How to Travel on a Budget in Istanbul

Istanbul is one of the most exotic travel destinations in the world. The city is endowed with culture, grace, history and most importantly delicious food too. It is literally challenging not to throw away all your money at the local markets of Istanbul.

That is why it is only useful to know a few tips on how to travel cheap to Istanbul. So here are a few fun things to do in Istanbul Turkey where you won’t have to spend a lot to enjoy and still get the best of it.  

Where to Stay in Istanbul?

There are two ways to choose accommodation while thinking about how to travel on a budget.  One is to find a cheap place a little away from the center; the other is to be in the center and save on transportation. Istanbul is not exactly the kind of place where the entire city is walkable, so it is best to stay in the center where the attractions are close by.

Sultanahmet would be the best call in that direction. Being the old town area,  it is not exactly cheap, but you can still find a hotel well under the budget and have the main historical attractions also in close proximity.  

Another option for budget travelers is the Beyoglu area. The place is somewhere in between old areas and upscale parts. Many hotels and restaurants are getting refurbished and have a lot of touristy vibe to it. It has very lively streets and a lot of great cafes. It is also well connected to all the tourist attractions; you can take a bus, metro or a tram.

In both these locations, you could easily find accommodation from the major booking sites like or Airbnb.


Where and What to Eat in Istanbul

The entire city is filled with many cafes and restaurants selling both traditional and western food. Be sure to try out the Koftas (Turkish meatballs) and drink a lot of Turkish Tea.

A few notable spots are the Halil Lahmacun (where they make traditional treats on the spot), Limonlu Bache (for the Istanbul hipster scene in a garden space), Van Kahvalti Evi (the local magic) and Ciya Sofrasi (the ultimate foodies' destination). Remember that these are only a few among the many and you are sure to stumble upon some other gems along the streets.

Also, don't forget the delicious Turkish street food joints. Try a few tantalizing items like the simit (Turkish counterpart of American bagels), Midye dolma (mussels and spicy rice), Tantoni (Turkish tortillas) and kumpir (baked potatoes).


Things to do in Istanbul

The Blue Mosque

The Blue Mosque

The Sultan Ahmed Mosque or the Blue Mosque is a marvelous sight to behold. It is stunningly beautiful with the intricate detailing with handmade ceramic tiles. Built in the 1600s in Sultanahmet, the mosque is a typical example of Islamic architecture with its magnificent minarets and domes. The mosque is still used for worship, so dress respectfully during the visit. Despite being the most popular attractions in Istanbul, it is free to enter the mosque.


The Grand Bazaar

Grand Bazaar Istanbul

The bazaars or markets hold the key to the vibrant local life in Istanbul. The buzz and energy will totally engulf you. With the air filled with aromas from spices and the market filled with the splashing colors of textiles, jewels, and even food, Grand Bazaar Istanbul will give you one of the most unique experiences in Istanbul. Though it might appear that many shops are just touristy, there are the backstreets where locals come to shop. If you are looking to buy souvenirs, you could find a few here.


The Rustem Pasha Mosque in Eminonu

Rustem Pasha Mosque

Walk a little bit from the Grand Bazaar towards the north, and you will reach the part of Eminonu. Its situated right by the sea and near the Galata Koprusu Bridge. Together, the ambiance is delightful to walk around or enjoy a snack. The stunning Rustem Pasha Mosque is on this square. In the evenings, the place comes alive and yet has a tranquil feeling to it.


Suleymaniye Mosque

Suleymaniye Mosque

Located to the west of Eminonu, Suleymaniye Mosque is the second largest mosque in Istanbul. Being on the higher ground, the mosque’s ground offers wonderful views of the city. There are also beautiful garden surrounding the mosque that could be a quick getaway from the cities hustle. There is comparatively a lesser crowd in this mosque that makes it more appealing.


The Hagia Sophia

hagia sophia istanbul

One of the most historically important structures of Istanbul is the Hagia Sophia. It was once a church, a mosque and now a museum. The buildings hold history that is religiously and architecturally relevant. Located in Sultanahmet, you might soon feel that it is one of the most majestic buildings in Istanbul as soon as you see it. You will have to pay a small fee of 40 TL to enter, but even on budget travel, Hagia Sophia is a must in Istanbul.


The Topkapi Palace

topkapi palace istanbul

This remarkable architectural beauty of the Topkapi Palace is impressive to anyone. It is also another spot that offers sweeping views of the city. WIth huge gardens and intricate designing works, the palace has plenty of places to wander around and take it all in.

This is another expensive place to visit for 40 TL. But you can get a museum pass for 85 TL that could get you to cover Hagia Sophia, Topkapi Palace, and a few other attractions too.

Taksim District

Taksim District istanbul

Taksim DIstrict has a little bit of European influence to it. It is a great place to walk around and explore, get on the tram and sit in a cafe. Lined with many shops, restaurants, and even cultural joints, this is an apt place to enjoy your evenings. The district is also acclaimed for its busy nightlife in Istanbul.

Istanbul is not exactly an expensive place, but it has everything that could get you an unforgettable cultural experience. Now, getting cheap flights to Istanbul Turkey is another key point of saving during budget travel. Luckily, we have solutions for that too. Go to FareDepot and there you will find the cheap options for international flights and even lastminute flights. Because we do know that there is nothing better than a spontaneous travel plan.