Travel Tips: Drinking Water in Europe

When you’re not sipping on Belgian beers, French wine or Italian coffee, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water while you’re travelling. One question the Albatross Tours team gets asked a lot by travellers on their first trip with us to Europe is, “Can we drink the water?” The easy answer is yes! The water is safe to drink for all the places we visit in Europe (possibly with the exception of Turkey)!

Why Is This An Issue?

The availability of safe drinking water is an important consideration for all travellers. Anyone who has travelled through India or parts of Southeast Asia can tell you about the nasties that can be found in local water supplies. It’s not just an issue in rural villages – there are some very big, thriving cities where it is unadvisable to drink the tap water.

Europe’s Water Is Generally Safe

Leave the iodine tablets at home! The tap water throughout most of Europe is completely safe to drink. The taps in hotels, homes, restaurants and cafés all run with potable water.

Of course, there’s always room for common sense. While the water from the bubbler in Hyde Park is likely to be safe, it might be wise to avoid the water from the well on a rural Croatian farm.

Are You Sure?

Yes, absolutely! Before we left Australia, we researched to see if the tap water was safe to drink in the places we visited. Having then travelled extensively through Europe, I drank tap water the whole time without any issue. Whether we were in the Austrian Alps or on the French Riviera, we always turned to the taps when we wanted a refreshing drink.

But It Tastes Funny?

The trace levels of minerals in the water will determine its taste. This is why the water tastes slightly different wherever you travel – it’s being pulled from the sea or from the ground in a location that has a slightly different cocktail of minerals than you’re normally used to. For example, the tap water in the United Kingdom is particularly ‘hard’. This means that there are a greater number of trace minerals. While it might taste different, it’s still completely safe. If you don’t like the taste, there are water bottles available that have water filtration systems built in.

Take A Water Bottle

Given the water is safe to drink, my travel tip for Europe would be to pack a water bottle and fill it from your hotel each morning. While the bottled water in Europe isn’t too expensive, you will still save a fair bit of money if you take your own water each day. This will leave you with extra Euros, Lira, Pounds or Francs to spend on the delicious food or souvenirs for your loved ones!

I recommend investing in a large stainless steel water bottle. These bottles will last a lot longer than any plastic option. If you do decide to go with plastic, choose a brand that is certified BPA free – it’s much better for your long-term health.

Take It Empty

As you probably know, there are restrictions on the amount of liquid that can be taken on flights. Make sure you empty your water bottle before packing it for any flights. There often isn’t any sink at the luggage check stations, which means that the officials are more likely to confiscate your full or half full bottle instead of heading off to find somewhere they can empty it for you. Don’t run the risk of losing your favourite stainless steel bottle – empty it before you arrive at the airport!

I hope you found this tip helpful. Enjoy your next trip through Europe and relax, knowing that you can enjoy the tap water too!

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Michele Zavaglia

Michele Zavaglia is the Marketing Manager at Albatross Tours.