A Travel Price Comparison for Families, Couples, and Backpackers Abu Dhabi vs. Istanbul for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Abu Dhabi or Istanbul?

Which city is more affordable and which is best for your travel style? If you're trying to figure out where to go next, comparing the travel costs between Abu Dhabi and Istanbul can help you decide which place is right for you.

Abu Dhabi

It doesn't get more "lifestyles of the rich and famous" than a vacation to Abu Dhabi. The federal capital and center of government for the United Arab Emirates is arguably the most modern city in the world.

Abu Dhabi has a population of 1.5 million and provides a home to several oil companies and embassies, but this place is definitely a playground for the world's fanciest tourists. This city has several large projects underway including Yas Island's Formula 1 track and Ferrari theme park.

Note: homosexuality is still outlawed in the UAE with harsh punishments including deportation, fines, jail time or even a death sentence.

Istanbul

Istanbul is strategically located on the Bosphorus and is split between Europe and Asia. It truly is a city where east meets west. Istanbul is the cultural and financial hub of Turkey, and also the most populous city. The sites are countless and there's something for everybody, whether you're interested in art, music, food, or adventure. You can pass many days exploring both the residential and commercial pockets of this city. Much of the appeal is hidden away along back alleys or within corner shops.

Which city is cheaper, Istanbul or Abu Dhabi?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Abu Dhabi is $131, while the average daily cost in Istanbul is $95. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each city. Below is a breakdown of travel costs for Abu Dhabi and Istanbul in more detail.



Accommodation

Abu Dhabi's average price for two people sharing a typical double-occupancy hotel room is $156. A typical place to stay for one person, per day is $78.

A hotel room in Istanbul is about $118 This assumes double occupancy and modest accommodations.


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Abu Dhabi $78
    Istanbul $59
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Abu Dhabi $156
    Istanbul $118

Food

Food in Abu Dhabi costs travelers about $36 per day on average. Restaurants can vary significantly in price, so choose wisely if you're trying to save money. Fast food and street stalls are typically your cheapest options, which sit down restaurants can be significantly more expensive.

On average, meal and food prices in Istanbul cost around $24 per person, per day. While this price can vary widely by location, the type of restaurant, and the amount of food ordered, a typical meal often costs around $9.60.


  • Food Meals for one day
    Abu Dhabi $36
    Istanbul $24

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Abu Dhabi

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Abu Dhabi.

  • Abu Dhabi 6-Hour Desert Safari With BBQ Dinner: $58
  • Abu Dhabi Afternoon Desert Safari and BBQ Dinner: $59
  • Evening Desert Safari with Dune Bashing, Camel Riding, BBQ Dinner: $62
  • Abu Dhabi Desert Tour With BBQ Dinner, Camel Ride and Belly Dance Hotel Pickup: $62
  • Evening Desert Safari with BBQ Dinner,Belly Dance,Tanura & Fire Dance,Camel Ride: $65
  • Dune Dinner Safari Abu Dhabi: $69
  • 4x4 Desert Safari Abu Dhabi with BBQ Dinner: $69
  • Abu Dhabi Desert Safari Experience Live's show's Bbq Dinner & much More: $73
  • Evening Desert Safari With BBQ Dinner, Camel Ride and Sand Boarding: $83
  • Evening Desert Safari Abu Dhabi with Dinner: $85
  • Sunset Camel Trek and BBQ Dinner with Shows: $85
  • Buffet Dinner Cruise including Transfer from Abu Dhabi: $86

Typical Food prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of dining costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Juice
    $0.24
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.07
  • Dessert
    $1.00
  • Pastries
    $0.18

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Istanbul.

  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $29
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise Show: $30
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Inc. Dinner and Belly Dance Show with Hotel Transfer: $34
  • Alaturca Ottoman Dramatic Stage Show & Dinner Cruise ( Non - Alcoholic ): $35
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner & Show Cruise (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Soft Drinks: $40
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise&Show: $40

Local Transportation

The cost of a taxi ride in Abu Dhabi is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $16 per person, per day, on local transportation in Abu Dhabi.

The cost of a taxi ride in Istanbul is significantly more than public transportation. On average, past travelers have spent $5.56 per person, per day, on local transportation in Istanbul.


