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Expat Exchange - 7 Tips for Living in Istanbul 2024
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Istanbul, Turkey


7 Tips for Living in Istanbul

By Betsy Burlingame

SJB Global
SJB Global

Summary: Advice for people moving to Istanbul or thinking about moving there.

This is a must read if you're moving to Istanbul or thinking about moving there.

As an expat or digital nomad, living in Istanbul can be an exciting and enriching experience. This vibrant city, straddling two continents, offers a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures, a rich history, and a bustling modern lifestyle. Here are seven key tips to help you make the most of your time in Istanbul.

1. Learn the Language

While it's possible to get by with English in Istanbul, learning some Turkish will greatly enhance your experience. Not only will it make daily tasks easier, but it will also help you connect with locals and understand the culture better. You can take language classes or use language exchange apps to practice with native speakers.

2. Explore the Neighborhoods

Istanbul is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own unique character. Sultanahmet is the historic heart of the city, home to iconic landmarks like the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia. Beyo?lu is known for its vibrant nightlife and arts scene, while Kad?köy on the Asian side is a foodie's paradise. Spend time exploring different neighborhoods to find your favorite.

3. Try the Local Cuisine

Turkish cuisine is diverse and delicious, and Istanbul is the perfect place to sample it. Don't miss out on street food like simit (a sesame-encrusted bread ring) and bal?k ekmek (fish sandwich). For a sit-down meal, try local restaurants like Çiya Sofras? in Kad?köy or Karaköy Lokantas? in Karaköy, both known for their traditional Turkish dishes.

4. Use Public Transportation

Istanbul's public transportation system is extensive and relatively easy to navigate. The metro, trams, and buses can take you almost anywhere in the city. The ferry is also a great way to travel between the European and Asian sides of the city, offering stunning views of the Bosphorus along the way.

5. Visit Museums and Historical Sites

Istanbul is rich in history, and there are countless museums and historical sites to explore. The Topkapi Palace, the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, and the Chora Museum are just a few examples. Don't forget to also visit the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar, both historical marketplaces that are still bustling with activity today.

6. Enjoy the Outdoors

Istanbul offers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. Take a stroll along the Bosphorus, relax in one of the city's many parks like Emirgan Park or Y?ld?z Park, or take a ferry to the Princes' Islands for a day trip. The city also hosts various festivals throughout the year, such as the Tulip Festival in April and the Istanbul Jazz Festival in July.

7. Get Involved in the Community

One of the best ways to feel at home in Istanbul is to get involved in the community. This could mean joining a local club or organization, attending local events, or volunteering. Research groups that align with your interests and get involved. This will not only help you make friends and connections, but also deepen your understanding of Turkish culture and society.

Living in Istanbul as an expat or digital nomad can be a rewarding experience. By learning the language, exploring the neighborhoods, trying the local cuisine, using public transportation, visiting museums and historical sites, enjoying the outdoors, and getting involved in the community, you can truly immerse yourself in this vibrant city and make the most of your time here.

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Fun, easy and effective language courses designed by language experts. Learn 41 languages from your native language. Anytime, anywhere, on any device. 50 topics to prepare you for the most common situations. 36 vocabulary builders to install words fast. 41 real conversations to give you fluency.

Mondly by PearsonMondly by Pearson

Fun, easy and effective language courses designed by language experts. Learn 41 languages from your native language. Anytime, anywhere, on any device. 50 topics to prepare you for the most common situations. 36 vocabulary builders to install words fast. 41 real conversations to give you fluency.
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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


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SJB Global

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SJB Global

Istanbul, Turkey

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