A Traveller’s Guide to Tap Water

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We all know the importance of staying well-hydrated when on the move. But with traveller’s diarrhoea, hepatitis A, typhoid and cholera among the illnesses that can be transmitted with bad water, it pays to know where it’s safe to drink the tap water. We have decided to do our research and it turns out you may need your bottled water more than you think (*according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.)

If you are planning on travelling to a different country, be wise and make sure you are prepared. Check out our traveller’s guide to tap water below to find out if you need to stock up on bottled water.

a travelers guide to tap water

We’ve noticed many comments, which disagree with the data presented in this graphic. As we mentioned within the infographic, the data we used is that provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from the United States. Keep in mind, potentially unsafe means that it could be harmful to drink if your system is not used to that environment, not necessarily that the water is polluted and dirty.

For those of you who are interested in learning more about the sources used during our research stage, please see below.

Sources

 

If you would like to see more of our travel infographics, check out our portfolio here.

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51 comments

  • Saaleha September 17, 2014   Reply →

    Tap water in South Africa is safe to drink.

    • Hannu October 8, 2014   Reply →

      At least in Cape Town I found tap water to be safe to drink. There can be areas where it is not and there it is more than wise to use bottled water there.

  • Jernej September 17, 2014   Reply →

    Same in Iran…

  • Emilia September 18, 2014   Reply →

    It’s really pretentious to think that one country can qualify other countries water safety… Really? You can drink tap water in lots of places in Brasil, for sure in all SP state and most probably in all other states of the country. Instead of trusting this, people should just learn to ask about these issues to people that live in the cities and countries they are visiting.

  • John Torch September 18, 2014   Reply →

    This is a political map. Western Europe is considered unconditionally to be safest while in Eastern part there is not a single country with safe tap water. Did you know that in Ireland every few months there is a bacterial spread into tap water system due to the fact that a proper sewage system does not exist in most of the counties?

    • Matej Fukatsch March 26, 2016   Reply →

      Totally agree. Look on former Czechoslovakia for example…
      Czech republic is in blue ,but Slovakia in brown despite fact that we have been one country in past and we still use and share same water sources and distribution networks.

      • Zalan Kemeny world traveller July 15, 2017   Reply →

        Fully agree, Slovakia and nearby countries all have good water.

  • oxxi September 18, 2014   Reply →

    In most post-communism countries in the Eastern Europe are pretty high standards. In most cases are limits lower that for branded bottled mineral water (Bonaqua, Vittel). For example, in Slovakia is water drinkable for infants and newborns. As Emilia said, always ask people from certain destination.

  • Tom Corcoran September 18, 2014   Reply →

    Tap water in iteland is not safe to drink, we are one of 2 countries in the world with a mandatory fluoridation policy :-(

    • Maximus May 26, 2015   Reply →

      You have to protect your precious bodily fluids.

  • Magali September 29, 2014   Reply →

    I’m sorry, but, the water in Argentina is safe to drink. We have drinkable tap water. I’ve lived there 22 years of my life. The infographic looks good, but as a graphic designer myself, I always get my facts straight before a job, and so should you.

  • Igor September 29, 2014   Reply →

    This infographic is full of sh*t. Lot of countries marked as unsafe have higher water quality standards than some “safe” west european countries and because less developed industry and agriculture they have less polluted soil, air and water.

  • Igor September 29, 2014   Reply →

    For example, Slovenia and Croatia have same or similar tap water system and treatment methods (They were in same country 25 years ago) and now one is safe and other is unsafe. Same goes for Czech Republic and Slovakia. This is pure political map. All of “western” european countries are safe (+ Slovenia and Czech Republic that somehow got safe side), Australia, New Zealand, USA, Canada, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Israel. I mean, come on, who imagines such data?

  • Gena Bo October 1, 2014   Reply →

    In Sicily the water is not safe to drink.

  • Fernando October 6, 2014   Reply →

    There are only two kinds of infographics, the ones that fail and the ones that succeed. This one failed: from the comments found here, the data is not accurate.

  • LEANDRO CIRIOLA LACONICO October 7, 2014   Reply →

    Would you please update your info on safe tap drinking water. It has been reported during the past two-three years that the Davao City, Republic of the Philippines tap water has been ranked second to Switzerland as to its potability, drinkability and safe tap water.

  • zeljka October 7, 2014   Reply →

    you can drink tap water in Croatia because we have pure water coming from the hills.it’s one of the purest waters in Europe.I was on vacation in Spain and you can’t drink or shower with their water,it was all brown..:((

    • Harry October 8, 2014   Reply →

      In the USA you can safely drink tap water and then get giardiasis.

