Where to Live in Turkey ?

By | on 19th November 2012 | 32 Comments

Where to live in Turkey is a big question for anyone looking to move to Turkey.  

This year we are asking ourselves the question, Where to Live in Turkey.  Every 3 years my husband gets the option to transfer to another school, this year we can apply for a transfer.  However we are not guaranteed a transfer and there is a lot of competition for the best places.


So When Turkey is your oyster where do you pick to live in Turkey, How do you decide where to live in Turkey.

We have had to consider a lot of factors.  Currently we live in a city with no family and few friends around us.  Its not a city with lots to do and though we are 2 hours from Istanbul we rarely make the trip.  Our 3 years here have been pleasant, if a little restricted.  We have made good friends and been made very welcome here.

So where do we go, do we move closer to family, do we try some strange outpost in the sticks of Turkey or do we head to the coast.

Some of things we have taken into consideration are

  • Family, it’s nice to be near family for support and help and it would be good for our son to grow up around his family
  • Somewhere we can settle with some permanency, at the moment we feel a bit like nomads wandering around with no place to call home.
  • Schools, our son may only be 1 but its something consider when planning to stay longer term
  • Activities and things to do, it’s nice to have the option of things to do, for me it’s horse riding. Access to the cinema and various sports activities, nice places to eat and socialise.
  • Cost of living how much does each area cost to live i.e.rent and utilities and cost of socialising and entertainment.
  • Do we want to live in a tourist resort or somewhere away from the madding crowd.
  • Do we want to live near to expats or only within the Turkish Community.
  • Airport access for getting back to the UK and for friends and family to visit

After considering these options one thing that became a huge consideration was our mixed cultured family.  Sometimes it’s hard for me being in a completely Turkish community especially around holidays like Halloween, Christmas and Easter.  It’s not much fun celebrating when everyone is carrying on with their day and how do I teach my son these traditions from my culture and for him to have an understand of them, if we are in completely Turkish Community.

Yes I have talked about how important it is to integrate into the Turkish Community and I stand by what I have said about that.  However in Turkey it is possible to live in the best of both worlds.

There are lovely areas in Turkey where both the expat and Turkish Community integrate together and allow us to live in both worlds and allow our son to grow up learning both his cultures, being able to socialise with both Turkish and Expats from all over the world giving him a very diverse upbringing. Not many people have this opportunity in life to be able to live this sort of lifestyle yet here we are with this great opportunity at our door.

Where did we look at;

Dikili, Izmir –  Dikili is a lovely coastal town near to Izmir and this is where my husband grew up and where his family lives, here we would have the support of family.  However there are not many opportunities here and though it is a tourist trap in the summer, it turns into a ghost town for a good part of the year.  It is only 2 hours to Izmir but so is Istanbul and how often do we make the trip!

Izmir City and Coast –  Living within Izmir city or along its coastline is another option, we would be nearby to family, there is plenty to do and lots of options open to us.  Having looked at rent and various other factors we think it might be costly for us and the City itself is very large with over 5 million living there, which is the same as Scottish population!  There is an expat community and we would be able to integrate into both worlds, with various events throughout the year.  An international airport with flights all year round makes access to the area excellent for us.

Bodrum – It is a beautiful area and somewhere very close to our hearts.  But the cost of living is high and is very much an expat and holiday resort. Again we have the expat community.  The airport tends to be more seasonal flights.  There is limited option here for us and though we love the area for a holiday we don’t think we could settle here on a long term basis.  Maybe when we are ready to retire!

Fethiye – I have yet to visit this area, however it is a favourite of my husbands.  It has a very good mixed community with lots happening all year round.  There are other opportunities here for us and the cost of living is reasonable with good rent prices.  The area has a mix of city, beach life and countryside.  Dalaman airport is within easy reach and has flights throughout the year.

In land Turkey – We have looked at several cities and areas away from the coast of Turkey and though some are affordable and offer many of the things we are looking for, they don’t appeal to us in the same way as our first 4 options.  We have looked at Eskisehir, Diyarbakir, Ankara and several other places and all have their own pros and cons but we don’t feel these are places we could stay long term

Istanbul – Istanbul is a city that I adore but every time we visit I am also always very happy to leave.  Istanbul is so big and busy and constantly changing that it overwhelms me when I am there.  I love the atmosphere of Istanbul, the history and the people.  But I think staying there for a long time would eventually become tiring and unbearable.  Istanbul for us is a place to visit and enjoy not somewhere to settle.

