- Digital Nomad Lifestyle in Turkey
- Why You Should Consider Izmir for Your Homebase as a Digital Nomad
- 1. The living cost in Izmir is affordable.
- 2. Izmir has good infrastructure with much more laidback pace compared to Istanbul.
- 3. Izmir is a modern city with so much more to offer.
- 4. There are a few coworking spaces around Izmir where you can work remotely.
- 5. It’s only an hour away from many historical spots and beautiful beaches.
Izmir in Turkey has always had a special place in my heart. It is where I traveled overseas for the first time, and the city is also where I spent the summer far away from home for the very first time. So it is not rocket science when I decided to spend my semi digital nomad life in Izmir for the last couple of months last year.
Going back to Izmir became a journey for tracing back in time, wandering around full of nostalgic vibes. From walking around the seaside while people-watching, to visiting the good ol’ dormitory where I spent too much drama with the headmaster. Good time. LOL.
But of course, I’m not gonna rant about the personal side of the story this time. And instead, I want to share with you a few reasons why Izmir can also be an excellent alternative to make a homebase in your digital nomad journey in Turkey.
Digital Nomad Lifestyle in Turkey
There are two sides of the same coin to Turkey’s crashed economy last year. I’m not one to comment on the situation, but what I am saying is that I feel bad for the local people as I can only imagine that the condition is quite bad for their quality of living. However, from a foreigner’s point of view, I totally understand why more and more people have decided to relocate to Turkey in the past couple of years.
I stayed in Izmir back in 2010. I remember when I got the monthly stipend of 400 TL, which was equivalent to 2,400,000 IDR or around $200 USD at the time. 12 years ago, it was quite a lot for a student trying to make ends meet in a foreign country.
A few days ago on my last few days in Turkey, the same amount of money in Turkish Lira was equivalent to around 450,000 IDR or around $30 USD. The same amount of money I used for my monthly expense in 2010 is only enough for dinner for two in some fancy restaurant in 2022.
Personally, I got the advantage of earning the combination of the Indonesian rupiah and US dollar as I stayed in Turkey for my semi digital nomad adventure. I suppose that’s one of a few perks of being a digital nomad and why it’s worth it. And that’s only when I realized that no wonder cities like Antalya or Istanbul gained their popularity as a digital nomad homebase in the past few years.
Come to think of it, Turkey is not only strategic in terms of location that is somewhere between Europe and Asia. The living cost isn’t too high even if you live in a big city like Ankara or Istanbul, especially if you earn your salary in a foreign currency.
So in this post, I will give you a few reasons to consider Izmir as your next stop if you ever think about moving to Turkey.
Why You Should Consider Izmir for Your Homebase as a Digital Nomad
I may be a little biased about my view of Izmir since I basically left a piece of my heart there. But I can assure you that even now since I moved my homebase closer to Istanbul on my last month in Turkey, I’d choose Izmir over Istanbul anytime if I ever come back to Turkey to work remotely.
1. The living cost in Izmir is affordable.
Before going to Izmir this time, I made sure that I got enough resources to come back and live comfortably as I wasn’t planning to live on the super tight budget as I did when I was a student this time.
Initially, I contacted Catherine, a real estate agent from Albatros Real Estate, to find a place to rent for a month around Konak or Alsancak. Unfortunately, by the time I reached out a month before my arrival, she said that the property that I wanted to rent was already occupied. The only one available is a shared room in a big apartment, which I wasn’t in favor of.
As the time got short, and I had no option but to book one from Airbnb. I ended up staying at Umut’s studio apartment in Alsancak. I paid $670 SGD (around $500 USD) for a month. While it was much more expensive than the price you could find through a real estate agent, at least their property was legit and I couldn’t choose a better home in Izmir.
For context, I booked an Airbnb in Istanbul and the host canceled on me before my arrival. Mind you, not only just one unit, but two units from two different hosts! I got frustrated to the point that I decided to just book one outside Istanbul in Yalova instead.
On top of that, I spoke to another Indonesian friend of mine who stayed in Istanbul, he kept complaining about how he got scammed a lot of times whenever he went shopping or dining at the restaurant simply because he’s a foreigner. It was never the case for me in Izmir.
I stayed in Alsancak, and my apartment there was surrounded by minimarket, cafes, and pubs. In addition that, every Sunday they also have a farmers’ market where I can buy fruits and vegetables directly from the locals. Never have I got scammed.
