Turkish Lira Offers Good Value to British Holidaymakers

The plunging Turkish Lira rate can offer excellent value for money for British holidaymakers - if you're prepared to get off the beaten track

Graham Morley

25 April 2024

It's no secret that the value of Turkish lira has declined significantly over the past few years. Fuelled by economic hardship, numerous crises, and fractious elections, Turkey's currency has plummeted since 2021 and experts believe a significant recovery is highly unlikely.

How does this affect you if you're planning a trip to Turkey this year? Here, we look at the state of the lira against the pound, and how, if you plan well and do your research, the falling lira can provide excellent value for holidaymakers.

The falling lira

The Turkish lira's decline has been fuelled by high interest rates and inflation, and a persistent current account deficit, which has seemingly plunged the country into a state of perpetual financial crisis. More broadly speaking, analysts and experts point to the growing political turmoil of President Erdogan's government, labelling the lira a "suppressed" currency that has been in decline for at least a decade.

Though the fall of the lira accelerated in 2021, major events like the 2013 Gezi protests, the coup attempt a year later, the nationwide economic crisis of 2018, and the COVID pandemic all contributed. Analysts believe that the lira may never return to its pre-2014 levels.

The lira rate today

The GBP:TRY exchange rate has increased from 11 in April 2021 to 37 in April 2024

Today the lira continues to slide against the pound, as illustrated by the chart above. In April 2021, one pound would buy you approximately 11 lira. Today, one pound would buy you almost 37 lira. By any metric, this is exceptional. It means that if you visit Turkey with British pounds to spend, you can essentially buy three times more today with your currency than you could three years ago.

What does this mean for British holidaymakers?

Turkey, like most European countries, is currently experiencing a cost-of-living crisis. In Istanbul, the cost of living in January 2024 was up by more than 80% compared to the previous year. This is exacerbated by the fact that between 40% and 50% of Turkey's workforce earns the minimum wage of 17,002 lira per month which means nearly half of the working population struggle to afford essentials like rent, food, and utilities.

The cost of common items in Istanbul, April 2024. Source: Numbeo.
Description Cost (₺) Cost (£)
Meal for two at a cheap restaurant 600 14.86
Meal for two at a cheap restaurant 1300 32.30
Pint of beer 100 2.47
Cappuccino 93 2.30
Small bottle of water 18 0.45
Litre of petrol 40 0.99

As you can see from these everyday items, Istanbul is cheaper than London and other major UK cities. However, by Turkish standards, Istanbul is expensive, especially around tourist hotspots like the Hagia Sophia. You'll find similar prices in all major Turkish cities such as Ankara, Antalya, and Bodrum.

How to get the best value for money as a tourist in Turkey

Given the lira's poor performance against the pound, you might assume that visiting any Turkish city or beach resort would provide great value for money. However, due to the economic crisis and the fact that many tourism hotspots in Turkey have increased their prices, here are some top tips to maximise your spending power:

Final thoughts

Despite the falling value of the lira, you need to consider the increased cost of living throughout Turkey before visiting. Though hotspots like Istanbul and Antalya are cheaper than most of the UK, they don't represent the best value for money. To explore what Turkey has to offer and to make your hard-earned money go even further, get off the beaten track, travel out of season, and trust us to help you find the best exchange rate ahead of your trip.

Do you have any money-saving tips for holidaying in Turkey? Leave us a comment below!

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