The Pros And Cons Of Living In Kusadasi, Turkey As An Expat

Moving to the Turquoise Coast? We might have found just the town for you! Read our guide to discover what life is like in Kusadasi.

Do you love the Turquoise Coast but can’t decide where to live in this beautiful region? If you are looking for a laidback beachside ambience, glorious weather and rich countryside, then look at the town of Kusadasi and all the great things it has to offer for expats.

Kusadasi is one of the lesser talked about expat resorts, yet it is one of the fastest growing towns in Turkey.

This beautiful and scenic town attracts Turks and foreigners alike because of its ideal location in Turkey.

Located just 95 km (59 mi) south of Izmir, Kusadasi benefits from all the amenities that a big city like Izmir has to offer: shopping malls, cultural centres and an important international airport.

Its location on the Aegean Coast assures a mild climate all year round as well as a dynamic tourism-based economy.

There are many reasons why you will love living in Kusadasi, but there are also things you might not like about this location.

Let’s start with the positives.

The pros of living in Kusadasi

1. All the amenities at hand

Kusadasi is located on the Gulf of Kusadasi and benefits from over 50km (25 miles) of sandy beaches.

Living in Kusadasi
The port in Kusadasi

The town itself is built along the scenic coast with all the important administrative buildings, banks, restaurants, cafes and shops being directly on the Marina.

Residents can therefore run errands, shop, dine and sit on cafe terraces while enjoying the view of the hilly coastline. Because the city centre is located along the shore, Kusadasi is a fairly walkable city.

2. Diversity and choice of neighbourhoods

Residents of Kusadasi have a large choice of neighbourhoods to choose from, each with its distinct style and characteristics.

Greater Kusadasi stretches from the town of Selcuk in the north, down to the Dilek Peninsula National Park to the south, offering a variety of scenery and living accommodations. 

The neighbouring towns of Davutlar and Guzelcamli offer a laid back lifestyle, while the neighbourhoods of  Ladies Beach and Marina (which resemble mini-holiday resorts) offer a festive environment with beaches, bars, restaurants, hotels and promenades.

Depending on your lifestyle you are sure to find what you are looking for in Kusadasi. 

3. Sports and leisure activities

When it comes to leisure activities Kusadasi has plenty of these to keep you busy. From scuba diving to sailing, hiking and paragliding, Kusadasi has you covered.

Living in Kusadasi
Kusadasi waterfront

Plenty of walking clubs from Kusadasi and Izmir meet on a weekly basis to walk in the region. 

The Dilek Peninsula National Park is a big favourite with hikers, animal observers and nature lovers because of its preserved environment which is home to many animal and plant species. 

The surrounding villages are a great place to visit for a Turkish Breakfast and buy locally grown fruits and vegetables.

The scenic village of Kirazli (11km east of Kusadasi) is a favourite with Kusadasi locals and can get extremely busy during the weekends from April to October.

If you enjoy water parks during the summer season, then Adaland and Aqua Fantasy, two of Turkey’s best water parks, are the place for you. You can spend days on end playing in the water mazes, pools and lazy rivers offered by these parks.

4. Connected to the world

Kusadasi is just 45 minutes by car from Izmir Adnan Menderes International Airport. This means that you can access many European destinations using a direct flight from Izmir Airport.

Going to Germany, France, the Netherlands, the UK and Ireland is just a flight away.

For those travelling to the United States and Australia, passing through Istanbul (a 45-minute flight from Izmir) is inevitable. 

For transportation to other destinations in Turkey, you have the choice of travelling by air from Izmir Airport or using the private bus companies that travel through Turkey on a daily basis.

You can very easily go to the Kusadasi Central Bus station and find a bus that goes to any destination in Turkey on that very same day.

For transportation within the town of Kusadasi, or to and from the neighbouring towns and villages, a system of small minibuses, called Dolmus, is available.

These minibuses usually arrive every few minutes and travel along established routes where travellers can ask the driver to stop at their desired destination.

5. East meets West

Many expats living in Kusadasi like a traditional Turkish lifestyle but they also want modern amenities and freedoms.

Living in Kusadasi
Dilek National Park near Kusadasi, Turkey

The mix of Turkish and Western cultures that you find in Kusadasi means that you can have the lifestyle of your choosing. 

Whether you are in the mood for a traditional Turkish breakfast, or an English style breakfast with bacon and sausage, you can easily find both options in Kusadasi.

Alongside traditional Turkish restaurants, you can find McDonald’s, Starbucks, Burger King, KFC and Popeyes. Kusadasi offers the best of both worlds to its diverse residents.

6. Friendly to foreigners

Kusadasi has a local foreign population all year round. This expat population dates back to the early 2000s when many UK and Irish nationals settled in the region.

Today, more and more people from Central Asia, Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East call Kusadasi home. For this reason, Turks in Kusadasi are used to the presence of foreigners and try to adjust their lifestyle to welcome more diversity in their midst. 

Although the great majority of locals in Kusadasi don’t speak English, the few who work in tourism have a basic command of the language and can prove to be of assistance with everyday life.

The overall demeanour of Turks in Kusadasi toward foreigners is that of respect and friendliness.  

7. Weather and climate

The Aegean microclimate which promotes mild summers and winters is the most attractive element of life in Kusadasi. Summers in this town are hot but remain relatively mild compared to the hot temperatures that you can find in the East of Turkey or in Mediterranean towns. 

The same can be said for winters that are mildly cold. The average temperature in winter is around 10 °C, with the coldest days reaching as low as 5 °C during the day and around -2 °C during the night.

It rarely snows in Kusadasi and even the coldest of winter days see clear blue sunny skies. This year-round sunny climate promotes outdoor living and a healthier lifestyle. So don’t be surprised if you find yourself feeling happier living in Kusadasi.

