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Expat Exchange - Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Turkey (Plus, Itineraries) 2024
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Istanbul, Turkey


Best Places to See While on a Look-See Trip to Turkey (Plus, Itineraries)

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: For those contemplating a move to Turkey without a specific locale in mind, embarking on a look-see or exploratory journey to explore various expat havens can provide invaluable insights. Here are some top suggestions for places to explore while scouting out Turkey.

Embarking on a Look-See trip to Turkey is an invaluable step for anyone considering relocation. This exploratory journey offers a firsthand experience of the country's diverse regions, cultural nuances, and daily life. It allows potential expats to assess the suitability of various cities and towns for their lifestyle, work, and family needs. By visiting different areas, one can gauge the cost of living, local amenities, expat communities, and the overall vibe of a place, making an informed decision about where to settle down.

Recommended Itineraries

For a 10-day trip, consider a route that covers key cities known for their expat-friendly environments. Start in Istanbul, then head to the coastal city of Izmir, followed by the historical allure of Antalya. If time permits, visit the capital city, Ankara. On a 20-day trip, extend your journey to include the Aegean towns of Bodrum and Fethiye, the Mediterranean charm of Marmaris, and the unique landscapes of Cappadocia. This extended itinerary provides a broader perspective on living options, from bustling metropolises to serene seaside towns.

Istanbul

Istanbul, straddling two continents, is a vibrant metropolis with a population of over 15 million. It offers a blend of modern living and rich history, with a relatively high cost of living compared to other Turkish cities. Expats and digital nomads are drawn to its dynamic culture, diverse neighborhoods, and extensive business opportunities. The city's European side is particularly popular, offering a more international lifestyle with numerous amenities and entertainment options.

Travel Tip: While in Istanbul, don't miss the chance to visit the iconic Hagia Sophia, a masterpiece of Byzantine architecture, and enjoy a meal at the renowned Mikla Restaurant for contemporary Turkish cuisine with a view.

Izmir

Izmir, Turkey's third-largest city, is known for its relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere and is a favorite among expats seeking a balance between urban life and beachside relaxation. The cost of living is more affordable than Istanbul, and the city boasts a rich cultural scene, with a population of around 4.3 million. Its proximity to ancient sites like Ephesus and seaside towns like Çe?me and Alaçat? make it an attractive base for explorers and history enthusiasts.

Travel Tip: Sample the local flavors at Alsancak Dostlar F?r?n?, a bakery beloved for its traditional pastries and breads, and take a stroll along the Kordon, Izmir's famous seafront promenade.

Antalya

Antalya is a historical city on the Mediterranean coast with a population of over 2.5 million. It's a hotspot for retirees and expats who enjoy its mild climate, beautiful beaches, and lower cost of living. The city offers a mix of modern amenities and ancient architecture, with a thriving expat community that often gathers in the old town, Kaleiçi. Antalya is also a gateway to smaller coastal towns like Kemer and Ka?, which are worth exploring.

Travel Tip: Visit the Antalya Museum to immerse yourself in the region's history and enjoy a meal at 7 Mehmet, one of the city's most famous eateries, known for its traditional Turkish dishes.

Ankara

Ankara, the capital city of Turkey, has a population of over 5.5 million and offers a more subdued lifestyle compared to Istanbul. It's known for its governmental institutions, universities, and foreign embassies. The cost of living is reasonable, and the city has a growing expat community. Ankara provides a blend of modern urban life with access to parks, museums, and historical sites.

Travel Tip: Explore the Ankara Citadel for a panoramic view of the city and dine at Trilye Restaurant, which specializes in seafood and offers a fine selection of wines.

Bodrum and Fethiye

Bodrum and Fethiye are two Aegean towns that offer a tranquil lifestyle by the sea. Bodrum is known for its bohemian vibe, luxury resorts, and vibrant nightlife, while Fethiye is appreciated for its natural beauty, marinas, and the famous Ölüdeniz Beach. Both towns have a significant expat presence and provide a good balance of leisure activities and local culture, with a cost of living that's attractive to many foreigners.

Travel Tip: In Bodrum, visit the Castle of St. Peter for a dose of history and enjoy a meal at Marina Yacht Club Restaurant. In Fethiye, don't miss the Tuesday Market for local produce and textiles, and relax at the Mozaik Bahçe for authentic Turkish and Mediterranean cuisine.

Marmaris and Cappadocia

Marmaris is a Mediterranean resort town with a bustling marina and a lively expat community. It's known for its natural harbor, pine-clad hills, and vibrant bazaar. Cappadocia, on the other hand, is a region in central Turkey famous for its fairy chimneys, cave dwellings, and hot air balloon rides. Towns like Göreme, Ürgüp, and Avanos offer a unique living experience amidst otherworldly landscapes.

Travel Tip: In Marmaris, enjoy the sea views at the Nil Bar, and in Cappadocia, dine at Seten Anatolian Cuisine in Göreme for traditional dishes in a cave setting.

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.


William Russell
William Russell

William Russell
William Russell

Istanbul, Turkey

SJB Global
SJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

SJB GlobalSJB Global

SJB Global is a top-rated financial advisory firm specializing in expat financial advice worldwide, offering retirement planning & tax-efficient solutions with a regressive fee model.
Learn More

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