16 BEST Neighborhoods To Live In Istanbul Turkey 2024

Best Neighborhoods to Live in Istanbul Turkey Introduction

best neighborhoods to live in Istanbul Turkey

Welcome to The Ultimate Guide on the Best Neighborhoods To live in Istanbul Turkey! where we will explain everything that we personally know from living here and the Best Neighborhoods in Turkey! We also included helpful videos for your Journey here!

With its storied history and vibrant culture, Istanbul is one of the world’s most fascinating cities. For those looking to call this metropolis on the Bosporus home, choosing the right neighborhood is key.

Each area of Istanbul has its unique flair and amenities that appeal to different tastes.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the top neighborhoods for expats and families looking to start a life here at the crossroads of Europe and Asia.

Whether you enjoy modern conveniences or Old World charm, Istanbul has the perfect place for you to call home.

We will discuss some of the top neighborhoods in Istanbul Turkey that balance affordability, livability, and opportunity for expats.

We’ll explore the unique qualities, pros, and cons of these cities for expats. You’ll discover insider tips as well as pros and cons to evaluate whether or not the neighborhood suits your expat dreams.

We spent $1,200 – $1,600 per month while living in Istanbul Turkey for both of our living costs.

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10 Top Reasons to Live in Istanbul Turkey

  1. Vibrant culture and arts scene – Istanbul is home to world-class museums, galleries, festivals, concerts and entertainment. There’s always something creative and exciting happening.
  2. Mouthwatering cuisine – Turkish food is delicious, from kebabs and meze to baklava and Turkish coffee. The fresh produce and seafood are incredible.
  3. Stunning architecture and history – Magnificent mosques, palaces, churches, and bazaars showcase Istanbul’s rich history as the capital of empires. There are always places to explore here!
  4. Natural beauty and diverse landscapes – Istanbul is situated on the Bosphorus Strait, offering beautiful waterfront views. Day trips can take you to forests, beaches, or mountains.
  5. Excellent education options – There are quality international and private Turkish schools at various levels to choose from for expat families.
  6. Vibrant expat community – There is an established, welcoming community of expats and foreigners to connect with in Istanbul.
  7. Gateway to Europe and Asia – Istanbul enjoys a strategic location linking Europe and Asia, making travel easy.
  8. Great infrastructure and transportation – Modern highways, metro lines, trams, ferries, and two international airports make getting around efficient.
  9. Affordable cost of living – Istanbul offers good value for money compared to other major global cities, especially housing, dining, and amenities.
  10. Dynamic economy and job opportunities – As a large business hub, there are openings at international companies and startups.

Cultural Considerations in Istanbul Turkey

  1. Respect for Religion: Turkey is a predominantly Muslim country, and Islam plays a significant role in daily life. Respect religious customs and traditions, so dress modestly when visiting mosques, remove shoes before entering, and be mindful of prayer times.
  2. Greetings and Gestures: When greeting others, a handshake is common among men, while women may nod or extend their hand for a handshake. It’s polite to use titles such as “Mr.” (Bey) or “Mrs.” (Hanım) followed by the person’s surname when addressing them.
  3. Hospitality: Turkish culture places a strong emphasis on hospitality. Expect to be offered tea, coffee, or snacks when visiting someone’s home or business. Accepting such offers is seen as polite.
  4. Social Etiquette: Maintain a level of formality, especially when interacting with elders or those in positions of authority. It’s normal here to address people by their titles and surnames until you’re invited to use their first names.
  5. Language: While many people in Istanbul speak English, learning some basic Turkish phrases along the way shows respect for the local culture. Locals appreciate efforts to communicate in their language.
  6. Dining Customs: When dining out, it’s common for Turks to share food family-style. Wait for the host to initiate the meal before starting to eat. Also, it’s polite to leave a small amount of food on your plate to indicate that you’re full.
  7. Public Behavior: Public displays of affection, especially in conservative areas, should be kept to a minimum. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites or more traditional neighborhoods.
  8. Time and Patience: Turkish culture values relationships and taking the time to connect with others. Be patient and expect meetings and gatherings to start a bit later than scheduled.
  9. Tipping: Tipping is expected in Istanbul. In restaurants, a tip of around 10-15% is appreciated if a service charge isn’t already included. Remember to tip taxi drivers and hotel staff accordingly as well.
  10. Cultural Sites: When visiting cultural sites, such as mosques, museums, or historical landmarks, familiarize yourself with any rules or guidelines regarding dress code, photography, and behavior.

