Safe, clean water should be front of mind when traveling abroad. This blog contains a comprehensive list of what countries you can drink tap water in. In these countries, do your best to reduce plastic water and always keep clean water on you by carrying a reusable water bottle!
What Countries Can You Drink the Tap Water in Europe
- Czech Republic
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
There are a few exceptions. The French territories of French Guinea, Mayotte, Saint Pierre, and Miquelon and the Portuguese regions of the Azores and the Madeira Islands do not have safe tap water.
What Countries Can You Drink the Tap Water in the Americas?
- United States (including the S. Virgin Islands)
- Costa Rica
What Countries Have Safe Drinking Water in Asia and Oceania?
- United Arab Emirates
- Republic of Korea
- Saudi Arabia
- New Zealand
It’s easy to know in what countries you can drink tap water in Africa–there are only two: Chad and Tanzania.
Countries with Unsafe Tap Water for Drinking
The remaining countries all do not have safe tap water:
● Bosnia and Herzegovina
● North Macedonia
● Dominican Republic
● Trinidad and Tobago
● Saint Lucia
● Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
● Antigua and Barbuda
● Saint Kitts and Nevis
● El Salvador
● Sri Lanka
● Cape Verde
● Central African Republic
● Côte d’Ivoire
● North Korea
● Equatorial Guinea
● São Tomé and Príncipe
● Sierra Leone
● South Africa
● South Sudan
What Are the Health Risks of Drinking Unsafe Tap Water?
Drinking unsafe tap water puts you at risk of contracting some very nasty diseases, including cholera, dysentery, and even polio. By preparing yourself with the knowledge of what countries have safe drinking water and those that don’t, you could even prevent yourself from being infected by a parasite.
Therefore, secure an alternative water source when traveling to the above-listed countries.
Ensuring Access to Water
When you’re traveling somewhere with unsafe drinking conditions, then you’ll need to take steps to secure access to water:
- Bottled Water. Keep an eye out for an “NSF” label to be confident in quality and safety–and never drink from a bottle with a broken seal.
- Boiled or Treated Water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 1 to 3 minutes to treat it. You could also use water purification tablets.Some easy, mobile clean water options are portable water filters or filter bottles.
Some easy, mobile clean water options are portable water filters or filter bottles.
Preparing for Safe Drinking Water
Knowing what countries you can confidently drink tap water isn’t always enough.
Do a quick search on the water situation wherever you’re traveling, even if they’re on the safe drinking list. There may be local water advisories or regulations in a specific location. There could be Boil Water, Do Not Drink, or Do Not Use advisories that will affect access. In those cases, you’ll need to make the above arrangements.
Plan on having at least a gallon of water to drink per day. And it’s never a bad idea to keep a bottle of clean water on you, just in case!
Know the risk of ice cubes at restaurants–those ice cubes may be tap water, and therefore a health risk depending on your location. Even soda and juice drinks will want to know what countries you can drink tap water in this case!
Be Sensitive to Cultural Customs
In addition to knowing in what countries you can drink tap water, you’ll also want to know how to behave in those social situations. Phrasing, customs, and etiquette vary from region to region–even within the same country.
For example, some countries will serve mineral or sparkling water by default, even if you ask for plain water! In those areas, you’ll need to request tap water.
Research is always needed before traveling–not only will it help teach you what countries you can drink tap water in, but it will also help you respect local culture.
Being proactive and preparing for situations where you might not have access to a sanitary drinking source is crucial for your physical well-being. It’s hard to exaggerate how important hydration is while traveling; it keeps you healthy, alert, and energized for whatever the day brings.
And if you’re preparing for a permanent move to any of the above countries, invest in a UV sterilizer for your home. Aqua Ultraviolet offers UV water filtration that removes harmful pathogens, viruses, and bacteria from your water. Its multi-filtered system guarantees safety, and you can be comfortable drinking the water and confident in its cleanliness.