Currency Exchange in Istanbul

Istanbul, the vibrant and culturally rich metropolis straddling Europe and Asia, offers travelers a unique blend of history, culture, and experiences. As you prepare for your visit to this captivating city, one aspect you’ll want to consider is currency exchange. In this article, we’ll delve into tips regarding currency exchange in Istanbul and provide you with valuable insights to ensure you make the most of your financial transactions.

Currency Exchange at Istanbul Airport

Currency exchange in istanbul

If you find yourself in need of currency exchange upon arriving at Istanbul Airport, fear not. Currency exchange ATMs can be found at various locations within the airport, including the arrivals and departures halls. These exchange offices typically operate during the airport’s opening hours, making it convenient for travelers arriving at any time.

It’s important to note that exchange rates at airports worldwide are generally less favorable than those available at other locations and Istanbul Airport is no exception. The exchange rates you’ll encounter here might not be the most cost-effective. Therefore, it’s wise to compare the rates offered at the airport with those available in the city before making your exchange.

Is Currency Exchange Cheaper at the Airport?

Based on our experience, we do not recommend exchanging your currency at neither Istanbul Airport nor Sabiha Gokcen Airport. The only time you may want to exchange currency is when something urgent occurs that might require you to have cash at that moment.

Before exchanging foreign currency, it is always a good idea to check the official rates of the central bank of Turkey (TCMB).

In addition, prices for products and services here will be much higher than what they already are in the city.  Therefore, it is highly recommended that you arrange your transportation to your accommodation before arrival to the airport.

Is Currency Exchange Open on Sundays?

Currency exchange in Istanbul, especially in touristic areas are open during weekends and not only on Sundays. While most exchange offices work between 09:00 – 21:00, you can easily spot some of them working outside these intervals.

Touristic areas such as Taksim, Sultanahmet, and the Grand Bazaar tend to keep their exchange offices open on Sundays. This practice is driven by the demand of tourists who often require currency exchange services during their visits. These areas cater to international visitors and thus offer extended opening hours, including weekends.

Where is the Best Place to Exchange Currency in Istanbul?

Turkish Lira Banknotes

While there are many alternatives on Divanyolu Street (Sultanahmet), the best place to exchange currency in Istanbul is Grand Bazaar. The exchange offices here are locked in fierce competition, which ultimately works in favor of the consumer.

For centuries, Grand Bazaar has been a major trade center both internally and externally.  You can find many exchange offices near the Mahmutpaşa entrance.

Why Grand Bazaar (Kapalı Çarşı) Is the Best Place to Exchange Currency?

Currency exchange in Grand Bazaar, Istanbul

Currency exchange in Grand Bazaar stands out as one of the best options for several compelling reasons:

  • Historical Trade Hub: The Grand Bazaar has been a vital trading center since the 15th century. Traders required currency exchange services to facilitate international transactions, establishing currency exchange offices within the bazaar.

  • Competitive Environment: Over the centuries, the diverse product offerings in the bazaar attracted visitors and currency exchange offices, fostering intense competition and favorable exchange rates.

  • Gold and Precious Metals Expertise: The Grand Bazaar’s historical focus on gold and precious metals has made it a top choice for favorable rates on gold transactions.

  • Tourist Destination: The Grand Bazaar’s enduring popularity as a tourist attraction ensures continued demand for its currency exchange services, making it convenient and competitive for travelers.