As a Turkish local, one of the most asked questions about Turkey is if the tap water in Istanbul is really safe for daily use or drinking.
Additionally, nearly all my international friends have questions about what they can drink in Istanbul.
In this guide, I will answer all your common questions about Istanbul tap water and tell you the best Turkish water brands and other drinks that you can use to satisfy your thirst.
Let’s start from the end. Here is your answer.
The tap water in Istanbul is safe to drink but I would not recommend you to drink it. Most Turkish people drink bottled water and a lesser majority use bottled water for cooking and beverages.
In Istanbul, you can safely use tap water to brush your teeth and take a bath.
You can buy a diverse set of bottled water brands. The best drinking water brands are Erikli, Sırma, and Hayat.
The best mineral water brands are Kizilay, Uludag, and Sırma.
You can also find common soft drinks brands like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Red Bull easily in Istanbul.
Can You Drink Tap Water in Istanbul?
I would not suggest drinking Istanbul tap water, because of its quality. Turkish people use tap water for all their needs but not for drinking. The overwhelming majority of people living in Istanbul use bottled water for drinking.
I believe the tap water in Istanbul is not suitable for cooking, either.
Most government officials claim that the water pumped into the city is within the safety standards, yet due to the old pipeline system, the water quality decreases when reaching your tap.
The main reason for contamination is water pipes. Mostly metal pipes have been used for plumbing until the 2000s. Rust and ground contamination is common in Istanbul tap water.
Bottled Water Brands in Turkey
The bottled water brands are very diverse in Turkey. Here are my opinions about the best water brands.
The best bottled water brand 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 the Uludag 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 compared to European bottled water. Most bottled water is sold in plastic and glass bottles.
Here are the average prices of bottled water in Istanbul:
- 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
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 many Istanbul Residents are Using Tap Water?
Here is an academic survey about Istanbul Tap Water Usage. The study is from 2017, but the situation in Istanbul is the same or a bit better.
Here are the findings of the survey conducted by Yıldız Technical University.
|Survey Question||Answers||Answers in percentage|
|Do you use tap water for drinking?||36 voted Yes|
573 voted Sometimes
301 voted No
Do you boil tap water before drinking?
|34 voted Yes|
560 voted Sometimes
316 voted No
|Do you use tap water for preparing tea or coffee?||238 voted Yes|
545 voted Sometimes
127 voted No
|If the water authority would announce|
periodically water quality reports and would state
that the water is clean enough, do you prefer to
drink tap water?
|126 voted Yes|
657 voted Sometimes
127 voted No
As you can see from the above table, most Istanbul residents consumed tap water, but not frequently.
Which water do I use in Istanbul?
In Istanbul water quality is lower than Turkish averages.
We mostly use tap water for cleaning purposes. We do not even use boiled water for cooking or preparing beverages, because of its taste and quality.
I rarely use tap water in cooking. (mostly for boiling potatoes or eggs.)
We directly use tap water for all our daily needs, including brushing our teeth and taking a shower.
What is Water Hardness in Istanbul?
Istanbul has rust in its tap water due to old pipelines. Additionally, Istanbul has hard water which means water has excess calcium and magnesium minerals.
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.
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 in Istanbul have their own filtration system which greatly improves the quality of water.
To learn about Turkish towels and why they are different, click to read “Why Turkish Towels are Unique? 14 Things to Know“
White foam or cloud in Istanbul tap water?
For this reason, you can observe white bubbles, white clouds, or foam in the tap water. This is because the Istanbul municipality regularly adds chlorine to the water supply.
The purpose of 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.
Are you planning to drive in Turkey? Read my article on Driving in Turkey as a Tourist: A Turkish Lawyer’s Guide.
Check out my other articles about Istanbul
- Where to Stay in Istanbul? A Local Answers with Map
- Istanbul – What Do You Need to Know Before Visiting?
- 21 Fun and Unique Things To Do in Istanbul (A Local’s Guide)
- A Local’s Guide to Unique Day Trip Ideas from Istanbul
- Why and When did Istanbul Become Constantinople? A Local Answers
- Is Istanbul Safe? Answered By a Local
- Is Istanbul in the Middle East? Location, Culture, Climate, and More
- Is Istanbul Rich or Poor? A Local Answers with Statistics
- How to Order Food Online in Istanbul? A Local Answers
- Which Water Should You Use in Istanbul? Answered by a Turkish Local
- What Languages are Spoken in Istanbul?
- Fashion in Istanbul – Places to Shop, Brands, Designers, and more
- A Local’s Guide to Istanbul – Everything You Need To Know