As a Turkish local, I always wondered if the tap water in Turkey is really safe for daily use or drinking.
After being a father of a lovely newborn, I needed to find the ultimate truth about the tap water quality in Turkey.
Finally, I did my research; I will summarize my academic research on the subject and my own Reddit survey in this article.
Here are my experiences as a Turkish local and other facts that I uncovered.
Let’s start from the end. Here is the conclusion I reached at the end of my study about the question, “is it safe to drink tap water in Turkey”:
The tap water is safe to drink but tastes very bland. For this reason, most Turkish people drink bottled water and a lesser majority use bottled water for cooking and beverages.
You can safely use tap water to brush your teeth, take a bath, and cook with it.
The water quality is constantly monitored and also heavy metal concentrations are lower than standards in Turkish tap water.
In this guide, I will answer all your common questions about Turkish tap water and tell you the best water brands and other drinks that you can use on your visit to Turkey.
Can You Drink Turkish Tap Water?
Turkish people use tap water for all their needs but not for drinking. The majority of Turkish people use bottled water for drinking.
Turkish people like me use bottled water because tap water tastes awful, not because they think tap water is not safe.
Unless you have to, I would not suggest first-time travelers drink Turkish tap water, especially on their first days in Turkey.
Even if the water is safe, give yourself some time to adapt to the new climate, local organisms, flora, and environment.
As you move out of metropolitan areas, the water quality and taste improve, and in rural areas, most people drink tap water.
Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir do not have quality tap water whereas Cappadocia, Fethiye, and Antalya usually have better water quality and taste depending on the region.
I used tap water for cooking all my life, and if it tasted good, I drank the tap water. I never experienced any illness myself or seen anyone get ill from the tap water.
Bottled Water Brands in Turkey
I believe the best bottled water brand in Turkey is Erikli. The other one I like to drink is Danone’s Hayat water brand.
Erikli uses the spring water of Uludag. The source of Erikli’s water is the melted snow from this volcanic mountain. Hayat has many sources, so some bottles may taste differently.
The other water brands I like are Pınar Su and Sırma.
Usually, water coming from the springs of the mountain range tastes better. You can check the source of the water on each bottle.
Further Reading: Do Turkish People Drink Alcohol? Our Laws, History, and Culture
Is Water Expensive in Turkey?
Water is cheap in Turkey compared to European bottled water. Most bottled water is sold in plastic and glass bottles.
Here are the average prices of bottled water in Turkey:
- a 500 ml water bottle will cost between 20 cents to 40 cents USD.
- 1 liter 40 cents to 1 USD.
- A 22-liter home-type water bottle will cost around 2 USD (not including the deposit of the bottle).
Due to inflation prices change in Turkish currency, I give the prices in US Dollars as this will be more accurate.
The prices above are market prices and in cafes and restaurants, bottled water will be significantly more expensive.
Kızılay is the most popular and well-known mineral water brand in Turkey. The other best brands are Uludag and Sırma.
200 ml bottle of mineral water will cost around 20 cents
Alternatives to Bottled Water in Turkey
Cola, Energy Drinks like Redbull, Flavored Cold Teas, and Coffees, Mineral water, Milk, and Ayran fruit juices are the common alternatives to water to satisfy your thirst in Turkey.
You can find soft drink stands on nearly every corner.
Unique things to drink in Turkey are Peach Juice and Ayran.
I never encountered peach juice in Europe in my travels. Peach juice is one of the most consumed fruit juices in Turkey. The fruit juice tastes between mango and apricot juice.
Ayran is a salty drink made with yogurt, salt, and water. Ayran is an excellent and light refresher, yet, yogurt may make you sleepy.
Ayran is a perfect drink before a small nap and I would advise Turkish tea if you wish to be more energetic.
Click here to read: Turkish Food and Turkish Cuisine – 23 Things to Know
How do I, a Turkish Father, use the tap water? Which water do I use in my home?
We mostly use tap water for cooking, but when we cook for the baby, we use bottled water because we do not want to harm our baby in the slightest way.
