Cost of Living in Istanbul: Updated Prices, Comparison with Other Cities

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A Complete Guide on Cost of Living in Istanbul

Turkey’s largest city, which straddles both Europe and Asia, Istanbul, is full of contrasts and vibrant culture. As it combines rich history with a modern lifestyle. Students going to Istanbul for their higher education should plan a budget to effectively manage their cost of living in Istanbul. 


Istanbul offers an amazing quality of life along with a cost of living that won’t break the bank compared to other big cities in Europe. Students in Istanbul enjoy a quality life and education, making it an attractive destination. If you want to know what the cost of living is in Istanbul, you have come to the right place. Stay tuned till the end for all the details!

Cost of Living in Istanbul Overview

The average cost of living in Istanbul for one person, excluding rent, is approximately TRY 20,263 per month according to Numbeo. When factoring in rent, apartment costs typically range from TRY 1,6000 to TRY 40,000 per month. However, these expenses can vary significantly based on one’s lifestyle, the specific area of Istanbul, and personal preferences.

The cost of living in Istanbul covers various expenses, including housing rent, groceries costs, transportation fare tickets, utility bills, and entertainment costs. Below, we provide an overview of the average costs in different categories for those considering living in Istanbul. Take a look for a detailed understanding:

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Costs of Accommodation in Istanbul

When calculating the cost of living in Istanbul, housing is undoubtedly the most important expense to consider. The cost varies based on the location, size, and type of accommodation. For instance, a one-bedroom apartment in the city centre typically costs around TRY 25,480.

It is crucial to thoroughly research and compare housing options that align with your needs and budget before moving to Istanbul. To assist you, we have compiled data on the average cost of apartments both in the city centre and outside the city centre of Istanbul.

Apartment LocationApprox. Monthly Cost 
Apartment of One-bedroom in the City CentreTRY 25,480
Apartment of One-bedroom Outside of CentreTRY 16,488
Apartment of Three-bedroom in the City CentreTRY 49,547
Apartment of Three-bedroom Outside of CentreTRY 30,868
Source: Numbeo

Cost of a Utility in Istanbul 

The monthly utility costs for a one-bedroom apartment in Istanbul can be approximately TRY 1,857, though this amount can vary based on usage and room or apartment size. It’s essential to factor in utility expenses when planning your monthly budget, as they are an important part of the overall cost of living in Istanbul. The table below provides an overview of the average utility bills in Istanbul:

Utility TypeUtility NameApprox. Cost 
Basic Utility BillsWater, Electricity, Heating, Cooling, and GarbageTRY 1,857
InternetUnlimited Data, Cable/ADSL monthlyTRY 370
Monthly Plan Mobile Phoneincluding Calls and 10GB+ DataTRY 282
Source: Numbeo

By considering these estimated costs, you can skillfully manage your finances and ensure you account for all necessary living expenses.

Cost of Grocery in Istanbul

The cost of groceries in Istanbul is generally budget-friendly compared to many Western cities, offering good value for both locals and expatriates. The grocery cost can directly influence the overall cost of living in Istanbul as it is a daily expense.

The cost of groceries in Istanbul can vary based on where you shop, the quality of the products, and your dietary preferences. To ensure you get the best value for your money, it’s important to compare prices. Below is a table outlining the average grocery costs in Istanbul:

Grocery ItemApprox Cost 
1 litre of Regular MilkTRY 37.51
500g Bread (White) TRY 21.05
1kg white RiceTRY 64.23
1kg Apples TRY 41.28
1kg Banana TRY 59.78
1kg OrangesTRY 29.80
1kg TomatoTRY 42.06
1kg PotatoTRY 24.52
1kg OnionTRY 18.99
Lettuce (1 head)TRY 33.61
1 litre Water bottle TRY 13.30
Source: Numbeo

Overall, the cost of groceries in Istanbul remains affordable and shopping at local markets and supermarkets can help keep costs down. Also, Istanbul offers a diverse grocery market that caters to a variety of dietary needs and preferences.

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Restaurant Food Costs in Istanbul

Istanbul is a culinary paradise, offering a diverse range of flavours and dishes that reflect its rich cultural heritage. The city’s food scene is a delightful mix of traditional Turkish cuisine and modern international influences, making it a top destination for food lovers.

The cost of dining out in Istanbul can vary widely based on several factors, such as the type of restaurant, its location, and the cuisine offered. Eating out is generally more expensive than preparing meals at home and can significantly impact your overall cost of living in Istanbul. Below is an approximate breakdown of average meal costs at different types of restaurants in the city:

Type of Restaurant Approx Cost of Meal in Restaurant 
Meal at an inexpensive restaurantTRY 300
Meal for 2 people (in a Mid-range Restaurant)TRY 1,500
Equal meal. to McDonald’sTRY  235
CappuccinoTRY 94.35
Source: Numbeo

These estimates provide a general idea of what you might spend dining out in Istanbul, helping you plan your budget accordingly for the cost of living in Istanbul.

Transportation Costs in Istanbul

Getting around Istanbul is convenient and diverse, with various options available to suit different preferences and budgets. The city’s extensive public transportation network includes Bus, Funicular, Minibus, Ferry, Metro, Marmaray, Taxi, Tramway, Istanbulkart, Cable car, IETT buses, Tünel, Air transportation, suburban, Meet Transfer, Rail transport, Metrobus, Boats and the nostalgic tramway, offering efficient and affordable ways to navigate its bustling streets.

