Living in Antalya for Expats – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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Clear beaches, beautiful mountains, and mysterious caves are some of the wonders Antalya promises. With a unique history and love for Turkish tradition, it is no wonder why many foreigners wish to relocate to this tourist city permanently. To make the process easier and well-informed, we have provided a complete guide for living in Antalya as an expat.
Why It Is An Expat Destination
There are tons of reasons why one of the largest foreigners living in Turkey can be found in the expat community in Antalya. As far as foreign property purchases go, Antalya is only second to Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city. Here are a few reasons why Antalya is a top choice for expats.
1. Affordable Cost of Living
Living in Antalya is significantly cheaper than living in most European countries and even some places in Turkey. Compared to Istanbul, life in Antalya is 12% cheaper. Compared to other locations in Europe, like London, the cost of living is 43% cheaper. The utilities and daily needs of Antalya residents are low-cost but still high quality.
Food is relatively cheap, but you might have to pay extra for the nonessentials. Also, the USD, Euro, and Pounds exchange rate tilt in favor of the Turkish Lira. Therefore, if you’re relocating with those currencies, you’ll find one bill covering for more things than you could imagine. Overall, it’s the promise of living a good life on less money,
2. Year-Round International And Domestic Flights
Antalya is Turkey’s foremost international coastal district. It is also one of its most prominent holiday destinations. Since a lot of movement occurs in the area, it is only essential to have great transport options. Antalya ensures this by having an ultra-modern airport from which they grant domestic and international flights that run all year.
This allows expats to easily access different parts of the country and even Europe any time they please. During winter, it is typical for the other major holiday airports to close shop, but Antalya never does.
3. Investing In Real Estate Is Easy
To encourage foreign investment in real estate, the process of finding, applying, paying, and acquiring real estate in Antalya has been made seamless. If it’s a cheap studio apartment that catches your fancy, you’ll find enough options.
If state-of-the-art, luxurious edifices are your thing, then there are several options to choose from. Due to the exchange rates, you can pay cash outright for a house. A great property by the seaside would start from $40,000 and could be yours in less than two weeks if you do all the right things.
4. There’s A Great Lifestyle Shift
The cool evening air, beautiful seasides, nightclubs, good company, and good vibes make Antalya a great place to lay back and enjoy your life. If you’re relocating from a demanding, tense, and bustling life that constantly pushes your anxiety to the brink, then Antalya might just be the therapy you need.
5. The Weather Is Fantastic
Antalya has a famous saying that you could experience all the seasons at once in the beautiful city. This saying is popular because Antalya weather provides warm Mediterranean summer and winters with little or no rain. It’s the ideal weather for a holiday destination.
6. Shopping Is Much Easier And Fun
Unlike many other holiday resorts, Antalya is not ‘closed-off or ‘removed’ from the rest of the world. You are provided with endless shopping choices from some of your best stores, the biggest to the smallest.
The city’s center boasts of giant all-inclusive shopping malls that allow you to satisfy your every shopping need – from food shopping to clothes and even household items. Away from the city’s center, you’ll still find major supermarkets where you can complete your shopping under one roof. And some of the prices are even cheaper.
7. There’s a Big Expat Community
Like we mentioned in this section’s introduction, the largest group of foreigners you’ll find throughout Turkey are residents in Antalya. As an expat, you’ll not feel isolated or culturally confused for a long time. If you can locate the spots where most of the expats frequent (like pubs, dinners, parties, etc.), you’ll make enough friends that would be all too willing to help you navigate the new experience.
Cons Of Living In Antalya As An Expat
Granted, Antalya is a great place to live, but there are a few factors that may be absolute deal breakers for a few people. On that note, here are a few cons of living in Antalya as an expat.
1. There’s A Language Barrier
Many expats have confessed to having a hard time learning Turkish. In their defense, Turkish is one of the most complex languages to learn. Without understanding and learning how to speak it, you’ll be unable to make any new friends or successfully engage in social discourse.
Although living in tourist resorts where there are English-speaking locals might be comforting, you won’t learn the language quickly enough, and this will affect other areas during your stay. Surrounding yourself with Turks and allowing them to correct your mistakes will help you learn the language faster.
2. You’ll Experience A Culture Shock
Turkish culture is so distinct from many other European cultures, talks less of American culture. Therefore, it is only typical that you experience some degree of culture shock. The whole of Turkey is deeply religious, conservative, and very traditional.
You might, unfortunately, find that there’s not much room for you to ‘be yourself, especially when it defies the tradition. Your presentation in public, dressing and even cuisine might need to adjust if you want to blend in and live there permanently. It is also important to note that there are not many black people in Turkey.
Most locals might make a black person feel conscious of their ‘separateness,’ which might become a problem. As a tourist location, this issue might not be as intense in Antalya, but it is still something that should not be completely ruled out. Regardless, if you open your mind to learn new and exciting things about Turkish culture, you’ll find many locals willing to teach you.
