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People often take their drinking water for granted. In most western countries we don’t think twice before grabbing a glass and sticking it underneath a tap. But when you’re traveling the tap water may not be safe to drink.

You need drinking water no matter where you go, but with travellers diarrhea, giardia, hepatitis A, typhoid and cholera among the illnesses that can be transmitted with bad water, it pays to know which parts of the world guarantee clean, safe tap water, and where you should be sourcing bottled water instead.

The water you need to be most concerned about is water that might contain microorganisms that will make you sick, and in less developed countries, you are more apt to run into water that contains a variety of microorganisms you want to avoid.

If you’re worried about the drinking water, or have done your research and found that it’s not potable, here are our best tips and guidelines for navigating countries where the tap water is unsafe.

A Travelers Guide to Tap Water

The Best & Worst Tap Water

Tap water RF

Countries with the best tap water include New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, United Kingdom, Italy, Austria, France, Luxembourg, Norway and Switzerland.

Countries most in need of clean water include Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Chad, Cambodia, Laos, Haiti, Ghana, India, Rwanda, Bangladesh.

Ask the Locals

Learn to ask the locals about the quality of the tap water, after-all, these are the people who are living there, and generally their primary interest is in ensuring tourists leave with a positive opinion of their country.

Your hotel will let you know if the water isn’t safe to drink, and the hotel concierge has the most experience with tourists visiting their destination.

If water is unsafe, there will usually be a notice posted by the faucet in your room, and the hotel will provide complimentary bottles for you to drink from. Make sure you use these bottles to take your pills and brush your teeth too.

As a general rule, if you’re at all in doubt, take water filters with you.

It’s Not Just What You Drink

Salad food RF

If the water is unsafe to drink, don’t brush your teeth with water from the tap. Check that natural bodies of water are safe before you swim, keep your mouth closed in the shower and always use soap, and don’t accept ice in your drinks.

Beers and sodas should be drunk from the can or bottle if glasses don’t look clean enough for you. Remember too that if your beer has been chilled in ice, the outside of the can may have been contaminated too.

Also, and this gets many travelers, if you can’t drink the water, don’t eat the salad either.

Only eat food which has been cooked or that has a peel which you can remove. Salads are generally washed with local water during food prep, so always ask if it has been purified if you’re unsure.

Be Certain That the Bottle You Bought is Sealed

Water bottle drinking

Sometimes impoverished nations refill their bottles from the tap…that defeats the purpose. 

Boil and Filter

If it’s inconvenient to take bottled water with you, for instance when heading into the wilderness on a trek, boil your water or take water filters with you.

While you can leave a clear bottle of water on a reflective surface in bright sunlight as an emergency measure, do note that glass bottles don’t let in the UV light which is necessary to disinfect the water, so stick to plastic for the success of this method.

A fantastic purification device for travel is the SteriPEN Freedom, as reviewed on the Legendary Adventures of Anna – these kind of steripens use ultraviolet light to sterilize the water so that the bacteria are unable to multiply thus making the tap water safe to drink. You can use the SteriPEN Freedom for 45 seconds to sterilize up to half a liter of water.

LifeStraw is another fantastic option for making contaminated water safe to drink. It purifiers the water and is perfect for hiking as they are durable, lightweight, and require no electricity or batteries to operate.

Insurance, Insurance, Insurance!

Sick RF

Travellers diarrhea, giardia, hepatitis A, typhoid and cholera. Don’t leave the country without taking out adequate travel insurance which covers health and medical while you’re overseas.

If you have no idea where to start, head on over to our post which details what to look for when purchasing international health insurance. I can’t stress the importance of traveling with international health insurance enough.

We go through Tim Jennings at Individual Health for insurance with #GeoBlue – they have a network of elite doctors in over 180 countries, a hugely helpful mobile app for when you’re sick abroad, and make their best attempt to arrange direct payment no matter which medical provider you see. 

No-one wants to get sick on vacation, though when it comes to consuming water, some people will run into problems no matter where they go.

For more information on insurance with #GeoBlue contact Timothy Jennings at or click for a free quote.

Travel Responsibly with Bottled Water

Water bottle RF

Bottled water is readily available almost everywhere. Hotels provide it, tour companies supply you with it, and you can always buy it in stores or roadside stands.

So don’t worry overly much about the water… just grab a bottle and get on the road.

Please do however dispose of your bottles responsibly. Non-biodegradable items are starting to cause a huge problem throughout the world, so please don’t add to the litter.

This is another perk of traveling with a steripen – purifying water is a great way to be kind to the environment by wasting far less plastic from all the water bottles you would otherwise consume. You will save money on water and lessen your environmental footprint too.

Article updates: In the past there was an infographic in this post which showed a visual representation of which countries in the world the tap water was safe to drink. As this guide was conservative to begin with, and has since become outdated, we instead invite travelers to conduct their own research to the current situation of tap water in their country. You may also consult the comments section of this post for real local / traveler updates across many countries.

Past photo credits: Arlene Bax

Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.


  1. Excellent, visual guide! As a Chicagoan, I grew up with some of the best tap water in North America, and it spoiled me! Will be using this guide on my travels, without a doubt.

    • Thanks Cat! I grew up in Tasmania, Australia, so similarly have been spoiled with beautiful water. I find that generally people are used to the taste and flavor of the water where they grew up, so really, water can be a fairly subjective thing!

      Glad you found the guide useful :) Happy travels!

  2. The Steripen is great- if the only problem is microbes. but, all too often the water is laden with heavy metals, with things like arsenic or lead- and then you have truly accomplished little. it’s why the Katadyn devices may be more useful. Or- to carry a hot water immersion heater and some charcoal– which of course means you won’t even get COLD water…. But, you will have safer water.

    • Thanks for the tip Roy – hadn’t heard of the Katadyn devices before, but will definitely look into them. In the end it doesn’t really matter if it’s not cold – safe is all that counts!

  3. Great article Megan. Water is indeed something many of us from North America take for granted. I had no idea that so much of the world was unsafe. That infographic really breaks it down.

    • Thanks Penny – it’s fairly shocking when you see it all put into one picture like this to realize that really, the vast majority of the world is hit with unsafe drinking water. We really are spoiled to have been raised with access to clean water.

  4. Living in Africa at the moment I know all too well that water here is not safe to drink. I spend a fortune on bottled water and it is so bad for the environment. I’d love to try out the Steripen.

    • Hope you can hook up something like a SteriPen – a few people have also mentioned a product called LifeStraw which is apparently fabulous as well. Definitely difficult budgeting for bottled water when you’re residing in Africa full time, I think a SteriPen investment would be an amazing thing :)

  5. I’ve learnt to drink tap water when I started traveling. Before I did not drink tap water even if in my country it is safe. I think this is so important to remember the rules and preserve yourself from being sick. Illness can ruin any holiday or a journey. Stay safe people!

    • Absolutely Agata – way better to be safe than sorry, especially when you’ve put all of your time and money into having a wonderful vacation, illness is the last thing you want thrown your way. Research and taking a few little precautions if you’re not sure can really go a long way to ensuring your health.

  6. Thanks for the clear and comprehensive resource about safe drinking water around the world. The only place I’ve had a problem — so far — was on my first trip to Mexico. I didn’t drink the water, but I wasn’t diligent about salads and ice! I paid for it.

    • Glad you enjoyed it Cathy – I’ve heard about the water in Mexico – it has a fairly fierce reputation!! I’m going to be on a super strict budget of bottled water when I eventually manage a trip!

      Salads are something which get people every single time – you don’t see it being prepared so you just don’t think. A mistake you’ll only ever make once though! Sorry to hear you learned the hard way :(

    • At most restaurants in Tulum, MX, they use filtered water to even wash the produce they serve without cooking, such as salad and tomatoes. I am worried about shower/bath, though. I can easily brush my teeth with drinking water, but how do I bathe my baby in Mexico? (He loves splashing the water and I’m sure he swallows some of it…) :/ Thanks!

    • Hi Vedia, that’s a great question. I would say that it’s probably unavoidable with a bath, because as you’ve said, children inadvertently swallow bath water as just a natural part of bathing. But to minimize the chances I would try to aim for short baths with a shallow water level, where you get him in and out, and perhaps try and save the splashing and playing for after vacation, or let him do that on the waters edge if you’re going to the beach or pool while in Mexico.

      Or if the hotel has one of those hose showers that sits over a bath, you could maybe sit him in the bath and shower him with the shower nozzle directly so you have control over it and can direct it away from his face.

      I hope that helps, and I hope you have an amazing time in Tulum :)

  7. Excellent tips! it is SO not worth getting sick over, when there are easy ways to protect yourself. Thanks!

    • Glad you found it useful Jessie – and absolutely; just takes a little bit of research before you head off to ensure that you’re not spending your whole vacation clinging to a toilet bowl!!

  8. Now, THIS is the kind of travel post that I really love the most — with useful information that we can use! Thanks for putting the time and energy into putting this together.

    • So psyched you enjoyed the post Jennifer – glad we could help you out with some useful information and tips.

