Digital Nomad Guide in Turkey: Everything You Need to Know

Ever since I lived in Turkey (officially known as Turkiye) for the first time when I was a student in 2010, I got a chance to come back there and spend some time living my “semi” digital nomad life in the past few years. And this is what I'm going to share in this digital nomad guide in Turkey! 

Unlike other digital nomads in Turkey who live there full-time and plan to stay there for good, I usually only spend a month or two to immerse myself in the local life for a bit before heading back home. 

However, I have some friends who live in Turkey as a digital nomad so I also have some tips and precautions for what you need to expect when planning to live there – based on my personal nomadic journey in the country, as well as others'.  

In this digital nomad guide in Turkey, I'll cover everything you need to know about being a digital nomad in the country. From visa requirements and the living costs you need to expect, to things like healthcare or the best places to stay as a foreigner, here's your guide to digital nomad life in Turkey!

Preparing to move to Turkey, but not sure where to start? Here are my top recommendations for apps to use in Turkey!

  • Book your flights: Check, as they often offer some good deals for domestic flights in Turkey!
  • Book your bus or inter-city transport: For inter-city buses in Turkey, you can rely on BusBud to book the bus tickets online. You also need to install TCDD Tasimacilik Eybis app to book inter-city train tickets online in Turkey. As for transportation within the city, I recommend installing BiTaksi or Uber to minimize getting scammed by dishonest taxi drivers. 
  • Public transport card: Each city usually has one if they have an integrated public transportation system. In Istanbul, you can get Istanbulkart to travel around the city by public bus, trams, metro, ferries, and funecular. If you go to the other cities, you need to grab the local ones, such as Ankarakart in Ankara, Bursakart in Bursa, or Izmirimkart in Izmir. Lots of public transport in Turkey also accept card payment via MasterCard. 
  • Book your accommodation: You can choose several platforms to book a place to stay in Turkey, including, Agoda, and Trivago. For long-term accommodation, you can rely on Sahibinden, but keep in mind it's only accessible in Turkey unless you use a VPN.
  • Communication apps: Most people in Turkey use Whatsapp or Telegram for communication. So you're likely to use either apps for communication with your landlords or other establishments in Turkey. To stay connected, you can also purchase an eSim via Airalo.
  • Food delivery apps: The most popular one is Yemeksepeti, but you can also install Getir to order food delivery in Turkey. 
  • Travel insurance: SafetyWing is your best bet, especially if you plan for a long-term stay in Turkey.
  • Money matters: If you have a Wise or Revolut account, I'd recommend using their debit cards for all transactions in Turkey. For cash withdrawals, I find Ziraat Bankasi offers the best rate with a minimum fee compared to other banks in Turkey. 

Everything You Need to Know About Living in Turkey as a Digital Nomad

The Turkish economy has been crumbling in the past few years. Prices can change every hour and every day, and I'm not exaggerating. 

Due to the weakening state of the Turkish Lira (TL) as the local currency, you may find things super cheap in Turkey. But because of this, the chance of getting scammed in Turkey when you're a foreigner is higher than ever. 

If you plan to live in Turkey for the long term as a digital nomad, I recommend starting to learn Turkish to minimize the language barrier. It will also help to avoid getting scammed, because as a foreigner you're the main target for some shady stuff – especially in the popular places for tourists like Istanbul or Cappadocia

Not sure if Turkey is the best destination for your digital nomad life? Here's everything you need to consider before deciding to move to Turkey as a digital nomad! 

Canakkale waterfront in Turkey.
Canakkale waterfront in Turkey.

Visa Requirements

Depending on your nationality, you may or may not need to apply for a visa in advance to stay for an extended period in Turkey as a digital nomad. If you're not sure which category you're in, I'd recommend checking it on the official Turkish government e-visa website here

A lot of nationalities are exempt from visas, and they can stay in Turkey without a visa for a certain period – all depends on their citizenship. 

