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Currency Matters: Does Turkey Use Euros?

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Is the euro widely accepted in Turkey, or is it the Turkish lira is the Sultan?  When the eyes turn to the east – the captivating country that straddles Europe and Asia, one of the most important questions about local currency crosses your mind.

Well, now is the time to examine the prevalence of the euro and the importance of the Turkish lira in this enchanting destination.

Key facts about the Turkish currency

The Turkish lira (TRY/TL) is the official currency of Turkey, introduced in 1864 to replace the Ottoman Empire’s kuruş. It has held this status as the national currency since 1927.

As it is recognized as the sole legal tender by the Turkish government, you can use Turkish lira for all financial transactions in the country, from accommodations and museum tickets to meals in local restaurants.

Official currency

Turkish lira


ISO-3 code


Turkish lira banknotes

₺5, ₺10, ₺20, ₺50, ₺100

Minor unit


Additionally, the Turkish lira is also used in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and Turkish-occupied northern Syria.

The best currency to take to Turkey

In Turkey, the preferred currency is the Turkish lira. It holds the highest level of acceptance throughout the country. 

While some places may also accept euros and other currencies, opting for the local one consistently provides a more favourable exchange rate and better value.

📚Read more: The Best Place To Exchange Currency


Despite its proximity to the Eurozone, the euro is not a generally accepted currency in Turkey. However, exceptions exist, as euros can be used for payment at the airport, in hotels, and major tourist areas.

Nevertheless, using Euros in Turkey may result in a significant financial loss, as the exchange rate is often lower than the actual Euro value.

Therefore, if you’re from the European Union or EEA, it’s advisable to use debit cards without foreign currency exchange fees for cost-effective card payments while travelling in Turkey.

US dollars

Similarly, US dollars aren’t widely accepted in Turkey, although exceptions exist. 

Even though not all businesses in Turkey accept US dollars, popular tourist destinations like Istanbul, Cappadocia, and Antalya are more likely to do so. However, using USD for payment often results in inflated prices.

British pounds

While visiting Turkey, British pounds have limited acceptance. Similarly, just like with other foreign currencies, it’s more common to come across merchants who accept British pounds in tourist areas.

However, it’s worth considering that using a foreign currency such as GBP will likely result in a less favourable exchange rate than using the Turkish lira.

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Paying with cash in Turkey

Cash is vital in Turkey, with the Turkish lira widely accepted by most shops, restaurants, and businesses. Therefore, it’s advisable to have some local currency on hand during your travels. 

Also, while credit cards find broad acceptance, spending money in cash often offers more favourable exchange rates and potential discounts. 

Making informed spending choices in Turkey comes down to pre-trip research and the readiness for traditional haggling when required.

Using ATMs in Turkey

ATMs, ‘bankamatik’ in Turkish, are widespread and accept foreign cards, dispensing exclusively Turkish Lira. Using ATMs for lira withdrawal in Turkey minimizes the need to carry significant cash and ensures reasonable exchange rates.

While your home bank may charge foreign withdrawal fees, this method remains a cost-effective choice for most travellers. Using your card at an ATM provides a favourable card scheme foreign exchange rate, superior to exchange offices or banks.

You can use Visa or Mastercard debit and credit cards at Turkish ATMs. Moreover, you can withdraw money in Turkish Lira and euros. However, opt for the lira to avoid unfavourable over-the-counter foreign exchange rates.

However, before you withdraw cash, make sure your card is compatible with the ATM to avoid surprises.

Furthermore, for added security, it’s best to use bank-affiliated ATMs rather than standalone street booths, known for their safety and reduced tampering risk. Utilize the Visa, MasterCard, or Amex ATM locator services to find a nearby ATM.

Also, it is advisable to withdraw small amounts at a time due to the rapid decline in the value of the Turkish lira. It will help you avoid potential losses in the exchange rate during your stay in Turkey.

A woman

Currency exchange offices

Purchasing Lira in Turkey is usually a better deal. For efficient currency exchange, look for “döviz” currency exchange offices.

However, if you’re concerned about arriving without cash, consider exchanging a small amount at home and finding better deals later. For favourable rates, avoid high-fee exchange services at the airport or hotel front desk.

Lastly, ensure your banknotes are in good condition when you bring cash for exchange upon arrival. Some foreign currency exchange services may decline torn or marked notes.

On the other hand, credit and debit card transactions, like Visa, Mastercard, and American Express, typically use the card scheme exchange rate. It closely mirrors the market rate. To secure the best rates, understand the mid-market rate, as it is the real exchange rate.

Also, remember that even exchange services claiming ‘zero commission’ include their profit margin in the rate.

Using a credit or debit card in Turkey

In Turkey, although cash remains a common choice, businesses widely accept credit and debit cards from major global providers like VISA and Mastercard. Moreover, there’s a good chance American Express and Diner’s Club cards will also be welcome.

For peace of mind, it’s essential to contact your bank or card provider directly to ensure they support Turkish lira currency conversion and card compatibility in Turkey.

Moreover, to reduce currency conversion fees, consider choosing a card designed for overseas use, often offering additional perks like travel insurance and rewards programs.

It’s worth noting that your bank may impose overseas fees, so exploring a separate account tailored for travel with minimal or no overseas costs is a prudent choice.

Credit cards furnish a line of credit for various transactions. However, keep in mind that using them at ATMs can lead to cash advance fees, interest charges, and international ATM expenses.

On the other hand, debit cards find broad acceptance at local businesses, yet keeping some cash handy is recommended as smaller establishments may not accommodate cards.

Furthermore, a travel debit card allows you to use your funds for over-the-counter purchases and ATM withdrawals wherever Visa and Mastercard are accepted.