      Happy & safe travels!

  9. What a useful column — both the text and the graphic. I’m planning a trip to St. Petersburg and I know what I won’t be drinking.

    • Thanks Terry – definitely go for the bottled water while in Russia :) Happy travels!

    • I think this is a gross oversimplification. Russian water in Moscow is fine, despite that my grandparents still boil it but that’s fine. In the Russian countryside there isn’t really any “tap” water to speak of, so e groundwater/springs are fine.

      If you generalize about Russia what other countries are yu generalizing about? Honestly.

    • Hi Belen, thanks for the note about water in Moscow being fine. Though your comment in itself is a gross oversimplification of this article. Because I have quite obviously gone into a great amount of detail to stress that the infographic (provided by the CDC) is highly conservative, and that when considering the information here, you should note that “potentially unsafe” means that it could be harmful to drink if your body isn’t used to the water in the area, not necessarily that the water is polluted and dirty.

      “Unsafe” doesn’t mean “drink this water and you’ll die”, just that you should be cautious when you’re traveling there because people’s body’s are used to different mineral counts in different parts of the world.

      My number one tip is that if you are unsure of the water in a new area of the world you should further research, and your best source of correct information will be the locals and other tourists who have just passed through the area. Though you seemed to have completely neglected that point and just taken the info-graphic at face value.

      So next time, maybe consider reading an article thoroughly before you try to preach about gross oversimplification.

  10. Great post Megan! Not sure if your readers have heard of the LifeStraw from Vestergaard but this is a very cool and affordable filter device that one can take in their backpack. We use them in the Yellowstone Basin in the local streams to keep from getting sick. For those interested here is the link to their website… – definitely worth a look for all you global travelers.

    • Thanks for the tip Tim – have just checked out LifeStraw and it looks great! Have edited the post to include that as a further resource for those looking to filter and purify their water.


  11. Excellent post Megan. Having had both cholera and typhoid I have become extra cautious about what water I drink when traveling overseas. Loved the map.

    • Thanks John – sorry to hear you’ve experienced both cholera and typhoid first hand though. While the map may be on the conservative side, it definitely pays in a situation like this to be more conservative than sorry! I can absolutely get behind being extremely cautious about the tap water. It’s just not worth the risk of getting ill.

      Here’s so no more illness in your travels to come!

  12. Thanks for sharing the handy infographic. The Steripen seems like a great way to make drinking water safe while eliminating the need for plastic water bottles.

    • Glad you enjoyed it Mary – and absolutely; water purifiers are amazing for both the travelers budget and the local environment. Win/win!

  13. Ah yes, drinking water is always an issue! We always brush our teeth with tap water no matter where in the world we are, as we think it’s a good idea to get a little bit used to it. Here in Grenada in the Caribbean, the tap water is safe to drink, but it’s not on the infographic – we all drink it straight from the tap, which is awesome!

    Having a steri pen of some sort is key as well, otherwise way too much plastic is being disposed of, or littered everywhere.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • True that brushing your teeth is a good way to slowly integrate yourself into the country in terms of getting used to the tap water little bit by little bit. Especially if you’re spending a decent amount of time in one destination as opposed to just merely passing through. Though in the end it all just comes down to researching, and I think the best way is to find tourists who’ve been through that country just before you.

      Noted on the water in Grenada – will lock that to memory for when we hit the Caribbean :)

      Travel safe!

  14. A great guide with lots of things to think about. I’m going to be traveling next year to an area without safe drinking water, and already started to get some vaccines for it (Hepatitis A already) and we will be treating all of the water that we drink… but there’s always those little things that you forget, like keeping your mouth closed in the shower! Thanks for the tips for safe travel :)

    • Vaccines are a fantastic idea especially when you know in advance you’ll be hitting up destinations which will make you more vulnerable to disease. Hep A is not something you want to deal with.

      Definitely look at investing in a Steripen or Lifestraw of some sort too before you travel – it could literally be a life saver :)

      Happy travels & Travel safe!

  15. Great guide! I once got very big problems when I ordered a fresh orange juice in Marakesh. Unfortunately they mixed it up with dirty water… not a nice experience. Asking locals is indeed the best and safest way.

    • Thanks Tim – Can’t believe we have to be careful of the orange juice now too :S! Who mixes juice with water!! Sorry to hear you didn’t have the best experience – hopefully you’ll have a safe run in the future :)

  16. Tap water is really not recommended for drinking where I live. I Think the only country I drank from the tap is Australia. All else, I go for bottled water mainly because I have sensitive stomach and I wouldn’t want to get sick on the road. This is a really helpful article by the way

    • Glad you found the article helpful Karla – the tap water in Australia is amazing…though I’m definitely a little bias having been raised here :D!

      But yes, if you have a sensitive stomache it’s even more imperative to be incredibly careful when you’re drinking overseas. Bottled water is the way to go – best to be safe than sorry!

      Happy travels :)

  17. It’s also amazing how many countries refill and reseal water bottles and try to sell them as mineral water. Another way to travel responsibly is to crush your bottle so that it cannot be collected an reused. This will help save many others from some nasty water surprises!

    • You’re telling me! Something I hope people don’t have to learn the hard way; very frustrating when you’re trying to be good about your water consumption and something like that completely negates your efforts.

      Great tip on crushing your water bottles after use – going to start doing this! Thanks :)

    • I am recently on a trip in Asia (China)and i did not know before coming here about stripens and Lifestraw. Also did not know that plastic water bottles were taken and reused. Not good. So i would leave mine behind uncrushed everywhere i went. In China you are not allowed to drink liquid or food on subways so i rarely saw anyone with bottled water anywhere. Though the garbage and plastic bottles strewn around the ground of tourist destinations astounded me! Most ‘toilets’ in China do not have sanitary soap to wash hands after and only have tap water or even none at all to wash hands. Surprised me!

    • Hi Sea, hope you’re having a great time in China – I visited recently, and ran into the same things you’ve mentioned, that there is a surprising amount of plastic litter and garbage in high touristy places, and no sanitary soap in bathrooms. Fortunately I’ve become accustomed to traveling with my own little sanitizer / hand wash!

      Definitely check out Steripen or Lifestraw on your next trip – or if you’re in Asia for a while, you could probably get them shipped to your hotel or residence.

  18. That’s a whole lot of the world with unsafe drinking water. I tend to drink bottled water most of the time when I travel but I have to constantly remind myself with things like cleaning my teeth and not eating the salad.

    • It is indeed! I think that the main point is that the water abroad just varies so much in terms of level of filtration and other nasties, that while the locals may have built up an immunity, travelers won’t have. So it’s always important to consult other travelers who have just passed through your upcoming destination, and really remind yourself of the different ways you do ingest water – remember the teeth and the salad! Gets people everytime!

  19. Megan this is AWESOME!! So helpful.
    Thanks for doing this.

    • Thanks Tara – glad you enjoyed the post.

  20. I watched a man in Vietnam filling bottles with water from a tap. He had a bottle sealing thing, which even put the plastic around it. So sometimes I am a little sceptical about the bottled water too. However, I do look for what seems to be legit. It is brushing my teeth where I sometimes slip up. I have resorted to putting a sock over the top to remind me, Great infographic.

    • That’s really sad to hear Paula! SO frustrating when you go to efforts to prevent ingesting this kind of water but you’re out witted by con-men in the local town. I guess the biggest thing is just making sure you’re alert of your surroundings, and as you said, look for stores which appear to be legit.

      Brushing your teeth is the bit that seems to get everyone – even I slip up sometimes!! Glad you enjoyed the graphic.

  21. Interesting. I always ask the hotel (unless it is already stated by the sink, which is the case in most international chains) if the water is safe but to be honest, I almost always buy bottled water. Even in places where drinking water is safe, not being used to the type of water can cause an upset stomach, the last thing you want on the road, so i never take chances. The exception? I always brush my teeth with tap water unless it is really unsafe (ie brow, clearly marked as unsafe, etc.) and I feel it helps get used to the water of a place in a mild manner in case you then have a salad or fruit, which I always (I know, I know I shouldn’t ) eat on the road. Because i lived and traveled in Africa for long, my stomach has become quite immune, it must be a very inhospitable place for bugs! Good guide to refer to Megan!

    • I’ve also found that hotels generally always know best – loving the amount of filtered drink bottle options and steripens etc that are coming out onto the market now too though.

      And that’s a really good point re brushing your teeth with the water to slowly allow your stomach to adapt if it needs to, especially if you’re situating yourself in the one spot for a decent amount of time, bottled water can really start to add strain on both your wallet and the environment.

      Glad you enjoyed the guide Mar – I think it really does come down to our stomaches being used to a water from a certain region and just not being able to handle water with different levels from elsewhere. Always pays to be cautious!

  22. Great tips as always, Meg! During our recent trip across Central Asia we found that the Sawyer life straw we had with us was a lifesaver, not only while hiking, but also when we travelled across deserts or less populated areas.