As an Indonesian, I am eligible for free tourist visas though I can only stay in Turkey for 30 days within 180 days – starting from my first entry date in the country. However, for my boyfriend who's a British citizen, he's exempt from a tourist visa for up to 90 days within the same period. 

I believe the latter regulation applies to citizens from most developed countries – but I still recommend checking the e-visa website to ensure you won't have any trouble when arriving in Turkey. 

If you want to extend your stay in Turkey, technically you can obtain a Turkish residence permit (ikamet) as a tourist for up to 1 (one) year. 

However, the ikamet application has become quite strict in the past few years that I know some people chose to take an easy way out that came across as fraud just to get it – things like forging an employment status at some local company, etc. 

It applies especially in big cities like Istanbul and Izmir, although the chance of you applying for an ikamet and getting approved is bigger if you choose a less popular town as your home base as a digital nomad in Turkey. 

Until recently, Turkey has still not had a digital nomad visa. So if you're planning to stay in Turkey, you can either apply for an ikamet properly or rely on your tourist visa and do a visa run to the neighboring countries like Bulgaria, Georgia, or Iran. 

Since my citizenship limits my options for a visa run from Turkey, I got a chance to do it via Georgia and Serbia

But if you plan to do a visa run to Serbia, note that you may have to rely on a short flight from Istanbul to Belgrade instead of taking an international bus service from Turkey. It's because the bus may pass Bulgaria or Greece to get to Serbia, that you may get a trouble passing the borders to these countries – unless you're exempt from a visa for both countries. 

Living Costs

With the weakening state of Turkish Lira against other international currencies, living in Turkey can be pretty shocking – even if you stay there for a short period. 

I remember the first time I came to Turkey in 2010, I was there for a scholarship – and I got a stipendium of 240 TL per month. Back then, it was equivalent to around $185 USD. It wasn't a lot, but it was enough to get by in Izmir as a student. 

In today's economy in Turkey, the same amount of money is equivalent to $8 USD. It wouldn't be even enough for a feast at a regular restaurant—let alone to live in Turkey for a month. 

A few years ago, when I withdrew money from the ATM in Turkey on my arrival, 1 TL was equivalent to 1500 IDR (around $0.095 USD). When I went back to Turkey after my visa run to Serbia, 1 TL was only worth 800 IDR (around $0.05 USD). It only took 3 months from both events.

As a person who earns in a foreign currency, I find the cost of living in Turkey is really affordable – if not super cheap. However, with the local people struggling economically, everything else in Turkey is no longer as cheap as some people think it is. 

One thing I noticed is that the price for the local eateries in Turkey – things like kebap, durum, etc – is highly more expensive than if you go to international restaurant chains like McDonald's or Burger King.

As an Indonesian, I'm also glad that nowadays Indomie is widely sold in Turkey… With lots of flavors to offer. So if you get broke or something, I definitely recommend going to the nearest Migros/A101/Bin to get some of them! 

Most landlords now prefer accepting USD or Euro for rent; the same goes for deposits and utilities.

Keep in mind that legally, it is forbidden to rent a place using a currency other than TL in Turkey. So if you rent a place in either USD or Euro (as it's more profitable and secure for the landlords these days), the contract may be considered void and you have no protection should there be any dispute between you and the landlord.

As much as I want to support the local economy whenever I'm there, I know some landlords can offer ridiculous rent prices – especially in a place like Istanbul. 

So before you come to Turkey and start your life as a digital nomad, be prepared for the ups and downs in the local economy that may impact your living cost in general!

So, is it expensive to live in Turkey? Not really. Should you be prepared for the worst in terms of the economy? Possibly. 


If you're looking for accommodation to stay long-term in Turkey, Airbnb is available – but I have to say, not necessarily reliable. 

Airbnb hosts may have their properties listed on Airbnb, but I'd suggest not relying on your accommodation solely on Airbnb because the housing businesses in Turkey, especially in big cities like Istanbul or Antalya, seem to work on a first-come-first-served basis. 

