Istanbul has a high cost of living relative to other Turkish cities, but it's fairly cheap when considered in a global context. It was ranked 173rd out of 206 cities worldwide in the 2021 Mercer Cost of Living Survey.

New arrivals in Istanbul will find that accommodation is their biggest expense, while fresh produce is affordable compared to Western Europe. That said, an expat's choice of lifestyle will have the biggest influence on their monthly expenses. 

Cost of accommodation in Istanbul

Accommodation will be a large expense in Istanbul – though costs can range tremendously depending on location and accommodation type. 

Houses and apartments with a view of the Bosphorus are available on both the Asian and European sides of Istanbul, but housing is generally more expensive on the European side. 

When securing a lease, one to two months' rent is typically expected to serve as a deposit. Tenants might also have to pay the first month's rent in advance. Most quoted rental prices also don't include monthly maintenance and utility costs, so expats should expect some additional expenses.

Cost of goods in Istanbul

Petrol in Turkey is particularly expensive when compared to Europe and the US, as is imported alcohol and other imported goods. This includes electronic items, such as cameras and computers, as well as typically Western foods like maple syrup.

Istanbul is generally cheaper than most Western countries for daily groceries, medical care and domestic help. Fresh vegetables and fruit can be bought at bazaars (weekly markets) for low prices, and the local equivalent of many Western brands will be considerably cheaper and often equally as satisfying.

Cost of transport in Istanbul

Public transport in Istanbul is highly efficient, extensive and affordable. Most expats find that they don't need a car, especially as reserved parking spaces are expensive. Despite this, the cost of buying a car is not especially pricey in Istanbul. 

Cost of living in Istanbul

Prices may vary depending on the product and service provider. The list below is based on average prices for Istanbul in February 2022.

Accommodation (monthly rent)

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

YTL 9,000

Three-bedroom apartment outside of the city centre

YTL 5,300

One-bedroom apartment in the city centre

YTL 4,800

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

YTL 3,000


Dozen eggs

YTL 23,30

Milk (1 litre)

YTL 12,40

Rice (1kg) 

YTL 18,10

Loaf of white bread

YTL 5.50

Chicken breasts (1kg)

YTL 50

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

YTL 24

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

YTL 45

Coca-Cola (330ml) 

YTL 9.15


YTL 21

Local beer (500ml)

YTL 30

Three-course meal at a mid-range restaurant for two

YTL 300


Mobile call rate (per minute – mobile to mobile)

YTL 1.10

Internet (uncapped ADSL or cable – average per month)

YTL 125

Utilities (average per month for a standard household)

YTL 965


Taxi rate/km


City centre public transport fare

YTL 5.50

Petrol/gasoline (per litre)

YTL 14.15

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