    • A few people have mentioned the LifeStraw too actually, I’ll have to look into it for our next trip because it does sound amazing. I’ve added it as a tip into the post since so many people were recommending its use :)

      Thanks for the tip!

  23. SUPER useful article and graphic! Bookmarking this for later use.

    • Glad you found it to be a great resource Lillie – feel free to reach out if you have any further water Q’s :)

  24. Those purification devices look incredibly clever – great way to ensure the water is safe too.

    • Purification devices really are getting sophisticated and smart these days, you’ve even got drinkbottles now which filter the water before it reaches your mouth. Very hopeful for reducing the impact on plastic bottles and litter around the world :)

  25. Great infographic! Living in the US, I always took my clean water for granted. Once we started traveling, I had to keep reminding myself of the little things like keeping my mouth closed in the shower and not eating salad. Depending how long we’re in a area or what we will be doing for the first couple of days, I might still drink bottled water even if the tap water is safe. Sometimes the differences in the mineral content can cause an upset tummy.

    • I think we all do quite honestly – it’s not until you start traveling that you realize just how lucky we actually are to be living in a country with easy and instant access to clean water. There are billions of people out there who aren’t so lucky.

      Little things like closing your mouth in the shower are always tricky to catch onto – I even catch myself up sometimes! I think the biggest thing is just being as cautious and responsible as possible though. And you’re absolutely right, often it’s not even that the water is unsafe, it’s just that your body isn’t used to the different mineral content, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to consuming water overseas. It really can ruin a holiday if you end up getting sick.

      Happy & healthy travels!

  26. What a great infographic and tip to remember it’s not only the water you drink. Brushing your teeth with contaminated water is something many people don’t think of. I was surprised about South America not having any safe water. When I was in Patagonia, I was told that natural water sources were safe, except in the Tierra del Fuego, where beavers have infected the water with giardia.

    • Thanks Jackie – I’m sure the drinking water in South America is generally decently safe, from my experience the majority of the time it’s not necessarily that the water is unsafe, it’s just that your body isn’t used to the different mineral content, so it’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to consuming water overseas.

      Best bet is to always consult with tourists who have visited right before you, and check with the staff at the hotel you’re staying at too :)

  27. Excellent post, Megan!! I love this, because you explain through and through! Asking the locals, using water bottles, insurance, etc. Very informative! CDC is a very reliable source, so it’s great that you looked up through that.

    When I was traveling in Southeast Asia, I used filtered water bottle; sometimes I do buy bottled water. What do you think about filtered water bottle? I used that and it seems to work good, but perhaps maybe comparing to bottled water, it’s a lot better. Also, I actually have to admit that it didn’t crossed my mind to close my mouth while showering! Yikes. I did took HEP A immunization, but I know it’s not necessarily would mean that it would prevent 100%. Ah! Speaking of this, I recommend you to mention about this immunization though! :) It’s helpful!

    LIfestraw and other electronics – I didn’t know they existed! I mean, of course in this days and age, but I wasn’t aware about this! Thanks for sharing :) love this post! I’m going to share it :)

    • Thanks Stacey – our aim was to provide people with as many practical tips as possible, because it really is so important to be aware of the implications of drinking unsafe water, and too many people think they’re avoiding it when really they’re then brushing their teeth, eating the salads etc, so buying bottled water makes no difference!

      I think bottled water is always going to be a lot better than drinking through a filtered drink bottle, but ultimately those drink bottles are pretty well tested and safe to use too. And thanks for the tip re the immunization, yes, that’s a brilliant tip for all travelers to take action on before they leave home. I might actually write a full post about immunizations and vaccinations this week. Thanks for the topic inspiration!

  28. To be honest, when I am traveling I never drink tap water. I always purchase bottled water. But I do know about using bleach and boiling the water. Great info and infographic.

    • Glad to hear you’re always safe with your water – it’s not even really that it’s unsafe in many places, it’s just that our bodies are not usually used to a different mineral count. So it’s always good to be safe.

      Happy travels!

  29. Great infographic and techniques! I’m usually very cautious with non-bottled water, even in countries where it’s supposed to be super safe. Rather safe than sorry! Sometimes I do give up and go for it after a few days of “testing”.

    • Thanks Hugo – definitely rather be safe than sorry, a lot of people have mentioned above that when they’re fairly certain it’s safe to drink they’ll spend the first few days on bottled water but will slowly introduce the local water to their body via brushing their teeth etc. This is probably a good way to gauge whether or not you can handle water with a different mineral content to that of which you’re normally used to at home :)

      Travel safe!

  30. What an excellent comprehensive and visual guide. The maps certainly help even with just a glance. And your tips on what to do in unsafe places are a gem. Thanks!

    • Thanks Carol – so glad you found the infographic and tips helpful. I do love the infographic as a visual guide, I find that my mind at least consumes and processes information quicker when something is presented in a visual way.

      Glad we could set you up with some practical tips. Travel safe!

  31. I’ve been travelling with a Katadyn MyBottle Water Purification system water bottle and it’s been amazing. It has a filter that collects all the bad stuff and you can drink it right away through the straw. I hate having to buy numerous plastic water bottles abroad and this lovely product reduces all that plastic and saves money on bottles. Stomach problems are the worst when travelling and can be prevented with all the points you’ve highlighted

    • So glad you’ve had success with your water bottle Mallory :) There are some seriously amazing water filtration tools coming out onto the market now which is making it easier and easier on both the travelers wallet and on the environment – buying plastic bottles is the quick solution to unsafe water in many ways, though long lasting effects can be prevented by more sustainable devices :)

      Travel safe!

  32. Wow – I didn’t realize that so many countries had “unsafe” water. I figured that number would be lower. It’s also interesting because I’m living in Germany, and it is one of the countries with the best tap water. However, the majority of the people here don’t drink tap water at all. Even as I was in Korea, a “safe” country for water, there were times where colored water came out of the fosset. yikes!

    I love the infographic by the way!

    • I know, I was fairly surprised when I first found the infographic too – funny how it really hits home hard when you’re presented with a visual like this. Though as I mentioned, it’s definitely a conservative guide, and “unsafe” is more just that your body is unlikely to be able to handle water with a different mineral content and level of filtration when traveling abroad.

      For instance the water in Iceland is supposed to be some of the best in the world, though because of just how natural it is, when we turned the hot water on in the shower the smell was a hideous sulphuric smell! I think a lot of the time it’s really going to depend on the individual :)

    • Korea has been one of the countries with clean water for thousands of years.
      However, it was polluted with excessive industrialization.
      But due to constant government’s effort, the water has become clear enough to drink directly since the 1970s.
      A recent UN report said that South Korea’s water quality is the 8th cleanest water in the world.
      your experience was a temporary occurrence when you replaced the local water pipes, or because it’s a old water pipes that you had lived a house.It was not the matter of the water.

      Most people in Korea use water without special water purification facilities when they shower and wash the dishes and cook

      But it is also true that people who remember last day when water quality was poor still have doubts. Once again, Korean tap water is perfectly okay to drink.

    • Thanks for sharing your knowledge about tap water in Korea. It’s fantastic that the Government has made a successful effort to make it clean again after the industrialization. I think there are probably temporary occurrences like that everywhere – sometimes after a big storm, the water in Australia comes out brown too!! But generally safe to drink :)

  33. We are totally spoiled with perfect water in Europe, there for I generally always buy bottled anywhere “outside” – not because I don’t think it’s safe elsewhere but just because I love our own water and am used to that. Best water however comes from streams in the mountains and glaciers, but unfortunately they are not available everywhere ;-)

    • Absolutely – I agree with you that I’ve found generally an individual’s tolerance to water is going to be shaped by the smell and taste of the water they have grown up with. Wouldn’t it be nice though if natural water were available everywhere throughout!

  34. Very cool post! I especially love the informative graphics and will definitely share it and pin it! On another hand, “safe” and “tasty” are two different things, so while a water might be “safe” to drink, it still might be quite untasty.

    • Thanks Jolanta! Safe and Tasty are definitely two completely different things, and I absolutely agree with you that a lot of the time we can be put off by water which may not be tasty, though is totally safe to drink. Like in Iceland, the country has some of the purest drinking water on earth, though as soon as we turned on the hot water taps in our shower, a horrid solphuric smell came out with it which made us double think whether or not we should be drinking it.

      In reality it’s 100% safe, it’s just very different to the water we’re used to back home. Luckily though filtered water bottles etc are available pretty much all over the world now, and I think that helps overcoming the mindset even if the water is in actual fact safe.

  35. I try to be careful since stomach problems are the worst while traveling. There are some great tips here like avoiding ice. Thanks for sharing them!

    • Yes they absolutely are! Glad you found the post helpful Mindi – remember to watch out for the salads and the ice! Travel safe :)

  36. Wow a few of the places said not to have clean water surprised me here. Namely Russia, a place I have been and drank the tap water. I will definitely think twice next time I am there now. Also totally agree that insurance is so so important. I had an experience travelling in Cambodia where I was very cautious about everything I ate or drank and my husband was eating and drinking everything in sight without getting sick. On the last day I let me guard down and ate a salad despite refusing to eat it in the days before. By the time we got to Singapore the next day I was so ill I needed to be rushed to hospital. Luckily I had insurance which covered the whole thing. Thanks for highlighting a very important issue Meg.

