So, you are thinking of becoming a digital nomad in Turkey. Congratulations on making this decision because Turkey has a lot to offer. However, we are sure that we need not say, this lifestyle change needs careful navigation and planning to ensure it does not break the bank. In case you have not already lived the digital nomad lifestyle, knowing what it entails is essential.
A digital nomad is someone who utilises technology to make a living, while constantly moving. Some nomads stick to travel within one country, while others move around the world, often flying from one continent to the next. Some stay for one month in each location, if travelling around the same country, while others might choose six months dependant on that country’s residency rules.
Don’t assume being a digital nomad is all about avoiding mortgage expenses and household bills. There is a sacrifice to pay, when not settling in one place. The comfort of the same bed every night, space for personal possessions, and a place to call home are just a few. So why people do it?
To broaden their mind and learn about cultures, traditions, places, people, and food. The sacrifices are worth it when you open up to the glory of the entire planet. Any experienced nomad will say each country differs from one to the next, and research is essential. Bearing that in mind, let us look at Turkey and what to know to live a nomadic lifestyle.
Being a Digital Nomad in Turkey
Why Choose Turkey as a digital nomad?
You can call us biased, but we think Turkey is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It is impossible to stereotype the country because cultures, traditions, and history are so diverse, and it takes experts decades to understand them. Many people often visit Turkey for the first time then return year after year because they want to know more.
While some costs of living are high when compared to other countries, there is also a mass potential to live cheaply. Without a doubt, no matter where you go to Turkey, you will make lifelong friends. Hospitality towards strangers is engrained in their culture, and striking up conversations is a lot easier than other countries like the UK, where friendlessness towards strangers is often viewed with suspicion. By the way, did we mention Turkish food? It is to die for.
Need to Know: Tourist Versus Residency Visas
When entering Turkey, it is essential to know all about visas. On a tourist visa, purchased beforehand by filling in the application on the official website, you can stay for 90 days out of 180 days. To stay longer than this, you will need to apply for a one-year Turkish residency visa, which involves staying at one address, getting rental contracts, and proving you have the income to sustain you. For this reason, many foreign digital nomads just stay for 90 days and then often move onto a bordering country like Georgia or Bulgaria.
While on a tourist or residency visa, you cannot work, but many digital nomads already have their work stream which comes in from online sources all around the world, and their bank accounts are in their home country. Do not seek work while in Turkey, because this likewise requires a separate work permit. If caught working illegally, your tourist or residency visa can be evoked.
Cost of Living in Turkey as a digital nomad?
This is when life can get confusing because the cost of living differs from one province to the others. Many digital nomads in Turkey often want to stay in Istanbul and rightly so. As Turkey’s most famous city for economy, business, education, and tourism, it is an excellent introduction into the Turkish way of life. However, it is also Turkey’s most expensive place to live not only in terms of rent but also shopping, food, drink, and other day-to-day expenses like transport.
At the time of publishing, budgeting £1,000 per month to live in Istanbul will net quite a comfortable lifestyle, including your apartment. If you like frugal living, you can easily reduce these costs. Heading away from Istanbul into the Aegean and Mediterranean resorts, the cost of living becomes a lot cheaper. Places like Didim on the Aegean and Fethiye on the Mediterranean are popular, and living costs average £650 per month. However, it is worth bearing in mind, that many apartments to rent are holiday rentals, so finding proprietors to rent for a month or three is harder.
Internet and Working Spaces in Turkey
If you are a Turkey digital nomad who enjoys working spaces, research is essential. In places like Istanbul, there are plenty like working spaces and coffee shops to complete your latest job. However, head to Didim on the Aegean coast that we mentioned is a cheap place to live, and working spaces are unheard of. In terms of the internet, Turkey is good with decent speeds, including uploads. Most restaurants, bars, and hotels supply free Wi-Fi on the condition you use their services. The west side of the country is more developed than the east, and this is where the best Wi-Fi connections are.
Where to Stay in Turkey as a digital nomad?
As mentioned before, Istanbul is the go-to destinations for most global nomads. However, if you want to see more than one place or buck the trend, consider Antalya. The name refers to the city centre but also the broader province, and it is fast becoming a worthy contender to take over Istanbul as Turkey’s number one spot for tourism and foreign house sales. Its shopping and nightlife scene is the best on the Mediterranean, and it is home to some of Turkey’s best beaches.
The best aspect is the laid-back lifestyle, which can even make work seem like a pleasure to do. Fethiye also does an excellent job of portraying a typical Turkish lifestyle but with modern trends. Meanwhile, over on the Aegean, for a city lifestyle, Izmir is Turkey’s third-largest metropolis and considered the leader of western trends in the country.
Istanbul City Guide: Giving a brief overview, nice to know facts as well as a breakdown of the 39 European and Asians districts, this article about Istanbul is useful if staying in the city for more than one month.
Antalya Area Guide: Including reasons to visit, what it is famous for, and things to do, this area guide for Antalya breaks down the separate districts to give an overall view of what it offers foreigners looking to live in Turkey.
Fethiye Region Guide: This Mediterranean region is home to many foreign expats who live there all year round. Comprising the major city centre and smaller coastal resorts, this article talks about the highlights and reasons it is one of Turkey’s top favourite destinations for foreigners.
What to Do When Not Working
Turkey is not a top visited destination for no reason. Many people adore the country because there is much to see and do. Any digital nomad in Turkey will have no problem spending their leisure time. Consider an overnight break to the ancient ruins of Ephesus, Pamukkale White Calcium pools, and the Fairy Chimneys of Cappadocia, all of which are top visited attractions.
Staying closer to home, activities in Istanbul are endless. The Sultanahmet old city part is from where the Byzantine and Ottoman empires ruled their lands, but we like catching local ferries to explore villages of the Bosphorus. Stay in any Aegean or Mediterranean coastal resort from May to October, and activities include boat trips and jeep safaris. Find out more in our article about the top ten tourist attractions in Turkey.
Living in Turkey: This guide covers all the aspects to know about living in Turkey, as a foreigner. Including culture do and don’ts, how to navigate the language barrier, residency permits, where to live and much more, so any wannabe digital nomad in Turkey will like this useful resource.
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