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 is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

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.

Where Should I go: Abu Dhabi or Istanbul?

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.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Budget Tours to United Arab Emirates, The Best Tours for Seniors to United Arab Emirates, The Best Budget Tours to Turkey, and The Best Tours for Seniors to Turkey.


Which place 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 $164, while the average daily cost in Istanbul is $126. 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 destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Abu Dhabi and Istanbul in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Abu Dhabi $98
    Istanbul $47
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Abu Dhabi $196
    Istanbul $94
Compare Hotels in Abu Dhabi and Istanbul

Looking for a hotel in Abu Dhabi or Istanbul? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Abu Dhabi


Hotels in Istanbul


Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.


Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Abu Dhabi Hotel Prices and Istanbul Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Abu Dhabi $20
    Istanbul $55
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 One-way Abu Dhabi Airport Transfer To/From Abu Dhabi: $26
  • Louvre Museum Abu Dhabi Ticket with Transfers Option: $33
  • Abu Dhabi Airport Private Departure Transfer: $33
  • Abu Dhabi to Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) - Departure Private Transfer: $35
  • Private Transfer from Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH) to Abu Dhabi Port: $38
  • Private Transfer from Abu Dhabi city to Abu Dhabi Cruise Port: $38
  • Private Transfer from Abu Dhabi Cruise Port to Abu Dhabi city: $38
  • Arrival Transfer Abu Dhabi Airport AUH to Abu Dhabi by Car or SUV: $40
  • Private transfer: Abu Dhabi to Abu Dhabi Airport (AUH): $41
  • Abu Dhabi to Dubai Airport (DXB) - Departure Private Transfer: $41
  • Private Transfer from Abu Dhabi Airport to Abu Dhabi Port: $42
  • Private Transfer from Abu Dhabi Cruise Port to Abu Dhabi Hotels: $42

Typical Local Transportation Prices in Istanbul

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


  • Ferry
    $0.09
  • Local Bus
    $0.09

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul IST Airport Economy Minivan Transfer: $11
  • Princes' Islands Tour with Lunch and Transfers: $13
  • Private Transfer from Istanbul Hotels to Istanbul Cruise Port: $19
  • Istanbul City to Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen Airport (SAW)-Departure Private Transfer: $20
  • Airport - Otel Transfer and City Tours: $20
  • Private One-Way New Istanbul Airport Transfer To/From Istanbul: $21
  • Istanbul Airport (SAW) to Istanbul - Arrival Private Transfer: $22
  • Istanbul Ataturk Airport (ISL) to Istanbul hotels - Arrival Private Transfer: $22
  • Istanbul Airport Private Transfers: $22
  • Princes' Islands Cruise w/Music, Lunch & Transfer: $22
  • Princes' Islands Cruise with Lunch and Transfer Full-Day Tour: $23
  • Istanbul New Airport (IST) to City Center - Arrival Private Transfer: $24

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.





Food
  • Food Meals for one day
    Abu Dhabi $45
    Istanbul $31

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Abu Dhabi

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

  • Dubai Marina luxury Dhow Cruise Dinner (catamaran): $42
  • Abu Dhabi Desert Safari BBQ Dinner Live Shows Pick & Drop More: $45
  • Abu Dhabi Desert Safari With BBQ Dinner & Live Shows: $49
  • Desert Safari, Quad Bike, Camel Ride & BBQ Dinner: $50
  • Desert Tour with BBQ Dinner and Hotel Transfer: $51
  • Desert Safari, Quad Bike, Camel Ride and BBQ Dinner in Abu Dhabi: $60
  • Abu Dhabi Desert Safari With Live Shows And BBQ Buffet Dinner: $60
  • Evening Desert Safari Abu Dhabi with Hot BBQ Dinner : $62
  • Abu Dhabi Evening Desert Safari with BBQ Dinner and all Camp Activities : $72
  • Desert Safari Abu Dhabi w/ Sand Boarding, Camel Ride & BBQ Dinner: $75
  • Abu Dhabi Evening Desert Safari & Dinner Under the Stars: $77
  • Abu Dhabi Desert Safari (Dune Bashing, BBQ Dinner, Camel Ride & Sand Skii): $80

Typical Food Prices in Istanbul

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


  • Juice
    $0.06
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.02
  • Dessert
    $0.26
  • Pastries
    $0.05

