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Dona Timani

Where should we live on the west coast?

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Hi everyone. I'm looking for advice as usual. We're a couple in our early 40s, we work online, we don't have a car, we still don't know Turkish, we have a cat, and we're ready to leave Istanbul. We're hoping to find a nice and affordable town on the west coast to settle in and buy property. I've read almost every post and advice posted here and elsewhere on where to move and I've researched every town or village that's been suggested.

So after much research (mostly online for now), I think we found that Kusadasi ticks most boxes so we're going to move there in October, rent a place for a couple of months, and look for property. What we like about it is that it's not too small or remote, it's not empty during the winter season, there's an expat community, the ladies beach area seems to have nice streets with trees, which is quite important for us, and, most importantly, the prices of apartments and even houses or semidetached homes are within our range.

I am a bit worried about the earthquake risk there, it seems to be even worse than in Istanbul, and we're not sure if these houses or semi-detached homes we've found are built according to regulations and well insulated or if they're built on the cheap as summer homes. We also have concerns about general infrastructure in that part of Turkey (electricity, reliable internet connection.. etc.). We have a colleague who lives in the greater Izmir region and he constantly complains about power outages.

Obviously, we'll have a better sense when we relocate, and if we don't like Kusadasi, we'll have to start looking elsewhere -- but where exactly? I realize Fethiye seems to be a very popular choice and we will eventually visit it, but so far every place I've seen on Sahibinden that was affordable seemed to be located on a wide and empty street with no sign of trees and just residential property on either side. These streets looked isolating, lonely, and quite ugly. Perhaps Didim could be an alternative option. Anyway, I'm curious to hear you impressions of these three places or other areas I've not considered, maybe some of you have developed a fresh perspective after these months under lockdown. Is there anyone for example who really dislikes Kusadasi? If so, why? 

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I lived in Kuşadası for around six months and have visited many times. It's a nice town. The main complaint I hear about it is that there's too much concrete and that it wasn't planned all that well. But there is a thriving expat community there, it has some nice beaches nearby, and it's not far from Izmir if you want to go to Ikea or other places to do some major shopping.

Didim is very oriented towards British expats and tourists. From what I hear it can get pretty crowded in the summer, and I also noticed there weren't many trees there.

One place I've heard positive things about is Turunç, on the Marmaris peninsula. I had a Turkish friend who moved there for a while, and he really loved it. He said it wasn't too crowded and had a natural feel. I haven't been to Turunç, but I thought I'd pass that on.

Perhaps you can take a nice road trip down the coast from Kuşadası to Fethiye, and stop in on some of these places. I had heard great things about Kaş, in Analya province on the Mediterranean coast. I told @Cukurbagli about wanting to check it out, and one day he called and said there was an apartment available. Within hours of walking around, I knew I wanted to live there. Within around four hours I signed the contract on the apartment. Then I lived there for three years and loved it. I hear it's gotten more crowded in the summer though. I finally moved since I wanted to be around expats who weren't mostly all retired, so I ended up moving to Antalya, but Kaş was, for the time, one of the nicest places I've ever lived.

Kaş isn't on the west coast, I just bring it up because seeing the place and experiencing it made a big impact on me. So I'd recommend you do the same for various towns on the west coast.

Good luck in your search. I'd love to hear about what place you finally choose, and why! I hope you enjoy the trip as you look for the best place to live.

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Thanks Ken, you've lived in so many places in Turkey, your insight is always very informative. I think I'll go visit Kusadasi and the surrounding region next week before our October move. I am aware that the town proper is a concrete jungle, but I think it's balanced by nice beaches and some nice green areas. Kas seems absolutely wonderful and I also considered it as a potential destination, but property prices are high and the same goes for Turunc and Icemeler. 

I do have a question about Antalya, are there neighborhoods that are not necessarily near the beach but have a different and nicer vibe? When we first we moved to Turkey, I was almost certain that we'd end up in Antalya, but besides the old town and the lovely mountain scenery, the city looked the same everywhere else and that surprised me, I expected a bit more variety in terms of urban landscape. 

