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Euros in Turkey

I am doing Best of Turkey on October 1. Hotels, cabs, & balloons seem to prefer euros to the Turkish lira.
Do I need to bring that with me as I assume the ATMs will only provide lira?

Posted by
1446 posts

I was in Turkey in June and July. Hotels all accepted credit cards and taxi drivers were happy to accept US dollars as payment. What they don’t want is the Turkish lira which they have no confidence in. Some ATM’s will dispense euros.

Posted by
4796 posts

Hi Deb, I was on the Best of Istanbul and Best of Turkey tours in May/June of this year. I never once "needed" any Euros, though I could have spent them with merchants in Kusadasi, had I chosen. It's a big cruise ship port, so the nearby merchants catering to those tourists will take Euros and dollars. Some were actually surprised when we asked for prices and paid in Turkish lira.

As mentioned above, we paid our hotel bills via credit card. One hotel had quoted Euros but billed the Turkish Lira amount. The hotel in Kusadasi quoted in Euros and billed in Euros. I never saw DCC options with the hotels, but they may have been too quick and chose that option before I had the opportunity to decline. (Fortunately, I still got a really good exchange rate for that day.)

The balloon company that our tour used quoted the price in Turkish lira (3400 at the time) and certainly would have taken cash lira for payment; I don't know if they'd have taken dollars or Euros.

Detail on exchange rates, ignore if $2 or $3 difference doesn't matter to you
I paid via credit card, which I asked them to bill in Turkish Lira. The charge came through as $210.46, whereas they would have billed $210 directly in USD. The exchange rate for that day would have been 3400 TL = $207. So cash or credit, dollars or lira, not much difference how you pay.

Posted by
6788 posts

In my experience (winter/spring 2020), it depended on where you were. In places that typically catered to Turkish people (grocery stores, gas stations, small shops, casual restaurants away from tourist attractions), prices were posted in Turkish Lira, of course, and that's what everyone used.

In places that primarily or exclusively catered to tourists, prices may have been posted in in Turkish Lira along with Euros, UK Pounds, Russian Roubles, and/or other currencies (US dollars were not at the top of the list).

Big ticket items (higher end hotels, balloon rides, expensive restaurants) might only have Euros listed.

A few places (resorts and restaurants in very touristy towns) whose clientele are pretty much all expats might only have prices posted UK Pounds.

Most businesses usually prefer if you pay in Euros (it's more stable than the Turkish Lira). Some ATMs do dispense Euros and other foreign currencies. I'd stick with a mix of Turkish Lira (for small things) and have some Euros for bigger ticket items. While most places readily accept credit cards, some will give discounts for cash (eg: balloon flights). Whenever using plastic to pay for anything, make sure you use a card with no foreign transaction fees, and watch out for sneaky Dynamic Currency Conversion.

Posted by
4796 posts

Do I need to bring that with me as I assume the ATMs will only provide lira?

I recall that the ATM in Kuşadası (the cruise port town) would have given me lira, Euros and maybe dollars. I seem to recall having seen others that would have given your choice of 2 or 3 currencies. The ATMs at most of the rest stops only provide Turkish Lira, but then you're in the midst of your tour and won't likely be paying for hotels.

Also, our hotel added the cost our airport transfer/driver, which we had pre-arranged through them, to our bill. So we also paid that with credit card. The trickiest part was tipping the driver, for which I would have preferred having Turkish Lira.

Posted by
23 posts

Thank you all for your input. As I am coming in earlier the hotel quoted a Euro price for the room and for the airport transportation which I assumed meant currency. I think I'll bring some with me as I know small establishments would rather not pay the cc fees.
Tipping the cab driver is also a need (hopefully). I am heading to Greece afterward for a Road Scholar tour so they will not be unused.
Thank you for all of your Turkey tour reports and tips. The more you know, the better prepared you are!