A Comprehensive Guide to Living in Istanbul!
Istanbul is one of the few cities in the world that sits on two continents and divided by the Bosphorus Strait. A city that is a bridge between two continents–and literally–with three suspension bridges spanning across the Bosphorus and connecting Europe and Asia.
If you’re on Istiklal Street, be sure to try Turkish ice cream, but be prepared for the theatre that accompanies every order. Like trained magicians, ice cream vendors perform sleight of hand tricks and well-rehearsed moves that make it entertaining to watch as customers try to grab their ice cream cones. It’s harmless fun that’s included in the price at no extra cost.
Hagia Sophia is one of the most visited museums in the world, showcasing prominent venue art and Byzantine architectural history. Dubbed the “8th Wonder of the World” by Historians, the Hagia Sophia was formerly a church for nearly 916 years. In 1453 it was converted into a mosque by Ottoman conqueror, Fatih Sultan Mehmet.
The list is long for must-see sights in Istanbul: The Blue Mosque, Süleymaniye Mosque, Topkapi Palace, Basilica Cistern, Hippodrome, Grand Bazaar and the Spice Bazaar to name but a few of the most popular attractions.
How to Go in Istanbul?
Getting around Istanbul is surprisingly easy due to the fantastic public transport infrastructure, which is cheap and efficient. If you look closely you’ll see signs with blue squares and a large letter “D”. This is the equivalent of a bus stop in Turkey. The letter “D” represents the public bus transportation system called “Dolmuş”.
Dolmuş can be found nearly everywhere, and they are cheap, modern, clean and well connected. For a few Turkish Liras you can ride on the intricate network for Dolmuş destinations that cover most of Istanbul. For places Dolmuş won’t go, there are trains, the metro system, trams and taxis. In order to reach Europe from Asia, or Asia to Europe across the Bosphorus, Istanbul’s ferry system is efficient and cost-effective. There are very few places you can’t reach in Istanbul given the extensive public transportation links and network that connects the city.
And while English is freely spoken at Istanbul’s top tourist sites, you must learn basic Turkish or have the internet on your smartphone with the Google translation app handy to help in everyday life situations.
The lack of English outside of tourist attractions offers opportunities for employment where most native English speakers can find work teaching English as a second language (ESL). Many expats in Istanbul find work in the public and private school system where native English teachers are always in demand.
Get Used to Turkish Cuisine:
No mention of Istanbul would be complete without mention of Turkish cuisine. Rich, healthy, fresh, diverse and cheap are common words expats use to describe the delights of eating out in Istanbul. Attention to detail with intricate and elaborate dishes that historically hail from the kitchens of Ottoman palaces in a competition amongst resident chefs to rise in the ranks of the Sultan’s kitchen. A mixture and refinement of Central Asian, Middle Eastern and Balkan cuisines because of the expansion of the Ottoman Empire, which took inspiration from each land and people it conquered. It’s therefore nearly impossible to fit Turkish cuisine into a brief list.
Cost of Living in Istanbul.
One of the biggest benefits expats enjoy in Istanbul is the cost of living. Istanbul offers more value for less compared to many cities. According to the costs of living website Numbeo, Istanbul’s rent prices are 84% lower than London, 90% less than New York, 78% cheaper than Paris and 68% more cost effective than Berlin. As rent usually consumes the majority of one’s costs of living, Istanbul offers great value. The next usual highest expense for most are grocery costs where Istanbul is 39% most cost effective than London, 66% less than New York, 57% lower than Paris and 34% cheaper than Berlin.
Extra Information About Istanbul:
- Istanbul is the 8th Most Popular City in the World: Istanbul city, Turkey is No. 8 on the top 10 most popular cities for international travel in the world in 2018, as published by CNN Travel. According to CNN Travel, 13.40 million international overnight visitors are recorded in Istanbul or the year 2018.
Neighborhoods in Istanbul That You Should Visit: Neighborhoods in Istanbul, the country’s largest and busiest city, are an alternative travel experience that gives great insight into the daily life.
- Well-known Places to Visit in Sultanahmet: The Sultanahmet district of Istanbul is the heart of the old city, where rulers of the Ottoman and Byzantine empires made momentous decisions. Discover the old city part of Istanbul.
Visit The Best Ottoman Palaces in Istanbul: Although Turkey has many attractions and landmarks scattered across the country, some of the most iconic are the elaborate Ottoman palaces in Istanbul.