Many cities feature beautiful buildings, clean paved streets, and a welcoming atmosphere. However, one important aspect that we often neglect to analyze on our travels is the city’s water quality. After all, it’s crucial to our health to ingest water free from harmful chemicals or pathogens!
Although it’s generally a good idea not to drink from the tap of an unfamiliar city, there are some places in the world where the water is sparkling clean and safe to drink. Keep reading for a list of cities featuring water of the best quality! If the city you’re visiting isn’t one of these, make sure you do thorough research before drinking anything that isn’t bottled!
10 Copenhagen (Denmark)
Copenhagen is a beautiful city in Denmark known for being home to the famous Tivoli Gardens as well as gorgeous canals and harbor. However, another amazing aspect of the city lies in their drinking water. In fact, the drinking water is so clean and good tasting that the city doesn’t add any amount of chlorine or other purifying chemicals!
The secret behind the water lies in strict daily quality controls to ensure perfectly safe H2O. Furthermore, Copenhagen is strictly against plastic waste and has put up a plethora of free public water fountains all over the city. If you visit the gorgeous capital of Denmark, be sure to toss the plastic bottles and opt for fresh, free water instead!
9 Reykjavik (Iceland)
Reykjavik is a historical gold mine, featuring countless museums and natural sites focused around their Viking history. In addition to preserving ancient culture, the officials of Reykjavik also maintain very stringent quality control of their water in order to guarantee its residents' safety and health.
Additionally, 95 percent of the water comes from springs in the ground anyway, so there aren't any chances of pollution compared to river water. Tests have concluded that Icelandic water, in general, does not contain harmful amounts of chlorine, calcium, or nitrate. Even so, tap water is very well monitored to eliminate any possible chances of contamination. Bottoms up!
8 Nuuk (Greenland)
In addition to featuring a gorgeous seaside landscape of colorful houses and amazing nature, Nuuk also provides clean, safe water for their residents. Although there are programs to provide clean water sourced from icebergs, the majority of the supply is collected from lakes and rivers with regular monitoring and controls.
The government of Greenland is overall very involved in not only quality control, but regular inspection of the control plants to ensure that there’s no foul play. The result is a ready supply of fresh, clean water for both residents and visitors to enjoy! Although bars and alcohol, in general, are rare in Nuuk, you can bet that you’ll have access to a vast supply of safe, thirst-quenching water!
7 Helsinki (Finland)
Known for clean air and beautiful, untouched nature, Helsinki is already an (albeit cold) paradise. However, they’ve also managed to provide extremely high-quality tap water to all of their residents. Collected from Lake Päijänne, the harvesting of the water is described as both ecological and cost-efficient, saving the city from mountains of plastic waste.
The Helsinki Region Environmental Services Authority takes the subject of water very seriously and maintains daily monitoring of the water quality. Not only does the tap water meet the strict standards for chemical and microbiological limits, but it also appeals to the senses as some of the freshest water in the world.
6 Munich (Germany)
Aside from the infamous beer during Oktoberfest, Munich is also known for maintaining surprisingly clean tap water. In fact, according to the German Consumer Organization, the tap water found in Munich is actually much healthier than bottled water! It contains more minerals and, of course, is way more environmentally friendly.
Citizens are encouraged to fill their bottles from the tap instead of creating plastic waste, and you can rest assured in the water’s safety and quality. In fact, one known source for Munich’s water is from the Alps, where the mountain springs are known to be fresh and clear. Even so, the water goes through vigorous filtration processes to guarantee the removal of any harmful pathogens while keeping the minerals.
5 Oslo (Norway)
Norway is already home to one of the popular higher-end water brands, Voss. However, Oslo (and other cities) also feature impressively clean tap water, as well. Due to the country’s focus on hydropower, tap water in the capital city of Oslo has been known to be always safe to drink.
In fact, one report ranked Oslo’s water cleanliness to be 94 out of 100, which is astonishingly high on the scale. The reason behind the safe and clean water in Oslo (and Norway) is that the government plays a huge role in constantly monitoring and maintaining water quality. If you’re in Oslo, make sure to bring a reusable water bottle to fill up instead of purchasing plastic bottles!
4 Bern (Switzerland)
Aside from creating amazing inventions such as the Swiss Army Knife and Velcro, Switzerland is also home to cities such as Bern, which has some of the best water in the world. About 40 percent of the water comes from natural springs, such as ones found in the Alps.
These mountainous springs are self-purifying, seeping through layers of rock similar to groundwater. Even so, cities such as Bern practices further treatment of both spring water and groundwater. Several reservoirs can be found around the city that further purifies spring water as well as transfer it to all household pipes in a quick, cheap, and ecologically effective manner.
3 Stockholm (Sweden)
Although the lakes in Sweden had been the victim of acidification, the country has made advancements since then to purify the water. The water supply in the city of Stockholm is the result of all the hard work, receiving a certification of quality by the ISO in 2017, stating that the water is of high and consistent quality.
The secret lies in purifying the lake water through several stages, incorporating both mechanical and chemical methods to remove any pollutants and improve the overall taste of the water. Don’t be concerned if it’s slightly salty though, it could mean that the water is rich with minerals.
2 Toronto (Canada)
Toronto is a beautiful city in Ontario, Canada, home to the infamous CN Tower and plenty of other attractions. In addition to maintaining a beautiful city, the officials also keep a tight grip on the quality of the tap water. In fact, tests are run on drinking water once every 6 hours to guarantee safety and taste!
Even without the constant inspections, the water collected from Lake Ontario must pass through a rigorous test of mechanical and chemical filters in order to be admitted to the supply. The result is totally safe tap water that tastes clean and remains abundant. Since the water is thoroughly tested for chemical debris and bacteria, you can rest assured about drinking Toronto’s water.
1 Des Moines (USA)
Ranked by Forbes as the top clean water city of the United States, this Iowa city surpasses the Environmental Protection Agency’s standards by far, with extremely low levels of bacteria, lead, haloacetic acid, and turbidity in comparison to its competitors. The secret is simply a rigid, tightly run filtration system from the second the water is harvested from Raccoon River and Des Moines River. In fact, automatic nitrate detectors are installed within the rivers to allow constant monitoring of mineral levels. The website is updated every few days so that everyday citizens can be in the know for various chemical readings!