    • Holy dam, that’s a horrible experience, so sorry to hear that Jen. Insurance really is one of those really important parts of travel that we don’t necessarily want to think about, but you’re ever so glad for when it’s there. Gotta hate that though how one person can be totally fine but the minute you ingest a drop you’re gone.

      I guess when it comes to water it really is all about how the individual handles it. Which is hard when you’re traveling with someone and you’re seeing that they’re not getting sick so think it’s likely fine for you too.

      So sorry to hear you had a bad experience with falling ill – safe travels for the future XX

  37. What an incredible guide! We do take drinking water for granted and that’s why I think people should travel more to see what’s happening in the rest of the world. I will be traveling to Turkey soon so it’s good to know where they fall on the list of drinking water safety. A point that I’m glad you made is about the water bottles. There is so much waste around the world and water bottles seem to be at the top. People should buy reusable bottles and travel with them!

    • Thanks Mia – definitely hook yourself up with a reusable filtered drinking bottle before you hit up Turkey – it’s not worth the risk of falling ill.

      And absolutely re the resuable drink bottles – if everyone could start implementing small but sustainable steps into their everyday travels and lives they may just start adding up into big differences which will see us improve the planet.

      Happy travels :)

    • Hi Mia

      I’m from turkey and want to say, If you travel big cities of turkey like istanbul or ankara, you definitely use bootle water.
      On the other hand if your travel about the cappadocia you can use tap water. Also most anatolian cities of turkey is famous about healing water, like nevşehir or tokat.

    • Thanks for sharing your knowledge özgür, it’s great to have this additional information about Turkey :)

  38. This is an excellent resource for any traveller! But I actually knew that tap water is safe to drink in Costa Rica, and even in most of Nicaragua and some places in Mexico… I think this regularly changes. Then, there are countries where tap water is safe to drink and just tastes foul. UK is one of them :)

    • Thanks Claudia – and I agree, it’s really based off the individual and their tolerance to different mineral content. And you hit the nail on the head, often “safe” doesn’t necessarily translate into “tasty” – I’ve found that generally individuals are used to the taste and smell of the water in the region of where they grew up.

    • Water in Uruguay is fine to drink out of the tap. The state water company OSE provides most pf the population and out in the country when a well is dug, it has to be tested.

      Most bottled water is just tap water anyway.

    • Hi Janet, thanks for the heads up on water in Uruguay :) I haven’t been able to make it there myself, but hopefully in the future, it’s on the list! Interesting to hear that most bottled water is just tap water anyway.

  39. Safe drinking water is something a lot of us take for granted. These are some great tips to help from getting sick on the road.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post and found the information useful Brianna :)

  40. I don’t know how you do it, but I swear I learn something new and valuable every time I read your blog! Thank you for these informative and well thought out posts. I have traveled mostly in places where one doesn’t have to worry about water like Europe and the USA, so I never really thought twice about unsafe water. I’ll make sure I’m prepared as I branch out to other countries that don’t have safe drinking water!

    • Thats so lovely, thanks Francesca! Really psyched that you’re enjoying everything we’ve been putting out on the blog.

      And glad we could make you stop and think about the water when you’re traveling – it really is just all about preparing yourself with some quick research before you go. It becomes more and more important as you start hitting up more countries which are further off the beaten path and in different regions of that of your home.

      Happy travels!

  41. Thanks for such a detailed and informative article, Meg! I grew up spoiled drinking tap water in the US, but living in Asia for the past four years it has been striking how this resource I took for granted is not accessible to all. We were gifted a Steri-pen a couple of years ago, but found that while it made the water safe to drink, it didn’t remove the particulates in the water from pipes, and sometimes the color of the tap water was a bit off-putting. Instead we usually buy bottled water when we’re on the road, which I really feel terrible about doing. When we’re in places for longer we always try and get an 18-liter bottle for our room which we can refill our Nalgene’s with. Looking for a better alternative before our next trip. Will have to look more into the LifeStraw!

    • Definitely check out the LifeStraw – I haven’t personally used it but I added the recommendation to the post after a huge outpouring of support from it in the post comments. So that could definitely be a possibility for you.

      I think the mental obstacle of drinking off colored water even if it is technically safe can often be more difficult to overcome, so I definitely understand your preference for bottled water instead. We really don’t realize how spoiled we are to have instant access to pure drinking water until it’s gone!

      Happy travels :)

  42. I spent months living in rural Malawi and I know first hand how valuable safe water is. My daily schedule was dominated by boiling and filtering. Now whenever anyone asks me what my drink of choice is, I always say tap water. I know they really mean what wine or cocktail I prefer, but honestly there is nothing so refreshing (literally and emotionally) as Canadian tap water. I never take it for granted now.

    • Nothing will make you appreciate clean tap water more than when you’ve had to spend hours boiling and filtering to ensure it’s clean! Glad that you didn’t get sick though, and that’s the main point :)

      Enjoy that Canadian water!

  43. There are some really good tips in here Meg! While I was traveling through Asia, I was extremely careful with what liquids and foods I ingested. I took one chance in Thailand and was bed-sick for 2 weeks…never again!

    • Thanks Ron – sorry to hear you got sick in Thailand; really do have to just be so careful because it always ends up being that one time you decide to take a chance!

      Travel safe!

  44. This is actually not correct at all. I have been to southamerica and there are a few countries there with better tap water than any european country. I assume you didn’t do your research correctly and just grouped every south american country in the same bag as a lot of ignorant people do. I would’ve expected more from a “journalist” or whatever you are. Please do your research better next time.

    • Hi Pilar – so just as my job as a journalist is to research properly, your job as a reader surprisingly is to actually “read”. If you’re “assuming” I didn’t do my research properly perhaps you should go up to the top and read the post instead of taking the infographic at face value and making assumptions as to the post. Generally the point of leaving a comment is to reflect that you are aware of what was written.

      So let’s recap for your benefit: This infographic was created by the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), and is based on their scientific data. The words around it (my research) provide context that this is a highly conservative guide, and that “potentially unsafe” means that it could be harmful to drink if your body isn’t used to the water in the area, not necessarily that the water is polluted and dirty. “Unsafe” doesn’t mean “drink this water and you’ll die”, just that you should be cautious when you’re traveling there.

      My number one tip is that if you are unsure of the water in a new area of the world you should further research, and your best source of correct information will be the locals and other tourists who have just passed through the area.

      My tip to you is that if you would like your comments to be taken seriously online, you should compose something which is reflective of having actually consumed the content in whole. Out of 40 odd people who left their opinions on the post you seem to be the only one who didn’t bother to read through the context provided to accompany the infographic. So please read better next time.

  45. I really can’t force myself to drink tap water, I don’t know why. Even when I was living in Finland (where the water is considered to be one of the cleanest ever) it took me few months to get used to drinking tap water. I really need to change my perspective, thanks for this informative post Meg!

    • Maybe purchasing a filtration device would help get past the mindset of tap water – that way even if you’re in a country like Finland you’re assured it’s safe :)

  46. As you mentioned above, that info-graphic is highly conservative and shouldn’t be taken for granted. It is just full of misinformation and could easily confuse fellow travelers. For instance, I am Croatian and I must say that the water in Croatia is not just drinkable, but it’s one of the cleanest in the World. It’s obvious that this info-graphic is made without any further research.

    • Hi Anca, thanks for your feedback. I’ve been through Croatia and drank the water there to without issue, so I agree that it’s safe in that country :)

      I’m not sure that it’s necessarily bad research which went into the info-graphic as opposed to high standards of data which may not be comparable. It came from data collected from the CDC, though I think the issue with compiling information like this is that what you’re measuring or testing is a system which is very dependent on where someone is from and where they’re going as to whether or not water will be safe. So for instance while the water in Croatia is clean, it likely has a different mineral count/level of filtration to water in say the US. Even though it’s clean, it could be upsetting to someone’s stomache who isn’t used to a different mineral count.

      I do agree that publishing the infographic as a stand alone would have been irresonsible, because it is super conservative; a lot of people on the CDC website accused it as being a political map more than anything else; though I still think it has it’s benefit in being shared with the contextual information at “not safe” doesn’t mean “dirty”, just that your body may not be used to it.

      People take this issue for granted and don’t think twice about clean water when traveling, so having something to visualize really helps wake people up. As long as they fully read my post and take away the message that you should ask locals and other travelers if you’re unsure, realizing that it’s different based on the individual, then I’m happy to have still utilized the graphic here.

    • In Bosnia, Montenegro and other ex-Yu countries water is also very safe to drink although I do understand that it may be upsetting for individuals if they are not used to that specific water but that is also valid for all the water in this so called safe tap water list. CDC should update their list/map.

    • Thanks for sharing about Bosnia, Montenegro and other ex-Yu countries :) I think when I find a moment I’ll aim to create my own graphic to replace the CDC map which uses the crowdsourced data we’ve gathered here in the comments over time as well as more up to date research :)

      Appreciate your feedback on the region!

