Living in Istanbul: The Complete Guide

Living in Istanbul: The Complete Guide

Hey there, fellow adventurer! Are you ready to experience the unique blend of history, culture, and modernity that Istanbul has to offer? As one of the most dynamic and vibrant cities in the world, Istanbul is a feast for the senses that will leave you wanting more. From the bustling markets and stunning mosques to the delicious cuisine and welcoming locals, there’s something for everyone in this city that spans two continents. Whether you’re looking to explore the ancient ruins of the Byzantine Empire or dance the night away at one of Istanbul’s trendy clubs, this city has it all. 

So, come along with us as we embark on a journey to discover the enchanting city of Istanbul!

Why Live in Istanbul?

If you’re tired of living in the same old city and craving something new and exciting, look no further than Istanbul, the city that never sleeps! Istanbul is a city of contrasts that will keep you on your toes and leave you wanting more. From the rich history and stunning architecture to the vibrant nightlife and delicious cuisine, Istanbul has it all. 

You can spend your days exploring the winding streets of the Grand Bazaar, sipping Turkish tea at a local cafe, or taking in the breathtaking views of the Bosphorus. And when the sun sets, Istanbul comes alive with a thriving music scene and endless entertainment options. Even everyday life in Istanbul is a constant exploration. So why not make the move to Istanbul and experience all that this incredible city has to offer? Trust us, you won’t regret it!

Pros and Cons of Moving to Istanbul

Pros of Living in Istanbul

  • Beautiful architecture: This city is home to some of the world's most stunning architecture, including the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosque.
  • World-class cuisine: Istanbul's cuisine is a delicious blend of flavors from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
  • Warm and welcoming locals: It’s known for its friendly and hospitable locals who are always eager to welcome newcomers and share their culture.
  • Affordable cost of living: Compared to other cities in Europe, Istanbul is surprisingly affordable, offering a high quality of life for a fraction of the cost.
  • Vibrant nightlife: Istanbul's nightlife scene is second to none, with countless options for entertainment after dark.

Cons of Living in İstanbul

  • Language barrier: Turkish can be a difficult language to learn, and many locals may not speak English fluently, making communication a challenge.
  • Traffic congestion: Istanbul is notorious for its heavy traffic, which can be frustrating and time-consuming.
  • Air pollution: Due to its large population and heavy industry, Istanbul has high levels of air pollution, which can be a concern for some residents.
  • Political instability: Turkey has experienced political turmoil in recent years, which can be a concern for those considering a move to Istanbul.
  • Crowded streets: Istanbul is a densely populated city, which means that streets and public spaces can often be crowded and noisy.
  • Living costs: Although Istanbul is relatively much cheaper compared to many major cities in Europe, due to the position of the Turkish Lira against USD and Euro, it's still the most expensive city in Turkey.

Moving to Istanbul offers a unique and exciting opportunity to experience a vibrant culture, but it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making the move.

Cost of Living in Istanbul

  • Housing: Finding a place to live in Istanbul can be an adventure in itself! Depending on where you choose to live, you can find everything from luxurious apartments to cozy studios. Prices can vary widely, but in general, housing in Istanbul is more affordable than in many other major cities.
  • Transportation: Istanbul has various public transportation options, including buses, ferries, and even cable cars! Public transport costs are relatively cheap, so you can explore the city without breaking the bank.
  • Food and drink: Its food scene is legendary, and luckily, it’s also affordable. Whether you’re indulging in a juicy kebab or savoring a cup of traditional Turkish tea, you can expect to pay a reasonable price for a delicious meal.
  • Entertainment: There’s always something to do in Istanbul, whether you’re exploring the city’s historic sites or enjoying the nightlife scene. While some activities may be more expensive than others, overall, entertainment in Istanbul is relatively affordable.
  • Utilities: While the cost of utilities like electricity and water can vary depending on your usage and the size of your apartment, in general, they are relatively affordable in Istanbul.
  • Healthcare: Istanbul has a reputation for providing quality healthcare, and costs can be more affordable than in other major cities. Plus, with a variety of public and private hospitals and clinics, you have plenty of options for medical care.
  • Education: Whether you’re looking to enroll in a university program or just want to learn Turkish, Istanbul has plenty of educational opportunities. Tuition costs can vary depending on the institution, but overall, education in Istanbul is more affordable than in many other European cities.