3. Income is Relatively Low
For expats who still wish to engage in paid labor, the process is not exactly seamless. A good majority of the expat population in Antalya are retirees and are not expected to continue to earn an income. You cannot earn payment with a tourist visa; else, you’ll attract fines or even deportation.
Getting a work permit is not a walk in the park either, as strict procedures are laid out. But if you do not mind teaching English in the schools or becoming a holiday representative, then you’ll find more than enough work. It doesn’t pay much, though.
Interesting Facts About Antalya
There are a few facts about Antalya that would help you see just how enchanting the city truly is. Without further ado, check it out below.
- Although the population of Antalya is pegged at one million inhabitants, it drives up to more than twice its size during tourist seasons.
- Regardless of the weather, season, or destination, the ultra-modern airport in Antalya runs domestic and international flights all year round.
- Antalya is ancient. Although there is no accurate account of how many years this city has stood, the earliest mentions of its existence go as far back as 159BC.
- Antalya is considered a very safe city. However, the greatest danger to a tourist or expat is from the local swindlers who try to sell fake and overpriced handmade crafts by convincing them that the crafts are exclusive pieces from ancient artisans. Unfortunately, many foreigners fall for it.
- Turks are obsessed with tea. The average local drinks tea at least ten times a day.
- Antalya is divided into two – the Old and New Cities. The Old City houses more historic and family-centered sights. The New City, on the other hand, is a metropolis with modern infrastructure and sights.
- One of the three largest archeological museums in the world is in Antalya.
- Antalya is the gateway to the Turkish Riviera.
- Antalya has been renamed four times before finally settling for its current name. Its old names are Attaleia, Attalia, Satalia, and Antalya.
- One major attraction in Antalya is the burning flames of Chimera that never go out. There have been several attempts to put out the fire, and nothing has worked. In ancient times, the flame served as a guiding light to ships and helped them not crash on the rocks. Till now, the flame continues to burn every single second of every day.
- You’ll find the world’s most extensive tunnel housing different species of fish in Antalya. It is called the Antalya Aquarium.
- Antalya is Turkey’s fifth-most populous city.
- Kaleici, the old preserved Roman city, lies in Antalya. There, you’ll find relics of Roman civilization and even Roman ancient-style buildings.
- Antalya has been controlled by three major empires in the past – the Greek, Byzantines, and Romans. As a result, you’ll find architectural monuments from these three cultures in the old era
- The city of Antalya was once considered a Christian city. This was before the Byzantine empire fell.
Traveling To Antalya Today
To enter Antalya, you need a Turkish visa which will allow you to enter Turkey and stay for a specified period of time. The type of visa you apply for will also determine which activities you can engage in and to what degree.
The E-Visa and Sticker Visa
Turkey generally offers two types of visas, the e-visa, and the sticker visa. The e-visa allows you to apply directly online and get your visa within thirty minutes of your application. Turkey is not a part of the Schengen agreement, so not all countries (even European) are eligible for an e-visa. Therefore, you’ll have to check their website to know if you meet the eligibility requirements.
With an e-visa, you have 30 to 90 days to stay in Turkey, and the visa is only valid 180 days from when it is granted. If you find your country ineligible for an e-visa, then the sticker visa is your next available option. To do this, you’ll need to set up an appointment with the Turkish Embassy, drop your passport, and then wait until you’re told to come to collect it.
Moreover, you’ll also need to sit through an interview to help the Embassy conclude giving you the visa. The sticker visa takes more time and money to process, but it’s as good as an e-visa once it is granted. Whether you apply for an e-visa or a sticker visa depends on 1) your nationality and 2) the purpose of your visit. Also, a few nationals are exempted from applying for a ticket, but they can only stay 30-90 days.1
Staying Longer in Antalya
If you entered Turkey with a tourist visa over the time specified, you’d need to get a Turkey Residence Permanent ID Card that allows you to stay in Antalya for longer. You can apply for this ID card online with all the correct details. With this legal ID, you are entitled to a few benefits;
- You can stay longer
- You can work in international companies
- You can marry a Turkish spouse
- You can open a Turkish bank account
- You can obtain a Turkish driver’s license
- You can make personal or corporate investments
- You can buy, sell, and invest in real estate
- You can build your startup
- You can travel in and out of Turkey.
And many other benefits.
Your short-term residence permit will need to be constantly renewed until the eighth year when you can then turn it into a long-term residence permit which comes with an infinitive work permit. If it pleases you and meets all the requirements, you can apply for Turkish citizenship and a passport.
Here are a few things you should note;
- You should apply for a work permit or longer residence within 30 days of your arrival.
- Also, if you want to apply for a work permit, make sure you visit the local police station to verify your address within 30 days of your arrival.
