Sometimes clients ask, is Turkey a good place to retire? Having previously bought holiday homes here, they think about living in Turkey as retired expats when they finally give up work. Our answer is always the same. If you have funds and do not have to work, life in Turkey for foreigners is perfect. We need only look at people who already moved to see proof. The best places to live in Turkey include thousands of expats within their communities. Their move to Turkey was the best thing they ever did. Though with such a significant lifestyle change, careful planning is needed. So, we put together this article for people considering to retire in Turkey. We will cover reasons to do it, the best places to choose from, and some tips and advice on how to retire with a smooth transition.
Why Turkey is a Good Place to Retire
1: Low Cost of Living
A big lure for most retired expats is the low cost of living compared to their home country, which means their pensions go further. There is no TV licence, and depending on the size of your family, water averages £3 to £5 per month. Our council tax for last year was £10. Food shopping is made cheaper by shopping at the local farmers market for fruit, vegetable, and dairy products. Owning a car, eating out, smoking, and drinking is expensive, but many expats do it on their pension thanks to a lucrative exchange rate. (Please note, this goes down as well as up.) Many expats enjoy a luxury lifestyle without breaking the bank.
2: Savings Interest Rate
Speaking of money, many retirees take advantage of excellent interest rates on savings accounts. Which, at present, averages out at roughly 10%. (Once again, this goes down as well as up.) They sold their property in their home country, exchanged the cash into the Turkish lira, and deposited it into high-interest savings accounts. They then withdraw the interest monthly after paying tax. Hence, their other source of income means they never touch their net worth.
3: Gorgeous Weather
So, they are the monetary benefits, but let us look at day to day living, which starts by waking up to gorgeous weather. Jan and February see a lot of rainfall, but other months present perfect temperatures. Eat breakfast on your balcony, dine alfresco style on rooftop terraces, fire up the BBQ in your garden, or lie around the pool all day. Turkey has several geographical regions, each with its weather climate. For expats, the Antalya region sees the hottest temperatures when they swim in the sea on New Years Day. Head around to the Aegean for cooler temperatures but copious amounts of sunshine and blue skies.
4: Affordable Modern Housing
Retirees who plan to buy an apartment or villa should expect new, modern housing at excellent prices. Turkey’s housing market is a fraction of what the same property would cost in France, Spain, or Portugal. New homes with SMART technology and trendy décor and design are in abundance. The buying process is speedy, and if all funds and paperwork are ready, buyers receive title deeds in as little as a week. To see the quality of properties, browse our portfolio of apartments and villas. Each listing contains everything to know, including price, location, photos, home features and contact details to find out more via email or arrange a viewing.
5: Simplified Residency Process
Some countries make foreigners jump through hoops to live there, but Turkey does not. The online application process for residency is simple and easy to complete. In the first year, approval lasts one year, but after that, two years. Once retirees live here for eight years, they can apply for a long-term permit. The four main criteria for approval are a clean criminal record, proof you can financially support yourself, healthcare coverage and a place of residence. Alternatively, anyone who buys property worth $250,000 and keeps it for at least three years can apply for citizenship.
6: Excellent Healthcare
Most retired expats buy into the government run SGK system for their healthcare, while others purchase personal, private policies. Regardless, expect the best in healthcare. Some hospitals like those in Izmir receive admiration from all over the world for their skills and expertise. Additionally, Turkey is a top world destination for medical tourism. Thousands of people flock here every year for cosmetic procedures, hair transplants and dental work. Look forward to no more expensive dentist visits because procedures like this cost a fraction of the money in other countries.
7: Gastronomy Delights
Although fast food and frozen ready meals are common in Turkey, everyone still prefers traditional Turkish cuisine. This is primarily because of fresh, quality ingredients. Home baking is still a popular pastime, and the cuisine reflects Turkey’s cultural heritage. Do not stereotype Turkish food as the typical kebab. Turkey is a vast country, and regional specialities vary from north to south. A popular choice on the Aegean and Mediterranean coastline is seafood and fish, while head inland to discover unique meat dishes to melt in your mouth. Also, since Turkey uses many fresh fruit and vegetables, vegetarians and vegans will find plenty of choices. (26 incredible Turkish dishes to try.)
8: Advanced Transport Network
Over the last 20 years, Turkey has spent billions on modernising its transport network. Gone are the old dusty roads; they built new bridges and new highways, so getting to destinations takes half the time. In a typical year, with no COVID, Turkey’s international airports operate smoothly and efficiently, seeing millions of passengers to and from the country in next to no time. The new Istanbul airport is the best example. When fully operational, flights will run to hundreds of countries. Antalya, Dalaman, Bodrum and Izmir are other perfect examples that make getting here from around the world easy.