After many discussions, speaking to friends and family.  Looking at our options weighing up the pros and the cons of each place we eventually came to a decision that we are happy with.

We have decided on moving to Fethiye, though I have never been to Fethiye there are various reason that draw me to living there.  My husband knows Fethiye well and knows that there are opportunities here for us in the future and somewhere that our friends and family will also enjoy when visiting us.

For me the mix, of city life, country and beach makes the area somewhere I know I can enjoy living.  For our son we are able to bring him up in a place with that magical mix of both our worlds, where he can learn about both his cultures and integrate with both Turkish and Expats.  Overall the pros for Fethiye well out way any cons.

We are not sure yet on when we will be able to move, we hope that a transfer will come our way this year, if not we will keep trying until we are able to move and hopefully one day soon we will be able to call Fethiye our home.

Where in Turkey would you move to and why? or perhaps you already call that place home tell us why it’s special to you.

© 2012 – 2015, Kerry Arslan. All rights reserved.

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32 Responses to “Where to Live in Turkey ?”

  1. 20th November 2012

    Yvonne Alpan Reply

    Good luck I recommend Fethiye sounds just what your looking for. I live in Göcek and am very happy here if you see this as an option I also recommend. I would like to move also but work keeps us here at the moment, as nice as this area is it has been a long time and maybe we are ready for a change. Will be looking to see if you make it.

  2. 20th November 2012

    Sharyn Minehan Reply

    Have been reading all your info Kerry, and would u believe Fethiye is the place I chose to buy a house or an app. iloved the area when I toured last year,, I don’t know if it would ever be possible, but sure is alot cheeper than Australia, you have given this alot of thought Kerry! is your husband a teacher? your little boy is very lucky, a great start to life.I look forward to your next blog or letter.xx.

  3. 20th November 2012

    My Turkish Joys Reply

    Good luck on your move! We’ve holidayed twice now in Fethiye and really loved it. I dislike Bodrum & have been there twice too. Fethiye is a like a small-big city and just has a better vibe to it IMO. I love, love Istanbul, but if you haven’t lived in a major city like NYC or elsewhere, I can see how difficult it could be to make the switch. There are days when the traffic drives me nuts! 😉

  4. 20th November 2012

    Carol Bayne Reply

    I love Fethiye, my husband and I hope to retire there in a few years time. We have to make do with our holidays there at the moment but I just dream of Fethiye to get me through the winters in Scotland.

  5. 20th November 2012

    Anne Cullen Reply

    You won’t regret your choice. We’ve a holiday home in Calis just along the coast and absolutely adore Fethyie with it’s magical mix of old and new. Lot’s to do both in summer and winter even if it’s only a walk or cycle along the beautiful new kordon. Good luck with your move.

  6. 21st November 2012

    Sally Postlethwaite Reply

    Kerry, you won’t be disappointed….after reading your “wish list”…. I just thought Fethiye, Fethiye, Fethiye! I was so pleased when I read further down that you had considered it. Fethiye is beautiful, quieter in the winter, but never mad busy in the summer. It’s a working town that is moving onwards & upwards and with the development of the waterfront it has quite a cosmopolitan feel. It has a good mix of Turkish & ex-pats & plenty of things to do. I moved out there in 2010…(currently back in the UK Fethiye is still home sweet home). Fingers crossed the transfer comes off!

  7. 22nd November 2012

    Kerry Arslan Reply

    Thank you everyone, I feel very excited now after all these positive messages about Fethiye thank you so much. I hope we do get there soon, if not we will keep trying till we do. I hope to get to meet some of you when we do get there. Thanks for all your great messages 🙂

  8. 20th August 2013

    The Smidge Reply

    So glad you have chosen Fethiye, I moved here from the UK 4 months ago and love it. The locals and the expats are all very welcoming. If you need anyone to show you around, or just to chat too, just let me know 🙂

    • 4th September 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Happy for you Smidge, I hope you will continue to be happy there, we have to wait another year as our transfer wasn’t given but maybe next year!

  9. 20th August 2013

    janegundogan Reply

    We are in Mersin. No expat community to speak of but we are surrounded by family. Totally worth it!

    • 4th September 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      How is Mersin like to live in? My husband lived there for a while as a child. I think you live where it makes you happy and I don’t think you need to have an expat community it often stops you from becoming part of life here in Turkey.

      • 13th October 2013

        janegundogan Reply

        I am living just outside of Mersin in Karaduvar. Loving every second and yes you don’t need an expat community to happy.

