Cost of Living in Izmir: Price Overview for Expats

Cost of Living in Izmir: Price Overview for Expats

Izmir, located on the Aegean Sea, is the third-largest city in Turkey. Expats are drawn to this city for its pleasant climate, with an average summer temperature of about 26°C and a winter average of 10°C. In recent years, Izmir has experienced rising inflation, leading to increased prices for food, rent, and entertainment. However, compared to other expat destinations, the cost of living in Izmir remains relatively low. Read on to learn more about the cost of living for expats in Izmir. The prices mentioned in this article are current as of August 2023.

Renting and Purchasing Housing

Izmir is a coastal city, but it lacks its own beaches. If you're looking forward to spending your leisure time swimming or surfing, you should consider suburban areas like Urla, Foça, Çeşme, and others. Rental prices in these areas depend on their proximity to the sea, the duration of the rental, and the type of accommodation. According to Numbeo, a website that compiles cost-of-living data for cities worldwide, the starting rental price for a one-bedroom flat in Izmir is $300, while a three-bedroom flat starts at $400. During the summer season, rental costs for villas and penthouses can go up to $5,000 per month, significantly higher than in other seasons.

In central areas of Izmir, like Konak, Bayraklı, Bornova, and Buca, rental prices are also quite reasonable. In the low season, you can find one-bedroom flats starting from $322 and three-bedroom flats starting from $558..

One square metre in central areas costs $1,134. On the outskirts, you can find prices from $673.

In 2022, due to an influx of foreigners, Turkish authorities imposed restrictions on obtaining residence permits and settling in certain areas. As of 2023, there are more than 1,200 such restricted locations. This restriction also applies to 27 municipalities in Izmir. Therefore, it's important for foreigners to confirm whether it's possible to register in a specific area of the city before preparing rental documents. You can verify this information on the Turkish government's website or directly with the municipality. Obtaining a tourist residence permit in Izmir in 2023 has become increasingly challenging, with a high risk of rejection, as reported by travellers.

Urla, Izmir. Photo: Volkan Coskun (Unsplash)


Tenants of an 85-square-metre flat can expect to pay approximately $66 per month for utilities, including electricity, water, gas, and garbage disposal. It's worth noting that not all houses in Turkey are connected to central heating. During the winter, especially on cold nights, you will need to heat your place. Typically, air conditioners are used for heating, which can result in electricity bills that are three to four times higher.

Some houses in Izmir have gas heating, which can lead to slightly lower utility expenses. The equipment for gas supply can be expensive, so it's not commonly installed in Turkish flats. However, if you happen to rent a house with this type of heating, you'll have the opportunity to save significantly on utilities during the winter months.


The climate in Turkey is favourable for growing fruits and vegetables, and the coastal location of Izmir ensures a steady supply of fresh fish and seafood, making it possible to enjoy affordable dining. Here are average prices for basic groceries:

Price ($)
Milk, 1 litre
Potatoes, 1 kg
Rice, 1 kg
Cheese, 1 kg
Eggs, 12
Onions, 1 kg
Tomatoes, 1 kg
Bananas, 1 kg
Apples, 1 kg
Oranges, 1 kg
Chicken fillets 1 kg
Beef fillets, 1 kg

You can purchase groceries at large supermarkets like Migros, Bim, and Şok, or explore local markets organised by the municipal administration, where you can often find lower prices.


Dining out is a popular leisure activity in Turkey, and Izmir offers a wide range of options, including traditional local and European cuisine.

For instance, you can enjoy breakfast at Özsüt Select, Sun Coffee Co, Goche's Coffee, or Be Water Coffee & Book Store. These places offer Wi-Fi, allowing you to work while you dine. A cup of coffee typically costs around $1.74.

For lunch, expats often choose between traditional Turkish eateries or lokantas like Balmumu Dükkan Lokanta and Alsancak Balık, as well as European cafes and restaurants such as Ristorante Pizzeria Venedik and Magro. Lunch prices typically range from $4 to $9, depending on the restaurant's quality and type. Fast food and Turkish street food are also popular options, with lunches costing around $4 in such places.

You can buy alcohol in Turkey, but only from 6 a. m. to 10 p. m. Here are average prices for alcohol:

Price ($)
Bottle of wine
Local beer, 0,5 litre
Imported beer, 0,33 litre

Mobile Service and Internet

There are three main mobile providers in Izmir: Vodafone, Turkcell, and Türk Telekom. You can purchase a SIM card at mobile stores by presenting your passport. A monthly package that includes calls, text messages, and 10 GB of data typically costs around $7. It's important to note that foreigners planning to stay in Turkey for an extended period must register their smartphones within four months to avoid the possibility of their phone being blocked.

An expatriate can have home internet installed in their flat, but a valid residence permit is typically required. The main internet service providers in the area include Türk Telecom and Superonline Turkcell. Monthly unlimited packages for internet service start at around $8.5.