  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Abu Dhabi $16
    Istanbul $5.56
Typical Local Transportation prices in Abu Dhabi

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Abu Dhabi are as follows:


  • Car Rental
    $31
  • Taxi to Airport
    $14

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Abu Dhabi

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Abu Dhabi:

  • Private Airport Transfer: Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH) to Abu Dhabi: $20
  • Private Airport Transfer: Abu Dhabi to Abu Dhabi International Airport (AUH): $20
  • Abu Dhabi Airport Private Arrival Transfer to Any Hotel in UAE: $22
  • Abu Dhabi Airport Private Departure Transfer: $22
  • Abu Dhabi Airport Transfers: $30
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Abu Dhabi International Airport AUH to Abu Dhabi City: $30
  • Private Transfer from Ferrari world to Abu Dhabi City Center: $39
  • Private Transfer from Abu Dhabi City Center to Ferrari world: $39
  • Private Transfer from Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi to Abu Dhabi City Center: $40
  • Private Transfer from Abu Dhabi City Center to Yas Waterworld Abu Dhabi: $40
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Abu Dhabi City to Abu Dhabi Airport: $40
  • Transfer in private vehicle from Abu Dhabi Airport to Abu Dhabi City: $40

Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of transportation costs in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Ferry
    $0.33
  • Local Bus
    $0.35

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul Airport Transfer / Private Airport Transfer: $3.73
  • Private Istanbul New Airport Transfer Service: $4.36
  • Istanbul Airports Transfer: $6.22
  • istanbul airport cheapest vip transfer by private car: $14
  • Safe Airport transfer service in istanbul: $16
  • Private Airport Transfer Arrival or Departure in Istanbul: $17
  • Sabiha Airport Arrival Or Departure Hotel Transfer: $17
  • PRIVATE DEPARTURE TRANSFER - Istanbul European Side To Istanbul New Airport: $18
  • Istanbul New Airport Private Transfer: $18
  • New Istanbul Airport Private Transfer: $18
  • Istanbul Airport Arrival Or Departure Hotel Transfer: $19
  • İstanbul Private Airport Transfer: $19

Is it cheaper to fly into Abu Dhabi or Istanbul?

Prices for flights to both Istanbul and Abu Dhabi change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.





Entertainment

Entertainment and activities in Abu Dhabi typically cost an average of $32 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.

Entertainment and activities in Istanbul typically cost an average of $35 per person, per day. This includes fees paid for admission tickets to museums and attractions, day tours, and other sightseeing expenses.


  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Abu Dhabi $32
    Istanbul $35

Tours and Activities in Abu Dhabi

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Abu Dhabi are as follows:

  • Fast-Track Admission Ticket to Qasr Al Hosn: $8.37
  • Skip the Line: Admission Ticket Qasr Al Watan: $16
  • City Tour of Abu Dhabi Landmarks: $22
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi Mindful Museum Admission Ticket: $30
  • 90-Minute Small-Group Yas Marina Circuit Tour: $30
  • Abu Dhabi Like a Local: Customized Private Tour: $31
  • Abu Dhabi city tour with Entry ticket to Louvre Museum from Abu Dhabi: $34
  • Skip the Line: Abu Dhabi Park Zoo and Resort Entrance Ticket with Options: $35
  • Abu Dhabi City Tour From Abu Dhabi: $35
  • Abu Dhabi Half Day City Tour By Bus: $37
  • 4 Hours Abu Dhabi City Tour: $40
  • Full Day Abu Dhabi City Tour: $40

Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

Some typical examples of activities, tours, and entrance ticket prices in Istanbul are as follows:


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $2.36
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $2.36
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $1.18
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $3.54

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Istanbul are as follows:

  • Just Hagia Sophia Tour /Skip The Lines: $8.71
  • VR Dervish Experience: $10
  • Museum of Illusions Istanbul Ticket: $11
  • Piri Self-Guided Audio Tour: Istanbul, Historical Peninsula: $11
  • Basilica Cistern Skip-the-Line Guided Tour: $12
  • Bosphorus Cruise from Eminonu Pier with Audio App: $12
  • Basilica Cistern VIP Tickets: $12
  • Hagia Sophia & Blue Mosque&Hippodrome Guided Tours Everyday /No que / No line!: $12
  • Vip Ticket For Hagi̇a Sophi̇a: $12
  • SEA LIFE Istanbul Entry Ticket: $14
  • Istanbul LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Admission Ticket: $15
  • Hagia Sophia: Entry with Guided Tour: $16

Alcohol

The average person spends about $11 on alcoholic beverages in Abu Dhabi per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.

The average person spends about $8.51 on alcoholic beverages in Istanbul per day. The more you spend on alcohol, the more fun you might be having despite your higher budget.


  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Abu Dhabi $11
    Istanbul $8.51

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Daily Tekirdag Wine Tasting Tour from Istanbul: $427


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Abu Dhabi and Istanbul, we can see that Abu Dhabi is more expensive. And not only is Istanbul much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. Since Abu Dhabi is in Middle East and Istanbul is in Europe, this is one of the main reasons why the costs are so different, as different regions of the world tend to have overall different travel costs. So, traveling to Istanbul would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Istanbul and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Abu Dhabi would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Abu Dhabi than you might in Istanbul.

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Abu Dhabi vs. Istanbul Travel Comparison

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