  • C.M. October 9, 2014   Reply →

    …and what is wrong with drinking water in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia? I know these countries inside out. There is a town in the US, where half of the population has some sort of disease, where many children born has some abnormal things, cause their drinking water was poisoned by some company You don’t see these things happening in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia. Also been some other European countries, where you cannot drink their water but still list goes on to tell, that you can.

  • Mariija Enkeliniitty October 11, 2014   Reply →

    Suomessa on monissa pienissä kunnissa ja haja-asutus alueilla kaivovesi juoma kelvotonta.
    Siihen ei saa yksityis ihminen mitään avustusta yhteiskunnalta. Puhdas juomavesi ei ole itsestään selvyys
    SUOMI – FINALAND ?
    Näin on asiat Suomessa 2014.

  • Ilipo October 13, 2014   Reply →

    I have been drinking Estonian water for 20 years without any problems.

  • Cranmor October 16, 2014   Reply →

    I drank tap water in the following places that are listed here as unsafe and didn’t hear anything different from any other traveler I encountered:
    -Montenegro
    -Serbia
    -Bosnia
    -Bulgaria
    -Croatia
    -Thailand
    -Cuba
    I’m sure the CDC has some obscene standard for what they consider “safe”.

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  • Carlos February 10, 2015   Reply →

    The information at the map is not correct … Sorry! La información en le mapa no es correcta.

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  • Anna March 30, 2015   Reply →

    Croatia has one of the cleanest waters in the world! The tap water is absolutely safe to drink and I would appreciate a correction on your map.

  • vlad April 22, 2015   Reply →

    Also, I have read somewhere that glass bottles don’t let in the UV light that is necessary to disinfect the water, but plastic bottles do, so maybe you should make that distinction. Also, Macedonia has safe drinking water, which is continually tested for pathogens.

  • Mia September 11, 2015   Reply →

    I have never seen this much bullshit in my life. My whole class got food poisoning from drinking tap water in Prague, the capital of Czech Republic, and later we were told that tap water in Prague is not safe to drink, while everyone in Croatia drinks tap water, including foreigners who aren’t used to it, and nothing ever happened. What kind of a bullshit map is this??? Of course it’s about politics. Everything the US does is about politics. Serbian water is also completely safe, for foreigners as well.

    • Mark Hamilton September 4, 2017   Reply →

      Mia, everyone said that your class did not get food poisoning in Prague. They said you drank yourselves sick with liters and liters of that cheap boxed wine, and everyone also knows that everyone in Croatia drinks toilet water. If they were smart, they’d be running BRAWNDO through those faucets, because BRAWNDO DO DO DO DO DO, HAS HAS HAS HAS HAS E L E C T R O L Y T E S ! ! ! ….AND… B R A W N D O DESTROYS THIRST 277% BETTER THAN WATER!!! (statement not confirmed, nor approved by any studies or polls).

      (if you’re scratching your head, go see the movie “Idiocracy.” If you already saw the movie and are still scratching, and live in the Continental USA, just a quick question, if you don’t mind…you voted for Trump, didn’t you?)

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  • welcome September 3, 2016   Reply →

    In Finland we bath and flush our toilets with drinking water. We can drink from the lakes and rivers. Greetings from a really blue country. Our tap water is cleaner than bottled water.

    • Mark Hamilton September 4, 2017   Reply →

      Dear Finland,

      We are sorry, but we peed in your nice pure lakes and river waters. It was blue, and well, you know that blue and yellow make green, so now your water is pee green, so we’re very, very , very sorry! No, we’re actually not. We’re actually kind of naughty, that way. Anyway, hope you have a great day! Cheers, Mate!

  • Leonardo July 15, 2017   Reply →

    Dear Author, I am sorry for the harsh words, but this article is complete non-sense. Not only is it plain wrong, but also dangerous. I’ve travelled all over Germany and Poland, and have been warned many times in many places that I should not drink tap water, especially in big cities like Warsaw, because the piping systems are really old. On the other hand, the Balkans have one of the cleanest and safest water in the world – and it is delicious as well. You should fix this article or remove it completely before someone gets tap water poisoning because of it!

  • Zalan Kemeny world traveller July 15, 2017   Reply →

    This is full crap for Europe, Hungary has got one of the best/clearest water ever. you can drink safely in 99% of the country. same in Slovakia, and in most of Balkan states. i tasted/tested water in Estonia as well, they had good quality water, too. These places have much better quality water than Greece, Portugal or Spain…

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