8. Healthy eating

The fact that Kusadasi is surrounded by farmland means that fresh, locally grown produce is within your reach and often at a very affordable price.

Living in Kusadasi
The Aegean coast in Kusadasi

Cherries and figs are specially grown in the area around Kusadasi and can be bought from surrounding villages during their respective seasons. 

There’s also a big farmer’s market every Tuesday and Friday where farmers from around the region sell their produce. During the remaining days of the week, you can find smaller farmers’ markets in different neighbourhoods of Kusadasi. 

If you wish to travel to neighbouring towns you can enjoy a large farmers’ market at Selcuk on Saturdays, in Soke on Wednesdays, in Davutlar on Sundays and in Guzelcamli on Mondays.

9. Relatively low cost of living

Among the cities in Turkey that boast a significant expat population, Kusadasi remains among the cheapest. It is significantly cheaper to live in Kusadasi than to live in other towns on the Turquoise Coast like Bodrum, Cesme, Antalya, Fethiye and Alanya.

The prices of real estate in Kusadasi are also relatively cheaper and you can easily find something which fits your budget. While simple apartments and small houses start at $50.000, more luxurious apartments and houses can reach up to $200.000.

You can find more info on how to purchase a property in Turkey safely in our Buying a property in Turkey guide.

The cons of living in Kusadasi

1. Don’t be too trusting

We said that Kusadasi is friendly to foreigners. This is true in a lot of ways, but also untrue. The tourism industry creates an environment where many people look to take advantage of foreigners.

If you choose to live or visit Kusadasi make sure to shop only in stores where prices are clearly marked.

When you become friends with locals pay attention to ulterior motives.

If you decide to purchase a property make sure that the person selling you the property is the real owner of the title deed and that you pay for the property only after the title deed has been transferred to your name.

2. Lots of tourists

Kusadasi and its beaches can get very crowded in the Summer with both tourists from Turkey and abroad.

Living in Kusadasi
Beautiful sand beaches of Kusadasi National Park

There are also significant seasonal variations in the job and rental markets.

The local population works during the summer months, with the official tourism season going from April 25 to October 25. Winter is a quieter season when most shops and hotels close. 

3. Overall economic and political instability in Turkey

Turkish politics today is more unstable than at any time in recent years. Serious economic problems have resulted from political decisions made by the ruling party.

The proximity of Turkey to nations such as Syria, Iran, Iraq and Ukraine is another factor of political and economic instability.

4. Language barrier

Most older expats attempt to learn Turkish, but often say they struggle. Should you need to venture into official offices for things like residency permits, or into the hospitals, you need a translator. 

This language barrier can put some expats in a precarious situation since it encourages them to depend on others.

If you use a translator make sure that you can trust that this person is acting in good faith by correctly translating everything, not withholding any crucial information or purposefully misleading you.

5. Cultural barrier

If you are moving to Turkey you can expect to live through a major cultural shock. Turkey is not a Western country and the way of living and thinking in this country are very different from what you can be used to in the West.

Living in Kusadasi
Pigeon Island with a “Pirate Castle” in Kusadasi harbor

Although these differences shouldn’t cause you too much inconvenience, discussions on religion and politics are to be avoided. Turks can appear to be critical of their culture, religion and politics, but it is best for you as a foreigner to steer clear of these discussions.

To be safe, avoid discussing Turkey’s military and political actions in public or when you just meet. Do not make social media posts on such topics or use messaging functions or apps to discuss them while in the country.

6. Some websites, services and goods are banned in Turkey

Wikipedia was banned for several years in Turkey and many websites are banned and unbanned on a daily basis. Paypal is a service that doesn’t function in Turkey. Booking.com does not allow you to book your stay in Turkey if you are in Turkey.

If you decide to bring your foreign phone to Turkey, you can use it for several months with a Turkish SIM card, but after this time period is up, you will have to pay a fee to use your phone in Turkey.

If you decide to bring your car to Turkey then you can use it for only a 2 year period. During this period only you and your spouse may drive this car. If you lend your car to someone other than your spouse then the police in Turkey can seize your vehicle.

Also, if you wish to order products from another country, you will have to pay a duty fee at the post office for these products. The amount you have to pay will be a percentage of the price of the item you received, as it appears on the package.

7. The price of certain goods

Because of high taxes, the prices of cars, electronics, cigarettes and alcohol are very high in Turkey.

Final thoughts on living in Kusadasi

Kusadasi is a personal favourite with many Irish and UK expats who live in this growing seaside town throughout the year. It’s definitely one of the best places to consider if you want to live on the Turkish Riviera.

Kusadasi has the advantage of being one of the lesser talked expat resorts meaning that prices in this town are still affordable to expats who live on a budget. Plus it is well-connected being just 45 minutes away from Izmir’s International Airport.

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Lila Sanders
Lila Sanders

Lila is a freelance writer from New York City who is now based in Kusadasi, Turkey.

Lila has a passion for travel, discovering new cultures and learning new languages. She has lived in Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Egypt and Turkey.

Lila is fluent in English, French, Arabic and Turkish.

After traveling on 5 continents and over 20 countries, Lila decided to settle in Turkey in order to focus on her writing career. When she is not working, Lila helps the local animal rescue association look after street animals.

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2 Comments

  1. Hi Lila,

    I enjoyed reading your article about expat life in Turkey. My wife and I have been coming to Kusadasi regularly for holidays for about 12 years now and we love it. We own property there and generally visit spring and autumn. You mentioned walking groups. This is something I enjoy doing but haven’t come across such groups. Are you able to put me in touch with anyone, please?

    With best wishes,
    Paul and Jeanette

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