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Banks in Turkey

Turkey boasts an extensive banking network, encompassing retail, private, and Sharia-compliant banks. Here is a list of the most popular ones.

  • Halkbank: Known for low fees on foreign bank card usage.
  • Ziraat Bankasi: The largest state-owned bank.
  • Garanti Bankası: A prominent private bank.
  • İş Bankası: Another significant private bank.
  • Yapı Kredi Bankası: One of the largest private banks.
  • HSBC: A popular choice for foreigners with slightly lower fees.
  • AKBANK: Recognisable with widespread presence, though it comes with fees.
  • Deniz Bank: Another visible option, but known for high fees on foreign cards.

These banks have branches in major cities, ensuring easy access to ATMs. For fee-free ATMs, consider Halkbank and Ziraat Bankasi. Isbank and Garanti Bank are common choices, but they may impose fees on foreign credit cards.

Additionally, foreign-owned banks also operate in Turkey, primarily in larger cities.


Is the euro accepted in Turkey?

In tourist areas and major cities, businesses may list prices in euros, US dollars, or pounds. While some businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, may accept euros, rural areas typically require Turkish lira.

Moreover, when you pay in foreign currency, merchants may apply a markup to the exchange rate to increase their profit, resulting in less favourable rates. 

Therefore, for small shops, markets, taxis, and buses, cash is necessary, while hotels and restaurants often prefer card payments due to the Turkish lira’s volatility.

Is it better to use the lira or euro in Turkey?

When visiting Turkey, it’s better to use the local currency, which offers widespread acceptance. While some places accept euros, opting for the local currency consistently offers more favourable deals.

To acquire Turkish lira, you can utilize ATMs with your debit card or travel card, as Visa and Mastercard cards find broad acceptance, particularly in major cities.

Do Turkish restaurants accept euros?

While some restaurants in Turkey do accept euros, it’s advisable to pay in the local currency – Turkish lira. This approach helps you avoid additional charges.

How much is 100 Turkish lira to the pound?

The exchange rate between the Turkish lira (TRY) and the British pound (GBP) can vary. Currently, 100 Turkish lira is approximately equivalent to 2.83 British pounds.

However, for the most up-to-date conversion, I recommend checking a reliable financial news website or using a currency conversion tool or app.

Should I exchange my currency before travelling to Turkey?

To get the best exchange rates when travelling to Turkey, keep these tips in mind:

Avoid Pre-Exchange: It’s generally better not to exchange currency in your home country before your trip.

Have Some Local Currency: Carry a modest sum of Turkish lira to handle initial expenses when you arrive.

Exchange in Turkey: Exchange the bulk of your currency in Turkey, as local banks and exchange offices offer competitive rates.

Prepaid Multi-Currency Card: Consider using a prepaid multi-currency card, which can help you avoid hidden fees and provide favourable exchange rates.

Check Bank Fees: Be aware of any foreign transaction fees your bank may charge and explore other options with lower ones.

These simple steps will help you make the most of your money during your visit to Turkey.

Why should you use various travel money options in Turkey?

You never know what’s going to happen. Therefore, it’s a wise approach to keep your financial options open and flexible.

A debit card is an excellent choice for accessing cash through ATM withdrawals, especially if it comes with the benefit of waiving international ATM fees. It ensures that you have local currency on hand when you need it.

In addition to your debit card, having a credit card in your wallet can be invaluable for covering unexpected expenses that might arise during your travels. However, be mindful. Most credit card purchases may accrue interest, potentially increasing your overall spending.

Turkey’s unique position as a cultural bridge between Europe and the East offers diverse experiences. While travel cards may not be the most suitable option for your financial needs in Turkey, they can be worth considering if you plan to visit the Eurozone alongside your Turkish journey.

Moreover, you can always choose a financial service provider that offers multi-currency accounts and payment cards. However, ensure that you can access your funds in different countries.

Lastly, having some cash readily available in your pocket is a practical and convenient approach, ensuring you are ready for various payment situations during your trip.

Can you use a travel card in Turkey?

Opting for a prepaid travel card presents a practical and efficient method for managing your expenses while exploring Turkey. These debit cards empower you to preload them with your preferred currency, whether it’s Turkish lira or euros, in advance of your journey.

Reputable providers like VISA or Mastercard typically issue these cards, offering several advantages. They provide more favourable exchange rates and generally impose lower fees than traditional credit cards.

When it comes to securing cash for your daily needs, using a travel-friendly debit card or prepaid travel card for ATM withdrawals offers a convenient and cost-effective option. This approach eliminates the hassle of relying on traveller’s cheques.

It’s important to note that traveller’s cheques can only be cashed at banks and are not accepted at exchange offices or businesses across Turkey, making them a less flexible choice for managing your finances during your trip.

Can you use digital banking apps in Turkey?

Digital banking apps offer an innovative and convenient payment method. Many financial apps enable you to make seamless mobile payments abroad, all without incurring transaction or withdrawal fees.

Visa or Mastercard supports many apps. It ensures that your card won’t be rejected.

The bank account opening process with these digital financial service providers is typically straightforward. You can download their app from the App Store or Google Play and follow the setup instructions.

Živilė Šarkauskaitė

Živilė is a writer with a diverse background, having worked with tech start-ups and pioneering brands across various industries. Her profound interest in progress and innovation drives her to the field of Fintech, a realm that sparks her curiosity and inspires her to share insights with others.

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Please be advised that the information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only. It should not be construed as professional advice from swissmoney. It is important to note that swissmoney does not act as a financial adviser, and individuals are strongly encouraged to seek independent advice from qualified legal, financial, or accounting professionals before making any decisions related to cryptocurrency investments. Furthermore, investing in cryptocurrency assets carries inherent risks, and individuals should be aware that they may potentially lose all of their invested capital.
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