  47. Hi Megan,

    Tap water in South African cities is generally considered quite safe. Generally, you can trust water from city waterworks as much as anywhere. South Africa has a national department that tracks water quality.

    South Africa has great wealth and its government spends some 11% of its GNP for medical care alone. This is not a Third World country in the usual sense.

    • Hi Don

      Thanks for sharing your knowledge about water in South Africa. That’s a part of the world that I haven’t yet made it to, though we’re hoping to very soon. Keep hearing about the beauty of the country from traveler after traveler!

      Sounds like the government really prioritizes health which is fantastic. Duly noted on the drinking water – thanks for the tip!

  48. Very useful post, thanks! We’re currently in Chiang Mai and rented a “serviced apartment” for a month, with kitchenette. We buy large bottles of drinking water (6 liters) instead of drinking tap water like back home in Belgium. Better safe than sorry! I pinned the post for future use and hope to help spread the word.

    • Thanks for sharing Birthe – hope you’re having a fabulous time in Chiang Mai! When you’re unsure about water, it largely does come down to a case of taking precautions to be safer rather than sorry. Because illnesses from bad water can really do a number on you, and it’s the surest way to ruin a trip!

      A lot of the time it’s just because your body is used to a different mineral count because it varies so much between countries.

  49. Argentina water is 200% drinkable in the 96 %of the country I live in Argentina since I’m kid drinking all the time and healthy.

    • Hi Daniel, thanks for the tip re Argentina! The infographic is definitely super conservative, most of the time it comes mainly down to the individual traveler and what kind of levels of filtration their body is normally used to.

      Good to know the water in Argentina is safe. Thanks!

  50. I love how no where in Africa has safe drinking water. I have lived in South Africa my whole life and the tap water here is absolutely fine to drink., if you’re wrong about that I’m not sure a bout the rest of you research

    • Hi Ryan, thanks for letting us know about South Africa. As the post pretty clearly spells out though, this infographic is a conservative one from research conducted by the CDC, and “potentially unsafe” means that it could be harmful to drink if your body isn’t used to the water in the area, not necessarily that the water is polluted and dirty. We said that a couple of times to make it pretty clear ;)

  51. To avoid the plastic waste and uncertainty around the re-filling and sealing of plastic bottles of water, I always carry chlorine dioxide water sterilising tablets. One (or two if you are very concerned about giardia etc) per litre does the trick, they are lightweight to carry and are useful if you cannot make a fire to boil water, or your filter has run out etc etc. Carry a few bottles of your own and I always have a sterilised litre in the room/tent for cleaning teeth or taking medication etc In places where you cannot be sure that the water is safe, avoid ice, ice-cream, salads and un-peeled fruit – anything that might have been washed with the water

    • Great approach Carol – one of the greatest ways we can reduce waste is by avoiding plastic bottles, so I absolutely encourage every traveler to follow your lead and invest in a purification device or travel with water sterilising tablets.

      And sounds like you’re a pro – cleaning your teeth with water you wouldn’t drink is something which catches a lot of people out!! Eating and taking medication too.

      Thanks for sharing your tips :)

  52. Slovakia has a perfectly safe drinking tap water. We only have drinking water everywhere (also used to flush toilets and in car washes). In fact, the Slovaks are surprised when they travel abroad and find out that the water is not drinkable in other countries, because we take it for granted. According to this websie – – Slovakia has the largest natural reservoir of underground water in Central Europe. Italy, on the other hand, which is marked as safe on this website, is very questionable. Wherever I went in Italy, I was always told by the locals not to drink the tap water because it was not safe for drinking. So..

  53. I would not trust information provided by United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You better check other sources as well. I had a quick look at their website and they provide inaccurate information on many countries. Especially about rabies and vaccination against rabies.

    Meg, you say that the reason why it is unsafe for tourists to drink tap water in some countries is that “people’s body’s are used to different mineral counts in different parts of the world” and yet your number one tip is to ask the locals because they are the “best source of correct information” .. this doesn’t make any sense..

    • Hi Strudia, thanks for sharing your experience with the water in Slovaka. As the post says, tap water and your ability to consume it will vary from person to person – I look forward to traveling through Slovakia knowing that the water will be clean :)

      Re the tip about consulting locals, I’m not sure why this doesn’t make sense to you. Absolutely it’s a very personal thing whether or not you’ll have a reaction to different water overseas, though if you’re speaking to a local who deals and interacts with tourists every day (you’ll note my suggestion was seeking out a hotel concierge), they have a very good understanding of how people from overseas react in their local environment.

      Nothing is ever going to be 100%, but from my experience, local knowledge is a pretty good place to start.


  54. Dear Megan, I am travelling from India to Australia during September and was planning to carry a bag full of bottled water, but after reading your article I have dropped the idea. But one question, though. Do hotels in Aus also offer the same quality of drinking water? I was reading some reviews about a Sydney hotel on trip advisor, wherein a traveller had written, that hotels had specifically issued advisory against drinking tap water in their rooms. This could be ploy to force people pay exhorbitantly for bottled water. Pl. advise. I will be staying in hotels of Melbourne, Sydney, Gold Coast and cairns.

    • Hi Rajaraman – hotels across Australia generally have very clean water, and it’s fine to drink from the tap unless there is a sign which says otherwise. You may be instructed to avoid tap water in rural areas where they use tanks, but in the big cities like Melbourne, Gold Coast, Cairns, etc you should be totally safe.

      That said, right now Sydney has been hit by a lot of flooding and rains, so freak weather like that could definitely affect the tap water. That said, it should hopefully be cleared up by the time you visit in September, and I’m sure the tap water will be fine.

      If you’re ever unsure, I always ask a local in the street, or a waiter at a cafe when I’m there, and that way they have no affiliation with the hotel if you think they’re trying to trick you into buying bottled water.

      Hope that helps!

    • Thanks a lot

  55. Most of South Africa’s tap water is safe to drink so I question how valid your info graphic is

    • Hi Laura, thanks for sharing your experience with water in South Africa. As we stated in the post, “potentially unsafe” means that it could be harmful to drink if your body isn’t used to the water in the area, not necessarily that the water is polluted and dirty. Thanks!

  56. Thanks for sharing informative article. Keep sharing more article.

    • Glad you found the post helpful :) Happy travels!

    • Thanks for sharing your tips :) Glad you found the article helpful!

  57. Thats why we have the advocacy conserve water.

    • Conserving water is definitely an important goal :)

  58. Which outdoor portable water filter purifier is good for using? please

    • Hi Amy, check out the SteriPEN Freedom and the Lifestraw.

      SteriPEN Freedom uses ultraviolet light to sterilize the water so that the bacteria are unable to multiply thus making the tap water safe to drink. It’s super portable and takes 45 seconds to sterilize up to half a liter of water.

      LifeStraw purifiers the water and also remove viruses. These are perfect for hiking as they are durable, lightweight, and require no electricity or batteries to operate.

      Hope that helps!

    • Try the Pure2go Water Purifier from Water One Inc in the USA. It’s a true water purifier and is presented in the drink straw type for format as this is the most flexible format. There is no boiling, adding chemicals or battery operation. You simply drink the water through the straw and it’s instant purification. When you look further into most of the commonly available so called water purifiers they are only water filters. The Pure2Go Water Purifier kills Bacteria, cysts and Viruses instantly. You know it’s good when all branches of the US Military use the Pure2Go Water Purifier. The Parent company Water One Inc has over 50 years of providing ultra pure water to the Pharmaceutical and Chemical Research Industries as well as providing USA wide and Internationally purified bottled drinking water. You can purchase on Amazon or directly via or UK/Europe both sites have the Pure2Go Water Purifier on sale

    • Thanks for the heads up Francis :)

  59. We have perfectly safe tap water in South Africa. Rural areas no but the rest of the country it’s very good quality water.

    • Thanks Janis!

  60. You can drink tap water from most if not all household taps in South Africa, even most of the taps in public parks, you can even (if you really want to)drink the water from taps in restrooms and public toilets…

    Please do a bit more research before you simply copy and paste your so called stats and info.

    • Hi Jacques, I agree, we were in South Africa quite recently and the drinking water was absolutely fine :)

      However you may have missed the analysis we made of the info-graphic … we concluded it was very conservative, and that “potentially unsafe” means that it could be harmful to drink if your body isn’t used to the water in the area, not necessarily that the water is polluted and dirty. So it’s hardly a simple copy and paste without research.

  61. Thanks for the info, just for clarification, you said that the lifestraw does remove viruses. I received a personal email from their support staff and he said that the lifestraw does not remove virus’ or heavy metals. Thank you for all the helpful information.

    • Hi Chris, thanks for touching base with the info about Lifestraw. I’ve edited the post to remove the claim that it removes viruses. Thanks for letting me know! :)

  62. I have never really thought about potentially having to not get ice because of what could be in the water! Thank you for sharing.