 

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OK I see what you mean about Kuşadası then. I was also looking at property prices and they did seem low to me as compared to a lot of places. 

By the way, there's a very unspoiled beach near there called Pamucak Beach. If you get tired of Ladies Beach and Long Beach you can always go there, as I recall there are no buildings or hotels there, it's being preserved as it is.

I forgot to answer your other questions. I talked to a property developer a few years ago about how residential homes are built to withstand earthquakes. He said that they are built very strong now, and older buildings are being reinforced to make them able to withstand earthquakes. There's a building inspection office called the  Yapı Denetim Ofisi where you can get a report about an individual building. I don't know where it would be in Kuşadası, but you can at least ask around.

Also, get a residence built well after 1999. In 1999 there was a huge earthquake in Izmit (near Istanbul), which brought down a lot of poorly-constructed buildings. And a lot of those who built them went to prison for it. Since then, as I have been told, everybody has been paying strict attention to building codes.

Regarding Antalya, It's as if there are four Antalyas, as I see it.

The Old City of Antalya

First the old city, around the ancient harbor, lots of beautiful buildings and alleyways, restaurants, bars, etc... you know what I'm talking about there.

Antalya City Center

Then outside of the old city is the city center, if you will, a regular Turkish city. not much different from Adana or Konya, etc... If you live here you probably won't need a car. Practically everything is in walking distance, and you can get to a lot of other places using the Antray light rail system, the Antik Tram (which goes around the outside of the old city) or the plentiful buses and taxis. This area is called Muratpaşa, although Muratpaşa actually also includes Lara, which I'll get to in a minute.

Konyaaltı

On the west side, Konyaaltı stretches from city center to Sarısu Beach and the mountains. It includes the industrial port. This area is more like a typical suburb, very well developed with nice residential villas and apartments. You can get a place within walkning distance to Konyaaltı beach. 

Konyaaltı Beach is a pebble beach, and you have to cross a busy street to get to it, unfortunately.

There is a very nice area in Konyaaltı along the beach near the museum. A long stretch of very nice restaurants, bars, and shops, all recently created to improve Konyaaltı. Also there's a specious park there, and of course Konyaaltı Beach.

Lara

Lara is a bit greener than Muratpaşa. It's more spread out and open as well. There are plenty of shopping malls in Lara and some fine restaurants. It has a more "youthful" feel to it. whereas Konyaaltı has more of a "white collar worker" type feel to it. Things are farther apart in Lara, and I think if you lived in Lara you'd need a car to get around.

Most of Antalya's coastline is cliffs. (they start in Konyaaltı at Konyaaltı Beach, pass through Muratpaşa and end up at Lara Beach. No more cliffs after that.

There's a nice little place in Lara called Güzeloba that I like. It's probably pretty dead in the winter, but it's right next to Lara Public Beach and not far from all of Antalya's ammenities. Besides the public beach there are several "beach clubs" along that same beach, then farther down are the five-star luxury hotels. I mention Güzeloba because I think it may be the best place to live in Antalya, and I'm seriously thinking of moving there, myself.

So to answer your question, I think the kind of place you'd be looking for in Antalya would be in Lara, possibly in Güzeloba, but probably somewhere not too far from Lara Beach.

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Hi Dona,

My ex and I bought a place in Kusadasi a few years ago. Unfortunately things didn't work out and I have since sold my share, but there are some really nice places you can find there for very reasonable prices. Not crazy about the new construction however, I found them to be small and often in the outskirts of town. I love Kusadasi, it is the perfect size and is close to everything. You have good restaurants, good shopping malls and beautiful views. It has the feel of a big city without being one. Hope you find a place that fits your needs, I am jealous! I hope to be able to retire there one day.

Mimi

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9 hours ago, Ken Grubb said:

Konyaaltı Beach is a pebble beach, and you have to cross a busy street to get to it, unfortunately.

 

What was a busy main road past Konyaaltı Beach has now had a traffic calming upgrade and crossing the road is much much easier and safer than it was previously, lots of trees, traffic lights, car parks etc all over what was the main road so absolutely no problem to walk along there and cross the road.

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