Public transportation in Izmir consists of underground trains, trams, buses, city trains (Izban), and ferries. Payment can be made using the Izmirim transport card or with a paper ticket called Bilet35, available for one, three, five, or ten trips. You can obtain the card at the airport or at central underground and train stations, and online refills are also an option. The initial fare for any type of transport is $0.32. The first transfer within 90 minutes costs $0.12, the second transfer is $0.07, and subsequent transfers are free.

The fare for trips to distant areas and the suburbs varies based on the distance travelled. When boarding and disembarking from the train, simply tap your card on the validator. During the first tap, the validator deducts the maximum fare for the trip, and during the second tap, the remaining amount is refunded to your Izmirim card. Some of the most expensive routes include Çeşme to Urla, Bergama to Aliağa Aktarma, and Tire to Torbali, which cost $0.71. Additionally, there is a 50% discount on all fares during the early morning hours from 5 to 7 a.m. and in the evening from 7 to 8 p.m.

In Izmir, there is a city bike rental service known as Bisim. The rental rate is $0.11 per hour, and there is a refundable deposit of $1.11 when you start using the service. If you use the Izmirim card for payment, the deposit is not required. However, you'll need to activate your card at the Bisim office first. It's also possible to pay for the bike rental online using a bank card.

Official taxis in Izmir are recognizable by their yellow chequered cars. They operate with metres and adhere to tariffs established by the city government. The starting fare is $1.85, with a boarding fee of $0.44, and each kilometre travelled costs $0.81.Car rentals are a popular option, and the daily cost varies depending on the car's brand, starting at $38. Additionally, a litre of petrol costs around $0.92.

Izmir. Photo: Ali Yasar isgoren (Unsplash)


There are both state-run and private clinics in Izmir. Insurance can cover up to 60% of the treatment cost in both types of clinics, and it is a requirement for obtaining a residence permit and living legally in Turkey.

During the first year, insurance is typically issued by private companies such as Sompo Sigorta, Allianz, and Demir. The cost of insurance depends on factors such as age and the presence of chronic diseases. An annual policy with basic services typically costs around $73.99.

After 12 months of living in Turkey, you can enrol in the state insurance program, SGK. This insurance covers 100% of the cost of treatment in public hospitals, up to 80% in private hospitals, and up to 80% of the cost of medicines. The monthly fee for SGK is $23, and it extends to the entire family of the insured person.

Without insurance, an appointment with a general practitioner at a public clinic costs $5.55, while a 24-hour stay in a hospital costs $300.You do not need prescriptions to buy medications in pharmacies; simply inform the pharmacist about your symptoms, and they will provide the medication without requiring a doctor's prescription.


Life in Izmir is far from boring, offering a range of exciting activities for residents and visitors alike. You can take a leisurely stroll along the serene promenade, attend lively parties, and even indulge in an opera performance. Here are some popular activities:

  • Shopping. Shopping in Izmir offers a diverse experience, catering to various preferences. You can explore conventional shopping malls like Mavibahçe AVM, Hilltown AVM, and Agora AVM, or immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Kemeraltı area, which resembles a bustling bazaar. Here, you'll find a plethora of shops selling souvenirs, clothing, food, as well as charming Turkish cafes and tea houses where you can savour local cuisine.
  • Museums and antiquities. Izmir boasts an array of museums, including archaeological, ethnographic, and art museums, among others. Additionally, you can explore the historic Agora of Smyrna, an ancient Greek market square that stands open to the public. For residents with a valid permit, there's the option to obtain a MUZEKART+ for just $2.22, granting free access to select museums throughout the year. Alternatively, a single visit to these museums typically costs $3.
  • Parks. Izmir is a green city; it has lots of parks and a zoo with around 1,500 animals. The ticket costs around $1.
  • Opera, theatre, and concerts. There are two theatres in Izmir: an open-air theatre, as well as opera and ballet theatre. Tickets start at $25.
  • Thermal spas.During weekends, you can venture outside the city and enjoy the soothing hot springs, available at places like the Balçova Thermal Hotel and Kaya İzmir Thermal. A day's visit to these hot springs typically begins at $150.
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In a Nutshell 

Izmir is an affordable and modern seaside city. A single person can manage their basic expenses with around $415 (excluding rent), which is notably lower than in other expat-frequented cities. The city is home to a diverse expat community, making it comfortable for individuals from various cultural backgrounds. However, it's essential to keep in mind that obtaining a residence permit in Izmir in 2023 can be challenging, with a high risk of rejection, and 27 areas of the city have restrictions on foreign registration.

Cover photo: Ajarlar, Ancient City of Ephesus, Ruins of Ephesus, Selcuk / Izmir, Turkey, Mert Kahveci (Unsplash)

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