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Istanbul

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

  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Turkish Night Show from Istanbul: $16
  • Dinner Cruise and Entertainment with Private Table: $17
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Show with Private Table: $17
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise Tour With Turkish Night Show: $21
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise , Unlimited Drinks, & Show: $21
  • Bosphorus Luxury Catamaran Cruise with Dinner Show: $25
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise and Turkish Night Show: $26
  • Bosphorus Boat Cruise with Dinner & Entertainment: $27
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise with Unlimited Drinks and Shows: $28
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise: $28
  • Istanbul Bosphorus Dinner Cruise and Turkish Night Show: $28
  • 3 Hour Ottoman Dinner Cruise in Istanbul : $29

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Abu Dhabi $39
    Istanbul $79

Tours and Activities in Abu Dhabi

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

  • Qasr Al Hosn: Entry Tickets with 1 GB Data eSIM: $7.93
  • Sea Breeze Boat Tour: $8.17
  • Abu Dhabi 4G & 5G Data Roaming for Tourist: $11
  • Self-Guided Audio Tour: $11
  • Louvre Join an Express Tour: $14
  • Qasr Al Watan Abu Dhabi Entry Ticket: $15
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi with Tourist Shuttle Bus & eSIM: $17
  • Louvre Abu Dhabi Museum General Admission Ticket: $17
  • Qasr Al Watan Palace & Garden Entrance Ticket: $18
  • Ticket to Louvre Museum, Abu Dhabi: $19
  • Shop & Eat in Abu Dhabi’s Markets Like a Local Walking Tour: $19
  • Abu Dhabi Tour App, Hidden Gems Game and Big UAE Quiz (1 Day Pass): $19

Typical Entertainment Prices in Istanbul

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


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $0.62
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $0.62
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $0.31
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $0.93

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

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

  • First Discovery Walk and Reading Walking Tour: $3.20
  • City Tour with Audio Guide in your smartphone: $5.33
  • Hagia Sophia Exclusive Digital Audio Guided Tour: $5.33
  • Highlights Self Guided Scavenger Hunt & Tour: $5.33
  • Istanbul Sites: Peel back the layers of Turkish history a self-guided audio tour: $5.40
  • Self Guided City Audio Tour of Istanbul: $5.44
  • Kadikoy's history, theatres and sweet shops: a self-guided audio tour: $5.99
  • City Exploration Game and Tour: $6.39
  • Istanbul Outdoor Escape Game: The Royal Adventure: $7.06
  • Istanbul in a day: A Self-Guided Audio Tour in English: $7.81
  • Istanbul Self-Guided Audio Tour: $9.00
  • App self-guided tours Istanbul with multilingual audioguide: $9.59

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Abu Dhabi $13
    Istanbul $15

Sample the Local Flavors in Istanbul

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Istanbul:

  • Istanbul Pub Crawl Big Nightout . Rooftop parties,party Bus & Nightlife: $22
  • Istanbul 7-Hour Pub Crawl: Big Night Out: $27
  • Party Pub Crawl with Party Bus: $29
  • Wine Tasting Experience in Istanbul : $45
  • Istanbul Wine Tasting at Home with Local Family: $83
  • 2-Day Wine Tasting Tour along the Thracian Wine Route: $180
  • Istanbul Private Wine Tasting Tour Through 3 City Wineries : $245
  • Istanbul Private and Guided, Food and Wine Tasting Tour: $430
  • Luxury Wine Tasting on a Private Yacht: $841


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.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Abu Dhabi Expensive? and Is Istanbul Expensive?.


Which is Bigger, Abu Dhabi or Istanbul?

Istanbul has a larger population, and is about 20 times larger than the population of Abu Dhabi. When comparing the sizes of Abu Dhabi and Istanbul, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.


When is the best time to visit Abu Dhabi or Istanbul?

Istanbul has a temperate climate with four distinct seasons, but Abu Dhabi experiences a warm climate with fairly sunny weather most of the year.

Should I visit Abu Dhabi or Istanbul in the Summer?

Both Istanbul and Abu Dhabi are popular destinations to visit in the summer with plenty of activities. The warm climate attracts visitors to Abu Dhabi throughout the year. Also, many travelers come to Istanbul for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences.

