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BLOG Updated Guide of Where to Live in Turkey for Wannabe Expats

23 January 2023 / Lifestyle

Where to Live in Turkey

When looking at where to live in Turkey, potential expats have many choices. The country offers diversity and variety on every doorstep and decent living costs compared to other places, especially those in Europe. From west side coast cities to smaller towns to laid-back rural communities, the attractions of living in Turkey bring in foreigners from everywhere. Reasons why people move to Turkey, vary from job opportunities for young professionals to family-friendly areas, rich history, winter sports and beach lifestyles. Indeed, Turkey offers much, so let's look at the best places to live in Turkey.

                                                Where to Live in Turkey

The Best of the Modern City of Istanbul

Beautiful Istanbul, a modern city with an intriguing cultural heritage, is Turkey's beating heart. Many people still assume Istanbul is Turkey's capital city, despite losing that status 100 years ago. But Istanbul excels in international living as Turkey's best city. Rather than consider Istanbul a single city, 39 unique districts cover the Asian and European sides.

European Istanbul thrives in tourism, economy, and business. The historical Sultanahmet district attracts visitors who flock to landmarks like the Grand Bazaar and Blue Mosque left by the Ottoman empire. Meanwhile, many people in Asian Istanbul commute daily to the European side, but this area has risen in popularity with expats in recent years for more affordable prices. Digital nomads also like Istanbul because of the best coworking spaces in Turkey.


Istanbul is the best collection of international cuisine in Turkey, thanks to thousands of restaurants. They also invested millions into an impressive transport network, from metro lines to bridges, highways, ferries and buses. So getting about without a car is easy. Lastly, Istanbul offers international schools with global curriculums for families, and most working expats head to this area of Turkey for opportunities. So when looking at big cities, Istanbul consistently ranks as the best.

Antalya City Centre - Popular Tourist Place

Centrally located, Antalya city centre belonging to the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, offers a more laid-back city atmosphere. Backed by the Taurus Mountains range and fronted by crystal blue Mediterranean waters, there must be something special about this small city because nearly 15 million international tourists visit Antalya's city centre every year. Moreover, as Turkey's top beach holiday destination, thousands of foreigners annually buy holiday homes in Antalya city centre or even move there to join large expat communities.

Worldwide cultures and traditions present cosmopolitan places catering for everyone living there, young or old. Antalya's Mediterranean climate means warm summers and mild winters, so residents enjoy outdoor weather for at least 300 days. Even though temperatures drop in winter, they still enjoy getting about. People who move to Antalya love the sandy beaches of Konyaalti and Lara. However, in recent years, low housing supply has promoted house buyers and renters to look at living in the nearby Altintas area.

Antalya's cosmopolitan ambience welcomes every nationality, while expats enjoy hobbies, beachside lifestyles, socialising and charity work. Antalya's claims to fame include being Turkey's citrus capital, Turkey's golfing capital of Belek, adventure sports, and the pivotal Turkish Riviera place.


Bursa City Center and Districts

Bursa's old-world charm and Ottoman architecture captivate everyone. Although Bursa is a small city, living here lends nostalgia to the Ottoman empire's historic landmarks. The ambience is completely different compared to Turkey's Aegean and Mediterranean coasts; hence Green Bursa attracts Middle eastern buyers because of similarities in culture.

So, if Bursa appeals to living, look at the Nilufer district, which breaks down into 64 separate neighbourhoods for people looking for somewhere to live. At the same time, the Mudanya area boasts fishing, old ottoman houses, and olive oil production. This is also where Turkey, France, Italy, and Britain signed the Mudanya Armistice after the Turkish War of Independence.

Turks from Istanbul who want summer or retirement homes often buy in Mudanya because of transport connections and the best landscapes of natural beauty. Bursa's price gem, Uludag mountain, attracts skiers in winter and lovers of the great outdoors for the rest of the year. Uludag Ski Centre, covering Fatintepe and Kusaklikaya hills, is 30 minutes from Bursa city centre. Additionally, Bursa is another place in Turkey with low living costs and within driving distance of Istanbul.


