Retire In Turkey: 9 Pros And Cons

Do you want to retire to a brand new country where it’s cheap but it has a high quality of life? Do you like both the eastern and western cultures and want to retire to a place steeped in history and culture?  Maybe Turkey is for you!

Here are the Pros and Cons of retiring to Turkey:


  • Friendly & Happy People
  • Vibrant Lifestyle
  • Nice Weather
  • Great Public Transportation
  • Global Reach
  • Good Private Health Care
  • Very Safe and Secure


  • Language Barrier
  • Expensive Alcohol and Cigarettes  

So now you know the Pros and Cons you can dig in a little deeper below to know why

Introduction To Turkey

Turkey is known for having fantastic cities with interesting multicultural architecture as well as a vibrant culture of the mix of east and west.  It is a safe country that will provide you with a great quality of life. Winters are cold with snow on the eastern european side and a lot more temperate on the asian western side. This relaxed lifestyle will see you living more time outside, especially in the beach towns on the western side where the winter temperatures rarely drop below 10°C or 50°F.

Some of the most popular activities are going to the beach, activities on the rivers and going hiking. The east meets west culture means there is plenty to pick from for food and history that has been inspired by both sides on this old silk road trade route. There is plenty of fresh produce and combined with the use of numerous herbs and spices makes for tasty food with a great variety of influences.  This is made clear by the famous spice markets in Istanbul which is a must for anyone passing through.

Many of their dishes are made with fresh ingredients purchased at major local farmer’s markets.  These can be found all throughout the country. Despite the fact that they do not consume pork the majority of their dishes consist of vegetables, chicken, or beef.

What are the Pros of Living in Turkey

Friendly & Happy People

Turkish people are known all throughout the world for their kindness and hospitality. If you ask for assistance on the street, people will stop what they’re doing and make every effort to communicate with you. Turkish people, especially when it comes to food, are exceedingly giving. They are well-known for hosting dinner parties in their houses.

Turkish people do not differentiate between people based on their countries, religions, nationalities or skin color. There may be some tensions between the countries but they understand that it is solely due to politics. They will take interest in learning about your culture just as much as you will be about theirs.

Vibrant Lifestyle

The Turkish people are well known for being laid back in their attitude to life and the enjoyment of life is important to them as is family. They are happy to help you integrate into their way of life and you won’t feel as isolated as you can in some other countries. 

Despite the rise of quick and frozen foods around the world, Turkish cuisine has remained faithful to its heritage which  focuses on fresh ingredients. The outdoor living, fresh food and lots of outdoor activities including beautiful beaches makes for a great lifestyle in the sun.

Turkey has something for every type of retiree, whether you are a city dweller, love the beach or like going skiing in the winter.  Istanbul is for you if you desire a nice urban city with plenty of shopping and things to do and see. 

Bursa is an excellent place for snowboarding in the mountains in winter and cuddling up to a warm fire.  While Antalya boasts some of the world’s most gorgeous white sand beaches where you can live that laid back beach lifestyle.  Or maybe you want a mix of 2 or 3 during the year and follow the change in seasons.

Here are a few places you can visit on your day off in Turkey:

Nice Weather

Turkey has all seasons and depending on where you are in the country you can experience them all. There is not much rainfall in Turkey and there is a little spread throughout the year from December to January with a little more rain than the other months.  You will get heaps of sunshine all over the country so you will always have a lot of time to live an active retirement.

In the south west you have a desert type climate and on the west and the more greener areas on the european side.  The European side is however a lot colder in the winter with Istanbul sitting in the middle getting down to near zero in the winter.The south east has great beaches that rarely go below 10°C or 50°F in the winter. Antalya on the southern coast is a well known winter escape for those living in Turkey.

Great Public Transportation

Despite its large size Turkey has great transportation links. It has many options in each city and to travel between cities.  The new Havalimanı International airport gives you easy access to the country and with Turkish airlines cheap flights from east Europe to western Europe as well as around the world.  This means you could use Turkey as a base to see everywhere from Asia and Australia to heading home to the USA.  