I noticed this when just a few days before I came back to Turkey, and my Airbnb host canceled my one-month booking in Istanbul. It definitely changed everything, especially since the refund from Airbnb took some time to get back to my account. 

If you're serious about moving to Turkey and you plan to stay there for quite a while, I would recommend booking your accommodation for a few days at a hotel or a hostel first while searching for apartments locally once you get there. 

The platform for buying and selling or renting apartments in Turkey, Sahibinden, is only accessible from Turkey. While you can easily use a VPN if you want to search for apartments, I wouldn't recommend it just in case the advertiser deceives you with the quality of their properties. I know I learned this the hard way when I stayed at Liva Suite in Istanbul, and I only stayed there for a few days! 

Another alternative is to join local Facebook groups focusing on the place you're planning to move to in Turkey. I'd recommend using keywords like “Foreigners in X (insert the city here),” “rent in X,” etc. 

A lot of Turkish universities accept foreign students as a part of Erasmus programs, and a lot of these students look for roommates or look for apartments on these Facebook groups. Many real estate agents in Turkey are usually a part of these similar groups, so you may get connected to one of them within the community. 

Health & Travel Insurance

Healthcare in Turkey is free for Turkish citizens. At least, that's what I heard from my friend Yasin when I had a coffee chat during my trip to Bursa a few years ago. 

As a foreigner, if you apply for a residence permit in Turkey you will be required to purchase insurance as a part of your ikamet application process. However, make sure that you read the blueprint thoroughly since some of the cheapest insurance options practically don't cover anything in their plans. 

One of my American friends who currently resides in Turkey learned it the hard way, as on her first ikamet she chose the cheapest plan available – but when she got admitted to the ER, she had to pay the equivalent of $900 USD. 

If you plan to apply for a long-term residency in Turkey, I'd definitely recommend getting a premium plan for your health insurance just to minimize the risk in case anything happens. I know firsthand that getting sick in a foreign country can be expensive, so getting covered by proper insurance will always be a great choice! 

Alternatively, you can also consider subscribing to SafetyWing's Nomad Insurance to get you covered for various types of emergencies. Even if you plan to stay there for a while with a tourist visa, I still recommend purchasing a travel insurance just to be safe. 

You can choose coverages, from health to electronic theft emergency – which is needed in Turkey, especially since electronic devices in Turkey are highly expensive compared to a lot of countries! 

Coworking Space

Although the coworking space businesses in Turkey are thriving, a lot of local people tend to go to regular cafes to get free wifi. 

It's normal to stay at Starbucks or local coffee shops for hours just to get your work done, although the downside is that you won't necessarily get an electricity socket for your laptop on your seat. 

If you stay in big cities like Istanbul or Izmir, you can also find several coworking spaces where you can purchase daily, weekly, or monthly passes for a comfortable workspace with high-speed internet. 

I had a good experience working at some coworking spaces in Izmir, and I was able to get my work needs met properly. If I can speak proper Turkish for business, I imagine it can be a great way to network, too. 

I assume the experience may be much better if you try a coworking space in Istanbul or Antalya, considering both cities are highly popular for digital nomads in Turkey. 

How to Blend with the Locals

In Turkey, I find it so easy to connect with the locals when you're a foreigner – even better if you know basic Turkish, which is always appreciated wherever you go in Turkey. 

Unless you live in Istanbul where English is widely spoken, especially for the young generations, it's important to learn how to speak Turkish to get by and blend with the locals organically. After all, unless you speak their lingo, they will still see you as a foreigner no matter what – and it applies to the higher probability of getting scammed, etc. 

Alternatively, you can also use apps like Bumble or Couchsurfing to get connected and make friends with locals. 

However, if you're a woman, I'd recommend being more cautious if you connect with a local Turkish man – just because I've experienced it way too many times, most Turkish men I met on these apps end up only wanting to get to know me and have sex. 

