Turkey
Nov 2022
2 weeks

Ankara

Perpetually living in the shadow of Istanbul, but well worth a visit.

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The often overlooked capital city of Turkey, is a blend of history, culture, and modernity.

Known for its architectural wonders like the Atatürk Mausoleum and the ancient Roman Temple of Augustus, Ankara anchors the countries political, administrative, and cultural spheres.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

Exceeded my expectations on every level and would definitely return for another stay. If already in Turkey, worth a couple of nights to explore on holiday.

🌎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

Exceeded my expectations on every level and would definitely return for another stay. If already in Turkey, worth a couple of nights to explore on holiday.

Verdict:
Highly recommended

Exceeded my expectations on every level and would definitely return for another stay. If already in Turkey, worth a couple of nights to explore on holiday.

👎
Verdict:
Highly recommended

Exceeded my expectations on every level and would definitely return for another stay. If already in Turkey, worth a couple of nights to explore on holiday.

🛫
Turkish Lira (TRY)
5.6 Million
💰 Great value
🧳 Would like to return

Summary

Having visited several cities on Turkey's southern coast, I made my way up inland, getting the bus from Adana. Having been dissuaded from anyone I had ever spoken to about visiting Ankara on the basis of it being an incredibly boring city, I was curious to see just how dull a metropolis of over 5 million people could be.

Accommodation
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Airbnb always seems to be a bit hit and miss throughout the country and my experience in Ankara was no different. Depending on how long you're staying, you may want to consider a hotel for ease of convenience where the prices seem to be pretty competitive. I spent a week in the Kahya Otel Ankara which was a great place to explore the city from.

info
New legislation
Recent changes introduced by the Turkish government has made short-term rentals for under 100 days more restricted. Keep an eye on Reddit threads for up-to-date assessments of how the new legislation is impacting short-term rentals in practice.
Places to work
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

There's a strong selection of places to work from across the city with national chain Workinton operating in several places. I personally loved the time i spent at Ancowork which I've written about beneath.

Value
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Ankara was great value for both eating out with prices similar to those in Istanbul and the rest of the country for food, drink and coffees.

info
The yen is currently at a 34-year low
While this is undoubtedly a negative for the Japanese, it makes for an exceptionally good time to visit Japan from abroad. Although this trend is unlikely to reverse significantly in the short term, it's still worth checking before visiting.
Read more
View the cost of living
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Working hours
Great
Good
Ok
Bad

Turkey adheres to GMT+2 in summer, reverting to GMT+3 in winter due to the absence of daylight saving time practices.

Republic Day celebrations outside of a kebab shop in Çankaya.
Republic Day celebrations outside of a kebab shop in Çankaya.
Autumn time in Dikmen Valley park. Perfect and moderately flat location for running in the centre.
Autumn time in Dikmen Valley park. Perfect and moderately flat location for running in the centre.

Where to stay

Ankara is an enormous city and whilst it is moderately well connected with the metro, you'd be best off staying in one of the more lively hubs.

Would avoid
Recommended
Tunalı
What felt to me as the real heart of the city, a busy commercial hub with lots of great options for food and drink.
Would avoid
Recommended
Bahçelievler
A neighbourhood with more of a residential feel, I would strongly consider staying in Bahçelievler on a future visit. Lots of options for food and drink.
Would avoid
Recommended
Altındağ
The northern half of the city, while not inherently bad, lacks the vibrancy found in Çankaya.

Where to work

Ancowork
Top Choice
☕️ Good Coffee
📍 Top Location
🥗 On Site Cafe
🧍Community Focused
⭐️ Quality Fit Out
🌳 Outdoor Space

Based around a ten minute walk from bustling hub of Tunali, Ancowork provides a great base to work from, with a large open plan coworking space on the ground floor and meeting rooms available for calls below.

There's a number of great coffee shops within 5 minutes walk from the office with the only downside being a slightly aggressive hill leading up to it.

There didn't appear to be any fixed member of staff working there when I arrived, so if planning to visit i would enquire ahead to make sure they are present.

Remote work visa

No remote work visa
Remote work visa available
Remote work visa coming soon
If staying for a prolonged period, you may want to consider a dedicated visa for this destination.
This country is actively working on a visa support for remote workers.
Check your government website for details of how to obtain a tourist visa.
View full details
To the best of my knowledge this information was correct as of 27th April 2024. If you notice something has changed drop me a message and I'll update it!

Citizen Remote is a great source of up to date knowledge for everything to do with remote work visas.

