Last updated on Feb 02, 2023
Summary: People describe Izmir, Turkey as a vibrant and modern city with a rich cultural heritage. Expats love the city's Mediterranean climate, its friendly locals, and its vibrant nightlife. The weather in Izmir is typically mild, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-50s to the mid-70s Fahrenheit. The average cost of living for an expat is around $1,000 to $1,500 per month. The cost of a one bedroom apartment is typically around $400 to $600 per month, while a two bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from $500 to $800 per month. The approximate population of Izmir is 4.3 million.
What do I need to know about living in Izmir?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Izmir, they said:
"If you are planning to retire in Izmir, you should research the cost of living in the area. You should also familiarize yourself with the city's climate and local culture. Look into health care options and find out if you'll need a visa or residency permit. It's also important to consider where you will live and what types of amenities, transportation and recreational activities are available in the area. Additionally, research the tax laws and regulations for retirees in Izmir to ensure you are compliant when filing your taxes," added another expat who made the move to Izmir.
"If a friend of mine was thinking of moving here I would be delighted! I think it's a great city. I would advise them to learn some Turkish beforehand (it'll make things a little smoother) and not to forget their winter stuff (even though Izmir is on the Aegean and has hot summers it gets cold here in the winter)," explained one expat living in Izmir, Turkey.
What do I need to know before moving to Izmir?
When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Izmir, they said:
"Izmir is one of the most populated cities in Turkey and has a big expat community. It has mild winters and hot summers, so it's important to be prepared with the appropriate clothing and goods. Public transportation is convenient, with a metro, trams, and buses connecting the city. The majority of people speak Turkish, however many locals speak some English and if you want to study the language there are many courses and schools that can help. The cost of living in Izmir is low compared to other cities in Turkey, and there are many inexpensive options for food and accommodation. Besides the traditional culture that Turkey is known for, Izmir offers a vibrant nightlife, beaches, and cultural festivals. It's important to note that there are major seasonal differences in Izmir, with some months being extremely hot, so be sure to plan ahead," added another expat in Izmir.
"I know an expat who moved her stuff from abroad to Izmir by boat and that was costly. I would suggest just buying furniture here there's lot of designs and styles. Bring what you can from home in your suitcases and even if you have to pay an $50 bucks for an extra suitcase, it's worth it if the contents mean a lot to you. Find a neighborhood that feels comfortable and pleasant to you. It's important to like what you see when you look out the window and walk down the street. I like how all the apartments in my area are different architecturally and it's pleasing to the eye. The streets are tree-lined and it's not very noisy. So, make sure you feel good about the place you're in," remarked another expat who made the move to Izmir.
How do I find a place to live in Izmir?
We asked expats how they chose their neighborhood and found a place to live. They answered:
"Izmir is a popular destination for its Mediterranean climate, cultural attractions and stunning sea views. There are a variety of accommodation options in Izmir, ranging from luxury hotels to budget guesthouses and apartments. Depending on your budget and preferences, you can search online for suitable accommodation such as HotelsCombined and Booking.com for hotels, AirBnB for apartments and homestays, or TripAdvisor for user reviews and recommendations. Additionally, there are real-estate websites in Turkey where you can compare prices and locations before buying a property, such as sahibinden.com, gayrimenkul.com and zingat.com. Finally, it is also possible to find a place to rent directly from landlords or contact local estate agents to help you find the perfect place to live," remarked another expat living in Izmir, Turkey.
"I recently married a lovely Turkish man and he already has his own home in a very nice neighborhood of Karsiyaka. It's a 10 min. walk to the seaside and parks and there are ample corner markets, bakeries, pharmacies and grocery stores nearby. The post office isn't far away either, so we are in a good location," added another expat in Izmir.
What is a typical expat home or apartment like in Izmir?
"Typical expat homes or apartments in Izmir tend to be luxurious and well-appointed. They typically have modern appliances and amenities like high-speed internet, air-conditioners, and comfortable furnishings. Many offer access to nearby recreational facilities like pools, tennis courts, and golf courses. Expats can typically find homes or apartments located in areas near the city centre, close to shopping, restaurants, and entertainment. Most properties will also have access to good public transport links and are often located in gated compounds for added safety and security," remarked another expat living in Izmir, Turkey.