While speaking a bit of Turkish helped me to get by with a lot of things in Turkey, even if you don’t, Google Translate could really help. Try to learn at least a few numbers in Turkish to avoid getting scammed when you go shopping.
2. Izmir has good infrastructure with much more laidback pace compared to Istanbul.
I’m personally never a fan of Istanbul. The city reminds me of Jakarta, which is basically my archenemy in the form of a city. LOL.
Izmir felt just right for me, because it has reliable infrastructures that make living there so easy while at the same time, the life isn’t as busy or crowded as Istanbul. It’s basically the sweet spot if you’re looking for a modern place with a laidback way of living.
In terms of public transportation, it has the same options as Istanbul where they have dolmus, buses, trams, ferry boats and even a commuter rail system called Izban. The latter connects Izmir and its metropolitan area, including places like Adnan Menderes International Airport in Izmir or even Efesus in Selcuk area.
I personally use Google Map for any public transportation information during my stay in Izmir, and all information is available just a few clicks away. It is quite convenient, as I notice that not all big cities in Turkey have public transport information on Google Map. For instance, I had to use Moovit app to get information about public transportation in Bursa when I’m not a big fan of the app since I found it confusing.
3. Izmir is a modern city with so much more to offer.
Dubbed as “The Pearl of Aegean” due to the location that is surrounded by Aegean Sea, Izmir is also one of the most secular cities in Turkey.
I remember back when I learned Turkish at TÖMER, there was this chapter when my teacher mentioned about which cities that love Attaturk the most. In which Izmir was mentioned as the city that loves him the most because of the secularism he brought to the country after the fall of Ottoman Empire.
When I stayed in Izmir in 2010, it was during Ramadhan and I couldn’t even tell that it was Ramadhan since despite the majority of people there are Muslims just like any other places in Turkey, no one fasted during Ramadhan in Izmir. It will be interesting to maybe spend another Ramadhan in Izmir, given the political change in Turkey under the more conservative president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the past few years.
And if that’s not enough, I remember my teacher mentioned that Izmir is also known for its good-looking people with their modern fashion sense. Compared to other cities in Turkey, I can definitely confirm the claim.
All in all, I think Izmir is suitable for me in terms of characteristics. It’s modern, it doesn’t care about my religion, and also… It has a lot of good food to try!
4. There are a few coworking spaces around Izmir where you can work remotely.
As someone who has been working remotely since 3 years ago, I work from home most of the time. But it’s slightly different when I’m on the road like my last trip to Turkey.
At home, I have my own workspace where I can focus on my work and do the job. In Izmir, I stayed at a small studio apartment where my workspace was also my dining table. I often just had to dedicate a full day to catch up with all my works and went to a coworking space instead.
Working from a coworking space isn’t new for me. In fact, my digital agency business, Savviesticated, was founded in Eduplex, a coworking space in my hometown. In Izmir, I got a chance to work from two coworking spaces in the city: Originn and Withco Coworking Space.
With the price range of 50 to 70 TL (around $3.5 to $5 USD) for a daily pass, I could work in peace with a high-speed internet connection and even free-flow tea and coffee. And they’re not even the only coworking spaces in Izmir, which makes Izmir sound like an excellent place to live your digital nomad lifestyle.
5. It’s only an hour away from many historical spots and beautiful beaches.
You know what I miss about living in Izmir as a student? Skipping class to spend a day sunbathing on the beach. LOL.
And while I don’t condone this bad habit to students these days, this became a good reason to live in Izmir as a digital nomad as well. Being a digital nomad has the privilege of being able to work remotely, while at the same time exploring the surrounded area and relaxing.
Izmir is located only an hour away from beautiful beaches in areas like Cesme or Karsiyaka. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to go there recently since it was during winter and it was raining most of the time during my stay. But in the summer, I would choose Cesme over Marmaris all the time!
And if you’re a history junky, a trip to historical places like Ephesus and the Seven Sleepers cave are only an hour trip by Izban train from Izmir city center. While going there, don’t forget to stop by a small wine village called Sirince where you can find the best wine in the world!
I’m not even kidding! I’m not usually a wine drinker, but the wine from Kivircik Sarap Evi in Sirince is top-notch!
So, those are a few reasons for you to consider if you’re planning to relocate somewhere in Turkey. I said it once, and I’ll say it one more time… Izmir is definitely a good spot if you’re looking into a place where you can work remotely and enjoy the local life at its best.
Got any recommended places for digital nomads in Turkey outside the popular hot spots like Istanbul, Antalya, or Fethiye? Share in the comment below, and cheerio! 🙂
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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