Evaluating transportation costs in Istanbul is crucial, as they significantly influence the overall cost of living in Istanbul city. Refer to the table below for a detailed breakdown of transportation expenses in the Istanbul area:

Mode of TransportApprox Cost
Ticket for Local Public transport TRY 17.70
Ticket for Monthly Pass in a Public transportTRY 1,388
Local tariff for the Taxi Ride of 1 km TRY 17.77
Normal Tariff of taxi for 1 hour Waiting TRY 225
1 L or 0.26 gal Gas / PetrolTRY 40.13
Source: Numbeo

Also Read: Cost of Living in Regina: Food, Room Rent & Transportation

Miscellaneous Costs in Istanbul

Additional expenses beyond the essentials cost of living in Istanbul also include some other essential things like going to the movies, joining a fitness club, buying clothes like jeans or a summer dress, getting a new pair of sports shoes, or visiting a doctor. 

These miscellaneous costs are part of everyday life and will come up sooner or later. It’s important to budget for them to ensure you’re prepared for whatever comes your way in Istanbul. Take a look at the table below for a breakdown of these miscellaneous expenses:

Miscellaneous Approx Cost 
Movie TicketTRY 200
Fitness ClubTRY 1,351
Pair of Jeans TRY 1,698
Summer DressTRY 1,123
Pair of Sports shoesTRY 2,880
Doctor’s visitTRY 1752
Source: Numbeo, Living Cost

To effectively manage your finances in Istanbul, it is important to consider not only the major expenses but also these miscellaneous costs that can affect your budget. By budgeting wisely and planning ahead, you can ensure that you are prepared for any expenses that come your way.

The Cost of Living in Istanbul Compared to Other Cities

Istanbul is often seen as one of the more budget-friendly places to live in Canada when compared to other cities. But what exactly makes it so? Well, when you look at the cost of living in Istanbul compared to other places, you’ll notice several key factors at play. These include housing prices, transportation costs, dining options, and entertainment expenses.

To help you understand how the cost of living in Istanbul stacks up against other cities like Dubai, South Africa, the USA, London, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Toronto, Bucharest and Paris. we’ve provided a comparison of living expenses (excluding rent) in these places. Take a look:

Cost of Living City WiseAverage Cost of livingComparison with Cost of Living in Istanbul
Cost of Living in DubaiTRY 35100Higher than Istanbul
Cost of Living in South AfricaTRY 18521Lower than Istanbul
Cost of Living in the USATRY 37639Higher than Istanbul
Cost of Living in LondonTRY 45730Higher than Istanbul
Cost of Living in Kuala LumpurTRY 17849Lower than Istanbul
Cost of Living in TorontoTRY 35539Higher than Istanbul
Cost of living in BangkokTRY 20736Approximately equal to Istanbul
Cost of living in BucharestTRY 22823Higher than Istanbul
Cost of living in ParisTRY 39577Higher than Istanbul
Source: Numbeo

Average Tuition Fees in Istanbul

In addition to handling the cost of living in Istanbul, students can better manage their budgets by researching the average tuition fees at universities in the area. It’s important to keep in mind that in Istanbul, tuition fees vary depending on the university, program, and level of study. 

Generally, public universities in Turkey offer lower tuition fees than private institutions. It is important to research and compare tuition fees at different universities in Istanbul. Below is a summary table showing tuition fees at some selected universities in Istanbul:

Name of UniversityApprox Tuition fees per year 
İstanbul UniversityTRY 817126
Ozyegin UniversityTRY 18600 – TRY 65000
Kadir Has UniversityTRY 337000 – 460000

In conclusion, the cost of living in Istanbul offers a range of options that cater to different budgets and lifestyles. While certain areas and amenities can be expensive, the city also provides many affordable alternatives, particularly in terms of housing, food, and transportation. Istanbul’s rich cultural heritage, vibrant social scene, and diverse culinary offerings make it an attractive place to live. Whether you are a student, expatriate, or local resident, Istanbul presents a dynamic and accessible living experience that balances modern conveniences with historical charm.

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Q.1 What is the Cost of Living in Istanbul?

Answer: The monthly average cost of living in Istanbul for an individual is approximately TRY 20,263, without including the rent.  However, when factoring in rent, which can range from TRY 16,000 to TRY 40,000, the overall monthly expenses can vary significantly.

Q 2. Is it expensive to live in Istanbul?

Answer: The average cost of living for one person in Istanbul excluding rent is around TRY 20,263. It is affordable compared to the rest of European countries and yet you can live a good quality of life here.

Q 3. How much is monthly rent in Istanbul?

Answer: The monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Istanbul ranges from TRY 16,000 to TRY 40,000, depending on the location and type of property. Rents in the city centre are generally higher compared to those in the outskirts.

Q 3. What is a good salary in Istanbul?

Answer: The monthly average monthly net salary in Istanbul after tax is around TRY 26,353. However, the average cost of living for a single person in Istanbul is around TRY 20,263 without rent.

So, this was all about the cost of living in Istanbul. Many Indian students dream of pursuing education in foreign nations due to the exposure and career growth they offer. Consider joining a free counselling session with Leverage Edu if you plan to study abroad.

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