The Trabzon Guide

Historically being one of the most important commercial centers, Trabzon is the largest city in Turkey's Black Sea region in the northeast, thanks to its favorable and strategic location.

It is considered one of Turkey's most conservative-friendly cities, alongside Konya and Bursa, and the city is ethnically and religiously very diverse.

Life in Trabzon is relatively quiet and closer to rural living, besides the center and areas around the city's three universities.

It is one of Turkey's greenest cities and home to a fantastic variety of trees and plants.

Is Trabzon the right fit for you? Let's see.

Retiring in Trabzon

Trabzon and its surrounding region are most preferred as a retirement destination by Black Sea folk, locals of eastern Turkey, and a variety of Armenians and Georgians, and is not as widely preferred by Western retirees.

The city is an excellent fit for retirees who want to live close to nature, enjoy culture and authenticity and seek a more peaceful and simple way of life.

Annual temperatures in Trabzon don't go to extremes; the climate is temperate. The average yearly temperature is around 12 degrees Celsius, and in winter, you won't see the mercury ever drop below the freezing point. Humidity can reach as much as 99%, so you might want to consider the possible effects if you have joint conditions.

Lifestyle in Trabzon

The city has a diverse base when it comes to people; you'll have your true Trabzonians, university students who come from all across Turkey, as well as Laz people, Armenians, and Georgians. This multicultural fabric is evident from the different religious complexes and rich historical heritage.

If you can spot a few clouds before you leave the house, even if the news said it wouldn't rain, it is best to have an umbrella with you at all times – of course, if you don't mind a little downpour, by all means, embrace it.

Having good relations with your community and neighbors is essential for the people of Trabzon, and such gatherings will revolve around food and music.

When you get bored of the city and would like to retreat into your shell or connect with nature, all you have to do in Trabzon is to head to the plateaus.

Cost of Living in Trabzon

In terms of rent, Trabzon is one of Turkey's most affordable cities, with rent ranging between TL 700 and 2,000. You can find 3-bedroom apartments for TL 1,500 with sea views, something impossible, say, for Istanbul. As the city is home to a few universities, you may find that rent is TL 200-300 more expensive in locations closer to the campuses.

Trabzon is one of Turkey's few places you could get by on the national minimum wage (~ $380) or slightly under, especially if you can keep your rent under the TL 1,000 mark.

Public transportation is affordable, with a single fare costing around TL 3.00, and students get discounts on the municipal bus lines.

5 Things You'll Love about Trabzon

  • Homes by the sea

Whether you live in a detached house or an apartment complex, you'll likely be surprised to find that almost every home has a sea view or looks out towards it. If you searched for the same opinions along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts, you'd have to pay through the nose for rent, whereas here you'll be able to find them for under TL 2,000.

  • Hospitality like no other

The people of the Black Sea are famous for their hospitality. It's especially true for more rural areas, closer toward the midlands. If you are a student traveling at night, you'll likely be approached by an elderly villager who will try to help you get home safely or open up their home to you.

  • Forever verdant

Few places in Turkey are as green as Trabzon year-round. The city is especially famed for its numerous and magical plateaus that offer beautiful sunsets above the clouds. When you spend a few days by Uzungöl Lake in the Çaykara district surrounded by grasslands on all sides and breathing in the fresh oxygen, you'll feel like a brand new person.

  • Cultural treasures

The city is home to many historical and cultural sites, such as the Greek Orthodox Sümela Monastery. A surreal structure built into the side of a cliff, Boztepe (Mount Minthrion), where you can enjoy sweeping views of the city, the Atatürk Mansion, and the Hagia Sophia Museum among many others.

  • Authentic food

From the region's famed Black Sea anchovies "hamsi" and the cheesy cornmeal extravaganza that is "kuymak" to countless dishes centered around corn, collard greens, and cabbage, you'll never have a shortage of delicious local dishes.

5 Things I Wish I'd Known before Moving to Trabzon

  • Pricey vegetables

Unfortunately, when it comes to vegetables, especially those grown in the south of Turkey, such as broccoli, you will have to pay considerably more. Some types of vegetables are also hard to come by at the weekly bazaars and markets, but there is never a shortage of cabbage and other greens.

  • Moody weather

If you live in northern or northwestern Europe, you will know that you need a lot of rain for somewhere to be green. Trabzon, particularly the east of the Black Sea, is notorious for its rainy weather and dark clouds, which means you won't see the sunshine often, bar summer.

  • Resistant to change

The people of Trabzon care about their traditions and preserving their culture, which can at times come across as being against change or modernity. Trabzon is also a pretty conservative city. This will, of course, depend on the area and the people you meet, but it is best to act a bit more reserved and respectful. The elders of Trabzon are also known to be some of the most stubborn people in Turkey.

  • Lack of nightlife

If you are a social drinker and a vibrant nightlife, a conservative city like Trabzon will not be the best choice for you. Some locals can be quite against drinking, so it's best not to drink out in public.

  • Turkish 2.0

The dialect of Turkish spoken in Trabzon and the eastern Black Sea coast is nothing like that expressed in Istanbul, which is considered the standard across Turkey. As a famous Turkish song goes, if you wanted to say "haydi gel gidelim" (come on, let's go) in Trabzon, you'd say "hayde gidelum."

5 Nearby Towns to Visit

  • Çaykara (for Uzungöl)
  • Akçaabat
  • Maçka
  • Sürmene
  • Of