Unless you're open to that kind of idea, I'd recommend focusing on local women friends instead. For instance, when I moved to Izmir I'm so thankful that I got invited to Izmir Women's Network so I don't have to deal with unsolicited messages from men. 

Personally, I only connect to new male friends online in Turkey when I'm traveling with my boyfriend just because I feel safer with him by my side. 

Best Places to Live in Turkey as a Digital Nomad

Now that you're probably certain that Turkey is your next home base as a digital nomad, it's time to choose where to live. 

The best place to live in Turkey may vary, depending on your preferences and needs. Most popular digital nomad destinations in Turkey like Istanbul and Antalya are highly accessible for foreigners, but with that they're also quite expensive compared to other cities. 

In this section, I'm sharing some of the best places to live in Turkey and my take on each city – just so you can get a different perspective besides the typical digital nomad guide in Turkey that tends to recommend the more popular destinations. 


Besiktas waterfront in Istanbul, Turkey.
Besiktas waterfront in Istanbul, Turkey.

If you want easy, Istanbul is the place to be. English is widely spoken in Istanbul, and the big city offers everything – whether you want to explore the off-the-beaten-path destinations in Istanbul, or just play tourist in this Europe-Asia intersection. 

As the main hub of Turkish Airlines, you can easily travel anywhere from Istanbul – whether you plan to travel to any other cities in Turkey or flee to the neighboring countries. You can also find international bus services and trains from Istanbul, which is suitable if you're flexible about moving around. 

The downside? Compared to other cities, Istanbul is freaking expensive – especially for the housing. 

Unless you stay in areas like Sisli or Nisantasi (which is guaranteed to be more expensive than other Istanbul areas), it's almost impossible to find a serviced apartment with elevators if you prioritize convenience in the accommodation. 

Looking for an alternative to Istanbul? Consider cities near Istanbul like Bursa or Yalova. Both cities are easily accessible from Istanbul, as it takes only around an hour by ferry. 

Bursa is Turkey's fourth-largest city after Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir, so you can expect all the big city facilities like public transport, accommodations, etc, to be pretty on par with those in Istanbul. But with lower living cost and less crowded than Istanbul! 

Just like Bursa and Istanbul, Yalova is also a coastal town that's pretty accessible by sea. However, it's a laidback city with small-town vibes… And the housing in Yalova is far cheaper than those in Istanbul or Bursa! 


The fifth-largest city in Turkey has become one of the most popular digital nomad hubs in the country. It's a coastal town in Southwest Turkey and has been dubbed the capital of tourism in Turkey. 

Frankly speaking, as an Indonesian I feel like Antalya reminds me of Bali – tourists flock to the area that when I go there, I can no longer feel the local vibes. 

Don't get me wrong, if you're looking for those vibes, maybe Antalya is for you. But I feel conflicted, considering the reason why so many tourists come to the area is most likely because locals can no longer afford to live there. 

I remember a joke told by my Turkish friend who said that in Antalya, there was an ice cream shop who would show 5 TL sign for Turkish, and 5 euro for foreigners. That's only one of the reasons why despite the popularity, Antalya isn't exactly something I would consider the best place to stay in Turkey. 

But pretty much like Istanbul, the digital infrastructure in Antalya has been growing – making it one of the most attractive places to stay in Turkey for digital nomads. And if you earn any currency other than TL, with the current economy, living in Antalya can be a pretty good deal! 

Looking for an alternative to Antalya? Trabzon can be the best choice if you're looking for an off-the-beaten-path coastal town in Turkey that's less touristy than Antalya but offers a lot of attractions nearby. 

Situated in the Black Sea region on the Silk Road, the city is only four hours away from the Turkey-Georgia border. It's also the starting point if you plan to visit the picturesque Sumela Monastery in Macka.

While you can easily stroll around the seaside in Trabzon, you can also head over to the nearby beach town Akcaabat if you're looking for less bustling big city life. 

