While preparing for a trip to Turkey, a crucial question often asked is, “Can you drink tap water in Turkey?”.
If you are wondering about the same, you are at the right place. Having traveled to most places in Turkey, I will tell you about my experiences as a Turkish local.
Here is your short answer:
Tap water is mostly safe to drink in Turkey. Yet, most tap water tastes bland due to its high mineral content. Most Turkish people drink bottled water.
The best-bottled water brands are Erikli, Danone’s Hayat, Sırma, and Pınar Su.
You can safely use tap water to brush your teeth, take a bath, and cook with it.
In some Turkish destinations, tap water has excellent quality, but this is rare. I rarely drink tap water because it has an alkaline taste. We prefer mostly bottled water (Hayat or Erikli brand) in our house for drinking.
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 should try on your visit to Turkey.
Click here to read “Which Water Should You Use in Istanbul? Answered by a Turkish Local” for Istanbul.
1. Safety of Tap Water in Turkey
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.
Turkey’s public water supply is in line with World Health Organization (WHO) standards in major cities like Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.
However, while it may be safe to drink in a microbiological sense, the taste and hardness of the water due to its high mineral content can still be unappealing to some visitors.
As you move out of metropolitan areas, water quality and taste improve, and most people drink tap water in rural areas.
2. Use Bottled Water Even if the Tap Water is Safe
Moreover, it’s important to remember that ‘safe’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘safe for everyone.’ Use Turkish mineral water or bottled water instead of tap water in your first days in Turkey.
I would not suggest first-time travelers drink Turkish tap water unless they have to, especially on their first days in Turkey.
People with sensitive digestive systems or those not accustomed to the local water might experience discomfort, even if locals consume the water without any problem.
Give yourself some time to adapt to the new climate, local organisms, flora, and environment.
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.
3. 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. We always used Erikli for our baby Lidya because we believe it is the most natural water for babies.
Hayat has many water sources, so some bottles may taste different. 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.
Click to read my article for a detailed review of Turkish water brands.
4. 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 for the bottle).
Due to inflation, prices in Turkish currency change frequently. For this reason, I give the prices in US Dollars as this will be more accurate.
The prices above are market prices, and bottled water in cafes and restaurants 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.
A 200 ml bottle of mineral water will cost around 20 cents
5. Alternatives to Bottled Water in Turkey
Cola, Energy Drinks like Red Bull, 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 soft drinks to try in Turkey are Peach Juice and Ayran.
I had never encountered peach juice in Europe in my travels. Peach juice is one of the most consumed fruit juices in Turkey. The peach 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
6. Other Common Questions
6.1 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.
6.2 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.
Public water fountains with taps usually provide high-quality spring water in most cities. Yet, in Izmir and Istanbul, I would not suggest them because their water sources are changed to tap water.
6.3 White foam or cloud in the tap water?
Turkish municipalities regularly add chlorine to the water supply to fight the possibility of contamination in the water system.
For this reason, sometimes, you can observe white bubbles, white clouds, or foam in the tap water when you fill your glass.
The purpose of chlorine is to keep the water network as sterile as possible.
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.
Further Reading: Do Turkish People Drink Alcohol? Our Laws, History, and Culture
6.4 Does Turkish Tap Water have metal or heavy content?
The water quality is constantly monitored, and also heavy metal concentrations are not a problem in Turkish tap water.
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 significantly lower than the water standards in Turkey.
Researchers also conclude that there is no significant threat to human health from these metals in tap water in Turkey.
6.5 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.
To learn about Turkish towels and why they are different, click to read “Why Turkish Towels are Unique? 14 Things to Know“
Turkey Travel Planning Guide
🚑 Should I buy travel insurance for Turkey?
100% YES! — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from SafetyWing, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.
💧Can you drink tap water in Turkey?
Rarely — You’ll want to buy a Water-To-Go Bottle, which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Turkey, and helps keep you hydrated while traveling Turkey. (Read more)
🚙💨 Is it safe to rent a car in Turkey?
Yes — Renting a car in Turkey is one of the best ways to explore the seven regions of Turkey! I always rent with Discover Cars, which checks both international companies and local Turkish companies, so you get the best rates. (Read more)
🏩 What’s the best way to book my Turkey accommodation?
🎫 Do I need a visa for Turkey?
Likely Not — U.S., Canadian, and most European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Turkey but check here to see if you do need a Turkey travel visa.