Drinking water safety around europe
It may seem a bit odd to think that some of the tap water across Europe is unsafe for us to drink. If we were travelling further afield such as the Caribbean or a third world country, it would be obvious enough to us to buy bottled water because of the unsafe local water supply. Did it ever occur to you that some European destinations also have tap water that is unsafe for us to consume? One of the most common causes of sickness whilst travelling abroad is due to drinking contaminated water. By drinking water that is contaminated, it can give us anything from diarrhoea to typhoid; you don’t even need to drink the water, just brushing your teeth or accidentally getting water in your mouth when having a shower could be enough to make us very ill! Knowing where you can and can’t drink tap water is important.
This list consists of countries in Europe where it is safe to drink water directly from the tap: Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, San Marino, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Vatican City.
This list consists of countries in Europe where it is unsafe to drink water directly from the tap: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.
Tips to keep yourself safe
What you can do to keep yourself safe in these countries is –
- Always buy bottled water to drink. Never drink from the tap.
- Don’t put ice in your drinks unless they are made from bottled water.
- Try not to get water from your bath or shower in your mouth.
- Remember to use bottled water to rinse your mouth when brushing your teeth.
- Avoid ordering salads as they may have been washed in water.
- Consider any water that you swim in.
- If you see water that is discoloured or has an odour do not drink it or swim in it.
There are countries in Europe like Italy, Belgium and Germany that have public taps, where you can refill your bottles for free. Always check for signs first to be sure that the water is intended for drinking. Water from decorative fountains is generally unsuitable to drink from, however the fountains in Rome contain clean fresh water that is suitable to drink from, and it is free to do so. It’s important to note that even if the tap water is reputed unsafe, it simply means that the water could affect your system due to lack of immunity that the locals have.
It is always worth remembering too that water that comes out of taps on trains and planes is not suitable for drinking.