Guides

These Are The Countries Where You Can (And Really Can’t) Drink The Tap Water

It’s one of those sticky travel questions that always comes up on an overseas trip – where can I drink tap water? There’s a whole range of things that influence whether you can drink the tap water in another country. While we have high quality water easily available in Australia, in places overseas it’s not always so simple.

Tap water troubles

The helpful folk at Globehunters have created a useful map to guide your choices when you visit another country. The guide shows on a world map the countries where you can drink the tap water, as well as listing out every country where it’s okay. The same goes for those countries where you should steer clear of the tap water and preference bottled water. See our summary below or check out the original for more detail.

Where can you drink tap water?

A map showing countries where you can drink tap water.

Of course Australia and New Zealand have drinkable water supplies on tap. Also coming as little surprise, most countries in North America and Europe have potable water on tap, including the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Poland and so on.

A few outliers in other regions also have drinkable tap water, including Chile in South America, Saudi Arabia in the Middle East, and Japan and South Korea in Asia.

Where can you not drink tap water?

A map showing where you can't drink tap water around the world.

Turns out there are far more countries where you should probably steer clear of the tap water supply than those where you can drink it.

The Globehunters map suggests avoiding tap water pretty much everywhere in Africa, and most of South America (only excluding Chile). Asia is also mostly a no-go zone, all the way from Eastern European countries like Ukraine to China, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia.

Do note that the map itself points out that water in any of these countries is specifically contaminated or unclean, simply that visitors to those areas won’t be used to the makeup of the water supply, which differs across the world. Each country can have different water treatment methods and composition of water too – for example, different states in the USA have varying water quality.

Remember also that it’s not just what comes from the tap that you should be wary of. Ice in drinks can be made from tap water and contain elements your body may not be used to. You should also research any bodies of water you plan on swimming in, and be careful when showering and brushing your teeth. You can treat water by boiling it at a high temperature for a full minute.

Also check out this story about speed limits around the world.

(All images: Globehunters. See the original and full details including lists of countries at the source.)