    • Absolutely – the ice thing is something which gets a lot of people! Something you don’t even think twice about :) Glad we could help!

      Happy & safe travels :)

  63. What about the Caribbean? I heard some countries have their own desalination factories.

    • The Caribbean is pretty safe to drink – like anything, if you’re in far-flung rural areas it’s probably safest to avoid it unless it’s been boiled, filtered or chemically disinfected. But by and large it’s of a pretty high standard :)

  64. Wow, such a nice tips for travellers. Water causes several kinds of diseases when we travel to other places. As there is issue with safe water availability in India, this post which share drinking water tips for foreign tourists in India will help all those who are planning to travel to India.

    • Thanks for sharing your resource on water tips for travelers to India :)

  65. I’ve done water testing (as have most trained chemists). Most bottled waters would fail municipal water standards in the US. Municipal water standards and their results are published, easily accessible, and frequently challenged. Bottled water is just whatever they put in there. And in fact, the bottling process adds significant contamination – the bottles used are practically petri dishes they’re so good at encouraging bacterial growth.
    I like to take something like Grayl water on my trips to asia.

    • Thanks for sharing your knowledge Katie, and for the recommendation on Grayl water – crazy how we feel better about drinking bottled water even though the reality is it’s probably no different to that which is coming out of the tap :S!I might have to adjust my mindset on that!

  66. That’s one of the best resources about where it’s safe to drink tap water!

    Thanks for sharing the infographic and explaining it even further, Megan :-)

    One thing I’d like to add is that even in countries where the water itself is clean and drinkable, the pipes might be too old and make the water unsafe.

    Funny fact: in Bulgaria where I’m from, in a lot of towns the tap water comes from nearby mineral water sources. So it’s not only safe to drink it, but it’s even healthy ;-)

    Cheers, N.

    • Glad you found the resource useful! Very good point to be wary on the pipes – I’m sure if I saw what my water came through in Australia I would be appalled!

      Wow, super cool on Bulgaria water – will have to get there soon for a taste!

  67. I use a Camelback filtered water bottle on my travels which I find to be particularly effective. The top it comes with is the filter. It also comes with a normal top that is much smaller and lighter!

    • Thanks for the tip on the Camelback filtered water bottle David – I’ve recently discovered filtered water bottles too and they seem to work really well. Camelback is a great brand.

      Happy travels! Thanks for sharing your experience :)

  68. Estonia has safe tap water! We have free drinking fountains in my town in summer too. If you see this, PLEASE change it. I want Estonia to be seen as the wonderful developed country and not the former soviet union country.

    • Thanks for sharing your local knowledge on Estonia Diana. I’ve heard wonderful things about your country, and can’t wait to visit at some stage myself.

      The infographic isn’t one I have personally made, it’s been put together by the CDC. However I’ve used it to illustrate that “potentially unsafe” means that it could be harmful to drink if your body isn’t used to the water in the area, not necessarily that the water is polluted and dirty.

      It’s not meant to deter tourism by any means :)

  69. This post is an absolute must-read for international travelers. Thats why we ask all our readers to visit your blog before planning for international travels :).

    I would like to add that filters would work in most cases, but if you want protection against viruses as well, you would have to opt for purifiers. This is the primary difference betwee filters and purifiers.

    • Thanks Trisk – glad you found the post helpful and informative.

      Thanks for the tip on filters vs purifiers – that’s a really good piece of info to know!

  70. Thanks for this Megan!

    • Glad the post was helpful :)

  71. Kate M’s comment got me worried. If the store-bought water bottle in America is a petri dish for bacteria, what about here in Africa. Nice informative article by the way, and great comments from great people.

    • Yep – I do think our bodies are a lot more resilient than we often give them credit for, and certainly the point of the post wasn’t meant to scare people, just to encourage to practice caution. Glad you found the information helpful – it’s been a pretty good discussion I think in the comments after we published :)

  72. Re: the Caribbean…Cuban water is definitely NOT safe, as I can personally attest!

    • Sorry to hear that you got sick :( Hope you still managed to enjoy your trip!

  73. I teach English to high school students in Japan. Now we are learning about the topic “Tap water vs. Bottled water” with the textbook. For further information, your blog has helped a lot. In Japan, tap water is completely safe, so we don’t think about the quality of water. But by reading your blog, they appreciate how blessing we can get safe water anytime.

    • Hi Tatsu, thanks for your feedback, and sharing our post with your class – I’m glad that your students could gain an appreciation of being lucky to have access to clean water. I think it’s definitely something people take for granted, not realizing that it’s not something everyone in the world has.

      I’ll be traveling back to Japan in a couple of weeks, and can’t wait to explore your country again :)

  74. It’s fantastic that you’ve listed on the map all the countries where it is safe to drink tap water. Honestly, this is a very handy post because this is one of the first questions I ask when I arrive in a country. It is true that many times people from Europe and the US take it for granted that the tap water must be drinkable but growing up in India (and now living in Dubai), I actually find it very surprising when I visit places in the US and Europe where you can just drink the water from the tap! We are so not used to doing that, it’s a bit funny :D Thanks for also reminding us to be environmentally friendly when we use bottled water!

    • Glad the post was helpful Medha! Yes, coming from Australia I’ve grown up drinking straight from the tap, so it was quite the culture shock when I realized that this was something we took for granted. It’s fabulous to see so many efforts around the world though to increase the accessibility of clean drinking water.

      Safe travels!

  75. You might want to revise your map in regards to Korea. The water quality leaving the treatment plant is technically safe but the infrastructure still widely uses lead (unfortunately mainly due to corruption, not the lack of regulation) so almost no one drinks the tap water. That’s is why there is conflicting information when you look it up online but I would not call that safe by any means.

    • Hi Mike, thanks for the heads up on water in Korea. The info-graphic was published by Neo Mam studios, so I’ll see if they’ve issued a new updated version since this one. Definitely highlights the point that the best course of action is to always ask locals on the ground when you arrive.

      Appreciate the update!

  76. Well, strange iconographic, I must say. Lithuania’s tap water is not safe? come on… I’ve been drinking tap water all my life (45 years already), and absolute majority of people do the same. In fact I was really surprised that in many parts of the world you can’t drink tap water because we all here consider safe tap water as a given. BTW, 100% of tap water in Lithuania comes from deep underground water resources,

    • The infographic is definitely conservative – the point is more so to alert travelers to be cautious about drinking the local water in new countries if you’re not accustomed to their level of filtration.

      Thanks for providing insight into the water in Lithuania :)

    • Same as Croatia, I have to think twice when I’m abroad. ?
      And to be honest I never drank tap water in Italy, UK and France because it tastes like shit compared to my home town.
      Only Norway comes close.

    • Damir is right. I live in France & the water, even though is safe, it takes like s**t.
      Especially in summer, even by opening the cold tap water, the water isn’t cold, it’s warm & tastes bad! I blame it on the hot weather.
      I’ve been abroad & the best tap water usually comes from cold countries ( Norway & Sweden for example) & countries less hotter than France i.e Croatia & Slovenia.
      You always get cold water in these countries even during a heatwave!

    • I remember that in Iceland, which has some of the purest water in the world, we turned the hot water on and this TERRIBLE smell of sulphur came out – it’s because the water comes from geothermal springs in the ground!

      Interesting analysis on the cold vs hot countries – that does make a lot of sense! Yes, the taste of water is often not the same as whether it’s considered ‘safe’, and even then ‘safe’ water is usually so dependent on what you’re usually used to drinking :)

      I can’t wait to get to Norway to try some of their tap water – I’m fairly fortunate to live in Tasmania (Australia), which has some of the purest in the country too.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your insights :)

  77. Travelling for any length of time without being able to have ice in your drinks, or eat a salad, can be pretty miserable. Here in the Philippines (where you definitely can’t drink water from the tap) I order drinks with ice and eat salads all the time because most restaurants in the cities and tourist areas use purified water for making ice and washing salad greens. It’s only in the rural areas that you have to avoid ice and salads. However, even in the cities you need to be choosy about the places for eating salads because most restaurants are just filtering tap water. That’s fine if the place looks well managed and they change their filter cartridges regularly, but of course some places get lazy. Even Starbucks uses filtered tap water for their ice and drinks, but they have a regular maintenance schedule for their filter cartridges, so I have no problem drinking their water in the Philippines.

    • Totally agree with you David – and it’s something that we take for granted, being able to just eat a salad or throw an ice cube in a cup.

      Thanks for sharing your experience with tap water in the Philippines, honestly it sounds quite similar in Australia – the cities are usually fine, but in rural areas it can get a bit touchy.

      Interesting to hear that many restaurants in the big cities are just filtering tap water. I visited Manila and Boracay last year and didn’t run into any problems, though did stay in pretty high star accommodation.

      Happy travels, thanks for your comment :)

  78. The source of ‘best countries’ as for the safe tap water is quite terrible. I would avoid drinking tap water in Germany, the UK and France. Not sure about the rest on the list. Scandinavia has better tap water with Denmark as a forerunner, yet Denmark is nowhere to be seen on the list.

