The rise and rise of the Turkish lira

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In August we wrote about holidays to Turkey surging in demand. This was partly to do with the fact that Turkey was on the Governments travel corridor list. It was also due to the Turkish lira exchange rate reaching an all time high: In fact it had climbed 166% between July and August alone. The better the Turkish lira exchange rate, the more holiday money you get and the better value your holiday is.

After August, TRY continued it’s rise and peaked at a new historical high on November 7th 2020 when we recorded a rate of 10.824. Remember, these are actual consumer rates that you can get from the foreign exchange bureaux and not the unobtainable interbank rates.


The Turkish lira was redenominated in 2005 because inflation had eaten away at it’s value. In fact the new lira had 6 zeros removed from its value so from 1st January 2005 1 million Turkish lira was now 1 Turkish lira. Imagine you had a million pounds in the bank, nice thought isn’t it? But then tomorrow you are told it’s only worth £1.00! However, another way of looking at it is that a loaf of bread in Turkey in December 2004 may have cost ₺1m so you would certainly have needed several million to survive.

Despite this change, in recent years the value of the Turkish lira has continued to fall mainly due to political reasons. This means that its value against other currencies including GBP has improved.

Early rise

Compare Holiday Money keeps a record of exchange rates for all our listed currencies and we can see from the data that back in 2011 when our records began, nearly 10 years ago – the exchange rate for TRY was around ₺2.5 for £1.00. There was a slow steady rise for the next 3 years and on 1st January 2014 the rate had increased to ₺3.5 for £1.00. But the rate kept climbing and as the graph shows by October 2017 you would have received ₺5.00 for every pound sterling. That is double the amount on the 2011 value.

The rise and rise of Turkish lira exchange rate graph
January 2014 to October 2107

Recent rise

It didn’t stop there though. The value of Turkish lira continued to fall and as a result the exchange rate improved. Nothing seem to stop the rise of TRY from a UK holidaymakers point of view. Brexit, coronavirus, Donald Trump, nothing got in the way and by October 2020 the exchange rate had doubled again and reached the magic ₺10.00 for every pound sterling. This was a doubling in 3 years this time and now worth 4 times more than it was in 2011!

The rise and rise of Turkish lira exchange rate graph 2
December 2017 to November 2020


The great news for us of course, is that Turkish holidays have become fantastic value (when we can go bearing in mind current restrictions).

The cost of living in Turkey is around 50% lower than the UK anyway. Couple that with extra holiday cash and it adds up to great value. According to Numbeo, the cost of a 3 course meal in a mid-priced restaurant is around ₺10.00. That’s a fiver to you and me. Add a beer for ₺16.00 (£1.60) or a coke for ₺4.50 (45p) and if you get a tram or bus back to your hotel it will cost 35p.

Living it up and getting a taxi will cost you the equivalent of 50p to start and 37p per kilometre. If you hire a car you can expect to pay from ₺20.00 (£2.00) per day but petrol is around 70p a litre.

Looking at accommodation, we found many good quality hotels for May 2021 with prices as little as ₺400 (£40) per night. If you were on a real budget you can get accommodation for as little as ₺500 (£50) per week!

Future rates

As with all currencies it’s impossible to predict what may happen tomorrow, next week or next year. Since November 10th the rate has dropped slightly but you can still get around ₺10.00 to the pound. We are all hoping that by next summer we can once again travel freely to all parts of the globe and providing the TRY exchange rate doesn’t start to come back down the huge mountain it’s climbed then it will be a great value holiday for 2021. Whenever you travel we will always show you the best deals on Turkish lira.

Posted by Graham Morley

Graham Morley

Graham is the Business Development Manager for Compare Holiday Money.

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