Izmir Port City on the Aegean Coast of Turkey

Sitting in Aegean Turkey, Izmir city centre has wowed both Turks and foreigners for decades, and there are plenty of neighbourhoods when considering the best places to live. Indeed, first-time visitors to Turkey, aware of the country's religion, often express surprise at the non-conservative atmosphere in Izmir. Non-conformity and leisure shine in this large city, whether socialising with friends, exploring tourist attractions, or pursuing hobbies. Long prompted as a forward thinker and leader of western trends in Turkey, Izmir attracts many foreigners for tourism, living and foreign house sales.

Solid reputations for diversity and excellence stretch back into the Roman empire, and even during Ottoman rule, Izmir led to trade and economy. These days, Izmir excels in business, education, and tourism. Those who work often end up in international schools. As Turkey's third big city, anyone living here can expect an urban but active lifestyle, and nomads can enjoy various coworking spaces. For living in cities, Izmir is also worthy of consideration.


Yalikavak on Bodrum Peninsula in Aegean Turkey

For the best luxury lifestyle in Turkey, look to Yalikavak, home to mega yachts and where Saudi royalty spends their summer holidays. This resort of the Bodrum peninsula has drastically transformed over 20 years from a small fishing village to a luxury town with modern architecture and living standards. Making pleasure the priority of average days and carefree lifestyles makes Yalikavak the best for anyone with a higher budget. In addition, the marina lifestyle offers some of Turkey's best restaurants, with high-profile chefs cooking to perfection.

Outside of glamourous Yalikavak and Palmarina, other Bodrum towns attract young families looking for comfortable living. The laid-back lifestyles of western Turkey easily lure ex-pats of various nationalities, some of whom live in Bodrum town centre year-round. However, the peninsula also attracts many first-time buyers who want that various lifestyles to suit budget or luxury, expat or holidaymaker. Neighbourhoods like Gumbet, Ortakent and Turgutreis offer different experiences from the busy city centre. Hence, they are known as the budget places of the Bodrum peninsula.


Live in Fethiye City on the Mediterranean Coast

Sitting on Turkey's southern coast, Fethiye city captivates everyone. Fethiye entices enormous pleasure and low living costs. Of course, everyone loves stunning landmarks and historical sites like Butterfly Valley and the Blue Lagoon. Yet, expats move there for other reasons. If Fethiye's main town centre doesn't appeal, consider seaside resorts like Calis Beach, Hisaronu, Ovacik or mountainous Uzumlu village as somewhere to live.

Locals and expats speak various foreign languages, while lively social scenes and leisure daytime groups make finding like-minded people with shared interests and beliefs easy. So Fethiye boasts gorgeous landscapes, low living costs, beachside life, a safe city centre, and excellent property prices. As a result, Fethiye has an esteemed travel and expat reputation with the best outdoor and relaxed lifestyles. Don't worry about language barriers either because English is widely spoken.


Kalkan for Luxury Lifestyles in Turkey

For the best of high-end living in Turkey, Kalkan easily lures everyone. As part of an upmarket resort in Turkey's Mediterranean region, Kalkan's architecture presents uniform appearances befitting luxurious Turkish Riviera places. Kalkan town centre refers to two neighbourhoods. Sitting by the pebbly beach and harbour, the old town promotes traditional whitewashed houses lining both sides of cobbled streets.

Complimented by wooden shutters and pink, overflowing bougainvillaea, they provoke nostalgia for Med Turkey as a small, unknown fishing village. Fantastic dining includes rooftop and seaside restaurants and varied international food menus. In the second part, Ortaalan has more supermarkets, local household shops, and a central bus station, with transport to many other places in Turkey.


While most picture postcards feature old-town stone cottages, real estate markets feature the best luxury properties with modern cons for lifestyles of comfort. Living trends in Kalkan are enormous villas with floor-to-ceiling windows maximising Mediterranean Sea views and architectural styles embracing the current living trends of Turkey.

Best of Dalyan for Nature

If cities in Turkey don't appeal, look at Dalyan. The small town sits next to the winding Cayi river, and with majestic rock tombs and ruins in the background, residents enjoy outdoor adventures and low living costs. Hot summers, mild winters and local places of natural beauty like nearby Koycegiz lake encourage time outdoors. Dalyan sits slightly inland, so houses give off river views, but beautiful Iztuzu Beach is nearby.