Culturally, Istanbul can be crowded and fast-paced. Learn some Turkish phrases. Respect religious and social customs. Making local friends helps overcome barriers. Overall, Istanbulites are warm, friendly people eager to make you feel welcome.

Table of Contents

General Cost of Living in Istanbul Turkey Breakdown:

Living Expenses as an Expat in Istanbul TurkeyItemCost Range (USD)Cost Range (TRY)
Housing in TurkeyBasic 1-bedroom apartment (city center)$400 – $80012,000 – 24,000
2-bedroom apartment (city center)$600 – $1,20018,000 – 36,000
3-bedroom apartment (city center)$800 – $1,50024,000 – 45,000
3-4 bedroom villa (compound living)$1,500 – $3,00045,000 – 90,000
Utilities (electricity, AC, water) for a family$150 – $2504,500 – 7,500
Food in TurkeyLocal and imported groceries for the family$300 – $6009,000 – 18,000
Dining out 2-3 times a week$150 – $3004,500 – 9,000
Cheap street food and fast food per meal$2 – $560 – 150
Transportation in IstanbulBus/Tram0.50 – $115 – 30
Metro and Funicular0.50 – $115 – 30
Ferry Boat$1 – $330 – 90
Taxi$5 – $10150 – 300
Rental Car$300 – $5009,000 – 15,000
Gasoline (per gallon)$4 – $5120 – 150
Total Monthly Cost of living in Turkey$1,500 – $3,00045,000 – 90,000

Pros and Cons Of the 16 Neighborhoods and Areas in Istanbul Turkey

Best Neighborhoods in Istanbul for ExpatsProsConsLocation
Sultanahmet– Very central location
– Close to major historic sites and attractions
– Lots of hotels, restaurants, amenities for tourists
– Very busy and crowded
-Lacks neighborhood feel
Historic Peninsula (European side)
Yeniköy– Charming village atmosphere 
– Scenic Bosphorus location
– Less crowded
– Close to nature
– Limited nightlife/dining options
– Fewer expat amenities
– Distance from central Istanbul
Bosphorus (European side
Tarabya– Peaceful waterfront district 
– Upscale area 
– Nice cafes and restaurants 
– Near forest walks
– Ultra expensive
– Far from the city center
– Limited public transport
Bosphorus (European side
Emirgan– Quiet, green oasis
– Parks and walkways
– Popular with expat families
– Lacks nightlife 
– Limited cultural scene
– Distance from major transport
Bosphorus (European side)
Ulus– Historically rich area
– Grand bazaar nearby
– More local and affordable
– Very crowded
– Old infrastructure
– Language barrier in shops
Old City (European side)
Levent– Modern business hub 
– Luxury shopping malls
– International companies
– Expensive 
– Impersonal
– Traffic congestion
Newer European Side
Etiler– Upscale residential area 
– Great shopping/dining 
– Near the embassy district
– Pricey 
– Snobby atmosphere 
– Distance from major sites
Newer European Side
Üsküdar– Vibrant local culture
– Affordable eateries
– Asian side convenience
– Fewer Western amenities
– Crowded
– Conservative norms
Asian Side
Best Neighborhoods in Istanbul for ExpatsProsConsLocation
BeyoğluVibrant nightlife, arts and culture; Trendy area; Lots of young peopleNoisy and crowded; Difficult parkingEuropean Side
NişantaşıUpscale, prestigious area; Luxury apartments; High-end shoppingVery expensive; Snobby vibeEuropean Side
KadıköyLaid-back local vibe; Cafes, markets, foodie sceneFewer Western amenities; CrowdedAsian side
BebekScenic waterfront views; Upscale cafesUltra expensive; Limited nightlifeEuropean Side (Bosphorus)
GalataBoutique shops, art galleries; Views of IstanbulVery hilly; TouristyEuropean Side
OrtaköyCosmopolitan, weekly marketsSmall neighborhood; Crowded weekendsEuropean Side (Bosphorus)
ModaTrendy, hipster hangouts and boutiquesLimited housing optionsAsian Side
BeşiktaşLively, central location; Close to transportNoisy, heavy trafficEuropean Side

