Hello... first time backpacker in western europe this summer (italy, austria, switzerland, and ireland... mostly italy and ireland).
just wondering what the water situation is. will i always have to buy bottled water or are there public taps? i'm from the usa so there is plenty of free water and i am worried about the cost of buying water in europe.
Drinking from the tap is fine in uk and Ireland.
If not bottled water is about 50p for a small bottle upwards..
Most of Europe should be about the same...but tastes different
Water is also fine in Italy. However if you have any concerns about tap water there are filtered bottles that you can buy, which mean clean safe water where ever you may be.
irish tap water is fine even though most people drink bottled water (its a trend thing). a half litre of bottled water here costs about €1.20.
i went to sardinia, off the coast of italy, a few years ago and even the locals only drank bottled water.
When I went to Europe last summer I brought along water purification drops. The cost about $15 CDN, but all you have to do is fill up your water bottle from any old foutain or tap and add a couple drops, wait a few minutes, and - POOF! - purified water. They made the water taste a little odd, but in places like Spain where the water can be iffy, it was a god send. You can get them at any camping store. I also brought a thick placstic water bottle with me (another camping store buy) that I could carry with me everywhere and fill up. I bought water bottles from time to time when I wanted cold water, but the drops were more of a cost-cutting measure. If you don't like the taste (which can be icky depending what kind of drops you buy)bring a couple pouches of Crystal Light and just add a pinch to lightly flavour the water. It really helped!
tab water is fine wherever you go in switzerland, austria, ireland and also in northern italy. spending money on bottles is a waste. if you go further south in italy you might be careful (south of naples in the countryside), but even there millions of eu money were spent on new fresh water supplies, so in general: don't worry
Water fine more or less everywhere. Tap water all good, but don't try it on trains/buses. Many cafes/restaurants will happily give you free drinking water, often if you aren't even buying other stuff there
Not so many public (i.e. on the street) taps these days that actually still work, but many older railway stations have them.
In Switz/Austria/Nth Italy, many of the smaller lakes/streams can be drunk and are good to fill up bottles etc with
In all italian cities there are public tap and all are drinkable, but they are few and none drink by them. I suggest you to buy water in bottle in a supermarket (there are everywhere): 30 / 40 eurocents a bottle. not buy in a bar or restaurant