Overall, the cost of living in Istanbul is relatively affordable, especially when you consider all the city has to offer. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and delicious cuisine, Istanbul is a city that’s sure to steal your heart – without emptying your wallet!

Quality of Life in Istanbul

Have you decided to move to Istanbul? Well, let us tell you, it’s a city that offers an incredible quality of life. From its delicious cuisine to its rich culture and history, Istanbul has something for everyone.

But let’s start with entertainment. Istanbul has a thriving nightlife scene, with plenty of bars, clubs, and music venues to explore. And if you’re a lover of the arts, you’ll be pleased to know that Istanbul hosts a range of festivals throughout the year, from the Istanbul International Film Festival to the Istanbul Biennial.

And, let’s talk about the city’s public spaces. Istanbul has plenty of parks and green spaces where you can relax and enjoy the city’s beautiful scenery. From the iconic Bosporus Strait to the lush gardens of the Yildiz Palace, there are plenty of places to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

In short, Istanbul is a city that offers a high quality of life – from its delicious food to its rich history and culture, there’s something for everyone here. So why not leap and start your adventure in this incredible city?


Have you started to plan a trip to Istanbul and are looking for a place to stay? Well, let us tell you, the city has a range of quirky and unique accommodation options that will make your stay unforgettable.

If you’re looking for something traditional, then you might want to consider staying in a historic Ottoman mansion or a traditional Turkish house. These accommodations are often beautifully decorated with intricate details and offer an authentic glimpse into Istanbul’s past.

But if you’re looking for something a little more modern and quirky, then why not try staying in a converted factory or a boutique hotel? Istanbul has a range of unique accommodation options that are sure to impress, from design hotels with stunning rooftop bars to converted lofts with industrial-chic interiors.

And if you’re on a budget, don’t worry – Istanbul has plenty of affordable options too. Hostels are a popular choice for backpackers, solo travelers, and all digital nomads, offering a range of private and shared rooms at affordable prices. And if you’re looking for a more local experience, you might want to consider staying in an Airbnb or a homestay with a local family.

But no matter where you choose to stay, one thing is for sure – Istanbul’s unique and diverse culture will make your trip one to remember. So why not step outside your comfort zone and try something new? Whether you’re staying in a traditional mansion or a quirky boutique hotel, your stay in Istanbul is sure to be unforgettable.


Istanbul, the city where East meets West, is a hub of culture, history, and bustling streets. As a visitor to this city, it’s important to know the ins and outs of transportation. From ferries to trams, here’s a quirky guide to getting around Istanbul by means of public transport.

First up, let’s talk about the ferries. The ferries in Istanbul are not your average mode of transportation. Not only are they a practical way to cross the Bosphorus, but they also offer breathtaking views of the city’s skyline. You can hop on a ferry from Eminonu to Kadikoy, Uskudar, or even take a Bosphorus cruise.

 Next, the tram. The T1 line is a great way to get from one side of Istanbul to the other. However, be prepared to get cozy with your fellow passengers. The trams can get crowded, but that just adds to the quirkiness of the experience. Take the tram to the Grand Bazaar, and get ready to be transported back in time as you navigate the maze of vendors and haggle for souvenirs.

Last but not least, let’s talk about the dolmus. This shared taxi service is an adventure in itself. You can flag one down on the street, or find a dolmus stop. They operate on specific routes and can take you to areas that may not be covered by other forms of transportation. Just be ready for a tight squeeze, as dolmus drivers like to pack in as many passengers as possible. Who knows, you may even make a new friend or two along the way!

Pro tip: Be sure to grab a simit (a circular sesame-covered bread) before you board the ferry for the ultimate Istanbul experience.


We know that staying healthy and taking care of yourself is important, no matter where you’re in the world. That’s why we’re here to tell you all about healthcare in Istanbul.