16 Top Neighborhoods in Istanbul Turkey to Live for Expats

Best Neighborhoods to Live for Expats in IstanbulDescriptionRent Range (USD)Rent Range (TRY)
SultanahmetHistoric peninsula and major tourist hub, near Topkapı Palace and Blue Mosque. Lively area but very crowded.$500 – $1,00015,000 – 30,000 TRY
YeniköyA charming coastal village on the Bosphorus Strait. More peaceful than central Istanbul.$800 – $1,50024,000 – 45,000 TRY
TarabyaUpscale and prestigious neighborhood along the Bosphorus. Luxury yali-style waterfront homes.$2,000 – $4,00060,000 – 120,000 TRY
EmirganThe affluent residential district known for its parks, walkways, and woodlands along the Bosphorus Strait.$1,000 – $2,00030,000 – 60,000 TRY
UlusHistoric area with Grand Bazaar. Very local and crowded. Affordable cost of living.$300 – $7009,000 – 21,000 TRY
LeventModern business and commercial hub with luxury malls and high rises. Lots of traffic.$1,500 – $3,00045,000 – 90,000 TRY
EtilerWealthy neighborhood near the embassy district. Upscale apartments and lots of designer shops.$1,500 – $3,00045,000 – 90,000 TRY
ÜsküdarCosmopolitan district on the Asian side. Vibrant cafes and cultural scene. More affordable.$500 – $1,20015,000 – 36,000 TRY
Best Neighborhoods to Live for Expats in IstanbulDescriptionRent Range (USD)Rent Range (TRY)
BeyoğluArtsy, trendy area with vibrant nightlife and cultural scene$500 – $1,50015,000 – 45,000 TRY
NişantaşıUpscale, prestigious residential and shopping district$1,000 – $3,00030,000 – 90,000 TRY
KadıköyA cosmopolitan area on the Asian side with a local vibe$400 – $1,00012,000 – 30,000 TRY
BebekAffluent neighborhood along Bosphorus known for upscale cafes$1,500 – $3,00045,000 – 90,000 TRY
YeniköyCharming coastal village with peaceful Bosphorus views$800 – $1,50024,000 – 45,000 TRY
GalataHistoric district with boutique shops, art galleries, and hilltop views$600 – $1,50018,000 – 45,000 TRY
OrtaköyCosmopolitan waterfront neighborhood with cafes and markets$800 – $2,00024,000 – 60,000 TRY
EmirganUpscale green refuge along the Bosphorus Strait$1,000 – $2,00030,000 – 60,000 TRY
ModaTrendy, up-and-coming area with indie boutiques and cafes$400 – $80012,000 – 24,000 TRY
BeşiktaşLively central neighborhood near Dolmabahçe Palace$600 – $1,50018,000 – 45,000 TRY

Health Insurance While Living in Istanbul Turkey

Having comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended when visiting Saudi Arabia to protect against any unexpected incidents. SafetyWing is an excellent option tailored to global travelers and digital nomads.

Why Choose SafetyWing?

SafetyWing makes travel insurance easy and affordable at just $45 – $250/month. Here are some key reasons to consider it:

  • Global coverage including exotic destinations
  • Flexible policies fit nomadic lifestyles
  • Easy sign-up and claims from phone/computer
  • Covers medical, evacuations, disruptions, baggage, etc.
  • 24/7 customer support anywhere
  • Customizable coverage amounts and add-ons

Other Travel Insurance Options

While SafetyWing is a top choice, companies like WorldNomads, Cigna Global, and IMG also offer comprehensive travel insurance for Istanbul Turkey. Typical policies range from $45 – $500 for 2 weeks to a month of coverage. Compare coverage and premium costs.

