11 things that will surprise you about living in Turkey

There are a few aspects about life in Turkey that take people by surprise. Here are a few great things that keep people coming back again and again - or even taking the plunge and buying a property for sale in Kalkan.

Turqoise coast Turkey

1 - It’s green

Many people think of Turkey as hot, dry and dusty. And while there are places that certainly fit that description, there are also beautiful lush landscapes - forests, mountains, valleys and wetlands - that are ideal for hiking, rafting and exploring. From Istanbul’s green mountains to Kemer’s leafy coastline to the verdant Kas peninsula, Turkey is a paradise of green. 

Turkey travel

2 - There are 50 countries within a five-hour flight

Living in Turkey opens up a world of travel opportunities, not just within the country but outside it, too. Travel links are excellent, with international airports in every large centre, and a flight of five hours from villas or apartments Istanbul or Antalya can take you to all kinds of destinations in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Cheap flights are always on offer and new destinations are being added all the time.

Istanbul Turkey

3 - It’s a cultural hodgepodge

Located as it is at the crossroads where Europe meets Asia, Turkey is home to a huge variety of ethnic groups and nationalities. Turkey’s cultural make-up is surprising to many visitors, who weren’t anticipating the riotous mix they find in places like Istanbul, where established Jewish, Greek and Armenian populations rub along comfortably with the pockets of Europeans and the newish influx of residents from the Middle East. This variety has resulted in a heady mix of architecture, food, music, arts and culture, and is the very reason Turkey is so enduringly popular with expats, who find it easy to fit into Turkish society, no matter where they’re from.

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4 - Turks are terribly honest

Having a bad hair day? Got something on your face? Don’t worry - your new Turkish friends will let you know. At first the honesty is jarring. Who likes being told they’re looking fat? However, eventually you come to accept and even appreciate the truths that are presented to you on a daily basis. And you know that when a Turk compliments you, they REALLY mean it.

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5 - A Turkish shave is amazing

The Turkish shave is famous worldwide - and with good reason. It’s an experience like no other - and only costs a few lira. Sit back and relax with a cup of cay and let the barber work his magic. A shave isn’t simply a razor and soap. After your face is clean shaven your barber will dunk your face in the sink so your face is clean and then give you a massage. You can also get your haircut, which adds another wonderful layer to the experience, involving a face mask and a vibrating massage at the end.

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6 - It has the best fruit and vegetables you’ll find just about anywhere

Turkish produce must be among the best in the world. The tomatoes are juicy and flavourful, the green vegetables crunchy and fresh and the honey smooth and delicious. Turkey is one of the biggest producers of dried fruit and nuts in the world, and these are used liberally in Turkish food. The flavour and freshness of the produce might go some way to explaining why Turkish cuisine is so delicious. It's no wonder so many choose to buy property in Kalkan or Fethiye, allowing them permanent access to this incredible produce. 

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7 - Breakfast is the best

Forget cereal and toast. With bread, butter, jam, honey, olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, cheese yogurt, cold meats, fruit juice and cofffee, it’s fair to say Turkish breakfast isn’t just a way of setting yourself up for the day, it’s a proper event. Breakfasts vary depending on where you are, but one thing is certain: breakfast is important and not something to be bolted down in between a shower and hunting out a pair of matching socks.

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8 - Service is second-to-none

From large banks to vendors selling borek on the street, there’s a high emphasis on customer service in Turkey. What’s more, there are a wider range of services available than what you might be used to. Hungry for a takeaway? Just about every vendor offers delivery. Need a furniture delivery? Not only will a store drag your item up several flights of stairs, they’ll also assemble it for you. You can even order a doctor to come to your house if you need one in the middle of the night, depending on your health plan, of course. 

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9 - Street vendors are colourful - and loud

The street vendors are part of what makes Turkey’s streets so colourful, especially in the larger cities. Your average street vendor not only sells delicious Turkish street food, but belts out tunes with such vigour that you could be mistaken for thinking you’ve walked onto the set of a musical. Trucks selling their wares along the street blast out infectious jingles that you’ll find yourself humming for hours after they’ve gone. Vendors change with the seasons, selling refreshing cucumber and watermelon in warmer months, and chestnuts in the cooler season.

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10 - Live music is everywhere

Complementing the ever-present songs of the street vendors, live music is also omnipresent in Turkey. Floating out of cafes and restaurants, echoing around the street, the strumming of guitars and the slow ballads that accompany a meal out or a stroll down the street are the soundtrack of Turkey’s streets.

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11 - Everyone’s your friend

Turkish hospitality means that no man is an island in Turkey. It’s actually hard to go a day without making a new friend. You might find you’re invited to a wedding or christening by someone you’ve only just met on the bus, or you’ll ask for directions and the person will not only walk you to your destination, but buy you a coffee once you get there. Turkey must surely be one of the easiest countries in which to make friends.


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