in Saint Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg tap water in Russia seems to be notorious for its very poor quality - this is fuelled by the numerous guidebooks featuring out-of-date and ill-advised content. Nonetheless, it is advisable to only drink bottled water, but many people do drink water straight from the tap and live to tell the tale!
The Water Company
'Vodokanal' - Saint Petersburg's water company and supplier - claim the water is safe to drink, and probably it is. However the problem lies in the water's transportation to its consumers. The network of buried pipes delivering the "drinkable" water is antiquated and often eroded introducing many impurities.
Hot water for the majority of the Saint Petersburg population
is supplied from huge state owned boilers.
Apart from the varying temperatures there are periods, long periods, usually in summer when no hot water exists. This is often unpleasant, especially when travelling by one of the various means of public transport - a bus load of fresh body odour certainly brings tears to your eyes!
If you're not staying in accommodation that has its own water filtration system the hot water will have a slight orange/brown tint. This is caused by erosion in the water pipes and poses no problems for bathing - bathtubs just look less appealing unless foam is added.
Tip:Before booking your accommodation ensure they have an independent hot water supply. View our St. Petersburg Apartment Guide
Many hotels in St. Petersburg do have their own water filtration systems and so this exercise poses little problem there. However for the rest, it depends upon how strict your self-preservation regime is, using bottled water obviously eliminates many of the doubts.
There is a vast range of bottled water widely available in the city, imported varieties such as Perrier, Evian and Vittel are very much obtainable but prices are high and not all stores stock them. However, this is not a problem as many high quality local brands (often also foreign owned) exist and they are no worse than these western brand-name imports.
Local bottled water is available in pocket sized 0.33 litre (11 fl. oz) bottles to large containers supplying around 19 litres (40 US pints). Prices vary depending upon the manufacturer and the quantity.
Tip:Ensure to specify whether you want carbonated or non-carbonated water - default is usually carbonated (sparkling).