Even if the water is safe, there are always possibilities, and we do not want to take chances with our baby.
We rarely drink tap water because it has an alkaline taste. We prefer mostly bottled water (Hayat or Erikli brand) in our house for drinking.
We directly use tap water for all our daily needs, including brushing our teeth and washing our baby. We do not have a home water filtration system.
To learn more differences about Turkey read my article “Eating and Finding Pork Products in Turkey, Tips & more”
What is Water Hardness in Turkey?
Water Hardness means that water has excess calcium and magnesium minerals. This is the foremost reason Turkish tap water usually does not taste good.
According to a research paper, Turkish tap water significantly has a high hardness level. Yet, some areas of Turkey also have soft water with excellent taste.
Should You Boil Tap Water Before Drinking?
If you are unsure about tap water, the Turkish Food Safety Association advises boiling your water for 15 minutes at around 72 °C (161 °F). However, please note that boiling only affects biological contamination.
Most of the time boiling Turkish tap would not improve the water quality, because even though it will kill the bacteria, the boiling process will not remove mineral content that makes the water taste bland.
Just one side note, most hotels have their own filtration system which greatly improves the quality of water.
White foam or cloud in the tap water?
To fight the possibility of contamination in the water system, Turkish municipalities regularly add chlorine to the water supply.
For this reason, sometimes, you can observe white bubbles, white clouds, or foam in the tap water when you fill your glass.
Purpose of the chlorine is to keep the water network as sterile as possible, and while chlorine is a strong chemical, it neutralizes quickly. Just wait a minute for chlorine to neutralize, and you can use the sterilized water.
Some people believe chlorine leaves a smell and makes the taste worse, but I never experienced it.
To learn about Turkish towels and why they are different, click to read “Why Turkish Towels are Unique? 14 Things to Know“
Can you brush your teeth with tap water in Turkey?
Turkish city tap water can be used to brush teeth. The only exception is if the building you are located in has its own water system problem.
As a Turkish local, I have never witnessed or experienced a problem that someone had using tap water for cleaning purposes.
My Reddit Survey – Which drinking water do Turkish people use at home in Turkey?
I asked the Redditors in the Turkey subreddit. The poll I created got an impressive amount of responses. 769 Reddit users have shared their opinions. Here are the results.
|Which drinking water do you use?|
|Number of votes||Percentage|
|Free Spring Water||47||6%|
|Home filtered tap water||149||20%|
I understand from the opinions and votes sent;
- Turkish people tend to drink bottled water or use home filtration systems to improve the quality and taste.
- Taste is the main factor in choosing bottled water.
- Locals use tap water for their other needs but rarely for drinking.
Are you planning to drive in Turkey? Read my article on Driving in Turkey as a Tourist: A Turkish Lawyer’s Guide.
Do water system managers or employees drink the tap water that they supply to the city?
I found another survey published in the Turkish Journal of Health conducted with 461 water system management employees/managers working in 461 different municipalities.
I was surprised to find out that most water system employees trusted their own water more than the local people.
I believe that the trust of the water system management personnel in their own water is a good indicator.
|The source of drinking water used by the water system employees/managers in their homes||Number of Employee/Manager||Percentage|
|Direct Tap Water||338||%74.1|
|Free Local Spring Water||18||%3.9|
|Tap Water with Home Filtration||15||%3.3|
This survey showed me that water supply personnel trust their water more than ordinary Turkish people.
Does Turkish Tap Water have metal or heavy content?
According to research published by Marmara University, samples of tap water from 32 cities in Turkey showed that none of the metal concentrations (Al, Fe, Cu, Co, Cr, Mn, Pb, Ni, and Zn) exceeded the Turkish, EU, USEPA, WHO, or FAO drinking water standards.
Researchers found that the metal concentrations are mostly metal concentration is significantly lower than water standards in Turkey.
Researchers also conclude that there is no significant threat to human health from these metals in tap water in Turkey.