9: Pursuits and Hobbies
No retiree ever gets bored in Turkey. The country is a big outdoor playground of pursuits and things to do. Head to Belek for the best golf courses in the country. The Antalya region is the place for adventure sports and the Lycian Way, a 500-kilometre trekking route. Sign up for painting or photography courses. Join a local charity helping dogs and cats. Join expat groups for like-minded pursuits like drama, plogging or bowls. Retirees have loads of time, so now is the time to pursue passions, and Turkey is the perfect place. Of course, enjoy hundreds of blue flag beaches, or explore thousands of historical sites from east to west. The choice is yours. (More about hobbies and activities for retirees in Turkey.)
Best Places to Live in Turkey
So, reading the list above, we think these reasons are enough to retire in Turkey. After that, the only decision is where to live. Generally, retired people tend to choose the Mediterranean or Aegean coasts, which offer a relaxed, multicultural ambience, and locals speak many languages like English, German and Russian, become of tourism. Some places stand out as the most popular.
Alanya: Covering the eastern Mediterranean, Alanya officially belongs to the Antalya province, which constantly ranks in the top places for beach tourism, and foreign houses sales. Alanya is growing, though, as local councils invested thousands into tourism. Places like the Mahmutlar neighbourhood prove to cost worthy thanks to low property prices.
Antalya City Centre: Home to Lara and Konyaalti beaches, two of Turkey’s best stretches of sand, Antalya city centre offers a multicultural, cosmopolitan ambience. Sitting near the airport, the shopping and nightlife scenes are the Mediterranean’s best. Anyone interested in arts and culture should choose Antalya city, although this all-rounder suits all works of life.
Belek: If golfing is how you want to spend retired days, get ready for world-class championship golf courses, some of which players like Nick Faldo designed them. Novices sign up for group or private lessons and, after a round, relax in high-class golf clubs. Buyers in Belek love the stylish golfing villas, although apartment living emerged as a favourite in recent years.
Luxury Kalkan: If an upmarket lifestyle appeals, head to Kalkan and a world of large, luxury villas boasting infinity pools and amazing Mediterranean-sea views to wake up to. Kalkan is a hilly destination, so not suited to any retirees with walking difficulties, but most people use cars, bikes, or taxis to get up and down the hill anyway.
Ovacik or Hisaronu: British retirees love these two towns. Initially, coping with an overspill of tourism from the nearby Oludeniz, they sit a five-minute bus ride away from this world-famous beach and Blue Lagoon. Additionally, a short bus ride to Fethiye town centre presents more amenities, including shopping malls, banks and more bars and restaurants.
Fethiye Town Centre: Any retiree will be pleasantly pleased with the price of a property in Fethiye town, the region’s primary hub and a major Turkish Riviera sailing destination. Apartment living is widespread, although there are some villas for sale. Additionally, the portfolio ranges from budget property to luxury homes. One advantage is getting out to explore the surrounding landscapes reveals the beauty of Mediterranean Turkey.
Yalikavak: Heading around to the Aegean coast, we arrive at Yalikavak, another luxury destination. The pinnacle historical point is when the large marina opened, as one of the few in Turkey to accommodate mega yachts, hence don’t be surprised to see the odd celebrity or Saudi royal. Yalikavak does luxury with style, but the old part of town still features its cultural heritage.
Bodrum Town: As the Bodrum peninsula’s beating heart, Bodrum town, a shopping, sailing, and nightlife hub, features an extensive bus network around the peninsula and other places in Turkey. Bodrum’s typical architectural style is whitewashed houses with blue shutters, but the portfolio for sale on the housing market includes new modern homes that are perfect for year-round living. Read more about the best places to live in Turkey.
3 Tips for a Successful Move to Turkey
Be Financially Savvy: Now is the time to know your financial status exactly. Retirees receive pensions in another currency but spend their money in Turkish lira, so shop around for the best exchange rates. When calculating costs of living, factor in payments like healthcare, residency permits and home maintenance costs.
Turkish Language: The best age to learn a language is seven years old; hence retires often struggle. The fact is many retired expats in Turkey do not speak the language. This is not a big problem for retirees living in touristic resorts where locals speak English. But we recommend trying to learn a word a day.
Be Open-Minded: Holidaymakers rarely see authentic Turkey beyond the beaches and bars. Living here is different, though. The best way to settle in is to be open-minded, learn about the culture, and be flexible on day-to-day issues, like the bad habit of timekeeping. When homesickness rears its ugly head, relax, and go with the flow.
We are Property Turkey, a real estate investment specialist. We hope we answered your question as to whether Turkey is a good place to retire. There are many benefits and reasons to move here. So, if you plan to buy a property and have more questions about living in Turkey, call us today or browse our blog that talks about life in Turkey for foreigners, destinations, culture, traditions, history, and tips for retirees.
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