It's very hot in Abu Dhabi this time of the year. Abu Dhabi is a little warmer than Istanbul in the summer. The daily temperature in Abu Dhabi averages around 35°C (95°F) in July, and Istanbul fluctuates around 24°C (74°F).

It's quite sunny in Istanbul. The sun comes out a lot this time of the year in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi usually receives around the same amount of sunshine as Istanbul during summer. Abu Dhabi gets 331 hours of sunny skies, while Istanbul receives 333 hours of full sun in the summer.

In July, Abu Dhabi usually receives less rain than Istanbul. Abu Dhabi gets 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 19 mm (0.7 in) of rain each month for the summer.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Abu Dhabi 35°C (95°F) 
    Istanbul 24°C (74°F)

Should I visit Abu Dhabi or Istanbul in the Autumn?

Both Istanbul and Abu Dhabi during the autumn are popular places to visit. Plenty of visitors come to Abu Dhabi because of the warm climate and sunshine that lasts throughout the year. Furthermore, many visitors come to Istanbul in the autumn for the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Abu Dhabi is much warmer than Istanbul. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Abu Dhabi in October average around 29°C (84°F), and Istanbul averages at about 16°C (61°F).

It's quite sunny in Abu Dhabi. In the autumn, Abu Dhabi often gets more sunshine than Istanbul. Abu Dhabi gets 314 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Istanbul receives 169 hours of full sun.

Abu Dhabi usually gets less rain in October than Istanbul. Abu Dhabi gets 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Abu Dhabi 29°C (84°F) 
    Istanbul 16°C (61°F)

Should I visit Abu Dhabi or Istanbul in the Winter?

The winter attracts plenty of travelers to both Abu Dhabi and Istanbul. Warm weather and sunshine bring visitors to Abu Dhabi year-round. Furthermore, most visitors come to Istanbul for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine during these months.

In January, Abu Dhabi is generally much warmer than Istanbul. Daily temperatures in Abu Dhabi average around 18°C (64°F), and Istanbul fluctuates around 6°C (43°F).

In Abu Dhabi, it's very sunny this time of the year. Abu Dhabi usually receives more sunshine than Istanbul during winter. Abu Dhabi gets 269 hours of sunny skies, while Istanbul receives 75 hours of full sun in the winter.

In January, Abu Dhabi usually receives less rain than Istanbul. Abu Dhabi gets 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 99 mm (3.9 in) of rain each month for the winter.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Abu Dhabi 18°C (64°F) 
    Istanbul 6°C (43°F)

Should I visit Abu Dhabi or Istanbul in the Spring?

The spring brings many poeple to Abu Dhabi as well as Istanbul. Abu Dhabi attracts visitors year-round for its warm weather and sunny climate. Additionally, the spring months attract visitors to Istanbul because of the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

Abu Dhabi is much warmer than Istanbul in the spring. The daily temperature in Abu Dhabi averages around 27°C (81°F) in April, and Istanbul fluctuates around 13°C (55°F).

People are often attracted to the plentiful sunshine in Abu Dhabi this time of the year. In the spring, Abu Dhabi often gets more sunshine than Istanbul. Abu Dhabi gets 297 hours of sunny skies this time of year, while Istanbul receives 180 hours of full sun.

Abu Dhabi usually gets less rain in April than Istanbul. Abu Dhabi gets 10 mm (0.4 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Abu Dhabi 27°C (81°F) 
    Istanbul 13°C (55°F)

Typical Weather for Istanbul and Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi Istanbul
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 18°C (64°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 6°C (43°F) 99 mm (3.9 in)
Feb 20°C (68°F) 20 mm (0.8 in) 6°C (44°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Mar 23°C (73°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 8°C (47°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Apr 27°C (81°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
May 31°C (88°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 17°C (63°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Jun 33°C (91°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 21°C (71°F) 21 mm (0.8 in)
Jul 35°C (95°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 24°C (74°F) 19 mm (0.7 in)
Aug 36°C (97°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 24°C (74°F) 26 mm (1 in)
Sep 33°C (91°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 20°C (69°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
Oct 29°C (84°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 16°C (61°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Nov 25°C (77°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 12°C (54°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Dec 21°C (70°F) 10 mm (0.4 in) 9°C (47°F) 122 mm (4.8 in)