Best Currency to Use in Turkey : A Complete Guide 2024

a lady holding turkey flag and turkish lira
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Turkey‘s significance stems from various factors, including its geographic location, historical legacy, cultural richness, and commitment to tourism and education. These elements work together to make Turkey a dynamic and vital player on the global stage.


In the academic year 2022/2023, the number of international students enrolled in Turkish overseas education institutions reached 301,694, which marks a significant increase compared to previous years. This places Turkey among the top ten countries regarding international student enrollment. However, only 549 Indian students were officially recorded as enrolled in Turkish universities during the same academic year. While some news articles published in 2023 mention a growing number of Indian students choosing Turkey for higher education, these claims are often based on unofficial sources or projections, with estimates ranging from hundreds to several thousand.


Turkey’s tourism industry is booming and attracts millions of visitors every year. Despite the pandemic’s negative impact, Turkey welcomed almost 44.6 million international tourists in 2022, marking a significant recovery and nearing pre-pandemic levels. This figure represents a 16% increase from the previous year and is shy of the record 45 million arrivals in 2019. According to projections, Turkey is expected to surpass its 2019 record by 2024, with an estimated 48.5 million international tourists.


Is it Important to Understand the Currency in Turkey and its Denominations?

Understanding the Turkish currency and its denominations depends on your purpose in Turkey. A basic understanding might suffice if you visit for a short tourist trip. However, having a more profound knowledge will be crucial if you plan a longer stay, do business, or make significant purchases.

A good grasp of currency exchange rates and local pricing will enable you to budget effectively and make informed decisions when shopping, dining, or using services. In certain situations, mainly when dealing with smaller vendors or at markets, haggling is customary. Awareness of the currency’s value will give you an advantage when negotiating prices. Becoming familiar with the Turkish currency will assist you in identifying counterfeit bills and unfair exchange rates.

Let’s go deep!


The Turkish Lira: An Overview

The Turkish lira (TRY) is Turkey’s official currency, named after the Turkish word for “pound.” It has a rich and complex history, having undergone several redenominations over the years due to inflation. To navigate your way around Turkish finances, here’s a helpful overview of the lira and its denominations:


  • 5 lira (₺5): Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, founder of the Turkish Republic, is depicted in a purple hue on this note, featuring Braille markings for accessibility.
  • 10 lira (₺10): Showcases Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan in green. Similarly to the 5 lira note, it also has Braille markings.
  • 20 lira (₺20): Features Turkish poet Yunus Emre in orange. It’s the first Turkish banknote to include a QR code linking to an information page.
  • 50 lira (₺50): Depicts Turkish writer and philosopher Adile Naşit in blue.
  • 100 lira (₺100): Showcases Turkish painter Osman Hamdi Bey and his famous work “Girl Reading” in red.
  • 200 lira (₺200): Features Turkish mathematician Fatma Sultan in yellow. This note was introduced in 2019 as the highest denomination.


  • 1 kuruş (kr): Rarely used in daily transactions due to inflation. Depicts a crescent moon and star, symbols of Turkey.
  • 5 kuruş (kr): Also not commonly used anymore. Features the Anatolian leopard.
  • 10 kuruş (kr): Another rarely seen coin showcasing the Hittite sun disk.
  • 25 kuruş (kr): Occasionally used for small purchases. Depicts a tulip, a symbol of the Ottoman era.
  • 50 kuruş (kr): More common than lower-denomination coins. Features a pomegranate, symbolic of abundance and prosperity.
  • 1 lira (₺1): Daily life’s most frequently used coin. Depicts Mustafa Kemal Atatürk on the obverse and the Turkish Parliament House on the reverse.


Exchanging your Indian Rupees (INR) for Turkish Lira (TRY) before your trip to Turkey

It can be helpful to exchange some Indian rupees (INR) for Turkish lira (TRY) before travelling to Turkey to have some cash on hand for immediate expenses. With some TRY, you can cover initial costs like airport taxis, food, and transportation without finding an exchange bureau immediately. This is especially useful if you arrive in Turkey at night or in an unfamiliar area, as you won’t need to search for and compare currency exchange rates.

The Turkish lira is gaining popularity in regional trade but is not yet considered a “global currency” like the US dollar, euro, or British pound. Finding direct exchange options between INR and TRY, particularly in India, might be challenging. However, once you are in Turkey, you should be able to find bureaus that offer TRY exchange for various currencies, including INR. This will give you better access to competitive rates and more flexibility in choosing denominations.


Unimoni’s One Currency card

Direct INR-TRY conversion in India can be impractical, if not impossible. While you can load it with USD, you cannot directly load TRY onto the card. You would need to exchange your loaded currency for TRY in Turkey. Carrying a Forex travel card loaded with USD to exchange for TRY once you arrive in Turkey is a much more efficient and cost-effective approach. The card can hold and spend over 25 currencies, including INR and USD.

Unimoni generally offers competitive exchange rates, often better than what you might find at airports or tourist bureaus. Look out for cards with minimal transaction fees or account maintenance charges. Unimoni claims to have transparent fees, which is always ideal. Carry and manage your finances through a single card, eliminating the need for bulky cash or multiple currencies. Remember, a travel card can be a convenient and cost-effective way to manage your finances while travelling to Turkey.


Scam Warning against INR-TRY Conversion in Turkey

Unfortunately, unsuspecting tourists can fall prey to unscrupulous practices when exchanging currency. Beware of unauthorized and makeshift exchange stalls, especially near tourist attractions. Look for licensed bureaus with clear signage and official authorization displayed.

Don’t be lured by exceptionally high exchange rates offered by shady operators. These are often a trap to hide hidden fees or provide counterfeit bills.

Please be careful when exchanging INR for TRY. Thoroughly examine the bills for security features such as watermarks, holograms, and security threads. Before making any commitment:

  1. Compare exchange rates at different exchange bureaus.
  2. Do not rush into the first one you see, particularly in areas near tourist attractions or airports.
  3. Always remember that if a deal appears too good to be true, it probably is. Your safety and financial security should always be your top priority while exchanging currency while travelling.

May your flight be smooth, your arrival a breeze, and your adventures unforgettable. Have a journey that surpasses your wildest dreams and leaves you yearning for more.

Please ask us any questions about your trip to Turkey. We are always happy to help!

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