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Expat Exchange - Cost of Living in Istanbul 2024
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Istanbul, Turkey


Cost of Living in Istanbul

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell
William Russell

Summary: If you're moving to Istanbul, understanding the the cost of living in Istanbul helps you know what to expect when it comes to apartment or house hunting, grocery shopping, transportation, dining out, utilities and more.

Apartment Rentals The average cost of renting an apartment in Istanbul is around $500 to $1,000 per month, depending on the size and location. The cost of renting a furnished apartment is usually higher than an unfurnished one.
Apartment Purchases The cost of purchasing an apartment in Istanbul varies greatly depending on the size, location, and amenities. Prices can range from $50,000 to $1 million or more. The average cost of a two-bedroom apartment in the city center is around $200,000.
Transportation Public transportation in Istanbul is relatively inexpensive. A single ride on the metro or bus costs around $1.50. Monthly passes are also available for around $30. Taxis are also available and the cost of a ride depends on the distance traveled.
Groceries The cost of groceries in Istanbul is relatively low. A basket of basic groceries such as bread, milk, eggs, and vegetables can cost around $20. Prices may vary depending on the type and quality of the products.
Restaurants The cost of eating out in Istanbul varies greatly depending on the type of restaurant. A meal at a fast food restaurant can cost around $5, while a meal at a mid-range restaurant can cost around $20. Prices may be higher at more upscale restaurants.
Utilities The cost of utilities in Istanbul is relatively low. The average monthly cost for electricity, water, and gas is around $50. Internet and phone services are also available for around $30 per month.
Private School Tuition The cost of private school tuition in Istanbul varies depending on the school and grade level. Preschool tuition can range from $500 to $1,000 per month. Elementary school tuition can range from $1,000 to $2,000 per month. Middle school tuition can range from $2,000 to $3,000 per month. High school tuition can range from $3,000 to $5,000 per month.

Monthly Budget for Retirees in Istanbul

"The cost of living in Istanbul is generally considered to be quite reasonable. Groceries, transportation, and utilities are all relatively inexpensive compared to other major cities in Europe. Eating out can be quite affordable, with a variety of restaurants offering delicious local cuisine at reasonable prices. Rent prices can vary depending on the area, but overall they are still quite reasonable," said one expat living in Istanbul.

Can I live in Istanbul on $1,500 a month?

"I've been living in Istanbul for a few years now, and I can tell you that it's possible to live comfortably on $1,500 a month, but you'll have to make some sacrifices. First, you'll need to choose an affordable neighborhood to live in. Some of the more expensive neighborhoods like Bebek, Nisantasi, and Etiler are definitely out of the question. Instead, consider more affordable areas like Kadikoy, Uskudar, or even some parts of Beyoglu.Rent will be your biggest expense, so try to find a small apartment or share a flat with roommates to save on costs. You can find a decent one-bedroom apartment in a more affordable neighborhood for around $400-$600 a month. Utilities and internet will add another $100-$150 to your monthly expenses.When it comes to transportation, using public transport is the most cost-effective option. A monthly transportation pass costs around $30, and it gives you unlimited access to buses, trams, and ferries. Taxis and ride-sharing services can be quite expensive, so try to avoid them as much as possible.Eating out can also be quite affordable if you stick to local restaurants and street food. A meal at a local eatery will cost you around $3-$5, while a meal at a mid-range restaurant will set you back around $10-$15. Cooking at home is also a great way to save money, as groceries are relatively cheap in Istanbul.Entertainment and leisure activities can be quite affordable as well. There are plenty of free or low-cost events and attractions to enjoy, such as visiting parks, museums, and historical sites. However, if you're into nightlife and going out to bars and clubs, be prepared to spend more, as alcohol can be quite expensive in Turkey.In summary, living comfortably on $1,500 a month in Istanbul is possible, but you'll need to be mindful of your spending and make some sacrifices. Stick to affordable neighborhoods, use public transportation, and enjoy local cuisine to make the most of your budget," commented an expat living in Istanbul.

Can I live in Istanbul on $3,500 a month?

"I've been living in Istanbul for a few years now, and I can tell you that it's definitely possible to live comfortably on $3,000 a month, but you'll have to make some adjustments and sacrifices. First, you'll need to choose an affordable neighborhood to live in. Some of the more expensive neighborhoods like Bebek, Nisantasi, and Etiler might be out of your budget, but there are plenty of other great options. I'd recommend looking into areas like Kadikoy, Moda, or Cihangir, which are more affordable but still have a lot of character and charm.When it comes to housing, you'll probably need to downsize a bit and be open to living in an older building. You can find a decent one or two-bedroom apartment in these neighborhoods for around $500-$800 a month, but it might not have all the modern amenities you're used to. Utilities and internet will add another $100-$150 to your monthly expenses.Groceries and eating out can be quite affordable in Istanbul if you stick to local markets and restaurants. You can expect to spend around $300-$400 a month on food, depending on your eating habits. Public transportation is also quite cheap, with a monthly pass costing around $30.One sacrifice you might have to make is cutting back on entertainment and leisure activities. Going out to bars, clubs, and fancy restaurants can add up quickly, so you'll need to be mindful of your spending in this area. However, there are plenty of free or low-cost activities to enjoy in the city, like exploring parks, visiting historical sites, and attending local festivals.Healthcare is another area where you might need to make some adjustments. While public healthcare is available, it can be crowded and the quality of care might not be up to your standards. Private healthcare is more expensive, but you can find reasonably priced insurance plans that will cover most of your needs.Overall, living in Istanbul on $3,000 a month is doable, but you'll need to be mindful of your spending and be willing to make some sacrifices. By choosing an affordable neighborhood, cutting back on entertainment expenses, and being open to adjusting your lifestyle, you can enjoy a comfortable life in this beautiful and vibrant city," said one expat living in Istanbul.

Can I live in Istanbul on $5,000 a month?

"I've been living in Istanbul for a few years now, and I can tell you that it's definitely possible to live comfortably on $5,000 a month, even if you're used to modern amenities. However, there might be some sacrifices you'll have to make to ensure you stay within your budget.Firstly, you'll want to choose an affordable neighborhood to live in. Some of the more expensive areas, like Bebek, Nisantasi, and Etiler, might be out of your budget if you want to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Instead, consider looking for a place in more affordable neighborhoods like Kadikoy, Moda, or Cihangir. These areas still have a great atmosphere and plenty of amenities, but the cost of living is more reasonable.When it comes to transportation, Istanbul has a pretty good public transportation system, including buses, trams, and ferries. Using public transportation instead of relying on taxis or a personal car can save you a significant amount of money each month.Eating out can be quite affordable in Istanbul, especially if you stick to local restaurants and street food. However, if you're used to dining at high-end restaurants, you might need to cut back on that to stay within your budget. Cooking at home can also help you save money, and you'll find that groceries are generally quite affordable.One sacrifice you might have to make is cutting back on imported goods, as they can be quite expensive in Turkey. Instead, try to embrace local products and brands, which are often of good quality and much more affordable.Finally, while there are plenty of entertainment options in Istanbul, some can be quite pricey. To stay within your budget, consider taking advantage of the many free or low-cost activities the city has to offer, such as visiting parks, attending local festivals, or exploring the city's rich history and architecture.Overall, living comfortably on $5,000 a month in Istanbul is definitely achievable, but you'll need to be mindful of your spending and make some adjustments to your lifestyle," commented an expat living in Istanbul.

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

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