With the city being pretty close to Georgia, it will also be easier for you to do a visa run or just a weekend getaway to Batumi —the resort town in Georgia famous for its beaches and casinos. 

The housing price is far more reasonable than the rent in the western part of Turkey, but adjusting to the culture may be a little bit harder in Trabzon as not many people speak English there. In addition, the locals tend to be more religious than people in West Turkey, so I wouldn't recommend it if you're looking for a place that's more adjusted to foreigners. 


Izmir city view from Kadifekale.
Izmir city view from Kadifekale.

I may be biased, but ever since I moved to Izmir as a student in 2010 – Izmir has always felt like a second home to me. 

Even recently when I came back to the city, the coastal town in the Aegean Sea had everything I needed for a home base as a digital nomad in Turkey. 

Izmir is quite popular as a starting point for travelers looking to visit some prominent attractions in Turkey like Ephesus, but rest assured it's not as crowded as Istanbul. It's suitable if you're looking for a place to live in Turkey where you can maintain a work-life balance with pretty decent places to go during your off days. 

Relaxing or having a picnic on the seaside is a common activity for locals to spend their weekend. If you're looking for a beach getaway, Cesme in Alacati is only an hour away – the beach town offers vibes similar to some Greek islands but is less crowded. It's a perfect place to be! 

The downside? It seems like since the recent regulation placed by the local government, Izmir is no longer accepting ikamet applications for tourism so it may not be a good idea to aim Izmir as your next base as a digital nomad in Turkey. 

Looking for an alternative to Izmir? I'd recommend Mersin, a Mediterranean town in Turkey located near the border with Syria. It's one of the largest ports in Turkey, and you can find a lot of beaches around the city – especially popular around Akdeniz area. 

It's also a great home base for digital nomads, especially if you're looking for a short getaway to more popular tourist attractions in Turkey. Cappadocia is only a couple of hours away by car, and Gaziantep – one of the most famous culinary destinations in Turkey – is only around 250 kilometers from there. 

Situated in the center of Turkey, the city is a part of the larger metropolitan area alongside Adana and Tarsus – the latter is believed to be the place where Cleopatra and Mark Antony first met. 

It's suitable if you're looking for a warmer destination in Turkey (the nearby city Adana is known as the hottest place in the country!), a less touristy place to live with big city vibes. 

Mersin marina in Turkey.
Mersin marina in Turkey.

Other Places in Turkey

The cities mentioned above aren't the only cities popular for digital nomads. For instance, the capital city Ankara is also a great alternative if you're looking for a place with the best digital infrastructure in Turkey. 

I'm convinced that the only reason it's not really popular for digital nomads because it's located nowhere close to the sea or mountain, making it less attractive compared to the other Turkish cities. 

On the west side, Bodrum has always been popular as one of the party cities in Turkey for as long as I can remember, and it also attracts lots of digital nomads who choose Turkey as their next destination. 

Canakkale has become popular among digital nomads. Known best as the home to the ruins of Troy, you can see the gigantic horse statues used as the property for Brad Pitt's Troy movie as the city's notable landmark. Plus, they have a Facebook group, “English Speakers of Canakkale,” that makes it easy to connect with the locals and other fellow digital nomads or expats. 

If you're not sure where to live in Turkey, I'd recommend choosing one of these cities just because it might be easier for you to adjust as a foreigner. That being said, I'd still recommend learning a few words in Turkish to blend with locals there! 

Pros & Cons of Living as a Digital Nomad in Turkey

If you're not sure if Turkey is suitable for your home base as a digital nomad, here are some advantages and disadvantages of staying in Turkey as a digital nomad! 


