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Moving to Turkey - Where is Best on the West Coast?

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Hi, I'd like to move to turkey for a while. I'm single with a (big) dog. I was thinking of Alanya but after reading another post (I had posted a reply but it disappeared), I'm not sure I'd like to go there anymore.  I'm looking for a place where interesting people live, whether Turkish or expats. Intelligent, educated and interesting.  I was recently told by a fellow Canadian that Alanya is not ideal as it's a party, touristy place and that - her words not mine: "cheap people live there" .. not sure what she meant.

Also, I'm terrified of earthquakes and the seismic map shows that the area of Alanya, Mersin, etc. is not at risk of big ones, just small wiggles. 

I have no idea of crime rates in different areas.

About me: I'm not super young, but I'm still far from retirement. Not looking for a party place but more of a nice place with authentic people who are not looking at you like a tourist or a walking wallet.  I have no desire to date or anything (in process of getting divorced, so I want no romance whatsoever for quite some time..).  I just need a beautiful place, not far from beach, can be hills, where I can make interesting and educated friends.  I like people and making friends.

I speak no turkish but will want to learn.  My dog needs to be safe as well so not far from a place where I could find a good vet.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Thank you.



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I've heard that about Alanya too, but always from people who never lived in Alanya. I'm moving there at the end of next summer. If you want the people you describe, Kaş is like that. But it's a small town, and dead in the winter. There are some nice beaches near there, but around the town it's rocks rather than sandy beaches. I lived there for three years. The people there are different, more intellectual and open-minded. From the story I heard, Kaş was where dissidents fled to in the 1980s (there were no good roads to get there which I guess made it too much of a pain for the government to go there and arrest them!). A lot of them ended up buying property when things cooled off, only selling it to like-minded people. I met a lot of fascinating people in Kaş, both Turks and expats. Kaş is highly-favored by Turks because it's a small town, quiet, and serene. I really loved it there, and from how you described yourself, it might just be the right place for you. I joke that when I was looking for the best place to live in Turkey, I found that Turks always recommended the same two places. The first was Kaş. The other one was "Aaaaahhh... Kaş!"

Another of the reasons it's so quiet and lovely is because it takes a long time to get there from the airport, so the budget tourists don't go there. I have heard that it's changed somewhat because of its popularity. And a new highway is in the works which might change things further. Because it's so popular, rental and sale property is expensive, but if you don't mind living in one of the smaller adjacent towns (you might want that if you have a big dog), it will be more affordable.

They do have earthquakes on the West coast, but they all seem to be somewhat out at sea. Nothing every seems to fall down, at least. With the changes in construction codes made several years ago, every building they build has to be able to withstand a major earthquake.

I've visited Mersin a few times. While it has some beautiful beaches around there (Kız Kalesi is popular, and cheap!), it seemed to me there wasn't much to do, and there isn't anything remarkable about the city itself. If you go anywhere east of Alanya, there will be few expats, but it is cheaper, and it seemed to me the Turks were more friendly and welcoming (which is saying a  lot because Turks are already known to be friendly and welcoming).

Fethiye is pretty touristy. No beaches in town but some really nice ones nearby. Few trees, which was a negative for me. Marmaris is much greener, but a big tourist place. Bodrum is probably the most touristy you could go to.

There are numerous smaller towns near both Marmaris and Bodrum which are much quieter and prettier. If you lived in one of them, you could have peace and quiet, but also be near a larger town which has malls and larger grocery stores with more variety of things to buy.

Some of the places I've heard about which sound like what you're looking for are Turunç, Göcek, and Köyceğiz, which is on a lake with a beautiful promenade.

I hope that helps!

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Thank you Ken. I was also planning on moving there by the end of next summer. I'm moving from Canada maybe in May, but will probably (nothing is finalized yet, I'm still seeing what and how to do it) stay in France or Italy for a couple of months before moving to Turkey.  I might do Alanya anyway as I've joined a FBK group of Alanya expats and ''made friends'' with a couple of people who work online like I plan to do.  However did not plan on staying long-term if the Canadian girl is right about people in general there.

Also, the recent deaths of three Russian tourists at three different resorts in Alanya (one of whom had her body returned without organs to her parents' dispair), kind of scared me a bit.  

I will definitely check out Kas and the other three spots you told me about.  Thank you. Even here in Canada I don't have that many friends but the couple I have are very smart, educated and we have very stimulating conversations and learn from each other.  That's what I like.

The place needs to be dog-friendly...

Think it will be hard to find an apartment accepting dogs?  I also plan on volunteering with strays. I can't help it, I love dogs and horses.

Thank you.


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A big factor is also going to be which part of a city or town you live in. If you stay downtown it's one experience, if you stay on the outskirts or in various districts, it's another.

Turks are friendly an hospitable to foreigners, and happy to help. Many of them speak English in the places I mentioned. What I would do is, when you get to your hotel, ask the people who work there to tell you about the various places around town. You'll get lots of information that way. It will be the same at restaurants where you go.

The Turks always have a network of people they know. It's astonishing what you can get done and what resources you can find just by asking around. So if the person you ask doesn't know, they may know somebody else who lives or has lived there who can answer your questions.

Regarding finding a place which accepts pets, I would check the real estate listing websites. See this article:

How to Find and Rent an Apartment in Turkey

At the bottom are links to the various real estate listings websites. A lot of them are listed by real estate agents, who charge one month's rent as a commission. What I would do is use the listings to find places you like, then print off the details sheet and go to the various real estate offices offering them for rent. Their address and contact information will be on the listing. Ask the agent about the pets policy, since sometimes in the listings it doesn't say. If they don't speak English there will likely be somebody nearby who does.