Dalyan will always be quaint. While other places in Turkey sold aesthetic appearances to build mass apartment buildings, Dalyan didn't. Most buildings are two to three stories. Additionally, nightlife and shopping scenes are lowkey. Dalyan's property portfolio blends old with new, from traditional stone villas to modern apartments.

Dalyan trumps the best nature lifestyle in Turkey and a range of activities. Summer revolves around pool days, the Cayi river, nearby Iztuzu Beach, or enjoying Koycegiz, and there are other places to explore by car. While rainy days mean dialling down outdoor lifestyles, locals enjoy an active schedule and social life—more about Dalyan on YouTube.


Live in Didim for Low-Cost Budgets

Look at Didim, also known as Altinkum, for small towns on Turkey's Aegean coast. Hundreds of foreign residents reside here year-round with no regrets about moving. Didim transformed old reputations. Football bars still serve English breakfasts and Sunday dinners. Still, Didim's more cosmopolitan ambience now offers brand-name coffee shops, ancient traditions, and welcoming communities, proud to take care of foreign residents.

Being a coastal place in Turkey, Altinkum boasts beautiful beaches, and the only hard job is knowing where to live. Enjoy seaside restaurants, promenade ambiences, swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Meanwhile, coffee shops and bars around the Apollo temple serve traditional Turkish cuisine. Didim offers affordable costs of living, cheap housing prices, and where English is widely spoken.


Alacati for Turkish Seaside Vibes

Sitting on the western coast, upmarket Alacati, Turkey's surfing capital, is a high-end holiday place. However, despite growing international fame, Turkish social circles have always loved the town. For decades, elderly Turks and high-flying workers from inland cities of Turkey have purchased homes in Alacati as retirement properties or summer retreats.

Sitting within an hour's drive from Izmir city centre, Alacati sits next to Cesme, and collectively, both boast stunning beaches. Claims to fame include windsurfing, and traditional stone cottages make Alacati a tourist hotspot. Two storeys, whitewashed stone homes with traditional blue shutters and doors line both sides of cobbled paths overbrimming with colourful bougainvillaea plants.

Even run-down houses renovated in line with heritage themes highlight days as a Greek fishing village. While other places in Turkey abandoned their cultural roots and built large, concrete, urban landscapes, Alacati kept the cultural heritage and carefully combined tradition with upmarket boutique shops and modern restaurants serving fine seafood cuisine.


Alanya on the East Med

Alanya, on Turkey's far eastern Mediterranean coast, belongs to the larger Antalya province. However, growing tourism and foreign real estate sales prompted the town to become more independently known in recent years. Between Gazipasa and Side coastal resorts, the city centre and surrounding towns and villages cover 1500 square kilometres.

Mild winters averaging 20 degrees and sizzling hot summer explains why foreigners live in this part of Turkey all year round. However, affordable property prices compared to other districts surprise many people. In addition, the self-sufficient town includes an enormous range of shops, nightlife and restaurants.

Of course, being on the med, it stands to reason that Alanya also earns fame for gorgeous beaches like Cleopatra that often ranks as Turkey's best stretch of sand. Although most flights go into Antalya airport, two hours away, the closer airport of Gazipasa connects with Istanbul and a few other countries.


Also, About Living in Turkey

Property Buying: Thinking of living in Turkey? Then as well as looking at the best places, browse our portfolio of apartments and villas for sale. Each listing contains everything to know, including price, location, home features, and photos. Additionally, there are contact details to find out more via telephone or email and arrange viewings of properties that spark your interest.  

Residency Permits: Knowing the best places to live in Turkey is half the story. Once you set up a home, you need a residence permit. These are Turkey Homes' top tips and guides to the residence permit application procedure, and our local offices around Turkey can assist with the application process when you buy property in Turkey through us.

Turkish Citizenship by Real Estate Investment: As real estate agents, many foreign clients ask if they can get Turkish citizenship by buying property. They can because Turkey allows buyers to invest in property for citizenship. Known as Golden Visa schemes because they offer a passport, many countries operate on the same principle. This article talks more about the program and its benefits.

About Us: We are Turkey Homes, a real estate agent with offices all over Turkey. Having helped thousands of people buy holiday and permanent homes, we offer our service to anyone looking to purchase a property. We hope we have given great ideas of where to live in Turkey and the best places, but if you have any more questions, contact us today or follow us on Facebook to stay up to date with the latest expat and property news from Turkey.

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