        • 18th October 2013

          Kerry Arslan Reply

          Hi Jane, no you don’t need one. Glad you are happy and enjoying Mersin x

  10. 22nd August 2013

    Ozlem's Turkish Table Reply

    Dear Kerry, a lovely post and all the best wishes with the move, Fethiye sounds lovely! I am with you with all your reasons, it is wonderful to be near to family (which I miss a lot, as we are far away) but it is also important for you to have a chance to experience your own traditions, as well as the Turkish ones. Fethiye will deliver that! All the best : )

    • 4th September 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Thanks Ozlem sadly we have to wait until next summer as we missed out on a transfer this year 🙁 but looking forward to the transfer period next year and keeping our fingers crossed.

  11. 18th October 2013

    Sarwat Reply

    Hi Kerry, I wish you luck on getting a transfer to Fethiye! I’m thinking of moving to Turkey myself, by all accounts it sounds like a lovely place to live,although I have to ask you something, are power outages common in Turkey? Because some people have told me this, and I find it a little hard to be true.

    • 18th October 2013

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Hi Sarwat, I am sorry to tell you but Power outages are common. I think more so in the summer time when there is a lot more power usage with Tourists and air con etc. Some areas are better than others, but in most its for briefs spells and not all day. If you do make the move I wish you the best of luck 🙂

      • 18th October 2013

        Sarwat Reply

        Oh, it’s too bad to hear about the power problem 🙁
        But when you say that its for brief period, how brief? Minute, or hours? And how many times a day?
        I’m sorry for all these questions 😀

        • 22nd October 2013

          Kerry Arslan Reply

          Hi it can be anywhere between a few minutes to an hour or more. If it is going to be off for long period of time normally you will get a notification.

  12. 3rd September 2014

    angelicamethyst Reply

    This is a great list! Thank you for sharing this article.
    I will be back in Turkey this summer and might stay there for awhile.
    Also, I suggest you must try visiting ancient sites in Kas and Side
    Two cities are very different one is more touristy and both have great Roman ruins sites. Read this blog I found helpful too http://www.gonomad.com/5658

    • 25th September 2014

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Sorry for my late reply, your post made me smile, can you believe we have just moved to Demre, 35 min from Kas and have visted just last week and in the January we had a holiday in Side. Hope you have a lovely summer in Turkey.

  13. […] Where to Live in Turkey ? […]

  14. 21st November 2014

    Yvonne Reply

    Hi I wonder if you can help planning to marry my turkish boyfriend next summer 2015 and after that moving out to turkey to live,but iam not to sure of which area just now my partner has a rented flat in bodrum just now but I was wondering about the expat community in that area I am in my 40s and my partner is turning 40 and was wondering which area to set up home many thanks

    • 22nd November 2014

      Kerry Arslan Reply

      Hi Yvonne, Bodrum is lovely area and forgive me but especially for your age group (I hate saying that, as age has no barriers!) but there are a lot of expats in the area. If you want to stay in that region, I really like Turgutreis and Yalikavak for living. The one thing about the Bodrum area it is the most expensive area along the coast. But it’s where I first started holidaying in Turkey and I have a big soft spot for the area. Fethiye is a beautiful place and has a lovely mix of Turkish and expats living, lots going on throughout the year and a good climate. It is a very popular area. Kalkan is also another very nice area for expats and close to Fethiye and Kas. I would also look at Antalya as well.

      I think you have to think what you both want in terms of facilities and what sort of life style you want and that then makes the decision easier to make. Good luck and I wish you both many happy years together.

      • 22nd November 2014

        Yvonne Reply

        Thank you Kerry God I hope we are not to old I like bodrum area the marina is beautiful

        • 22nd November 2014

          Kerry Arslan Reply

          Well I am 35, so if you are old then there is no hope for me!

          • 22nd November 2014


            Lol lol well thank god for that

  15. 1st June 2017

    Elgun ULUTÜRK Reply

    Hello Kerry,
    I live in İstanbul and want to move to Fethiye areas permanently but I have problems.
    1. How do you find job there? I am 33 and with my family I am not sure whether i can earn money to live.
    2. How about education for kids? I have two sons and they speak Turkish.
    3. Safety. Is it safe for a family? Usually touristic places are safe to settle.
    4. Activities. In istanbul there are many things to do for kids. I am not sure my kids will be happy there.

    I would highly appreciate if share your experience.


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