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

Should you visit Moscow or Istanbul?

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

Which city should you visit? Read on to compare the activities as well as the prices of travel for Moscow 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, schedule, and interests. So, let's dig into it.

Where Should I go: Moscow or Istanbul?

Moscow

Moscow is the capital of Russia and is notable for its important role in history. It's a very sprawling city with many museums and fascinating buildings. Ten percent of Russia's population lives in this capital city and it's a financial and political center for the country. The Moskva River weaves its way through the city and you will find most of the city's sights and attractions on the northern side of the river.

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 Moscow?

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

The average daily cost (per person) in Moscow is $77, while the average daily cost in Istanbul is $43. 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. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Moscow and Istanbul in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Moscow $48
    Istanbul $27
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Moscow $96
    Istanbul $54
Compare Hotels in Moscow and Istanbul

Looking for a hotel in Moscow 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 Moscow


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: Moscow Hotel Prices and Istanbul Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Moscow $7.48
    Istanbul $2.53
Typical Local Transportation prices in Moscow

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


  • Two Metro Passes
    $2.23

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Moscow

Also for Moscow, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Ultra - Moscow Private Airport Transfer - City Center to Domodedovo Intl Airport: $8.71
  • Ultra - Moscow Private Airport Transfer City Centre to Sheremetyevo Airport SVO: $9.41
  • Moscow Train Stations Private Arrival/Departure Transfer: $22
  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer One Way: Moscow Airports to City Center: $23
  • Private Arrival or Departure Transfer: Moscow Airports to Moscow City Center: $30
  • Private Airport Transfer: Moscow to Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO): $30
  • Private Airport Transfer: from Moscow to Vnukovo International Airport (VKO): $30
  • Moscow DME/SVO/VKO Airports Private Arrival/Departure Transfer: $32
  • Private transfer from the Moscow center hotel to Sheremetyevo Airport: $34
  • Moscow to Moscow Sheremetyevo Airport (SVO) - Departure Private Transfer: $36
  • Departure Private Transfer Moscow City to Moscow Train Station by Business Car: $38
  • Private Business Transfer from Vnukovo Airport (VKO) to Moscow City Center: $40

Typical Local Transportation prices in Istanbul

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


  • Ferry
    $0.15
  • Local Bus
    $0.16

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Istanbul

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Istanbul:

  • ─░stanbul Private Airport Transfer: $19
  • ─░stanbul Airport Transfer: $45
  • istanbul airport transfer-sabiha gokcen airport transfer-vip transfer: $28
  • istanbul airport cheapest vip transfer by private car: $14
  • istanbul airport & sabiha gokcen airport transfer by private car: $30
  • VIP Transfer Services for Airports, Hotels or Other Location: $80
  • VIP Airport Transfer and Shuttle: $62
  • VIP Airport Transfer: $56
  • Turkish Bath in Istanbul with transfer: $199
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Istanbul Old City to Sabiha Gokcen Airport: $57
  • Transfer in Private Vehicle from Istanbul Old City to Istanbul Airport: $51
  • Transfer in Private Minivan from Istanbul Old City to Sabiha Gokcen Airport: $61

Is it cheaper to fly into Moscow or Istanbul?

Prices for flights to both Istanbul and Moscow 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
    Moscow $17
    Istanbul $11
Typical Food prices in Moscow

For Moscow, here are some examples of average food and meal prices for travelers:


  • Lunch for Two
    $9.09
  • Lunch in the Center Market
    $4.96
  • Breakfast for 2
    $17

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Moscow

For Moscow, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Virtual Home Cooking with Russian Family: $22
  • Moscow Food Tour: $67
  • An evening at the monastery with dinner: $80
  • An Evening at the Monastery with Dinner: $85
  • Traditional Russian Cooking Class and Meal in Moscow with a Friendly Local: $91
  • Private Market Tour and Traditional Russian Cooking Class in Moscow: $101
  • Food Tour: $102
  • Traditional Russian Cooking Class and Meal in a Local Home in Moscow: $117
  • Traditional French-Russian Dinner in a Local's Home: $118
  • Moscow Metro and Russian Dinner Private tour: $127
  • Moscow River Cruise with Dinner and Lively Firework with a Private Guide: $133
  • Private food tour: Russian culinary culture: $144

Typical Food prices in Istanbul

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


  • Juice
    $0.11
  • Turkish Delight
    $0.03
  • Dessert
    $0.46
  • Pastries
    $0.08

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 (All Inclusive): $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Show Cruise With Non Alcoholic Menu ISTANBUL Dinner cruise: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise An Unforgettable Experience in Istanbul: $36
  • Bosphorus Dinner Cruise & Night Show from Istanbul: $37
  • Istanbul Cruise&Show with Dinner: $37
  • Dinner Cruise on the Bosphorus: $38
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise & Show: $39
  • Istanbul Dinner Cruise with Sema Ceremony: $40

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Moscow $19
    Istanbul $16
Typical Entertainment prices in Moscow

Below are a few sample prices from actual travelers for Moscow's activities, tours, and tickets:


  • Theater Tickets
    $19
  • Kremlin Entry (2)
    $17

Tours and Activities in Moscow

For Moscow, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Moscow classical tour: $6.38
  • Admission ticket to Kolomenskoye Historical and Architectural Museum and Reserve: $7.02
  • Tsaritsyno Museum entrance ticket: $8.14
  • Admission ticket to the The Museum of Cosmonautics: $11
  • The Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center Admission Ticket: $12
  • Admission ticket to the State Museum of GULAG's History, Moscow: $13
  • The Museum of Victory Admission Ticket: $13
  • Guided Metro Tour by Night: $14
  • Admission ticket to the Tochka-G Museum of Erotic Art, Moscow: $14
  • Admission ticket to Gallery of the European and American XIX-XX centuries art: $14
  • Tretyakov Gallery Admission Ticket: $16
  • Admission ticket to the New Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow: $17