    • Denmark is listed on the infographic as one of the countries with safe drinking water. I personally didn’t have a problem with the water in Germany, the UK, or France, but then that goes to the point that everyone is affected by the water from new regions differently. Which is ultimately what we’re trying to highlight.

      Thanks for sharing your experience :)

  79. I like the tips. That’s a subject I’ve never seen anyone talk about, and it’s the first time I’ve seen it through your blog. This is a really important point to take into account when traveling to various places in the world… since not all places have adequate treatment of water and in many places lack awareness.

    • Glad you found the post helpful Marcio :) Definitely an important subject to take into consideration when you’re traveling. Safe travels!

  80. Thank you share.
    I have a travel in Ko Tao – Thailand. I will rent kayak and paddle round the island. As you know Thailand is country not safe water. I was relieved to read your post. Just read and note.

    • Enjoy your time in Thailand Solhim, I’m glad the post was helpful :)

  81. Croatia is not on the list od safe tap water?!?! Are you kidding me!

    • Hi Damir, as we have said in the article, the infographic is very conservative – the point is more so to alert travelers to be cautious about drinking the local water in new countries if you’re not accustomed to their level of filtration.

      Glad to hear though that the water in Croatia is good to drink :)

  82. Great post, Megan! Thanks.

    • You’re welcome – glad it was helpful :)

  83. I am from Slovakia and we have no problem with water(picture says we do). And Greece is marked as safe but it is not

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Martin, I have heard from a lot of people that they drink bottled water in Greece.

  84. There’s a mistake in the map of Europe. In Slovakia, the tap water is also safe. We drink it all the time.

    • Thankyou for the update Ovečka :) I’m really looking forward to visiting Slovakia at some point, I’ve heard it’s a beautiful country :)

  85. Had a couple issues but hard to tell if it was the water or the food. One instance was last week in fact. Got sick on the Pacific coast of Colombia & had to rule out dengue & all that crazy stuff..looks like it was just a stomach infection & now I’m all better ? what about you?

    • Yikes sorry to hear that … I’ve been pretty fortunate actually, I think I have guts of steel lol the only times I’ve been really ill have been self induced via too much time at the bar the previous night :D

    • Ha! Been there done that! And nowadays it seems like the consequences for those bar nights are getting increasingly severe and painful. Can’t drink like I could when I was 21!

    • I feel you on that one! One glass now and I’m hungover the next morning haha

    • Ugh! Same! You have to start to get really picky and evaluate if the drinks/night out is worth being bedridden the next day. I used to party at every opportunity, but now I’m more of a special occasion drinker haha

    • I usually offer to be designated driver and then I’m (a) not pressured to drink, and (b) friends love me lol

  86. this is a stupid article. total capitalist “me-first” world bias. i’m in morocco and the tap water is great.

  87. i’ve also been to lots of other countries your list marks as “unsafe” and never had problems drinking the water; i’d just like to say thanks for the propaganda boost you’re giving to bottled water corporations – whose lobbies probably influenced the study your article is based on – since it helps promote their product, which contains nasty microfibers of plastic and is polluting the world irreversibly

    • If you’ve chosen to selectively consume the infographic without reading any of the context / discussion it’s pretty futile for me to engage with you.

  88. I was looking for this particular information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    • Glad we could help :) Safe travels

  89. Thank you for your post, I like the way you write.
    I have done a bit of travelling so far myself. Funny part for me to read about safe water in North America. Personally I got rashes from all the chlorine in the water. Because tap water is free, mostly in restaurants you cannot get still bottled water. Quite an interesting travel.

    • You’re welcome Lousia – thanks for sharing your experience in North America. Absolutely, some parts of the US have terrible drinking water, so they’re definitely not exempt from this even though it was the US based CDC who created the infographic. Sorry to hear that you developed such a strong reaction from the chlorine.

      The biggest thing I hope people took away from the post is that water can be unsafe if you’re not used to the levels of filtration, or in your case, chlorine, in another country. Very often locals will have no reaction because they’ve built up a tolerance to it, but for travelers visiting for the first time, it can cause issues.

      Safe travels, thanks for commenting :)

  90. There’s also other options for filtering water on the go. Someone already mentioned the Katadyn, and that’s def a good one. Also, I really like the Berkey water filter line as well. They have portable systems, a portable water bottle, etc and they were designed for this exact use.

    • Thanks for the heads up Trey, I’ll have to check them out too :)

  91. it is a good blog.

    • Thanks Chiruu, glad the post was helpful for you :)

  92. Everyone drinks tap water in Slovakia and it’s actually really safe and also people in Croatia and Hungary drink tap water. On the map you literally just marked the less ‘developed’ countries as not safe; which also isn’t correct because countries like Slovakia aren’t any less developed as for example Czech Republic or Poland (which for some reason are safe)

    • Hi Eli, first of all, I have removed the profanity from your comment, as that type of language is not appropriate on my blog.

      I’m glad to hear that Slovakia, Croatia and Hungary have safe drinking water. Ultimately, there are only so many times I can put big bolded text that the infographic was created by the US CDC, and is based on their standards of filtration. For anyone who is not willing to read the context I have written to go with the graphic, there’s not much else I can do.


  93. There are places in north america with unsafe drinking water. Tap water in south africa in most areas is safe to drink the information in this article seems to be abit untrue.

    • Hi Jessica, absolutely on some places in the US being unsafe to drink, and thanks for the heads up on South Africa. The main point of the article is that water CAN be unsafe to drink if you’re not used to their levels of filtration, because every country has different standards in place. Being that the infographic was created by the US CDC, they probably wouldn’t have highlighted that regions within their own country were unsafe, but if you’re heading off the beaten path rurally anywhere, it’s probably safe to assume :)

      Thanks for your comment.

  94. hmmm actually you can drink tap water in Costa Rica Central Vally, which is where 80% lives, clearly in the middle of the jungle or far away in the mountain you cant. But Costa Rica is known because the tap water is great!

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Marco, yes I didn’t have any trouble with the water in Costa Rica personally, I think Central America gets heaped into one group a lot of the time in infographics like this, which is definitely sad! CR’s ecotourism scene is fabulous, such a beautiful country!

  95. Don’t agree with this article. Many countries in east Europe have safe tap water, even I would say very good quality, for example Baltic states. I personal have visited few of them(Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) and in the cities I visited you can drink tap water, but of course there are exceptions.

    • Hi Vytautas, thanks for sharing your experience throughout Eastern Europe. Glad to hear that you didn’t have any issues drinking the water :) We might look at creating our own infographic with everybody’s feedback here to replace the one created by America’s CDC :)

  96. Blog, as well as infographic, is awesome. thanks for sharing with us.

    • Glad the post was helpful for you Vinay … Safe travels :)

  97. Yes, I think that the tap water is not as safe as it looks, unless it has been boiled. Using tap water has bad effects on your teeth. We should use water filter to avoid approaching hazardous impurities like sediments, rusts, bacteria, virus, residual chlorine, or other heavy metals.

    • Water filters and boiling water is a great approach if you’re concerned about the water quality. Always err on the side of being safe than being sorry :)

  98. I am from Finland and we have clean tap water, you can use it right away.

    • Absolutely, Finland water is incredible – I loved my time exploring your country :)

  99. Lithuanian tap water is very clean. Everybody drinks tap water safely. Every year there are 160 000 tests performed to make sure that the water is safe. I have no idea where this incorrect information came from.

    • Thanks for adding your local insight re Lithuania Leva :) I haven’t yet been myself but will hopefully have the chance to at some point in the future.

      Re where the information came from, as we mentioned, the infographic was made by the US CDC based on their levels of filtration :)

  100. Hello, this is really helpful, but I wanted to point out that I’m from Lithuania myself and we drink out tap water all the time and it’s confirmed to be one of the cleanest water in Europe. As well as other Baltic states we have safe water and you shouldn’t be scared to drink it, shower in it or brush your teeth :) otherwise I think this list is very helpful

    • Thanks for sharing your local knowledge Gabija, it’s great to have insight from someone right there on the ground. I hope to be able to visit your country at some point soon :)

  101. Your map is not correct in several points. For example, tap water in all of former Yugoslavia is perfectly safe to drink. On the contrary, it is NOT safe in Hong Kong due to old piping. Only in newer developments where the piping has been replaced is it safe, but generally every hotel will recommend not drinking tap water and will provide free bottles water.

    • Thanks for sharing Inka, yes, it’s a very conservative map that was made by the CDC in America, but using it more as an example that the tap water can be bad anywhere if you’re used to drinking different levels of filtration. In parts of America itself the tap water is so bad that local communities can’t drink it, so the graphic itself definitely needs to be taken with the context around it.

      Thanks for the heads up that former Yugoslavian countries have safe water – such a stunning region, I really want to travel throughout more of the region as soon as possible :)

      Good to know on Hong Kong – I find that hotels generally have the best information on whether water is safe to drink for tourists, because they deal with tourists every day, and they take their complaints, so it sounds like we’re on the same page re the point I made in the post about asking the hotels if you’re unsure :)

      Happy travels!

