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Turkey food and water

Hello travelers!
Can anyone give advice on the drinking water in Turkey?
Should we always drink bottled water?
Do some of the hotels purify their water?
We are getting our Hep A vaccination soon. We travel in mid March.
Did anyone get food or water born illness?
What medications should we bring in our first aid kit?
Thank you

Posted by
7737 posts

As far as what medications to bring, we always pack Advil and Tylenol. Ask your MD for a prescription for Cipro, a broad based antibiotic, to take along. Our MD always tell us to take this along on trips.
We did not get sick while in Turkey.

Posted by
6644 posts

Gail, here is what CDC advises travelers to Turkey: turkey food & water

Its part of their job to monitor and advise on this kind of stuff, and they base it on knowledge of local disease trends, water quality reports, and the condition of water treatment facilities. Its hard to generalize for a whole country, but it is a professional judgment rather than anecdotal.

Posted by
7737 posts

Change the title from "Gail" to something related to your question. Most will bypass your post with this title.

Posted by
203 posts

During our trip to Turkey (2009) we were advised to use bottled water for consumption. Additionally, certain foods and types of food preparation were recommended or advised against. The link provided by the above poster (Stan) from the CDC has the best information available to date. Have a wonderful time!

Posted by
1558 posts

Follow the advice from Stan’s CDC link. We were told to not drink anything but bottled water throughout our RS tour. Many here will say that the drank tap water and didn’t get sick. Why take the chance?

The food is very good in Turkey. Follow CDC guidelines for food too.

Posted by
1749 posts

Don’t drink the water and don’t brush your teeth with tap water while in Turkey. Use bottled water. Any place where the water is iffy, my husband places a towel or facecloth over the tap at night as a reminder to not wet our toothbrushes with the tap water in the morning as it’s easy to forget when you are half asleep and getting ready to get going. It’s easy to forget.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you fellow travelers for all the great advice!

Posted by
14919 posts

I was advised to always check bottled water to make sure the bottle hadn't been opened - can be a problem with disreputable kiosks. Good restaurants and hotels used only treated water for food prep. Be careful with fresh produce in other places. So it's a good idea to stick with fruit that you peel before eating. I've been to Istanbul twice for about a week, once alone, once with a friend. Also did the RS Turkey tour. No one got sick.

Posted by
133 posts

In 2019 we used bottled water. It was very cheap.
My wife and I both got sick, which I think was from dried apricots in the Spice Bazaar. These were NOT purchased at the RS recommended stall. However, probably half of our RS tour also got sick at various times.

Posted by
6872 posts

If your stomach is sensitive, don't take a risk. It's not worth it because food and drinks are so inexpensive in Turkey. The locals are used to the water and to street food, but that doesn't mean non-locals will react the same. I had no problem brushing my teeth using tap water from the sink and eating street food, but I'm in my 40s and my stomach can take a lot. I would not drink tap water under any circumstance, however. I really enjoyed the fresh squeezed pomegranite juice (sold in various street carts) though! Also, try the very strong tea served in the small tulip shaped cups, it's offered everywhere and it's delicious.

Posted by
11 posts

You all have been so very helpful. When my husband and I traveled to Mexico, we received similar advice. The high end hotels and restaurants used purified/treated water. We drank bottled water, never ate from street vendors. Never got sick. I’m 70 and won’t give up traveling, I just need to be more cautious. Thank you so very much🙏

Posted by
11 posts

My friend and I just got a Hepatitis A vaccination.
Now we’re discussing the Typhoid shot. ??
Any thoughts?

Posted by
1075 posts

I took the typhoid vaccine before I went to Turkey. It is 2 tablets separated by time. My son did not take the vaccine.
We also carried small packs of bismuth tablets (2 to a packet). We chewed and swallowed the tablets prior to eating any street food or fresh fruit/veggies. The bismuth coats the GI tract and reduces the likelihood of getting sick.

As mentioned above, use bottled water to brush your teeth in Istanbul.
Neither my son or myself had any gastrointestinal difficulties.

Posted by
357 posts

I'm always up to date on typhoid. I also got hep B a few years ago. I always thought I didn't need it because I'm past the age of having unprotected sex with the locals. But my dr pointed out that if I was car accident I could be exposed to blood from other people. Given the driving standards in Turkey I'd highly recommend hep B LOL

I eat and drink whatever the locals do - if the tap water is unsafe you'll be told and the locals won't serve it to you. Most people who get upset stomachs get it because they usually don't eat the local food of their destination - or eat a restricted diet at home. I had a great turkish meal last night in NZ so I'm not particularly suspectable

Posted by
435 posts

I have been to Turkey three times. I did get sick once very briefly at Ephesus. One minute I was totally fine, and the next minute I broke out in a cold sweat and started feeling faint and nauseous. Two hours later, I threw up, and everything instantly became normal again, as if nothing had ever happened. I still don't know what that was all about or what caused it. My guess is that I ate something tainted at breakfast at our 5-star hotel in Izmir. I have had similar things happen occasionally in the US, and I honestly think that whatever it was could have happened anywhere. Nobody else in our group got sick.

I basically agree that you should stick to bottled water and generally be reasonably cautious about uncooked food. At the same time, I am not nearly as diligent in Turkey as I am in, say, Egypt. I eat food from street vendors and neighborhood restaurants without hesitation, and I can't say that I am 100% diligent about brushing my teeth with bottled water. In rural areas I tend to be more cautious than in big cities.

I recall hearing a good general rule of thumb: if you can't flush toilet paper down the toilet then the sanitation system is probably not up par and you need to be extra cautious about drinking the water. I have encountered very few of those situations in Turkey.

As for medications, I always pack some Pepto Bismol and Immodium, the same as I would for a trip to Europe.

Posted by
2580 posts

I used to travel to really sketchy places for a living and was always fine because all I drank was Coke and beer. Obviously when I got home I had to flush my system with potable water but I did OK.