7 reasons to pack up and move to Turkey
1. The weather
Kind of an obvious one. And one that doesn't really need much explanation. However, in case you're one of the rare few who doesn't already know: Turkey's weather is glorious. The southern coast enjoys a typically Mediterranean climate, with long, hot and dry summers and short, wet winters. There's not really much to dislike about Turkish weather. However, some people do find it too hot in the months of July and August. During these months in some places the temperature can soar to temperatures over 35 degrees. Locals prefer to stay inside during peak hours, and you should too - especially if you have young children. Or at least sit in the shade and rest. Luckily, Turkish homes are built with high temperatures in mind, and homes are built with natural materials that resist heat in the summer and trap warmth in the winter. Homes are generally designed as open plan with large windows and terraces to make the most of the Turkish sunshine.
2. The food
If you've ever been to Turkey you'll probably remember the array of colourful fruits and vegetables. The meze cafes and the tempting aromas issuing from street vendors and restaurants. The markets full of locally produced pastries and honey. Turkish food is fresh, cheap, and generally very healthy. Studies have shown that those on a Mediterranean diet live longer and enjoy greater health. Which is a good thing in my book as a longer life allows me more time to fit in more kofte.
3. The medical facilities
This one might surprise you, but Turkey's medical facilities are gradually becoming known as some of the best in the world. A strong economy has allowed for a comprehensive medical infrastructure to develop in the last 20 years. Hospitals are modern and even the smaller centres have the specialist equipment that are only found in larger cities in your home country. Dynamic training institutions are producing some top rate medical professionals. It used to be the case that Turkish doctors would train overseas: now overseas students are coming to places like Antalya and Izmir to train. Medical insurance for foreigners residing in Turkey is now compulsory. The rate varies but it's usually around USD$80/month for some of the best medical care found anywhere.
4. The great outdoors
Few countries are so diverse as Turkey. And few countries have the kind of climate to allow for outdoor pursuits all year round. Turkey's leisure facilities include (but certainly aren't limited to): sailing, climbing, skiing, rafting, hiking and swimming. For those who enjoy a more sedate pace of life, there's golf (there's actually golf aplenty in Belek, where you'll find a number of world class golf courses), island cruises, historical tours, jeep touring - and these are just off the top of my head.
5. The history
A lot of people know about the ancient city of Ephesus, which is one of the seven modern wonders of the world. But what many don't know is that Turkey is literally scattered with history and ruins with which you can get up close and personal - for free! Wander around the ancient ruins of Patara, a once great Lycian city, at Patara Beach. Run your fingers along the Temple of Apollo in Side. Discover rock tombs lodged in the Fethiye hillside. There are few places in the world where history is part of everyday life and available to everyone. Turkey is one such place.
6. The museums
The Turkish government prides itself on its promotion of the arts. New museums have sprung up all over the country in the past two decades. And some of them are quite surprising. In Antalya City, for example, you can find an oven museum. A hair museum in Avanos offers visitors the opportunity to add a lock of their own hair to the 16,000 samples already on display. In Bodrum, visit the striking castle in the harbour and you'll discover the underwater archaeology museum.
7. The cost of living
"How much?" Is a phrase often gasped by tourists to Turkey. But not for the reasons you might think. Despite a global rise in the cost of living, Turkey's living costs remain low. You can still expect to pay US$5 for a meal for two at a cheap meatball place. Local beer flows like water at less than $2 per pint. Fruit and vegetables? They're practically giving them away. This is a country in which you can save your pennies - while still living in style. This is a reason why retirement homes in Turkey are extremely popular - a pension from your own country goes a very long way in Turkey (and unlike Spain, your overseas pensions are not taxed in Turkey).