

If you like eating in restaurants, you will be having the most wonderful experience in Turkey. It's a wonderful place for restaurant dining, no matter what your budget is. From simple workers' eateries and sidewalk cafés to mid-range restaurants, Turkish cuisine is delicious and flavourful. If you want to eat in the cheapest places, however, always ask the locals. They usually know where the most inexpensive place is and they will gladly point you in the right direction.

 

Here are some of the prices you might encounter in most restaurants on average:

Meal, inexpensive restaurant

A three course meal for 2 in a mid range restaurant

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught)

Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)

Cappuccino (regular)

Coke/Pepsi (0.33 liter bottle)

Water (0.33 liter bottle)

Nescafe                                                                                                      

15.00 TL

65.00 TL

8.88 TL

10.00 TL

7.27 TL

2.65 TL

0.91 TL

3.00 TL

Backpacking Turkey on a budget -food - Journal of Nomads
Enjoying a lovely meal in a local restaurant with our friends
 
 
Markets:

If you're like us, you will probably be buying most of your food in the local markets. Fruits and vegetables in Turkish markets tend to be extremely cheap and the experience of being there surrounded by all the noise, the colors and the smells is an unforgettable one. If you would like to see what a typical Turkish market looks like, have a look at One market - Many stories.

 

Here is a price list of food that you can usually find in any local supermarket:

Milk(regular) 1 liter

Loaf of Fresh White Bread (500g)

Apples (1 kg)

Bananas(1 Kg)

Oranges (1kg)

Tomato (1kg)

Potato (1kg)

Onion (1kg)

Lettuce (1 head)

Water (1.5 liter bottle)

Bottle of Wine (Mid-Range)

Domestic Beer (0.5 liter bottle)

Imported Beer (0.33 liter bottle)

Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro)

                                                                       

2.58 TL

1.53 TL

3.20 TL

5.83 TL

2.66 TL

2.81 TL

1.73 TL

1.60 TL

2.00 TL

1.40 TL

30.00 TL

6.38 TL

8.35 TL

12.00 TL

Backpacking Turkey on a budget - market - Journal of Nomads
Local market in Turkey

 

 

How much does it cost to travel in Turkey by public transportation?

 

Transportation around Turkey is also extremely cheap. Hitchhiking worked perfectly well and we never had to wait more than 20 minutes. Our drivers often invited us for a meal or to stay at their house for the night.

 

If hitchhiking is not your thing, don't worry. Transportation between villages or small towns is very easy thanks to the dolmuş (shared minibusses that run set routes within and between cities). There are no dolmuş stops, they just stop and pick-up passengers wherever they want.

 

You can easily hail them from the side of the road and they will stop for you. If you want to get off the dolmuş, all you have to do is get close to the door and say “inecek var”. You pay the driver when you get off. Often the price is indicated on the inner wall of the van near the driver's seat.

 

Here is a list of prices for transportation including taxi fares in Turkey.

One-way Ticket (Dolmuş Local Transport)
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff)
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff)
Taxi 1hour Waiting (Normal Tariff)

 

2.40 TL
3.40 TL
2.50 TL
21.00 TL

 

 

Cynthia and I didn't take any bus but on Turkey Travel Planner, you'll find all the information you need about long distance buses in Turkey.

 

Backpacking Turkey on a budget - Hitchhiking - Journal of Nomads
Hitchhiking in Turkey is very easy!

 

 

How much does accommodation in Turkey cost?

 
Wild camping:

First and foremost, we would like to encourage you to do wild camping in Turkey. While it is true that there are various commercial camping grounds in Turkey, wild camping is totally free and it's the best way to discover remote parts of Turkey's stunning countryside. There is a wide variety of beautiful wild camping locations around the country, from pristine beaches to quiet forests.

 

Some of the country's most unique places like The Lycian way and Mount Olympos are perfect for wild camping. As always though, just remember to bury all toilet waste and urinate away from water sources. Take away your trash and don't hesitate to pick up the trash of others.

 

Backpacking Turkey on a budget - camping - Journal of Nomads
One of our many camping spots
 
 
Tree houses:

If you don't want to do wild camping but would still like to sleep in nature away from the noise of the city, you could always sleep in a tree house. Some of the most beautiful tree houses in the country are located in Olympos. We stayed in Olympos Woods Treehouses. The owner was super friendly and really interested in our journey. He gave us great tips on what to do and what to see in the region. Prices per night in a tree house usually vary between 80 and 150 TL, a bit pricey but totally worth the experience.

 

Backpacking Turkey on a budget - Tree house - Olympos -Journal of Nomads
One of the tree houses of Olympos Woods

 

 

Hotels and hostels:

While we were not so fond of sleeping in hotels and usually preferred camping, the affordable prices made sleeping in a hotel a good option in Turkey.

 

Konya was one of the places where we stayed in a hotel. We wanted to see the Spinning Dervishes perform the Sema ceremony ( a sacred ritual where the followers of Rumi lose themselves in a spinning dance and trance). Fortunately for us, the Sema was held every Saturday night at 7:00 pm at the Mevlana Cultural Center. It was free but that meant we couldn't find a place to pitch our tent outside the city that late at night. Luckily, we found a room for two for only 70 TL per night.

 

Awesome places to hitchhike in Turkey - Konya - Dancing Dervishes - Journal of Nomads
The free Sema at the Mevlana Cultural Center

 

 

In Turkey prices for hotel rooms vary quite a lot, the cheapest room will be around 45 to 60 TL per person in the low-season and can double during high season. You can always find cheap prices on the website of Booking.com!

 



Booking.com

 

There are also other options to find cheap or even free accommodation in Turkey. Housesitting is quite popular here, as well as volunteering and hospitality exchange. Check out the websites on The Ultimate Guide to Free Accommodation.

 

Save money on free accommodation - house sitting - Journal of Nomads
One of our housesit - experiences in Turkey, awesome when you even have free access to a swimming pool!

 

 

We hope this list will help and give you an idea of how much money you'll need to explore Turkey. We could easily live on a daily budget of $10 per person.

 

Learn more about Turkey in our Backpacker's Guide to Turkey!

 

Backpacking Turkey on a Budget - Journal of Nomads

 

 

If you have more tips about traveling on a budget in Turkey, feel free to let us know in the comments below! All the prices in this list are updated as of January 2018. If you like to have more information about prices in Turkey, have a look at the list on Numbeo.

 

 

Have a look at our travel videos of Turkey!

 

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Follow Nicholas Danis Bertrand:

As a master language learner,I travel the world fascinated with words and expressions from distant cultures.If you would ask me what weighs more in my backpack, it would probably be my phrasebooks.