- Always keep your passport and authorization handy in case of random police checks. This is particularly for those who want to stay permanently.
Cost Of Living In Antalya
Living the ideal, sun-kissed life in this Mediterranean city is surprisingly not as expensive as most people would assume, especially given the price of the same amenities in neighboring countries. Life in Antalya is amazingly cheap, and some of its best experiences come with no price tag at all!
Accommodation in Antalya
Antalya’s home prices are easily some of the cheapest you’ll find on that side of Europe. Due to the exchange rates, you can buy a house for as low as $35,000. Among foreign real estate investors in 2020, Antalya was the second top destination after Istanbul. Apartments (studio, 1+1, 2+1) range from $30,000-$55,000.
While the rent for villas could range from $865 to $3,750, you can simply buy one if you have anything from $64,000 to $150,000. You can, of course, find decent and spacious apartments where you’ll pay rent ranging from $200 to $500. It all depends on the area, the appliances you want to be installed, and your budget.
It might also interest you to know which areas have been marked as the best places for foreigners to live in Antalya. Lara beach neighborhood which is one of Antalya’s oldest tourist neighborhoods, is a great place to live if you want an active social scene.
Apart from the obvious allure of the sandy, clear beaches, this area provides other amenities like bars, restaurants, sophisticated blogs, shopping malls, and many more. Even Antlaya’s ultra-modern airport is a stone’s throw away.
There is also Konyaalti Beach. One reason why this area is a great place to invest in real estate is because of the upcoming Bogacy Development that will turn the area into a world-class marina. There’s also Alanya, Belek, and Kalkan, which are also great areas.
Utilities in Antalya
In Antalya, your rent does not cover your utility cost. You have to pay separately for it. Electricity is supplied privately and costs between $26 to $52. Turkish local municipalities provide water, and it would cost $63 to $73. Private companies supply internet connectivity, and the charge depends on which provider you decide to work with. Private companies also provide gas and typically cost around $126.
Food in Antalya
Traditional Turkish food is one of the blessings living in Antalya affords you. Turkish food is rich in protein, delicious, and amazingly cheap. You can find fresh produce, vegetables, fruits, and seafood to make delicacies at home. A lot of them are homegrown and, as such, very cheap and high quality.
You can spend an average of $250 monthly on home-cooked meals.
Being a tourist destination, there are many local and international restaurants available to satisfy most of your cravings. How much you spend at these spots depends largely on your budget. You can get fast, street food for as low as $1 and food at a high-end, sit-down restaurant for as low as $8.
Transportation in Antalya
Many of the places you need to be are within walkable distance, and you might find that a vehicle might not be used often. A one-way ticket costs $0.42, while the regular price for the monthly pass is around $27. A taxi ride could cost anything from $0.42 to $3, depending on the distance. There’s no Uber in Antalya. The flights are inexpensive too. Traveling within the country is $20, while one-way flights to the United Kingdom or Germany range from $30 to $40.
Health Care in Antalya
Health care in Antalya is of high quality with state-of-the-art medical infrastructure and personnel. As a tourist, your travel health insurance should be sufficient to cover you, but as an expat, you can apply for the Temporary Residence Permit, which requires you to subscribe to Turkish Health Care. The insurance company and the package you subscribe to determine how much you would have to pay monthly. For expats, it usually ranges from $35 to $45.
Entertainment and Leisure in Antalya
In a tourist spot like Antalya, there’s more than enough fun to be had in every corner of the town. From shopping sprees to dining in local and international restaurants, visiting historic sites, exploring the archaeological museums, surfing the beaches, lounging in the bars, going out with friends, etc., there are so many avenues through which you can derive pleasure. How much you spend depends on how much entertainment you’re willing to subscribe to.
Some Extra Tips For Living In Antalya As An Expat
- A high-paying job is very difficult to find in Antalya. Therefore, if you plan to relocate and continue working, it’ll be wise to find a job before you move.
- The relatively cheaper costs of buying a house may tempt a few people to dive into the offer, but many expats advise that you live in rented housing before making that decision. This is so that you can explore your options, get to know the city, and buy a home you’d really love.
- Your first year as an expat will be very challenging. First, you might deal with loneliness and being away from everyone you know. You’ll have a lot of free time and not nearly enough friends to spend it with. As you socialize more, it’ll get better.
- Before making your move, enroll in a few Turkish courses that will help you improve in the language. Watch free online resources on platforms like Youtube and practice consistently until you, at least, have a basic understanding.
- Do not make only expat friends. This will limit your understanding of the culture and your new environment. Although they’ll help you settle down quickly, Turkish friends will provide a fresh and beneficial perspective of your experiences.
The number one rule for thriving as an expat is always to maintain an open and teachable spirit that is not adverse to learning and growth. This way, you’ll learn everything you need to know about the beauty that is Antalya. Refer to this guide for more information about Antalya and many others.