Ask any foreigner who lives here, and they will testify that retiring to Turkey was the best lifestyle move to make. Retirees indulge in many benefits from swapping countries including a low-cost-of-living, beautiful beaches, a range of towns and places to live, summers full of sunshine, mild winters, an easy residency process, low crime rate, and affordability of groceries and bills like council taxes that in other countries break the bank. Indeed, when it comes to international living, Turkey ranks as one of the best places to retire. But don’t just take our word for it. We asked a local expat about his move. The 67-year-old Swedish born moved to Antalya a year ago and has not looked back. He bought a 2-bedroom apartment in Antalya’s Konyaalti Beach. We asked him what made him take the plunge.
Why Retiring to Turkey Is A Good Move
1: Finances, Pensions and Budgeting
I hate to sound materialistic, but money does make the world go round. Back home my world had come to a halt! My pension is generous but with rising prices in my hometown (Stockholm) I was living hand to mouth. I decided to sell my apartment and look elsewhere. For a modest price I was able to buy an apartment in Antalya, and my pension easily covers my expenses and allows me some leeway each month. As well as low home prices, utilities like water and gas are bargains. I pay next to nothing in property taxes, and healthcare costs give me peace of mind. Although I have my retirement income, bank-account savings rates, allow me to safety build a nest-egg and have a little extra to live off each month.
2. Appealing Lifestyle for Foreigners
After living in Stockholm my whole life, I could not imagine living somewhere small. Istanbul was slightly too big (and so were the prices) so I settled on Antalya. I love it here. The weathers wonderful all year round. I take the Dolmus (local bus) from my apartment to the middle of the city in 20 minutes, and most shops are within walkable distance. There is no end of things to do here. I often visit the golf courses in Belek, of which, the equivalent back home are too expensive - and the long stretch of coastline means I swim in the sea every day. I know where to go for a lively nightlife scene, or a quiet sit-down meal. I can even get on a plane and go skiing in Bursa. I easily boast to any foreigner, that they too can live comfortably, no matter where they move to in Turkey.
3. Warmer Weather in Turkey
I moved here in August which was a mistake, in retrospect. It was far too hot and I wondered what I had let myself in for. But once September came, the weather cooled and I liked it a lot more. Every day is warm and pleasant, and the winters are mild. Well, Turkish friends tell me it is cold, to which I say go to Stockholm! I went back to Sweden this year for July and August and stayed with my daughter to avoid the worst of the heat, but most of the time the weather is ideal for an old man like myself. For expats, there are many places to retire but each has their own climate zone. For example, the north-east is humid, and year-round conditions in places like Istanbul see snow in winter. I love the Mediterranean coastal region because winter means a mild climate and summers just brim over with warm-weather and sunny days. If you are undecided of where to live yet, it is a desired area.
4. Travel and Exploration
I love to see new places and make it my mission to see as much of Turkey as possible. Travel links from Antalya Airport are excellent. I have done a lot of exploring using Antalya as a base. I have also been to a couple of Greek islands, because they are fairly easy to reach from the coastline here. I often get the bus to Fethiye, stay overnight and then catch the ferry to Rhodes in the morning. Additionally, I always say that when you move to a foreign country, exploring the big cities, and small towns is the best way to settle in. In many tourist districts, locals speaking English help you learn about the food, traditions, culture, and history. Indeed, travelling around helps you feel at home in your new country of abode. (15 beautiful places in Turkey that should be on your bucket list.)
5: Food in Turkey
I am an annoying food lover. I am obsessed with food! Stockholm has some excellent restaurants and I am pleased to say Antalya is just as good. Eat like a king for less than Euro 10 here, and it costs far less than that for a good meal of meatballs and rice. I do a lot of cooking and love visiting the markets. Produce here is cheap and very tasty. Coffee is fantastic - but strong. Back home tomatoes were pale and dry but here they are so juicy I eat them like apples. I also love the fact that each region has its own special dishes, which gives my tastebuds a whirlwind journey. For example, there are over 40 different types of kebab. So much more, than the typical stereotype donor that we always see. Read more in our beginners guide to Turkish food customs and traditions.
Where to Retire: Popular Places in Turkey
Deciding where to live is a big decision to make. Whether you choose the best cities to live in like Istanbul, Izmir, or Antalya, or smaller coastal holiday resorts, it is important to take your time. Indeed, this is a crucial part of retirement planning, but three places lead trends for potential expatriates.
Bodrum Peninsula: Living abroad in this region means tapping into where the rich and famous hang out. Certain places like Yalikavak and Turkbuku often see mega yachts docking in, as well as wealthy executives, famous celebrities, and Saudi royalty. However, the peninsula also does a good job of accommodating anyone on a budget retirement-plan in places like Gumbet. For rustic charm, look at the small village of Gumusluk. Otherwise, the town centre is the best place to retire for a lively nightlife scene, shops on your doorstep and a good transport network to the rest of Turkey.
Fethiye Region: Relocating to this region gives instant access to stunning landscapes of natural beauty. It is the best place to live, to enjoy the great outdoors thanks to places like the Blue Lagoon, Saklikent Gorge, Kayakoy Ghost Village, and Butterfly Valley. It is also the start of the 500-kilometre Lycian way trekking path. Towns within this region include Hisaronu, and Ovacik that both give easy access to seaside Oludeniz, Calis beach that is famous for sunsets and mountain Uzumlu. Don’t forget the city centre, to be in the heart of the action.
- Guide to the Fethiye region of Turkey including resort information
- What is it like to live in Fethiye
- 15 reasons why we love Fethiye
Antalya Region: Relocate to Antalya for the best beaches in Turkey, as well as a range of outdoor sports like golfing, and additionally, the best shopping and nightlife scenes on the Mediterranean. The best places to consider include bustling Alanya, historical Side, golfing Belek and luxury Kalkan. Antalya is the second most popular place for foreigners buying houses in Turkey, therefore proving itself as a worthy contender.
Challenges to Overcome
So, it is easy to think that when retiring abroad, you move to utopia. However, any retiree who has already done it, will testify, certain challenges await. These include the language barrier, making new friends, navigating red tape, and adapting to different cultural practises. However, our article on expat challenges will be of use to anyone planning on retiring to Turkey, because it gives tips and advice to overcoming them.
About Us: We are Property Turkey, an investment specialist who has helped hundreds of people looking to retire overseas to buy and settle into their new home in Turkey. Whether you want to decide on a place to live, location specific information on small towns, or advice about getting onto the Turkish property ladder, call or email us to speak with a local representative.
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