  • The living cost is pretty affordable, especially if you earn in a foreign currency. 
  • A lot of options to live as a digital nomad in Turkey – whether you love mountains, beaches, or even just prefer big cities over anything else. 
  • Even if you can't obtain the proper residence permit, you can easily find other destinations to do a visa run to leave Turkey and come back. Just be sure to check your visa requirements, which depend on your nationality. 
  • The locals are super warm and friendly, which makes it easier for you to feel home right away. 
  • The criminal rate is low – Unlike Serbia (where I got pickpocketed, along with two other Indonesian friends I personally know – respectively), one time my friend accidentally left her phone on the bus only to get it returned to her 2 weeks later. It was the time when Blackberry cost $1000 in Turkey! 


  • The rent can be notoriously high, especially if you plan to stay in a big city like Istanbul or Ankara. 
  • No matter what you do, no matter how good your Turkish is, you will still be seen as a foreigner. Sometimes it will benefit you, but most of the time it will be the other way around. 
  • Unstable economy. The current local economy in Turkey has been plummeting compared to a few years ago, so you can expect prices in the grocery to change almost every day. Sometimes it happens just within a few hours! 
  • English is not widely spoken in the country, so you may have a hard time exploring Turkey outside the popular attractions like Istanbul or Cappadocia. 

FAQs for Digital Nomad Guide in Turkey

Is Turkey good for digital nomads?

Yes, in a lot of cities in Turkey, co-living and co-working spaces have been growing rapidly to facilitate digital nomads and remote workers. Especially in Turkish big cities like Istanbul or Ankara, coliving or coworking space with high internet speed is widely available!

Bluntly speaking, at this point, Turkey is probably better for digital nomads than the locals because it's those who earn their living in TL who struggle the most. 

Meanwhile, for those who have steady income in foreign currencies, Turkey seems to be an attractive destination as a home base as it's a great place to travel, as well as it's affordable! 

Does Turkey have digital nomad visa? 

As of now, Turkey doesn't offer remote work visa for citizens of foreign countries. However, you can still obtain a residence permit (ikamet) that may be valid for up to 1 (one) year and renewable as a tourist. 

Starting from 2022, the Turkish government has become quite strict about accepting ikamet applications but it's still doable in some less popular cities in Turkey. 

Where is the best place for digital nomad in Turkey?

I personally still think that Izmir is the best place for digital nomads to live in Turkey, as the city has everything you need to work remotely. 

From apartments with decent prices, some great options for coworking spaces, and the strategic location to get around in Turkey, I definitely would recommend considering Izmir as a place to live in Turkey. 

However, due to the current regulations with Izmir local government no longer accepting residence permit applications, Istanbul or Antalya may be your safest bet if you plan to stay in Turkey for an extended period.

Alternatively, I think it's worth considering cities like Bursa, Canakkale, or Mersin as the growing cities suitable for digital nomads in Turkey. 


In recent years, Turkey has become one of the most popular digital nomad destinations in the world. 

With its strategic location and as the hub of Turkish Airlines that fly to over 200 international destinations – Turkey is definitely an attractive option for anyone who can make money online, whether they claim themselves as a digital nomad or not. 

The digital nomad ecosystem in Turkey has been growing rapidly in the past few years, with some cities like Istanbul and Antalya being the most popular ones. You can easily find coliving spaces, attracting those who have location independence when it comes to their work and career.

Coworking space in Turkey.
Coworking space in Turkey.

Not many people know that there are so many other cities that are pretty overlooked, but they also offer good facilities for anyone trying to work remotely from Turkey. 

Cities like Canakkale or Trabzon are rarely heard of as recommended destinations for digital nomads in Turkey, but I'd definitely recommend them if you're a location independent worker looking for an alternative destination with a more reasonable cost of living compared to other Turkish cities. 

It's also important to note that in reality, digital nomad visa in Turkey is still non-existent and a lot of people who live in Turkey still rely on the “shady” way to obtain their ikamet. The latter is worth considering, especially if you want to make sure to live in Turkey as a digital nomad properly without breaking the local law. 

So, are you ready to move to Turkey as a digital nomad? 

marya the beautraveler author profile
Marya The BeauTraveler

I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.


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