There's no "multiple listing service" in Turkey. So the agent you talk to will only be offering apartments for rent that they have sales contracts for. Therefore it's a good idea to visit several of them. They can also help you with apartments listed by other agents. What I mean by that is they may know about pet-friendly places that other agents are listing, or know about complexes which allow pets, while not knowing whether or not units are being offered for rent there.

If an agent closes a deal on another agency's apartment, they get only half the commission. So they'll always show you what they have first. But since you're there, and since the only thing they have to do is refer you, that makes it worthwhile to them so there's still an incentive to help you. Not to mention that, considering your situation with the dog, a lot of them will try to help you find a place just because of that.

The real estate agents, of course, will also be a valuable source of information about the various places in the city where you might want to live.

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I used to live in Alanya but that was some time ago. It was never a high end tourist destination. I totally agree with Ken’s suggestions, the Bohemian, eccentric resorts of Kaş, and also nearby Kalkan , used to attract some quite famous Turkish celebrities. I don’t know if they still do. Kalkan would claim to be slightly more upmarket but it has no sandy beach and the main downside would be that it is expensive by comparison to other Turkish coastal resorts.

I would have suggested Foca or Datca but their proximity to Izmir and the red earthquake zone area would not be to your liking. The only additional place that I could recommend would be Sinop on the Black Sea Coast. Sinop has the reputation of being the happiest town in Turkey. However, again, this is in an earthquake sensitive area and there are not many foreign nationals living in Sinop so it may not be suitable.

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Kaş does attract celebrities. It takes so long to get there from the airport, it's a good way for a celebrity to spend some time there before the Paparazzi arrives. I heard stories about George Clooney showing up in his yacht and going to some of the night spots. The town is quite traditional-looking, and a celebrity can walk around just blending in with everybody else, and going to the restaurants, bars, and night spots just like everybody else. Once I took a photo of the inside of a place while I was sitting at the bar. A man walked up to pay the bill and said "I should charge you for that photo!" I just kind of laughed it off. After he and his entourage were gone, the owner told me that he was a rather famous multi-millionaire. I asked the owner who else normally comes to her bar, but she said she never gives out that information.

I also agree with as012 on his recommendations. I preferred Kaş to Kalkan. To me, Kaş seems to have more of a reason for existence. Whereas Kalkan is a popular place to buy a seasonal villa. Kaş is flatter, while Kalkan is steep, like a theater built on the side of a hill. Kaş is also where the local government offices are, and Kalkan is a part of Kaş district.

I have also been to Ayvalık, and that's quite a pleasant town. A fantastic beach, but from what I've heard, the water is cold year-round. Foça is also a very pretty town. One nice thing about it is that there's now a light rail passenger train that runs between Izmir and Ayvalik. Ayvalık is pretty far, but Foça is much closer. If you wanted to go from Ayvalık or Foça to Izmir for anything, all you'd have to do is go to the terminal, swipe your transportation card and get on the train.

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Thanks Ken.  I don't care much for celebrities, as much as for people who are interesting and educated.  I love mixing with people and exchanging ideas and learning from others as well as teach others... intellectual stimulation.. this exchange is more what I'm looking for.  :-)  I don't want to end up in a mainly young people's place who only want to party and that's it, not fond of a frivolous and superficial environment. That's what I mean.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Worldtraveller

My wife and I are also moving from Canada to Turkey. It's very interesting how much your goals for moving to Turkey aligns with us. We're also looking for a quite, beautiful place and close to nature or beach where we can have daily walk or hike. We're in our 40s and also looking for nice easy-going friends whom we can get together in the evening for a coffee / beer and a chat or go hiking / cannoning on the weekends. For all those reasons we chose Izmir, particularly Naridere or Urla which are in outskirts of Izmir. The only issue is that most properties in those places are rented as unfurnished and we think to rent a furnished place for the first year. The other choice is Karsikya in Izmir where there are more furnished apartments available for rent, but it's gonna be inside the city and I'm not sure how quite it will be compared to outskirts of Izmir.

We also love dogs and couldn't have one in Canada due to busy life. We decided to purchase / adopt one as soon as we settle in Izmir. It's very interesting that you plan to volunteer for strays. That was the exact conversation I had with my wife last week as she's also interested in doing that.

We stayed in Alanya for 2-3 months back in 2016 and even though we loved the nature, we didn't see ourselves living there permanently.

We're moving in mid February and thinking to get an Airbnb for a month to get to know the city before renting a place. I would be happy to keep in touch with you to keep you updated.

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There is a lot going on, in and around Izmir. You also have the added advantage that you can scoot off to Çeşme at the weekends although it can get a bit hectic in the summer months. All round it is not a bad place to live, so long as you are outside of the city that is. The earthquake risk is what might put Worldtraveller off this area. Whilst there has not been any large earthquake in Izmir for over 300 years ( 1688 was notorious ) that is little comfort if one just happens to take place tomorrow.

Interesting that both of you are interested in helping stray dogs. In Izmir there is a chap called Andrew Simes ( his family are from a line of Levantines ) who does exactly this and he regularly advertises dogs to good homes on Sahibinden.com. He is very careful about who he will give his dogs to, and quite rightly too. The adverts are in Turkish but you can contact him in English and ask him for more information. 

This is a list of his current selection: https://www.sahibinden.com/arama?userId=arHv8nWoB-G1JD6Jmu1dRYg


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