First off, let’s talk about the basics. Istanbul has a range of public and private hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies that offer quality healthcare services at affordable prices. And don’t worry about the language barrier – many healthcare professionals in Istanbul speak English and other languages.

But what about non-Turkish residents who need more specific healthcare services, like mental health counseling or specialized treatments? Istanbul has you covered there too. There are plenty of private clinics and hospitals that offer a range of specialized services, from acupuncture and massage therapy to chiropractic and dental care.

And if you’re worried about the cost of healthcare, you’ll be happy to know that Istanbul is known for its affordable prices. You can get quality healthcare services at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay in other countries.

So why not take care of yourself and stay healthy while you explore all that Istanbul has to offer? Whether you need a routine check-up or specialized treatment, Istanbul’s healthcare system has got you covered.


Istanbul has a unique climate that’s influenced by both its location on the coast of the Black Sea and its proximity to the Mediterranean. This means that the weather can be unpredictable at times, with hot and humid summers, chilly winters, and mild spring and fall seasons.

But don’t let the unpredictable weather deter you – Istanbul is a beautiful city to explore, no matter what the weather is like. In the summertime, you can enjoy the city’s many outdoor cafes and parks, while in the winter, you can cozy up in a traditional tea house and watch the snowfall.

And if you’re worried about packing the right clothes for your trip to Istanbul, don’t stress – just pack a mix of layers and you’ll be ready for anything. Be sure to bring a light jacket and umbrella for those unexpected rain showers, and some comfortable shoes for all the walking you’ll be doing.

So embrace the unpredictability of Istanbul’s weather, and enjoy all that this vibrant city has to offer – rain or shine!


Are you a foodie? Well, you’re in luck, because Istanbul is a food lover’s paradise!

Istanbul is a city that has been shaped by its rich history and diverse cultures, and its cuisine reflects that. From traditional Turkish dishes like kebabs and baklava to international favorites like pizza and sushi, there’s something for everyone in Istanbul.

One of the best ways to experience the city’s cuisine is by exploring its street food scene. You’ll find vendors selling everything from simit (a circular bread covered in sesame seeds) to kokoreç (grilled sheep intestines), and everything in between. Be sure to try some of the city’s most famous street foods, like döner kebab (slow-cooked meat on a rotating spit) and midye dolma (stuffed mussels).

And don’t forget about the city’s many restaurants, cafes, and markets. Istanbul has a vibrant food scene with options to fit any budget or taste. The city presents the meals from all other cities in Turkey, as well as its own take on Turkish cuisine and street food. Whether you’re looking for a fine dining experience or a casual meal with friends, Istanbul has you covered.

But perhaps the best part of Istanbul’s cuisine is the opportunity to experience traditional Turkish hospitality. You’ll find that locals are proud of their cuisine and love to share it with visitors. So don’t be surprised if you’re invited to share a meal or a cup of tea with a friendly local.

So, are you ready to embark on a culinary journey through Istanbul? Grab your appetite and get ready to experience the city’s delicious and diverse cuisine.

Education in Istanbul

Istanbul is home to some of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Turkey, including Istanbul University and Boğaziçi University. These institutions offer a wide range of programs in fields like engineering, business, and humanities.

But education in Istanbul isn’t just limited to universities. There are many excellent public schools, private schools and international schools in Istanbul. The city is also home to a variety of language schools, offering courses in Turkish as well as other languages like English and Arabic. Whether you’re looking to brush up on your language skills or start learning a new one, Istanbul has options for you.

And let’s not forget about the city’s rich history. Istanbul is a city that has been shaped by many different cultures over the centuries, and that history is reflected in its museums and cultural institutions. From the stunning Hagia Sophia to the Istanbul Archaeology Museums, there’s plenty to explore and learn about in this city.

So, if you’re looking for a city with a strong educational system and a rich cultural heritage, Istanbul might just be the perfect destination for you.

Expat Community in Istanbul

Istanbul is a multicultural city with a vibrant and diverse expat community.