Typical Entertainment prices in Istanbul

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


  • Bosphurus Boat (for 2)
    $1.08
  • Yerebatan Cistern for Two
    $1.08
  • Museum of Turkish and Islamic Arts for Two
    $0.54
  • Hagia Sofia entrance
    $1.61

Tours and Activities in Istanbul

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

  • 1 Day - Istanbul Tour: $315
  • 1 Day Cappadocia Hot Air Balloon Tour From Istanbul: $300
  • 1 Day Istanbul & Ephesus Tour By Plane - YK230: $419
  • 1 Day Regular Cappadocia Tour by Plane - YK0011: $384
  • 1 Day Tour - Sapanca: $300
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Tour from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $496
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Travel from Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $509
  • 1 Night 1 Day Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $513
  • 1 Night 1 Day Trip from Istanbul to Cappadocia - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $490
  • 1 Night 2 Days Cappadocia Trip from/to Istanbul - Including Hot Air Balloon Tour: $521
  • 1 Night 2 Days Ephesus, Kusadasi, Hierapolis & Pamukkale Tour from/to Istanbul: $372
  • 1 Night Cappadocia Trip with Hot Air Balloon Tour: $525

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Moscow $9.61
    Istanbul $3.88

Sample the Local Flavors in Moscow

Some specific costs for nightlife related activities in Moscow:

  • Pub Crawl by Soviet Van: $76
  • Pub Crawl Moscow Guided Tour in Classic Soviet Van: $79
  • Private Wine Tour in Moscow with History, Architecture and Friendly Local Guide: $121

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 Moscow and Istanbul, we can see that Moscow 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 Moscow would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Moscow than you might in Istanbul.


When is the best time to visit Moscow or Istanbul?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Moscow or Istanbul in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Moscow as well as Istanbul. Additionally, most visitors come to Istanbul for the city activities and the family-friendly experiences during these months.

Moscow is cooler than Istanbul in the summer. The temperature in Moscow is usually 19°C (67°F) in July, and Istanbul stays around 24°C (74°F).

Moscow usually gets more rain in July than Istanbul. Moscow gets 92 mm (3.6 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 19 mm (0.7 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Moscow 19°C (67°F) 
    Istanbul 24°C (74°F)

Should I visit Moscow or Istanbul in the Autumn?

Both Istanbul and Moscow are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. Also, the autumn months attract visitors to Istanbul because of the city's sights and attractions, the shopping scene, and the natural beauty of the area.

In the autumn, Moscow is much colder than Istanbul. Typically, the autumn temperatures in Moscow in October are around 6°C (43°F), and Istanbul is about 16°C (61°F).

In October, Moscow usually receives less rain than Istanbul. Moscow gets 58 mm (2.3 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 71 mm (2.8 in) of rain each month for the autumn.


  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Moscow 6°C (43°F) 
    Istanbul 16°C (61°F)

Should I visit Moscow or Istanbul in the Winter?

Both Istanbul and Moscow during the winter are popular places to visit. Also, the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Istanbul this time of year.

The weather in Moscow can be very cold. In January, Moscow is generally much colder than Istanbul. Temperatures in Moscow average around -8°C (17°F), and Istanbul stays around 6°C (43°F).

Moscow usually gets less rain in January than Istanbul. Moscow gets 45 mm (1.8 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 99 mm (3.9 in) of rain this time of the year.


  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Moscow -8°C (17°F) 
    Istanbul 6°C (43°F)

Should I visit Moscow or Istanbul in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Moscow and Istanbul. Also, many travelers come to Istanbul for the activities around the city and the natural beauty.

Moscow is much colder than Istanbul in the spring. The temperature in Moscow is usually 7°C (45°F) in April, and Istanbul stays around 13°C (55°F).

In April, Moscow usually receives less rain than Istanbul. Moscow gets 40 mm (1.6 in) of rain, while Istanbul receives 49 mm (1.9 in) of rain each month for the spring.


  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Moscow 7°C (45°F) 
    Istanbul 13°C (55°F)

Typical Weather for Istanbul and Moscow

Moscow Istanbul
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan -8°C (17°F) 45 mm (1.8 in) 6°C (43°F) 99 mm (3.9 in)
Feb -7°C (20°F) 37 mm (1.5 in) 6°C (44°F) 67 mm (2.6 in)
Mar -1°C (30°F) 34 mm (1.3 in) 8°C (47°F) 62 mm (2.4 in)
Apr 7°C (45°F) 40 mm (1.6 in) 13°C (55°F) 49 mm (1.9 in)
May 14°C (57°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 17°C (63°F) 31 mm (1.2 in)
Jun 18°C (64°F) 76 mm (3 in) 21°C (71°F) 21 mm (0.8 in)
Jul 19°C (67°F) 92 mm (3.6 in) 24°C (74°F) 19 mm (0.7 in)
Aug 18°C (64°F) 74 mm (2.9 in) 24°C (74°F) 26 mm (1 in)
Sep 12°C (54°F) 64 mm (2.5 in) 20°C (69°F) 41 mm (1.6 in)
Oct 6°C (43°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 16°C (61°F) 71 mm (2.8 in)
Nov -0°C (32°F) 58 mm (2.3 in) 12°C (54°F) 89 mm (3.5 in)
Dec -5°C (23°F) 52 mm (2 in) 9°C (47°F) 122 mm (4.8 in)


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Moscow vs. Istanbul Travel Comparison

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