"We live in an apartment ('daire' as they say in Turkish) which is of a good size for us (open kitchen and a decent size living room, one bathroom, two bedrooms and a balcony). I have met a few expats and they all have similar housing," added another expat in Izmir.
What is the average cost of housing in Izmir?
If you are thinking about moving to Izmir, cost of living in probably a key consideration. Expats commented about the cost of housing:
"The average cost of housing in Izmir is generally considered to be moderate. Prices can vary depending on the area, but generally range from around 500-1600 euros per month for a one-bedroom apartment or house," wrote a member in Izmir.
"Lower--because in the States I paid rent. My husband had his own home so there's no rent. Yay! However, even if we did pay rent it would be cheaper than back in the US. A person can find a nice apt. for anywhere between 450 to 600 Turkish lira. But 500 TL seems to be more of the average in our neighborhood," commented one expat who made the move to Izmir.
How do I meet people in Izmir?
When we asked people living in Izmir about club and activities where newcomers can meet others, they responded:
"Izmir is a vibrant city with plenty of opportunities to make new friends! To meet people in Izmir, you can attend local meetups, join interest-based clubs, attend volunteer or cultural events, or visit places like cafés, parks, malls, and cultural venues. You can also meet people online through social media or communication apps like Meetup, Couchsurfing, and Expat Izmir. Additionally, joining a language exchange group can help you meet people who speak different languages," remarked another expat who made the move to Izmir.
"There's the Izmir Turkish American Association which has various activities for Turks and Americans and some of them are free and for others there's a fee. They do things such as go on outings to historical sites, cooking classes, English lessons, poetry club and movie nights, just to name a few. Also, there's the IWAI (International Women's Association of Izmir), which hosts coffee mornings, dinners, and other events," explained one expat living in Izmir, Turkey.
What should I bring when moving to Izmir?
People living in Izmir were asked what three things they wish they had brought and three they wish they had left behind. They wrote:
"Essentials for a move to Izmir include, but are not limited to, clothing for various weather conditions, bedding, cooking supplies, toiletries and cleaning supplies, documents and identification, important papers and files, money, medicines, pictures and mementoes, and books and favorite items. Electronics and equipment such as computers, chargers, and adapters, if needed. Local currency, a power strip for plugging in electronics, a phone and its charger, adapters, and plug converters, an unlocked cell phone, personal hygiene items, towels and face cloths, and any important items needed while settling into a new home," commented one expat who made the move to Izmir.
"At the moment, the only things I wish I would have brought with me are a nice tin of baking cocoa, some good quality slippers in a size 10 for ladies and my collection of dvds," remarked another expat living in Izmir, Turkey.
Where should I setup a bank account in Izmir?
We asked expats in Izmir what banks they use and there advice about banking. They advised:
"There are many banks in Izmir, where you can setup a bank account. Some of the banks located in Izmir include Garanti Bankas?, Halk Bankas?, ?? Bankas?, Ziraat Bankas?, Vak?fBank, Yap? Kredi Bankas? and TEB. You may also be able to setup an account at other international banks such as Citibank, HSBC and ING. You should contact the bank or visit their website for more detailed information on how to open an account," said another expat in Izmir.
Will I be able to find a job in Izmir?
When we asked people about industries and career opportunities in Izmir, they reponded:
"Yes, finding a job in Izmir is certainly possible. Many local and multinational companies are located in the city, meaning there are numerous job opportunities for those looking for work. Additionally, English fluency is highly valued in Izmir and so those with this fluency can have even more job prospects. It is advisable to use job sites like LinkedIn and Glassdoor to search for jobs in the region and to make an effort to network with people in your field. Izmir is also an attractive tourist destination and there are often many seasonal positions that become available in the tourism industry," wrote a member in Izmir.
"Teaching English at various language schools, private schools, or universities is an option. There are employees of NATO here. And there are people who work for foreign companies," commented one expat who made the move to Izmir.
What is life like in Izmir?
