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

Should you visit Bucharest or Istanbul?

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the prices of travel for Bucharest and Istanbul. We’ll break down costs for accommodation, food, transportation and more to help you learn more about these two destinations. Then, you can figure out if either of these two places are accessible based on your travel budget. So, let's dig into it.

Bucharest

Bucharest is the capital and largest city in the country of Romania. With about 2 million residents living in the city and about 2.4 million in the surrounding urban area, it is also one of the largest cities in Southeastern Europe. As such, it is the economic, industrial and commercial center for the country. As a visitor, you will likely enter Romania by arriving in Bucharest. The city continues to grow and change, and there are ongoing infrastructure projects that continue to modernize the city. It is not uncommon to find historic churches on the same block as modern office buildings and Communist style apartment buildings. There are also many sights around town and the city continues to grow as a trendy and fascinating city.

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 Bucharest?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Bucharest is $123, 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 Bucharest and Istanbul in more detail.



Accommodation

Accommodation prices vary by location and style, but travelers pay on average about $112 for a double occupancy room in Bucharest.

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


  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Bucharest $56
    Istanbul $59
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Bucharest $112
    Istanbul $118

Food

The price of a meal in Bucharest can vary widely. However, the average price for food per day is $52 per person, and a typical meal will cost around $21 based on the spending of previous visitors. Less expensive dining options can be found by eating street food or at fast food restaurants.

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
    Bucharest $52
    Istanbul $24

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Bucharest

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

  • Bucharest Evening Tour and Traditional Dinner - 3 hours: $80
  • Cooking Class in Transylvania - Day Tour from Bucharest: $199
  • Walking Food Tour in the Old Town of Bucharest: $199
  • Bucharest City Tour & Traditional Home-made Cooking Experience: $223
  • Private Dracula Castle Tour by night and Romanian traditional dinner: $331

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 average price of local transportation around Bucharest is $23 per person, per day. As this average includes both taxis and public transport, keep in mind that the prices of private drivers and taxis are significantly more expensive than public transportation.

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.
    Bucharest $23
    Istanbul $5.56

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Bucharest

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Bucharest:

  • Best transfer from Bucharest Airport to City Center: $3.72
  • Bucharest airport transfer: $12
  • Private transfer from Bucharest Otopeni Airport to Bucharest: $12
  • Private Arrival Transfer from Bucharest Airport to Bucharest City: $14
  • Private Departure Transfer from Bucharest City to Bucharest Airport: $14
  • Bucharest - Private Airport Transfer: $15
  • Bucharest Airport Transfer: $16
  • Otopeni Airport Transfer to Bucharest: $16
  • Private One-Way BUCHAREST-OTP Airport Transfer: $16
  • Bucharest Airport Transfer by Minivan: $17
  • Private Bucharest Airport Transfer: $17
  • Bucharest Giurgiu Port Shared Transfer: $17

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:

  • 2 Ways Istanbul Airport Transfer: $56
  • 2 Ways Istanbul Airport Transfer: $109
  • 2 Ways Sabiha Gokcen Airport Transfer: $56
  • 2-Hour Bosphorus Yacht Cruise with Transfers: $500
  • 2m Transfer: $85
  • 4-Day Istanbul City Package including Full-Day Istanbul City Tour plus Airport Transfers: $350
  • 4-Day Wonderful Istanbul Including Accommodation Plus Transfer: $474
  • Air Transfer Lines | Airport Transfer Service: $44
  • Airport Transfer, Hotel Tranfer, Shuttle Service, Taxi Service: $26
  • Airport private transfer to hotel and back: $109
  • Arrival Private Transfers from New Airport IST to Istanbul in Business Car: $123
  • City Center to Istanbul Airport (IST) Departure Transfers: $87

Is it cheaper to fly into Bucharest or Istanbul?

Prices for flights to both Istanbul and Bucharest 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

Bucharest's costs for entertainment, tickets, attractions, and tours will often cost around $13 per person, per day. This cost can vary widely by the type of activity, however, as this includes admission tickets, day tours, museums, and other things to do.

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.
    Bucharest $13
    Istanbul $35

Tours and Activities in Bucharest

Here are a few actual costs in Bucharest for available activities, ticket prices, and tours:

  • Museum of Senses Bucharest Entrance Ticket: $11
  • One Hour Epic Escape Room Adventure Mystery in Bucharest: $14
  • Half-day tour to the Mogoșoaia Palace by train from Bucharest: $20
  • 3-Hour Guided Tour of Communist Bucharest: $20
  • Skip the line: Bucharest Parliament Palace Ticket: $23
  • Self-Guided Ruse from Bucharest Tour: $24
  • Skip the Line: Palace of the Parliament - Bucharest: $25
  • Dracula's Transylvania Virtual Private 2-Hour Live Guided Tour: $31
  • Bucharest panoramic tour (by car) and city center walking tour, Private tour: $37
  • Bucharest Panoramic Tour by Night - 3 hours: $37
  • Ticket to Ferestroika Museum of Family Life during Communism: $39
  • Wooden Church from Maramures 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

While the amount that someone spends on alcohol while visiting Bucharest may vary from person to person, on average a person spends $8.19 per day on alcoholic beverages.

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
    Bucharest $8.19
    Istanbul $8.51

Sample the Local Flavors in Bucharest

Also in Bucharest, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Private Wine Tasting at Bucharest's First Wine Bar: $65
  • Bucharest City Tour and Wine Tasting – 2.5 hours: $88
  • Bike & Wine tour in Dealu Mare wineland: $96
  • Wine tasting at the mansion, Dracula's grave from Snagov & Mogosoaia Palace: $100
  • Traditions in Village Museum and Wine Tasting Tour: $100
  • Romanian Wine Tasting: $106
  • Planetarium in salt mine, Wine tasting and Dracula's grave, Private Tour: $124
  • Wine tasting in lord mansions, nearby Bucharesti, the Romans wine road: $124
  • Wine tasting - 1 Day Tour: $129
  • Private Full Day Tour to The Peles Castle & Wine Tasting - 9 Hours: $134
  • Salt Mine, Mud Volcanoes, and Wine Tasting Private Day Tour from Bucharest: $139
  • Constanta and Wine Tasting - Private Day Tour from Bucharest: $143

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 Bucharest and Istanbul, we can see that Bucharest is more expensive. And not only is Istanbul much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. 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 Bucharest would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Bucharest than you might in Istanbul.

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Bucharest vs. Istanbul Travel Comparison

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