Some key considerations for finding a good insurance policy:

  • Emergency medical and evacuation
  • Trip cancellation/interruption
  • Lost/delayed baggage
  • Adventure sports coverage
  • Altitude sickness coverage
  • 24/7 emergency assistance

Istanbul Turkey Insurance Cost Estimates

Insurance PlanTrip DurationEstimated Cost
SafetyWing1 month$45 – $250
WorldNomads2 weeks$100 – $200
Cigna Global1 month$150 – $300
IMG2 weeks$150 – $250

Living in Istanbul Turkey As an Expat Overall

Expats can expect a monthly budget between $1,500 – $3,000 USD / 45,000 – 90,000 TRY in Istanbul, Turkey. Prices can be a bit more expensive in Istanbul than other areas in Turkey but overall it can still be relatively affordable compared to prices back home in our home country of America.

Basic Utilities:

  • Around $150 – $300 USD / 4,500 – 9,000 TRY per month.
  • This includes electricity, water, gas, and internet.
  • Air conditioning costs are extra during hot summers.


  • Groceries are around $250 – $400 USD / 7500 TRY to 12000 TRY for one or two people.
  • Eating out costs around $10 – $15 USD / 300 – 450 TRY per meal at local restaurants.
  • If you eat out frequently it can cost as much as $300 – $500 USD / 9,000 – 15,000 TRY per month.


  • Rent for nice 1-2 bedroom apartments averages $500 – $1,200 USD / 15,000 – 36,000 TRY per month.
  • Upscale 3-4 bedroom serviced apartments or houses cost $1,500 – $3,000 USD / 45,000 – 90,000 TRY per month.
  • Short-term accommodations are $400 – $1,000 USD / 12,000 – 30,000 TRY per month.


  • Healthcare in Istanbul provides high-quality medical services and hospitals at very affordable prices compared to the US and Western Europe, making it attractive for expats.
  • Private healthcare and insurance runs around $150 – $300 USD / 4,500 – 9,000 TRY per month.
  • Consider travel insurance like SafetyWing or WorldNomads with plans starting at $45 USD / 1,350 TRY per month.

Lifestyle, Culture, and Recreation:

  • Best Activities: Exploring historic sites and museums, taking a Bosphorus cruise, visiting Grand Bazaar and Spice Market.
  • Nightlife: Trendy nightclubs, hip rooftop bars, and local pubs cost $10 – $30 USD per night.
  • Local Culture: Rich history, Islamic influences, passion for football, welcoming hospitality.
  • Recreational Activities: Hiking, cycling, water sports, and day trips to nearby areas.

Food in Istanbul:

  • Groceries for Family of 4: Around $600 USD / 18,000 TRY per month for basics plus some imported items.
  • Dining Out: The average meal cost is $5 – $10 USD / 150-300 TRY at inexpensive restaurants. Can dine out affordably 2-3 times per week.

Transport in Istanbul:

  • Consider a car rental for $300 – $500 USD / 9,000 – 15,000 TRY per month.
  • Taxis cost around $5 USD / 150 TRY.
  • Spend $100 – $200 USD / 3,000 – 6,000 TRY on gas on average. Gas costs $5 USD / 150 TRY per gallon.

Misc Costs + Shopping: Great bargains at bazaars, malls, and shops. Spend $100 – $300 USD per month.


  • A vibrant cosmopolitan city with a rich history and culture
  • Affordable cost of living compared to Western Europe
  • Delicious cuisine and a dynamic restaurant scene
  • Excellent transportation infrastructure
  • Opportunity to learn the Turkish language
  • Gateway to explore more of Turkey and Europe
  • Warm and welcoming people


  • Crowded streets and traffic congestion in certain areas
  • Language barrier in some local areas
  • Bureaucratic processes and paperwork
  • Pollution and noise in central districts
  • Conservative culture and dress norms
  • Visa restrictions for long-term stays

Best Cities in Istanbul Turkey for Families, Singles, Retirees

Tailored recommendations for different lifestyles, catering to families, singles, and retirees in Istanbul Turkey.