  102. I am American and this guide is a great example of the way westerners think. You’re telling me no country in South America or Africa has safe tap water? Really? I have traveled to quite a few places and can say Colombia has one of the cleanest water systems in the continent. The Caucasus, specifically Armenia and Georgia have the best tap water I’ve ever had in my life. So refreshing and sweet, as it comes from mountain springs. Please stop scaring travelers.

    • Hi Nick, thanks for sharing your experiences, glad to hear that Columbia, Armenia and Georgia have excellent drinking water.

      Yes you’re exactly right that this is a western guide – as I said many times in the content it’s highly conservative, based on CDC Data from the States – and is a comparison against US filtration. We use the infographic they created to make the point that water, anywhere in the world, can be unsafe if you’re visiting and you’re not used to the levels of impurities and / or filtration.

      Contrary to your belief that we are scaring travelers, the point of this post is to provide useful safety information for drinking water if you’re unsure of the quality, anywhere in the world. This whole site is dedicated to encouraging people to travel, so unfortunately you’re a little off point on that observation.

      At this point the comments section of the post though has probably acted as somewhat of a crowdsourcing of information to be able to create our own infographic, so that’s something we will consider to improve the accuracy of the CDC gathered data.

      Of course it’s not enough to just look at the graphic though without diving into the context of any of the discussion around it, and I think that this is probably the better example of why many westerners think how they think.

      Thanks for reading :)

  103. Baltic States (Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia) do not have clean drinking water? Please, it is cleaner than the tap water in for example France and the quality of their tap water is on par with that of Scandinavia.

    Nonsense map that includes countries like Spain where you definitely cannot drink tap water and excludes those where you can.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience in the Baltic States John, glad to hear that you didn’t have an issue with the water.

      We may look to create a map of our own based on the crowd sourced information from travelers here in the comments now that the CDC map is proving to be touch and go. That said, the main point here is of course that water anywhere in the world can be unsafe if you’re not personally used to the levels of filtration.

      Thanks for reading :)

  104. Appears thatyour map is inaccurate. Might it be time for you to remove it if you can’t accurately show a proper picture of the facts? When I first read the article, I was a bit confused. After reading the comments section, I can see that it’s not me that’s confused but the maps that are confusing. Utter nonsense. How can you publish something so silly?

    • Hi Dave, we have very big, bold disclaimers throughout the post that the infographic is a very conservative guide, based on data from the CDC, which we use in the article to highlight that water anywhere in the world could be harmful to drink if your body isn’t used to the water in the area and levels of local filtration; it does not necessarily that the water is polluted and dirty.

      I understand that it may be confusing for those who view the infographic without reading the contextual analysis around it, but I have provided the necessary information for how it should be interpreted, and if people aren’t willing to read this in conjunction with the visual, that’s on them.

      Thanks for reading.

  105. The map is incorrect by indicating that all of African water supply is unsafe,South African tap water is safe to drink n use,only in rural or informal settlements do they sometimes use unsafe water from rivers.I was born and raised here in South Africa and any South African can validate that.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Miss Lonster, yes I can agree, I didn’t have any issues drinking the tap water in South Africa last year when I visited Cape Town, and we had a great time, you have a very beautiful country.

      We’re going to work on an infographic ourselves when we get the chance to replace the version above by the CDC using the feedback and experiences from travelers and locals here in the comments, so I appreciate your input :)

  106. Hi
    The infographic appears inaccurate. We now know water is unsafe in several regions with fracking in the USA. There are also small towns in Australia with no water at all – yes, water has to be trucked. It is also safe to drink water in Costa Rica and Chile. Perhaps you could include a more updated chart or links in each region with up to date information.

    Thanks for the great effort to put the info together.

    • Hi Paul, thanks for sharing your feedback, yes, the infographic seems to be quite out of date now, so we’re going to aim to create a chart of our own which includes data from research as well as everyone’s input here in the comments :)

      Absolutely re water quality varying depending on which parts of America or Australia you’re in – I actually personally live in rural Australia where we rely on rainwater, so fall into that category of no water at all :)

      Appreciate your feedback, thanks for reading :)

  107. Just a note to say that North America is a continent and not a country as you state in the article.
    And to not have Canada listed as amongst the best water is surprising.
    Also, Costs Rica has good tap water IMO.

    • Hi Jay, thanks for catching that error re North America, I have corrected it in the article :)

      Absolutely re the tap water in Canada being safe, it’s definitely up there with the best. Thanks for sharing your experience with the water in Costa Rica – glad to hear you had a fabulous time!

  108. Chile does have drinkable water!!

    • Thanks for sharing Diego, always appreciate local insight :)

  109. I was born and raised in a country where tap water isn’t safe to drink until you boil it. So when I first traveled to Europe, I was a bit skeptical. Is it really safe? It felt weird to drink straight from the tap, like I was doing something forbidden.

    Anyway, for those who are visiting my country Malaysia, I wouldn’t advise you to drink anything with ice except at established restaurants like the ones in major shopping malls because they have to adhere to strict quality/cleanliness standards. Any reported case of food poisoning may cause a restaurant to have its license revoked. But the water isn’t so bad that you can’t use it for brushing your teeth. I’ve never heard of anyone, locals or visitors, who had any problem brushing their teeth with our tap water. Just don’t swallow it! ?

    • Thanks for sharing your local knowledge about Malaysia Ummi, it’s great to hear that restaurants are kept to high standards – I’ve not really had a problem with water brushing my teeth anywhere, but then again I don’t swallow it haha!

      Our perceptions are definitely shaped by how we were raised – I can totally understand how it must have felt weird to drink from a tap when you’ve not grown up that way! With water and traveling probably not a bad thing to have your first instinct as being more cautious / skeptical though in this case!

      Thanks for reading our blog :)

  110. You should add Mauritius to countries where it is SAFE to drink tap water.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience Christine :)

  111. The subtitle to your story should be rewritten as – “Countries where the water quality may be doubtful.”

    Having lived, worked and/or travelled to +50 countries on all seven continents, I can tell you most modern major cities have good to excellent water quality. This may not be true for smaller towns and villages that rely on dug wells which may be subject to rain runoff or local pollution, or unfiltered artesian wells. In that case having your own water bottle, camel back, and a filtration kit like MSR’s (Mountain Safety Research) Sweet Water filtration system is best to use.

    I carry one with me everywhere I go, so if am in an area where the water quality is doubtful, I can use my stainless steel strainer, silt filter and carbon filter on the local water.

    And buying water bottles with sealed caps is some countries is no guarantee that the water is pure. They may be sourced from local springs that have minerals and impurities in them, including low levels of lead or arsenic, or worse, the water processing company has not adequately maintained their filtration system. Flint, Michigan USA is point in case where thousand of residents were poisoned by lead contamination in the pipes of the local water supplier.

    Check the labels on water bottles you buy to find out where it was bottled, what is in it, and by who. Trust only major companies, like Pepsi (yes they sell bottled water!) Aquafina, Dasani, Nestle Waters, Glaceau SmartWater, Poland Spring, Danone & Fuji.

    Travel safe and be well!

    Frederic Hore,
    Montreal, Canada.

    • Thanks for sharing your experiences Frederic, absolutely the reality of the water situation in most places is that you’re generally good in modern cities with good infrastructure, but need much higher caution in smaller towns and more rural regions. And that’s a really good point on water bottles with sealed caps, being filled from local springs and water sources, I’ve also heard it’s common in more poverty stricken countries for bottles to be resealed after multiple uses so it’s not always a guarantee of the most hygienic way to go.

      Great to hear that you’re traveling with your own bottles and filtration, us too, mine gets used quite often! Excellent tips on checking the labels on water bottles to find out more about the actual product.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your experiences and expertise :)

  112. Im from Chile and here you CAN drink tap water, very safe. Only country in South america.

    • Thanks for sharing ilse :)

  113. Romania has drinkable tap water. This map is very inaccurate.

    • Thank you for the update Mihai, we are looking at developing our own map with updated information from the comments here, will let you know when we have a chance to get it live :)

  114. Just curious as I am planning a trip to South America. I have been doing a bit of research and with regards to Uruguay I have found several articles claiming that the water is completely safe, has no aftertaste, zero particulates etc. The water quality in Uruguay is excellent in general. The water meets all of the WHO’s water quality standards. In addition of course to the all knowing Wikipedia (pun intended) stating “Uruguay is the only country in Latin America that has achieved quasi-universal coverage of access to safe drinking water supply and adequate sanitation. Water service quality is considered good, with practically all localities in Uruguay receiving disinfected water on a continuous basis.” Could you please delve into this a little bit. Thank you.

    • Hi Matt, thanks for sharing your research on Uruguay, I’m sure from what you say that would be correct, I have just updated the article and removed the outdated infographic which was originally created based on older CDC data, so that it doesn’t continue causing confusion, and each traveler can find up to date info based on authoruty sources, like you mention, from WHO etc.

      Hope you have a fantastic time in Uruguay!

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