You’ll find expats from all over the world living in Istanbul, from Americans and Brits to Australians and Canadians. And there are plenty of opportunities to meet other expats and get involved in the community, from language exchange groups to expat meetups and social clubs.

So, whether you’re looking to make new friends, connect with other foreigners in the city, or just learn more about life in Istanbul, the expat community in this city has got you covered.

Best Neighborhoods to Live in Istanbul

 If you’re thinking about making the move to Istanbul, one of the first things you’ll want to consider is where to live. Fortunately, Istanbul has a variety of great neighborhoods to choose from, each with its unique vibe and charm.

If you’re looking for a trendy and bustling neighborhood in the city center on the European side, then Beşiktaş might be the perfect spot for you. Or if you’re looking for a more relaxed and residential area in the Asian side, then Kadıköy might be the way to go.

Other popular neighborhoods for expats include:

  •  Şişli,
  •  Ortaköy, 
  • Üsküdar. 

If you want to save money, on the other hand, you may want to check out neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city.

No matter where you decide to live in Istanbul, you’re sure to find a good neighborhood that suits your lifestyle and personality. So start exploring and find your new home in this amazing city!

Things to Know Before Moving to Istanbul

There are a few things you should know before you go to Istanbul. 

  • Istanbul is often mistaken as the capital city of Turkey. Note that the capital city of the country is not Istanbul but Ankara.
  • Istanbul is Turkey’s largest city in terms of population. So, get ready for some serious traffic. Istanbul is a bustling metropolis, and rush hour can be a real nightmare. But don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.
  • Be prepared for some cultural differences. Istanbul is a beautiful blend of East and West, but that means you’ll encounter some unfamiliar customs and traditions. Embrace the differences, and you’ll have a richer experience.
  • And finally, get your palate ready for some seriously delicious food. Istanbul’s cuisine is legendary, and you’ll want to try everything from traditional kebabs to street food favorites like simit and baklava.

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to take on Istanbul like a pro. Enjoy your new home!

Tips for Living in İstanbul

  • Take advantage of the city’s excellent public transport. The metro, trams, and ferries can take you anywhere you need to go, quickly and affordably.
  • Explore the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Each one has its own unique character and charm, so get out and discover what makes Istanbul special.
  • Learn to speak Turkish, even if it’s just some basic Turkish phrases. Even a little effort goes a long way in making connections and showing respect for the local culture.
  • Be prepared for some unexpected adventures. Istanbul is full of surprises, so embrace the unexpected and go with the flow.
  • Get yourself familiarized with the Turkish culture
  • Make friends with the locals. Turkish people are warm, welcoming, and eager to share their city with visitors. So get out there, meet some new people, and have fun!

Related Articles




What is the cost of living in Istanbul?

Although it's the most expensive city in Turkey, the cost of living in Istanbul is generally lower than in other cities in European countries in terms of housing, food, and transportation options. However, the cost of certain items, such as imported goods or high-end restaurants, may be high for those who earn an average salary. Overall, the cost of living in Istanbul can vary depending on factors such as location, lifestyle, and personal spending habits.

Are there many expats living in Istanbul?

Yes, there is a significant expat community in Istanbul, with people from various countries living and working in the city. Most expats are drawn to Istanbul for its cultural diversity, rich history, and strategic location between Europe and Asia. The city offers a vibrant social scene, opportunities for business and career growth, and a relatively affordable cost of living for expat families, compared to other major European cities.

What are the challenges of living in Istanbul?

Some of the challenges of living in Istanbul include traffic congestion, language barriers, cultural differences, and occasional political instability. Additionally, finding affordable housing in desirable areas can be challenging, and air pollution can be a problem during certain times of the year. However, with careful planning and a willingness to adapt to the local culture, many people find that these challenges are outweighed by the unique and rewarding experience of living in Istanbul.

What are the advantages of living in Istanbul?

Living in Istanbul offers a rich and diverse cultural experience, with a mix of historical and modern attractions. The city boasts delicious cuisine, lively nightlife, and beautiful scenery, including stunning views of the Bosphorus. Additionally, Istanbul is home to a welcoming and diverse expat community, with many opportunities for professional and personal growth.

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