With one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul is a cultural capital with frenzied markets, stunning royal palaces and minarets, and modern art and entertainment. Expats moving to Istanbul will experience a vibrant city, where many traditions intermingle to form a city which captivates the senses.
Compared to the rest of Turkey, the cost of living in Istanbul is expensive. Petrol prices are particularly high when compared to Europe and the US, as is imported alcohol. In fact, most branded imported items will be costly due to high import duties.
However, for daily groceries, medical care and domestic help, Istanbul is cheaper than most Western countries. Education is another expense that expats with children will have to consider when moving to Turkey. Most expats choose to send their children to international schools, which generally offer a superior education to the local public schools in Istanbul. However, this comes at a high price.
Istanbul has a lively nightlife accentuated by some very upmarket restaurants and even trendier nightclubs. There are also numerous modern shopping malls and markets to entice avid shoppers. Most notably, Istanbul is home to the Grand Bazaar, which boasts over 4,000 shops and is surrounded by a maze of streets lined with even more shops.
Expats in Istanbul will hardly find themselves being bored. The public transport system in Istanbul is efficient and highly affordable, which makes it easy to explore the city, as well as its famed historic sites. There is also an abundance of nearby villages and towns which offer the chance for weekend escapes from the hustle and bustle of the city.
"Turkey and Istanbul called to me with the lure of close friends, lots of laughter and endless possibilities to explore what the country has to offer, challenge myself and grow." Read Lisa's thoughts on living in Istanbul.
"Expat usually prefer the European side of Istanbul but as a family we believe the Asian is better, greener and quieter." Read about Nelle's experiences in Istanbul in her interview with Expat Arrivals.
Are you an expat living in Istanbul?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Istanbul. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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