How Much Did We Spend in Turkey?

October 21, 2013 — 10 Comments
Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey

Fairy Chimneys in Cappadocia, Turkey

Overall score (Dan) = C
Overall score (Jocelyn) = B

Total days = 7 nights, 8 days
Total cost = $1,344
Cost per day = $168 / day
Flight costs = $525 one-way from Zagreb
Cities visited: Cappadocia, Ephesus, Istanbul

Summary

Turkey was always so far away on our round the world trip that we never gave much attention to it, but we heard from enough people it was worth the visit. After we found a way to fit it in our schedule between meeting friends in the countries before and after, we were set to take on Turkey.

Istanbul is the cultural capital and led the fight that took Turkey to the 2020 Olympics final destinations – narrowly losing to Japan in what some experts say was caused by the way Turkey handled protests in Taksim Square back in 2012. I think the Olympics lost out on what would’ve been an incredible destination.

Istanbul, Turkey

Walking along the crowded streets of Istanbul

From the culture and glamour of Istanbul to the unbelievable caves of Cappadocia to the Roman ruins of Ephesus, Turkey offered much more than our 9 days and three cities allowed us to take in. In fact, it’s probably now the highest on our list of countries to revisit (I know, I’ve said that like six times now). We loved the cultural, geographical, and archaeological diversity Turkey offers – and even more so, we loved the incredibly nice people.

Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Inside the incredibly large Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey

Ephesus, Turkey

Jocelyn hanging out at the theatre in Ephesus, Turkey

How far does your money go in Turkey?

Turkey uses the Lira and $1 USD equals roughly 2 Turkish Lira and its affordability is closer to SE Asian countries than to Europe which was nice on the pocketbook.

Spending details

Here are our per day spending highlights:

Transportation = $79.8 / day
Lodging = $37.4 / day
Food = $26.5 / day
Excursions = $19.25 / day

Total hotel points used = none

The Good

Turkey offers so much as a destination and checks the box for interesting people, ancient ruins, beautiful landscapes, and an exotic feel. Each of the three cities we visited offered a very unique experience, and I’m sure that’s also the case for other cities we different visit. As mentioned before, prices for food and lodging are more on par with SE Asian countries than the rest of Europe so your money can go pretty far.

If archaeological ruins is your thing, than Turkey is your place. It’s at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and switched hands between various powers through the centuries that each left their distinct marks on the land and culture. Our favorite place in Turkey was the incredibly intriguing Cappadocia area in the center of the country. Basically, three volcanoes erupted 60 million years ago leaving a thick layer of sediment which hardened and then eroded over time leaving a beautiful landscape of “fairy chimneys” behind. Different civilizations figured out they could carve rooms into the fairy chimneys and cliffs and what’s left is 200 kilometers of explorable land full of abandoned rooms and cities which used to house thousands of people. In fact, there are 90+ underground cities that go up to 10 layers deep where early Christians could hide from their Roman persecutors underground for over three months! Many of these cities were connected with underground tunnels which stretched for 10’s to 100’s of kilometers.

Cappadocia, Turkey

Walking among the caves in Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

Standing inside a cave church in Cappadocia, Turkey

Turkey is also full of Roman ruins and Ephesus was a great place to explore these for the day. It’s pretty much a reconstructed Roman city that was abandoned after a major earthquake struck in the third century.

library in Ephesus, Turkey

Reconstructed ruins of the library in Ephesus, Turkey

The Bad

Due to our shortened time in Turkey but our continued desire to see as much as we could, it was pretty expensive for us to travel around because we flew to save time. We also rented cars in Cappadocia and Ephesus because each required quite a bit of travel from the nearest airports to explore the local area. From what I’ve read, it’s pretty easy to travel around bus or train, so it seems we could’ve lowered our per day spending pretty easily if we had more time for the country.

Cappadocia, Turkey roadtrip

Although we spent more because of it, we really enjoyed our Turkey road trips!

The Ugly

We really didn’t find too much ugly about Turkey; the only problem we had was that we didn’t give it enough time! There are so many other cities we’d like to explore, but we’ll just have to leave them for next time. In fact, we had three days in Istanbul and we still missed some major sites.

Well, we did have one major problem in both Cappadocia and Ephesus – cold showers! I think it’s because we visited during the first cold blast and maybe they weren’t prepared, but it wasn’t a fun way to start the day… or maybe it’s because we literally stayed in a cave in Cappadocia.

Cave hotel, Cappadocia, Turkey

A look inside our cave hotel room!

In conclusion, Turkey is a great travel destination and is easy to travel around even if you’re not comfortable with visiting “exotic” places. The people are very friendly and enjoyed getting to know them in the little time we were there.

Next up: Israel

Istanbul sunset

The Istanbul skyline during sunset

woman in Istanbul, Turkey

A local woman near Ephesus, Turkey

Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey

The underground Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey

Inside a cave church in Cappadocia, Turkey

Inside a cave church in Cappadocia, Turkey

underground city in Cappadocia, Turkey

Deep down inside an underground city in Cappadocia, Turkey

Cappadocia, Turkey

The beautiful landscape of Cappadocia, Turkey

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10 responses to How Much Did We Spend in Turkey?

  1. I really want to explore those fairy mounds. So many stories could come from such a trip.

    When ever I think of Istanbul I think of the They Might be Giants song. (Istanbul (not Constantinople))

  2. I have always wanted to visit Turkey. The history is so ancient that it offers some great place and sites to explore. In many ways it the birth place all our modern civilizations. Love the pictures my friend. Keep them coming.

  3. I cannot get over the underground caves…I love caves! They have always intrigued me! I don’t like the horde of people in Instanbul – I am not one for huge crowds. But the city looks amazing, as do your other pictures. I particularly like the cave hotel room. Very cool!

    The fairy peaks are neat, too, as are the steps Jocelyn is standing on. Love them!

    • Haha, than you’d have to seek out quieter places in Turkey – which is definitely possible! I think the caves and fairy chimneys are some of the coolest things we’ve seen on our entire trip.

  4. My experience with Istanbul entailed a 9-hour tour when my cruise ship docked over night. I would really love to return someday. I also did a half day tour of Ephesus. During the Istanbul tour, I thought the carpet making demonstration would be really cheesy, but it was informative and fun. I really regret not coming come with an authentic Turkish carpet. Oh well, maybe next time.

    • Oh boy, we’ve missed out on a lot of souvenirs that we wish we could’ve taken home with us! I don’t think we can even count the number of “free demonstrations” we’ve been through at this point, but we always end up not buying either.

  5. I wonder how I would get on with those underground living quarters given I have claustrophobia. I have read many sic-fi books where those fairy mounds would feel right at home. 🙂 Sounds like a great place to visit.

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