İstanbul becomes home to a significant number of expats every year as one of the most important cities in both Turkey and the world in terms of cultural heritage, rich investment and business opportunities, and peaceful and multicultural lifestyle. Many foreign visitors eventually return as long-term residents after falling in love with the city.
What are the pros and cons of living in İstanbul?
The magnificence and rich history of the city must be the first thing that springs to mind. İstanbul has long been a center of trade and industry due to its advantageous location along the Bosporus.
There is history and culture everywhere in the structures and people of this former capital of the Eastern Roman Empire, which eventually became the Ottoman Empire. Expats will be amazed at the jaw-dropping beauty of the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Basilica Cistern, medieval stone Galata Tower, and other attractions.
Aside from İstanbul's history, numerous additional attractions make the city unique. The well-known boat trips and excursions across the Bosporus are among the most well-liked. A short ferry trip away, the Princes' Islands are another popular destination for expats seeking a tranquil and laid-back weekend getaway.
Cafes and eateries where expats can have tasty meals are always available. You can go shopping in many of the neighborhood's boutiques, antique stores, bookshops, and art galleries. We should not overlook the monthly theater, concert, opera, and ballet performances hosted by İstanbul's local municipalities. Many events are also organized by private businesses.
Moreover, Turkey's advantageous location allows for easy access to Europe in a few hours via plane, with the UK and the majority of the Middle East only four hours away. American expats in İstanbul can easily travel to the USA at affordable prices as well. İstanbul International Airport (IST), one of the biggest airports in the world, makes traveling to all countries easier.
As a disadvantage, expats may face some culture shock, but this is easily overcome, thanks to the hospitality of the Turkish people. Speaking English will make it easy for expats to get around the city and live there, but occasionally they can run with non-English speakers. In summary, living in İstanbul as an expat has many advantages.
What is the cost of living in İstanbul for expats?
Its low cost of living makes it simple and reasonably priced to enjoy a good standard of expat living in İstanbul. The local bazaars and supermarkets are great and affordable places to shop for groceries. Still, expats will surely appreciate the excellent-quality goods and ingredients available in the city's well-known markets, such as the Grand Bazaar. Low- to middle-class restaurants and cafés offer excellent value for their money and are well-priced.
In general, real estate for sale on the European side of İstanbul is slightly more expensive than those on the Asian side. Many types of apartments, flats, and villas are equipped with decent utilities and conveniences. House moving costs are delightfully low as well.
Of course, costs will rise in proportion to the house's level of luxury. İstanbul is a metropolitan city with endless opportunities, after all. Along with the luxury, the cost of living in a city with such high demand and steady visitor growth will inevitably rise, however, it is still reasonably priced when compared to European capitals.
You can find the detailed info on the page of Cost of Living in Turkey.
What are the job opportunities like in İstanbul?
Jobs for expats in İstanbul vary depending on a person's qualifications. İstanbul is a large city with a sizable job market that offers a wide variety of opportunities to skilled experts. That’s why expats have a good chance of finding employment there if they are highly qualified in a certain field.
Additionally, those with strong English proficiency can stand a very excellent chance of working as sales representatives or in other roles at companies that conduct business with their home country. An achievable alternative is also possible if they have qualifications or abilities in foreign language instruction.
Another option, of course, is to become a digital nomad. Istanbul is one of the most preferred cities by digital nomads. In line with high demand, the city also has many comfortable spaces for them. You can visit the page The Ultimate Guide to Coworking Spaces in Istanbul Turkey to see the best ones for digital nomads.
What are some of the best schools in İstanbul for expat families?
İstanbul is home to a large number of foreign schools, providing expat families with a wide selection. Most use the Council of International Schools system or the International Baccalaureate program. English, French, Italian, Russian, and Arabic are some of the most preferred instruction languages.
Tuition varies depending on the school and can be costly as in other European countries. This is actually because schools offer students a wide range of opportunities. On the other side, Turkish state schools are free and let students interact and make friends with local children, but the primary language of teaching is Turkish. International Schools and Education in İstanbul consists the detailed information about multilingual schools.
What are some of the best neighborhoods in İstanbul for expats?
The European side of İstanbul is where most foreigners live, but there is a considerable expat community on the Asian side as well. Traveling by ferry, taking the metro, or crossing bridges are some of the easy ways to get from Europe to Asia. Sometimes there can be a lot of traffic on the bridges, especially during rush hour.
When choosing the best places to live in İstanbul for expats, things to take into account include accessibility to basic facilities, travel time, and distance to work and school. Here is a summary of the areas of İstanbul that are most well-liked by expats.
The European side of İstanbul
Etiler, Ulus, Levent, and Ortaköy are in the Beşiktaş district. These neighborhoods have grown in popularity among foreigners because of their central location and abundance of stores and restaurants. There are many different options for luxurious residences, including apartments and villas.
Şişli is home to Nişantaşı and Teşvikiye, which are some of İstanbul's trendiest shopping areas. Middle-class families typically live in Esentepe and Gayrettepe. Additionally, due to its central location, Mecidiyeköy is a popular neighborhood for students.
Arnavutköy, Kuruçeşme, and Bebek are the more central neighborhoods along the Bosphorus. Expats who want to live near the sea may prefer these regions. Here apartments are typically expensive, especially given their prime location along the coast.
The Asian side of İstanbul
In addition to being a developing and multicultural neighborhood, Kadıköy is the transportation hub for İstanbul's Asian side. As it is near the Sea of Marmara, there are many flats with sea views at a variety of cost levels. Even though Kadıköy has a lot of pubs and restaurants, many express enjoy how much more peaceful it feels than the European side of İstanbul.
Situated on the seaside, Üsküdar is a residential neighborhood with great transportation connections to other sections of İstanbul. It has lots of marketplaces and lovely stores, making it a great place for families.
You can check The Guide to Living in İstanbul as a Foreigner to learn more about expat life in İstanbul!