Although the price of bottled water in Romania is really low, you might still wonder if tap water is safe to drink in Romania. I definitely know that this is one of the first things I research before visiting a new city and probably I’m not the only one doing it.

So… can you drink tap water in Romania?

The generic answer would be YES! You can drink the tap water in any city in Romania without worrying that you’ll get an upset stomach or other problems.

However, there are some additional things that you should be aware of and we’ll cover them all in this article.

And the most important of them is that not all cities are equal in terms of water quality: so the tap water in Bucharest isn’t the same as the tap water in Cluj, Brasov, Timisoara and so on. Just like anywhere in the world.

In all cases, the water that you get on tap is highly chlorinated. Although this adds a specific smell to it and a particular taste, it’s not something bad, as chlorine is used to destroy all living organisms in the said water.

Some cities use more, while some need to add less chlorine in order to keep the water safe to drink. There was recently a scandal in Bucharest regarding the quality of the tap water, where the City Hall was claiming that there’s too much chlorine added to it, while the company handling this stated that they indeed used more chlorine than usually because of recent floods that made the water quality worse, but that the water itself was still safe to drink.

The easiest way to get rid of that unpleasant chlorine smell and taste is to let the water sit for a while. It always does the trick!

Not all places in Romania have tap water!

While all the cities and towns in the country offer safe to drink tap water, many of the villages don’t. Instead, here you will be served water from the old wells that are either scattered throughout the village, or in the back yard. That water is usually of very poor quality and you’ll most likely have tummy problems if you drink it.

So, even though all the people in the village will tell you that the water is safe to drink and refreshing and better than bottled water, I would never risk having it.

So, should you drink tap water while in Romania?

I will start by saying that I haven’t had water from the tap for years now. We’re buying – like many Romanians do – those large bottles of water (apa plata, as it is called here) and drink that instead.

However, when cooking, we’re using the tap water, but with a water filter instead. These are the best option for long term stays, in my opinion and I will explain why.

The biggest problem with the tap water in Romania is not that it has anything alive in it – the chlorine handles that. But the problem is that the plumbing systems in all cities are extremely old and I’ve read many reports saying that there are a lot of unneeded metals – including rust – in the tap water that we’re getting.

A water filter (they’re sold in all supermarkets and they’re around 10 Euros each) does exactly that: removes chlorine, metals and other bad things from the tap water, making it better to drink in my opinion. So if you stay for longer here, I would definitely suggest investing in this extra gadget to make sure you’re getting the best water quality possible. This probably goes for all countries in the world.

Conclusion

So, there is no simple, straightforward answer to the question in the article’s title: Can you drink tap water in Romania?

However, as you have seen already above, the general rule of thumb is that you can safely drink it in all cities and towns, but it’s better to take extra measures and use a filter to remove potential rust particles and other metals making their way through the old pipes.

If you’re only spending a few days here, there’s no need to invest in a water filter and you can definitely consume tap water without worrying too much.

8 COMMENTS

  1. I am leery of drinking tap water anywhere. Not because l think it’s bad, but because of the taste. I can detect even trace amounts of minerals and l hate that last in my mouth, so l am one of the horrible people that buy bottled water but recycle. Nice to know the water is safe, even though chlorinated.

    • If you are sensitive to taste, then you would definitely hate the taste of tap water in Romania 🙂 In the city where I live, since the tap water comes from the Danube (just imagine!) they use a ton of chlorine. Still, I was recently in Timisoara and found out that their tap water has a particularly bad taste – it was difficult even to brush my teeth with it. So probably it’s a different story in each city in Romania….

  2. Calin,
    Great article!
    I’ve drunk (drank?;-) tap water since 1957,
    and I haven’t croaked yet–ha, ha!
    Still, it’s probably not a bad idea to use a filter.
    Big scam here with supposed pure (and expensive!) bottled
    water just filtered tap water. (As P.T. Barnum once said
    [apocryphally?], “There’s a sucker born every minute….”)
    I’ve always thought it funny (NOT if you have it, though!)
    that diarrhea is called “the trots,” or “Montezuma’s Revenge”
    (because of the less than safe drinking water in some areas
    of Mexico).
    So, Calin, did you see this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTCnh6gbxmo
    Now how cute is that?
    Recently, here in the states, a young bear was put down because he was becoming too used
    to humans (who were feeding him, and taking selfies with him). https://www.cbsnews.com/news/black-bear-killed-oregon-officials-kill-animal-became-habituated-after-humans-took-selfies-with-it-2019-06-18/ Can’t understand why he wasn’t just moved to a sanctuary instead of being killed. MAKES NO SENSE TO ME!
    Sorry about swing to bears. Did you ever see “Yogi Bear” cartoons when you were young?
    https://www.bing.com/th?id=OIP.LNDbYmq7DD0cxfy9ZTgo7wHaHa&w=171&h=167&c=7&o=5&dpr=1.5&pid=1.7
    Thanks for important water article!
    ~Teil (USA)

    • It seems that it’s all the same everywhere: here in Romania too there were some scandals a while ago regarding some bottled water which was actually bottled tap water…

      Regarding the bears, I had to remove the link to the cruel one as it was a bit too much. Sad to see that people still behave like that today and show no compassion when interacting with other human beings…

      • Calin:
        I’m glad you deleted that horrible video of that poor bear cub. It made me cry.
        I thought it was such a counterpoint to the first one. Just shows cruelty is worldwide. (Don’t know what made me transition from tap water to bears, though;-0)
        You mentioned your tap water comes from the Danube. If you think that’s bad, look at this: https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/30/health/water-climate-change-el-paso/index.html
        Does you country have plans for climate change? Water availability may be an issue.
        Isn’t your country headed toward higher temps and lower rainfall?
        Trump (climate change denier) is abetting the climate change’s dire consequences by ignoring the issues, withdrawing from the Paris Agreement (what an idiot!!!), and rolling back regulations which would have helped the abate the changes. Surely your leaders are wise enough to know climate is a reality, and must be addressed now.
        Where I live, Seattle-Tacoma, it’s getting hotter and drier. We’ve got the Puget Sound which would be an excellent source of water, but there’s no plans to build
        facilities to “tap” into that. Same along the whole West Coast. There’s the Pacific Ocean which would be a source of water, but no real $ is being invested to use it
        as a source. Pretty shortsighted, for sure!
        Then there’s this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Town_water_crisis
        I’m not a hydrologist, but why don’t they really invest in desalination plants? They’ve got the Atlantic Ocean right outside the city! Duh!!!
        Sorry about the pivot–but at least no bears today–ha, ha!
        ~Teil (Dry in Seattle-Tacoma, USA)

      • Romania is taking some steps (but way to slow in my opinion) to handle the climate change problems. It’s probably because they are pushed by the EU, though as the leaders here seem to have other problems to deal with than this “minor” one like the entire climate changing.

        So far, the weather has been really strange here. It’s been constantly raining, like never before. There have been a few tornadoes in Romania recently as well – which shouldn’t happen and the weather is definitely acting strange. The winter was very mild compared to other years, but the summer failed to arrive when it should’ve. Things are definitely changing and we can only hope that we’re smart enough to act fast, before it’s too late.

  3. Interesting article. I always wondered I have usually been given water served from a bottle in Romania…here at home in our house? Borsec…..Yes we find it here in the U.S. in some European stores.

    • Plus, the bottled water is not free, haha! I didn’t know that you can find Borsec water in the US. That is what we’re drinking as well – good to know that we wouldn’t have to give it up if we visited the US.

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