GroupBest Places in Istanbul TurkeyWhy It’s Best
FamiliesKadıköyMore local, relaxed pace on the Asian side. Parks, cafes, markets.
ŞişliUrban but more affordable. Good schools and transport.
BeykozGreener residential area. Outdoor space for kids.
ÜmraniyeSuburban feel with new residential compounds.
SinglesBeyoğluTrendy, central nightlife and arts scene. Lots of young people.
BeşiktaşLively neighborhood with many eateries and activities.
KadıköyVibrant local area with cafes and affordable housing.
NişantaşıTrendy area to meet other young professionals.
RetireesYeniköyPeaceful coastal village with fresh seafood and walks.
TarabyaUpscale district with scenic views. Less chaotic.
BalatHistoric area with charm. Community of ex-pats.
ModaRelaxed cafes and indie boutiques.

Additional tips:


  • Look for apartments near international schools like MEF or ISKI.
  • Join family-oriented groups to meet other ex-pats with kids.
  • Visit kid-friendly museums like Istanbul Modern or Turkcell Children’s section.
  • Go to large parks like Yildiz Park or Göztepe Park for outdoor activities.
  • Hire a local nanny/babysitter to help out around $500 – $800 USD per month.


  • Join clubs, sports leagues, and expat events to meet new people.
  • Take Turkish language lessons at local community centers.
  • Check out the cool bar and club scene in areas like Kadiköy, Karaköy.
  • Use public transport to get around cheaply and easily.
  • Consider flatmate finders to save on housing costs.


  • Look into residency options like the Turkish Retirement Program.
  • Join informal expat groups and community organizations.
  • Use home grocery delivery and hire part-time household help.
  • Visit teahouses and cafes to enjoy leisure time.
  • Consider more walkable neighborhoods with amenities nearby.
  • Invest in supplemental private health insurance.

Tips on Moving Banking and Finding Housing in Istanbul Turkey

Here are helpful tips on finding accommodations, navigating the housing market, Moving your stuff, and making the most of your budget in Istanbul Turkey.

Tips on Living in Istanbul TurkeyTips for ExpatsResources
Finding Housing– Look in expat Facebook groups
– Know your budget and must-haves
– Hire a relocation service for help
Shipping Belongings-Research customs rules carefully
-Use an international moving company
-Ship essentials only
SDC International Shipping
Banking and Money Transfers-Open a Turkish bank account 
-Use Wise or Transferwise for transfers
-Have cash on hand at first
Visas-Check your country’s visa rules
-Apply for a residence permit after arrival
-Renew permits before expiry
Visa Info

Here is a list of local apartment rental websites, Government resources for Visas, Facebook Groups, Tourism Boards, and more to help you with your potential move here.

Expat Facebook Groups:

Turkey Tourism Board:

Turkey Data Sites:

Embassy of Turkey:

Turkey Local Rental Websites:

  • Sahibinden (local site)
  • Airbnb Monthly
  • For exchanging money use Wise Which is the best option if you are a digital nomad and Expat. a cheaper option to send and receive money internationally rather than exchanging money through other platforms like Paypal, Payoneer costs a lot of money for exchange fees and rates
    • Booking Flights: To Find insane flight deals, search on Google Flights, and Skyscanner and choose the monthly option to find the best day to fly.

Conclusion Of The Best Cities And Places To Live In Istanbul Turkey

From historic districts like Sultanahmet steeped in ancient wonders to modern hubs like Levent teeming with luxury, neighborhoods in Istanbul are fitting for any lifestyle.

For families, local neighborhoods like Kadıköy provide an affordable pace while still immersed in Turkish culture. Trendy Beyoğlu is ideal for singles who want to enjoy vibrant arts and nightlife while retirees find peace in coastal villages like Yeniköy.

Of course, each area comes with its blend of pros and cons to weigh.

But isn’t that what makes choosing a home so personal?

The thrill of the search is finding the ideal neighborhood that suits your needs and desires.

You’ll soon discover that in this city, history lives on every corner, and there are tons of areas to explore and make memories in.

Regardless of where you decide to lay your roots, Istanbul calls with its savory street food, chaotic bazaars, and reminders of ancient powerful civilizations.

If you want to keep up with our travels, go ahead and follow us on our travel page on Instagram @onelifepassport! Comment below what else you would like to know/see about our experiences traveling the world! Also, check out our YouTube Channel!

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