Travel SOS: Where in the world is it safe to drink the tap water?

Want to know where your reusable water bottle will actually come in handy?

Travel SOS: Where in the world is it safe to drink the tap water?

In Australia, when you get thirsty, you go to the tap, turn it on and fill a glass with drinkable water, and you drink it.

People in other countries aren’t so lucky. And then when you visit those countries, you aren’t so lucky, either.

It’s important to stay hydrated at all times, but especially when you’re expending energy, which is usually the case when you travel.

Sightseeing makes you thirsty and having to buy bottled water can be expensive – not to mention terrible for the environment.

There’s a big push to make travel more sustainable and especially to cut down on the use of plastics. But where can you actually use your refillable water bottle? Where in the world is the tap water safe? Leon shares an exhaustive list of every country with safe drinking water and the countries where you should avoid it.

Drinking the tap water in around 187 countries can make you very sick: not necessarily because it’s polluted or unsafe, but because your system isn’t used to it. And it’s not just the ‘usual suspect’ countries that have dodgy water.

The team at Globehunters checked out advice from the CDC (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and found recommendations to avoid the tap water some fairly major tourist destinations, such as Russia, China, Brazil, Turkey and Morocco.

The countries where you can’t drink the water are:

Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Azores, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bonaire, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Colombia, Comoros, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Easter Island, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, French Guiana, French Polynesia, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Gibraltar, Grenada, Guam, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Lithuania, Macau, Madagascar, Madeira, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Island, North Korea, Northern Mariana Islands, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Qatar, Republic of Macedonia, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saba, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Martin, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sint Eustatius, Sint Maarten, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syria, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Gambia, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Wake Island, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

It's important to note that the water in these countries in not necessarily unsafe; it just won’t agree with you.

So where is it safe to drink the water?
You can however, safely drink the water in Andorra, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Cook Islands, Costa Rica, Croatia, Curacao, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Guadeloupe, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Martinique, Monaco, Netherlands, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Republic of I re land, Reunion, Saint Helena, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, U.S. Virgin Islands, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.

So, pack your water bottle, drink up and save on plastic bottle water purchases and save the environment, too!



    To make a comment, please register or login
    6th Apr 2019
    That list is disgusting AND frightening -- and we can also add quite a lot of Australian water in that list as well QUITE A BIT! It is getting worse here in Aussie all the time these days!
    6th Apr 2019
    I never drink water, unless its in coffee.
    6th Apr 2019
    Water is about the only thing I drink other than 1/2 cup of coffee in the morning
    6th Apr 2019
    How terrible in this day and age we still cannot supply clean and safe drinking water to the world. Can this be why disease is so rampant still? The most basic of necessities and still not available to most of the world. There are filters that you can take with you when you travel.

    6th Apr 2019
    If in doubt, I would stick to bottled water from a reputable company and not just depend on these lists. For example, in Singapore were you aware it contains a small percent of recycled sewerage water? Also, in Japan depending on where you are, hope there is no radioactive contamination from the nuclear disaster in 2011. Bottom line - take chances at your own risk!
    6th Apr 2019
    GeorgeM I wouldn't be too sure about bottled water being free from radio-active contamination either. I remember some years back an Australian bottling company couldn't understand where the extra sparkle in their spa water came from. They discovered there was uranium in the spa source and had to abandon the location. Other so called true spa or mineral waters could have traces of radiation as it comes out of the ground. I believe many granites are mildly radio-active.
    6th Apr 2019
    Cosmo, agree not any bottled water as some companies may even fill it with tap water! That's why I said "..bottled water from a reputable company" - as they have a reputation to maintain and can lose heavily if they are caught out.
    7th Apr 2019
    Do not rely on water from many places -- and as far as Japan goes FORGET it is FULL of radiation it has been found in the dust in vacuum cleaners and in the dirt in the gutters off the charts with radiation readings -- also they have been emptying the radioactive waste into the Pacific since the disaster in March 2011 -- PLUS have you ever stopped to think -- go on a CRUISE -- and where do they get the water from for EVERYTHING -- showering/cooking/drinking and the swimming pools -- they recycle SEA water --- but there is NO way you can get radiation out of ANYTHING -- and it can not be seen/tasted/or smelt.
    It is unbelievable they are allowing the Olympics to be held there in August 2020 -- and the surfing is being held in --- FUKUSHIMA
    6th Apr 2019
    I always boil the water and fill my own bottle.
    7th Apr 2019
    When I've travelled, I always took my own bottle with a built in filter, and used it everywhere we went. In Hong Kong we were a bit dubious about the water, and even used it for our coffee, just to be safe.
    7th Apr 2019
    If there is Radiation in the water NOTHING will remove it
    27th Oct 2020
    Tap water in Fiji, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Samoa , Vanuatu, Norfolk Island
    & the majority of the Pacific Islands is absolutely safe . How do I know? I've been to all of these, drunk water straight from the tap & never had a problem. Christmas & Cocos Islands according to WA Dept of Health are no issue either. Countries like Cyprus are generally no problem, Malta, Greece, Spain Italy etc aren't either. South Korea & Hong Kong don't appear to have any major warnings as far as water are concerned , nor does Muscat in Aman , Dubai etc. Just use common sense when travelling, & most experienced travellers know where you can , can't or should show caution as far as local water supplies are concerned.

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