There are many people who, at some point during an idyllic holiday in Turkey, have turned to their friends or loved one and said, “Wouldn’t it be great to live here?” While for some it’s a dream, for others it’s the catalyst to making firm plans.
Antalya province is a popular choice among those looking to relocate to Turkey, but as anyone who has moved here will tell you, it’s not like being on holiday. Moving to another country is a big decision, and there are challenges alongside the benefits.
Before you sign on the dotted line and buy your dream villa in Kalkan or a luxury penthouse in Belek, here are some points you might like to think about.
Great reasons to move to Antalya
1. The weather. Turkey’s south west coast enjoys a temperate climate with 300-plus days of sunshine each year. Even in winter, the weather will rarely keep you indoors.
2. A laidback lifestyle. The world moves at a slower pace on the Mediterranean. The days of hurtling along at top speed are over. Time slides by and you go with the flow – it’s impossible not to feel more relaxed.
3. Lower cost of living. “It’s so cheap here!” is a common phrase among new residents. For westerners used to European pricing, everything from property to fresh produce costs far less than they expect. Even on a pension you can live well and treat yourself. Your money simply goes much further.
4. A full social life. In summer, the Antalya area is a hive of activity. Once the season starts and holidaymakers arrive, there’s plenty to do. In winter, the expat communities hold regular events and get-togethers – if you want to, you can be busy every day.
5. The food. One of the joys of Turkish living is the abundance of fresh, delicious seasonal produce. When you taste the sweetness of tomatoes fresh off the vine, or cherries picked just hours earlier, you’ll never want to eat pre-packaged imports again.
6. A chance to travel and learn. Turkey is a huge country, rich in history and tradition, and it’s so much easier to explore when you live there. From the bazaars of Istanbul to the ‘fairy chimneys’ of Cappadocia, there are endless wonders to discover.
Cons to consider
1. The language barrier. On holiday, there’s no problem – those working in tourism tend to speak English. In the real world, it’s different. How will you explain to the plumber what’s wrong with your washing machine? What if you need to visit the doctor? Turkish friends will be happy to help or use a certified translator for official business. It’s also a good idea to take Turkish lessons.
2. Dealing with red tape. Ask any expats what frustrates them most, and bureaucracy is the top answer. Anything official seems to involve endless waiting around, trailing from one location to another for a tick in the right box. And if it’s wrong – it’s back to the beginning.
3. Feeling homesick. At first you’ll be excited about your new life but after a while you might find yourself missing those you left behind. Many expats say it hits them hardest when they become grandparents. The good news is Antalya has regular international flights, while Istanbul is your gateway to the world all year round.
4. It’s hot in summer. Really hot. You don’t notice it when you’re lying around the pool for a fortnight, but you do when it’s pushing 50°C and you’ve run out of milk.
5. Winter is quiet. Once the season is over, the area feels very different. You’ll notice it most if you live outside the main centres, so consider this when choosing your home. Most expats love winter but it can come as a shock at first.
6. Culture shock. While many Turkish traditions are charming to westerners, some are more difficult to accept. One of the main holidays of the year, for example, is kurban bayramı (curb-an by-ram-uh), when sheep and goats are ritually slaughtered in sacrifice.
Words of advice
There is every reason for your new life in Antalya to be rich, rewarding and filled with joy. Accept it will take time to settle – it’s all part of the journey. We’ve also got some tips from those who have already made the move.
1. Set a routine. Not a strict timetable, just a loose plan to help you meet people and discover the area. A surprising number of expats slide into depression due to a lack of purpose; taking up new hobbies and keeping some kind of structure to your days is important.
2. Do the maths. Do you have enough money to meet your needs? What happens if your income drops? Previously, high rates made it easy for expats to live on interest from their savings but that’s no longer the case. Rules on foreigners working in Turkey mean you can’t just go and find a job if funds are low. Have a backup plan.
3. Be realistic. Upping sticks to a new country is a big deal. There are bound to be aspects you find difficult and even things you don’t like. That’s ok. It’s fine to miss home and your favourite brand of coffee. It doesn’t mean you’ve made a mistake. Give yourself a chance to adapt.
Ready to find your dream home in Turkey?
If you’re thinking of buying property in Antalya province, we’d love to help you through the process. Whether you’re looking for a holiday villa or full-time home, you can see our current portfolio on our website and check out our buyer’s guide. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have.