Safety

Off-work

Visit Anıtkabir

Visiting Atatürk's final resting place Anıtkabir, is a must when in the capital. Brushing up on Turkey's last century of history beforehand adds depth to the experience and if you have spent any period of time in Turkey prior, you are likely to have seen his face dotted around the country. I would suggest getting there early on the weekend to beat any potential queues on arrival.

Learn more
Eat at an Aspava

This style of Turkish restaurant appeared to be particularly popular in Ankara, with an enormous selection of meats, salads, chips and dips provided with each meal. Be prepared to eat a lot.

Walk through ABB-Dikmen Vadisi Parkı

Beautiful city park set in the Dikmen valley. Particularly impressive in Autumn as the valley inherits a autunumal hues from the falling leaves.

Walk up to Ankara Castle

Situated just north of the centre, Ankara Castle and the surrounding area provide a glimpse into the cities historic past, with a museum at the top and panoramic views of the city.

Walk through Bahçelievler

Situated next to Anıtkabir, this neighbourhood is definitely worth a stroll around, home to  an array of coffee shops, bars and dining options.

Eat at an Aspava

This style of Turkish restaurant appeared to be particularly popular in Ankara, with an enormous selection of meats, salads, chips and dips provided with each meal. Be prepared to eat a lot.

Visit Anıtkabir

Visiting Atatürk's final resting place Anıtkabir, is a must when in the capital. Brushing up on Turkey's last century of history beforehand adds depth to the experience and if you have spent any period of time in Turkey prior, you are likely to have seen his face dotted around the country. I would suggest getting there early on the weekend to beat any potential queues on arrival.

Walk through ABB-Dikmen Vadisi Parkı

Beautiful city park set in the Dikmen valley. Particularly impressive in Autumn as the valley inherits a autunumal hues from the falling leaves.

Walk up to Ankara Castle

Situated just north of the centre, Ankara Castle and the surrounding area provide a glimpse into the cities historic past, with a museum at the top and panoramic views of the city.

Duration & season

Ankara has a radically different climate to the cities on the southern coast. November felt especially Autumnal with plenty of dry, clear and slightly chilly days. With no beach and sea access, you'd struggle to make a compelling argument on choosing it over other cities throughout the summer months, but I would certainly return again at that time of year.

Food & drink

Ankara Castle Walk
·
Walk
If you're staying in the centre, the castle is easily walkable within a morning, with the summit providing some great views over the entire city.
Dikmen Valley
·
Walk
Beautifully landscaped valley situated to the south of the city centre. Ideal for runs if staying nearby. Be prepared to go up and down a lot.

People

You're less likely to find an international remote community in Ankara compared to that in Istanbul or Antalya with only few tourists passing by either. Like with the rest ofTurkey, I found the local people to be particularly warm and engaging.

Exercise

Ankara Castle Walk
If you're staying in the centre, the castle is easily walkable within a morning, with the summit providing some great views over the entire city.
keyboard_arrow_down
Dikmen Valley
Beautifully landscaped valley situated to the south of the city centre. Ideal for runs if staying nearby. Be prepared to go up and down a lot.
keyboard_arrow_down
Ankara Castle Walk
If you're staying in the centre, the castle is easily walkable within a morning, with the summit providing some great views over the entire city.
Dikmen Valley
Beautifully landscaped valley situated to the south of the city centre. Ideal for runs if staying nearby. Be prepared to go up and down a lot.

Verdict

Positives
  • Great connections to Istanbul and the rest of the country.The high speed train line is a great alternative to flying. The trains are modern, well run and comfortable.
  • Beautiful city parks.The Dikmen Valley is a spectacular area which looked incredible with the autumnal leaves during November.
  • Less chaotic than Istanbul.If you are looking for somewhere not quite as manic, Ankara may do the job.
  • A busy working city.I found there was a great buzz in Ankara, only comparable with Istanbul and Izmir in the other cities in the country I've visited.
Negatives
  • It's an enormous city.Traffic can be bad during rush hours so plan your journeys accordingly.
  • It is less memorable than Istanbul.If you had to choose between the two, you would opt for Istanbul everytime. That being said, if you are in the country for a while, it's well worth adding into an itinerary.
Tips
  • Book in advance for the high speed rail line.The morning and evening trains to Istanbul get sold out rapidly. If planning to use the train, book as much in advance as you can.
  • Cappadocia can be done over a weekend.A three hour drive from the centre of Ankara.
  • If you don't like hills, avoid Çankaya.Be prepared to be constantly going up or down.
  • Eid al-Adha is a major holiday usually around June.Expect many offices to be closed during this time in a similar manner to Christmas in the UK.
Planning a trip?
I loved everything about this trip to Japan. I've put together some thoughts on my entire stay in the country, which may come in handy if you are planning a visit soon.
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