Cost of Living for Expats in Istanbul and Turkey

Many digital nomads and retirees are choosing to relocate to Turkey because of its low cost of living. Housing, food and entertainment are very affordable. One can have a high standard of living for a fraction of the cost of living back at home.

Over recent years, the cost of living for foreigners has even decreased. Terrorist attacks and the military coup have forced the lira to drop significantly.

As of December 2020, the exchange rates are:



US 1:00


AUD 1:00






The costs of living in Istanbul are higher than in other cities in Turkey. Still, accommodation is affordable if you look beyond the websites set up for foreigners. Check out local websites like Sahibinden or Craigslist.

Food costs in the supermarket are rising and for locals may seem expensive but considering the exchange rates at this time, are very affordable for ex-pats.

Alcohol is one product that is expensive in Turkey. High taxes are added to the cost. The high cost of alcohol has lead to a new trend of making bootleg spirits. Beware of these products as they can be lethal.

An excellent website to see current prices for all things from rents to utilities to a loaf of bread, check out Numbeo. On this website, you can compare Istanbul costs with your current city. This will give you an idea of what to expect when you relocate.

As per Numbeo, a single person’s costs excluding rent are estimated to be US$441.30 per month. A family of four, the costs are estimated to be US$1,552

More examples from Numbeo:

Rent prices in Istanbul are 92% lower than in New York.

Rent prices in Istanbul are 87.5% lower than in London, United Kingdom.

When comparing Istanbul to most major cities around the world, the cost of living in Istanbul is considerably cheaper.