Domestic flights, public transportation, high-speed trains, ferries and intercity bus services allow for easy access to the rest of the country.  There is also the Istanbul funicular that is a tram that goes up and down from the main shopping street to Taksim. Istanbul itself has a suburban railway, city bus, metro or subway, light rail, minivans and cabs to get you around.

Every town and city has a significant number of municipal buses that are reasonably priced. You may get a smart ticket for a small deposit that can be used not just on buses but also with the subway, tram, and ferries.

Here are the public transportation options you can use in Turkey:

  • Trains
  • Intercity Bus
  • Ferries
  • City Bus
  • Taxis
  • Uber
  • Tram

Global Reach

As we mentioned above with Turkey being a gateway country to travel to the east or west and with the new airport as mentioned above and the cheap flights it is a great country to use as a home base. 

There are train connections connected to cities in Europe such as Budapest, Vienna, Athens, Paris, Yerevan, and Baku to name just a few. Turkey is also quite near to Africa notably those countries located in North Africa like Egypt and Libya. There are non-stop flights accessible to Egypt from Turkey and it will only take 2 hours.  If seeing the pyramids was on your bucket list then Turkey may be a great place to visit them from.

Good Public Private Health Care

As with most countries, having private healthcare is a great way to get priority access and also to stay in private rather than public hospitals.  You need to weigh up your personal medical needs and decide if this is worthwhile for you.

Turkey’s public and private health-care systems are remarkably comparable to those in the United States. Turkey has a somewhat stronger health-care system than the United States with just a minor gap between their global rankings.

The Turkish hospitals are equipped with the most up-to-date technology and with plenty of qualified staff to help you out.  Being such a multicultural society they often speak multiple languages including English.

Even if you live in a small town in Turkey a major hospital is normally only a short distance away and they will transfer you if you have more serious issues and need specialists.  If you already have some medical issues this will form part of your decision on what town you choose to live in anyway.

Very Safe and Secure

Turkey is a very safe place to visit and has had a bad rap in the past and after the people spoke by getting into the streets to stop the last military coup in 2016. Such was their resolve they blocked all major bridges and transport routes by standing and sitting on them in Istanbul until the military passed back control to the politicians.

All of Turkey’s major cities including Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa, Antalya, Bodrum, Fethiye, and others, are extremely safe for expats. The entire Turkish coastline is also extremely safe including the Aegean coast and the Turkish Riviera.  The government goes to great lengths to make sure it is.

Drinking in public in Turkey is against the law unless at a licensed restaurant or bar and public intoxication carries a fine like most other countries.  There are some poor areas of any major town like in big cities around the world you may wish to avoid late at night but your smaller towns are generally safe at any hour of day or night.

The beaches are safe to leave your things on and just obey the normal beach rules you follow in any other country without leaving expensive things lying around in full view.

Remember to check our next article about Retire To Istanbul Turkey: The Surprising Truth.

Also you can check The 11 Best Places To Retire In Turkey and find out the perfect destination for you.

What are the Cons of Living in Turkey?

Language Barrier

The official language is Turkish. People commonly speak English in metropolitan towns and touristy areas. In the heart of the country knowing a little Turkish will go a long way to showing your putting in effort to fit in.  You can also use Google Translate app on your phone to do live translation while talking to locals.

You can use the DuoLingo App on your phone or the DuoLingo web browser on your PC to practice and learn the language. Use this for a few months to gain a few levels by doing at least 2 to 3 lessons per day. When you arrive this will assist you with purchasing food, shopping, and purchasing transportation tickets.

Expensive Alcohol and Cigarettes  

Alcohol and cigarettes in Turkey are exceedingly costly with extremely hefty taxes that were changing almost monthly at one point. A beer in a pub can cost anywhere between 15 and 25 liras (2 and 3 USD). A pint of beer will set you back roughly 40 liras (5 USD) in a high-end establishment. A pack of Marlboro cigarettes will cost you about 20 (2.5 USD) lira with taxes.

While this sounds cheap for us the locals have struggled with the increasing prices and have increasingly had drinks at home rather than out.  Turkey does have a huge smoking population and part of the taxes is to slow down the adoption in younger people to reduce the burden on the health care system when they get older.

Recent Posts