How many Expats live in Turkey? Best cities to live

The expat residency population of Turkey runs into the thousands. An easy-going, relaxed lifestyle has lured many different nationalities to settle permanently and buy property in Turkey. They generally settle in the same areas and towns, although there are a few exceptions, notably, foreigners who have moved to Turkey for marriage and family.

Three common benefits appear in a majority of expat destinations of Turkey. The first is that English is widely spoken by local Turks, therefore, enabling new arrivals to settle in gently, without knowing Turkish. The second benefit is a close distance to airports, allowing people to come and go as they please.

Lastly, coastal living is a big attraction. Many people have a retirement dream to live near the sea and in the sun. The Aegean and Mediterranean have many coastal resorts with pockets of expat communities. However, each destination also has unique attractions and features, which make up the individual character and face of the town. Let’s look at what they are.

Living abroad

Fethiye: Oludeniz, Ovacik, Hisaronu, and Calis Beach

In the heart of the Mediterranean, Fethiye resembles the best of Turkey with its scenic landscapes and yachting mecca. Brits especially adore the region that accommodates for their every need without giving up its Turkish vibes.

The expat haven is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Also comprising of the smaller resorts of Oludeniz, Calis Beach, Hisaronu and Ovacik, its status as a major hub of the Turkish Riviera attracts other nationalities including keen Australians and Americans who want to sail the Fethiye to Olympos route for low cabin charter prices.

Fethiye lays claim to some of the country’s most beautiful natural landmarks. The Blue Lagoon is the most photographed beach in Turkey, and Butterfly Valley has a long stemming reputation for being at one with nature. Nearby Saklikent gorge, is ideal for day trips out of the city, while a short drive up the coastal D400 takes expats to Patara beach, the longest in Turkey.

Natural beauty stands side by side with historical landmarks. Lycian rock tombs overlooking the central city are the main attraction but not as famous, as the nearby iconic ghost village of Kayakoy, a top visited tourist attraction.

As well as gorgeous landscapes, low Fethiye property prices prompt foreigners, to grab a slice of the Mediterranean pie. Two bedroom apartments start at roughly £50,000 while resale villas are averaging in price from £70,000 to £90,000 dependent on bedrooms, bathrooms, and features.

Lastly, easy access to Dalaman airport, one of the busiest in Turkey, tops off numerous reasons why expats live in Fethiye. The region ensures everything is in place for an easy-going Mediterranean lifestyle.

Oludeniz beach

The Multicultural Antalya region

Heading further east on the Mediterranean coastline, the Antalya district has a more multicultural ambience. Rather than consisting of mainly Brits, Russians, Americans, and Eastern Europeans also make up the multicultural communities. As well as the main city centre, they settle in the smaller resorts of historical Side and cosmopolitan Alanya in particular. Belek though is the golfing capital of Turkey, and lovers of the sport prefer it for the many state of the art courses that also hold international championships.

Like Fethiye, expats enjoy an excellent transport network including the modernised, state of the art airport and interconnecting bus system allowing them to resort hop along the coastline. Possibly the biggest lure, though, is that Antalya city centre operates all year round whereas other touristic hotspots close down in winter.

This is because of the Mediterranean climate with higher temperatures than other places such as Bodrum on the Aegean coast. Sunbathing and swimming on Christmas day is not unheard of, while February and March are mild, pleasant months that are perfect for sitting in beachfront bars, wearing t-shirts while sipping on a cold beer.

Antalya city centre is also a major hub of the region, and shopping malls provide every home comfort including western brand name shops. £50,000 easily gets potential buyers, an apartment in Alanya or, buyers with a higher budget tap into the luxury face of the property market in Antalya, with modern villas featuring the latest in architectural trends.

Beach in Antalya

Yalikavak on the Bodrum Peninsula

For many years, Yalikavak has revelled in its reputation as a touristic hotspot and expat destination. Foreigners started flocking to the resort roughly two decades ago but were especially delighted when the new state of the art Palmarina opened, therefore boosting property in Bodrum values.

Yalikavak’s reputation as a centre of excellence for yachting, sailing, and luxury earns it universal admiration, but expats can still grab themselves a bargain Yalikavak property with prices starting from roughly £80,000. Perhaps the biggest lure for foreigner property buyers though is that construction companies in Yalikavak have embraced living standards trends to match high demands of sailing clientele coming in from the marina.

Highly respected architects have designed houses with clean-cut architecture and all modern cons such as smart home systems and underfloor heating. Large villas, in particular, encompass all luxury features such as private pools, en-suite bathrooms, walk in wardrobes and floor to ceiling windows embracing the Aegean Sea view.

Palmarina Bodrum

Istanbul for Working Expats

While the places mentioned above generally attract retiring expats, Istanbul is a hub for the working professional, whether they are teaching English, employed by an international company or freelancing. As the biggest city in Turkey, Istanbul provides everything including opportunities, contacts and networking sources, making it an excellent career choice.

However, improvements in construction standards over the last ten years, have led many foreigners to also buy property. With rental apartments in high demand, they have the potential to make their money work for them should they ever decide to leave Istanbul.

A multitude of modern one-bedroom apartments also ensures property in Istanbul is within their budget and suits their busy demanding lifestyle. However, all work and no play is tiring so many large projects incorporate communal leisure facilities such as restaurants, gyms, and swimming pools, so expats can also relax in their new home in Turkey.



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