When we asked people living in Izmir what life is like and how people spend their time, they said:
"Life as an expat in the area can vary greatly, depending on one's individual situation. Many expats live and work in larger cities, such as Belgrade or Novi Sad, or even smaller towns or villages, but the culture and lifestyle in each area will be different. There are numerous opportunities to explore the local culture, with plenty of historic and cultural sites, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor activities and sightseeing. The weather is mild and the cost of living is relatively low, making it a great place to live. Expats will have access to a wide range of amenities, from great transportation systems to international schools and supermarkets. The locals are usually friendly and welcoming and are usually open to meeting expats. While it may not be the most exciting destination, it does offer a sense of stability that many expats appreciate," commented one expat who made the move to Izmir.
"In my opinion people focus mainly on work and family (with family comes the socializing). My strata is mainly with folks in their 30's and 40's and so they work (life requires it) and then want to spend time with their family and friends. Many Turks work long hours unfortunately so when they have free time they want to socialize. I'm not sure about the college folks etc. They probably have a whole different scene," remarked another expat living in Izmir, Turkey.
What do expats in Izmir appreciate most about the local culture?
"Expats in Izmir appreciate many aspects of local culture, including the relaxed atmosphere and friendliness of the people, the delicious cuisine, and the beauty of the city. They especially enjoy the thriving cultural life, ranging from the excellent music venues, art galleries and museums to the vibrant nightlife. Many expats enjoy the relaxed lifestyle and slower pace of life compared to larger European cities. Shopping is also a popular pastime in Izmir, with its abundance of markets, boutiques and shopping malls offering everything from high-end designer labels to local handicrafts," wrote a member in Izmir.
"I really like how everyone is so hospitable and they love to tell you about Turkey. Everyone wants to present a good image of their country. The healthcare is wonderful and so is the food (both which are cheaper than in the US). I love the historical sites and the greenery. The pace of life is much more relaxed here in Izmir than in Istanbul and that is really a blessing. Everyone loves to sing and some people will just break out in song (almost feel like I'm in a Hindi film sometimes :-)," commented one expat who made the move to Izmir.
What do expats find most challenging?
"Expats may find the process of acclimatizing to new cultures and lifestyles, learning the language and navigating cultural norms and expectations to be challenging. Additionally, making friends and finding employment in a new country, especially if the language and cultural barrier is strong, can be difficult. Finally, being away from family and friends, and navigating taxes and banking regulations in the new country may be overwhelming factors," wrote a member in Izmir.
"I like Turkish culture, but I guess the challenging aspect would be dealing with people who are completely opposite me in personality at the workplace. And that's not really a culture issue. I could experience that back in the US. Another thing would be not being able to express myself completely since I'm not fluent in Turkish," commented one expat who made the move to Izmir.
Is there a lot of crime in Izmir?
We asked people if there is a lot of crime. They answered:
"Izmir is generally a very safe and secure city with relatively low levels of crime in comparison to other large cities in Turkey or abroad. The crime rate in Izmir is substantially lower than most cities in the United States, for instance, and most citizens of Izmir feel safe walking the city streets at night," remarked another expat who made the move to Izmir.
Is there a lot of diversity? Are people in Izmir accepting of differences?
"Izmir is a major city in Turkey and is known for having a diverse population. The city is a melting pot of different cultures and religions, making it home to an estimated 3.5 million people of different backgrounds. This includes a large population of immigrants and refugees from neighboring countries such as Syria and Iraq. It is also a popular destination for tourists from other parts of the world. People in Izmir are known to be friendly and generally accepting of differences. Several neighborhoods in the city have become hubs for locals and foreigners alike, allowing for a more tolerant relationship between different cultures," wrote a member in Izmir.
"The city receives a lot of tourists from all over especially in the summer so I think people have to be aware of differences and somewhat accepting. There are expats and retirees from abroad living here too, so that makes it diverse a little. The city is modern and has a cosmopolitan feel. You certainly don't feel like you're in a Turkish village somewhere in Anatolia," commented one expat who made the move to Izmir.
What are the schools in Izmir like?
"Izmir has many excellent elementary, middle, and high schools. The schools in the city follow the Turkish educational system, emphasizing the importance of basic academics, strong extra-curricular activities, and fostering an appreciation for the arts, science and mathematics. Students are also taught to respect their environment and the world around them. Most schools also offer various language classes and the opportunity to learn about other cultures," remarked another parent with kids at in Izmir.
"Our children are so happy to make friends from all world over, they learn English so quick, academics strong, our family are very pleased with everything," explained one expat living in Izmir, Turkey.
About the Author
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.