5 Tips for Living in Istanbul

By Joshua Wood, LPC

Expat Exchange Rental Properties

Expats that live in Istanbul, Turkey enjoy a city that is both rich in culture and history. Here are some tips and important considerations for relocating to Istanbul, Turkey.

Expats that live in Istanbul, Turkey enjoy a transcontinental gateway city that is both rich in culture and history. Here are some tips and important considerations for relocating to Istanbul, Turkey.

Expats Should Visit Istanbul Before Relocating

One expat advised that others should visit Istanbul "a couple of times before making the move. Usually the pay and conditions are better if you are hired from abroad but there are more positions available to those who are already in country. Get a job first and then find a convenient place to live nearby. Adding a long commute in a foreign city to the other factors of a new life is not a good idea."

Istanbul Offers What Other "International" Cities Offer

Istanbul is a great expat post in many ways - it has the diversity of an active cosmopolitan city but also has a very nice expat population. There are associations here such as IWI (Intl. Women of Istanbul), AWI (American women), French group, Latino group, Die Brucke (Germans), Italian group and many others.

However, there are significant concerns for women. One expat woman reported about safety that "if you are a pale, blonde Western woman, expect to be sexually objectified. I really, really would not recommend that any woman go out alone (especially not in the Asian side of Istanbul or in a rural area) without at least a female friend (or better yet, a man). This is especially true if you don't speak Turkish well. Do not trust groups of men, even police officers. If you need help, find a Turkish woman to help you.

Expats in Istanbul Recommend Using A Relocation Company

Expats find that relocation companies can ease the transition to life in Istanbul. One expat wrote: "I absolutely recommend contacting a specialist company, as we did. They made the whole process of finding a home, moving and settling in a fun process - rather than a stressful experience!"

Housing Requires Important Choices For Expats In Istanbul

One expat reporting about Housing in Istanbul said that expats should "look around the city before deciding on where you want to live. Some people are more comfortable in compounds and others want to live in Turkish neighborhoods. Since the rents vary so much, even within a given area, it is important to take your time in finding a place if possible.

He added that they "narrowed down the area we wanted to live in and went to a local real estate agent and gave him the list of what we wanted in an apartment." He also reported that "Housing costs vary widely here. We don't live in a compound, so we pay much less in rent. Our rent for a 3 bedroom 1-1/2 bath flat with a Bosphorus view and within walking distance of shopping and the ferryboat is $400 US."

Another expat pointed out that "housing costs in Istanbul are expensive compared to the UK - even compared to London. The average cost of, for example, a 3 bed apartment on a compound would probably be approx. US$ 3,000 per month. Villas on similar compounds can be rented for anything between US$ 4,500 - 10,000 per month (remember pricing varies over time!).

So deciding where you want to live will have a huge impact on what you pay for housing!

Don't Let Istanbul Sneak Up On You!

One expat wrote that "I didnt find Istanbul to be a difficult place to adapt to. In fact I found it very easy to settle in quickly. However, I think it gets harder the longer you stay. Certain things like the traffic situation grind you down over time. Compared to Bangkok for instance which slaps you in the face as soon as you arrive!"

So once you are in Istanbul, take the time to assess how you are managing life there and move quickly to eliminate stress where you can and/or find a way to cope with what you cannot change. You just need to monitor how you are feeling and take the time to take care of yourself!

About the Author

Joshua Wood Joshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000. Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Some of Joshua's more popular articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and 5 Best Places to Live in Spain. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.


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Get a quote for expat health insurance in Turkey from our partner, GeoBlue.
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Get a quote for expat health insurance in Turkey from our partner, GeoBlue.
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Comments about this Article

miryabluecruise
Nov 13, 2015 06:50

"5 Tips for Living in Istanbul" this article can be very good guide for who ever come to Istanbul..

RosaRossa
Sep 21, 2020 13:10

Any recommendation on realtors renting to foreigners? Any recommendation on schools that teach Turkish to foreigners? Also, any recommendation on foreign groups (Italian, French, German, Spanish, English, woman's group)? Thanks all for any reply.

GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Turkey from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Turkey from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote Call  

Istanbul, TurkeyGuide to Living in Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey: Cost of Living, Healthcare and What to Know About Living in Istanbul

Turkey Forum Turkey Forum
Join our Turkey forum to meet other people living in Istanbul, Turkey.

ContributeContribute
Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Istanbul.

Healthcare in TurkeyHealthcare in Turkey

An overview of healthcare in Turkey. Topics include: health insurance requirement for residence permit, hospitals in Turkey, quality of medical care and more.

Istanbul, TurkeyMoving to Istanbul, Turkey

Expats offer advice about everything you need to know before moving to Istanbul: what to bring (and what to leave behind), how to find housing and more.

Istanbul, TurkeyPros and Cons of Living in Istanbul, Turkey

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Istanbul, Turkey.

Istanbul, TurkeyExpats Talk about Living in Istanbul

Expats share their experiences living in Istanbul, Turkey and offer advice about meeting people, schools and more.

Expat Health Insurance and HealthcareExpat Report: Healthcare in Istanbul

An expat in Istanbul talks about health insurance, emergency medical care and non-emergency care in Istanbul. He has an operation at Baskent University Hospital and was very pleased with the quality of medical care.

Expat Report: Culture Shock in Fatih, Istanbul

A serial expat describes his 51 years of experience as an expatriate and world traveler. While not the longest report, it provides some insight into what drives some people to embrace life as a globe trotter.

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