My mom has been told by a couple of her friends that you should drink only bottled water in Russia and Estonia. They toured there just a couple of years ago. Anyone here had any experience to share on the safety of drinking water in these two countries?
Was in Russia and Estonia last July. In Russia the water is generally not considered safe to drink (at least we were warned not to drink it.) In Estonia, a given hotel or restaurant may have a filter on their system, but that is hit or miss. Locals "can" drink the water, but I wouldn't generally do it as a tourist. Also, in some countries the taste of the water varies tremendously depending on the specific hotel or restaurant pipes....so even if it is "safe" I probably wouldn't. When I was there, we drank bottled water.
Parts of Russia west of the Urals have heavy metal in the water. It's the only nation where I don't drink the water everywhere in the country.
Estonia is okay.
Our guides tell our tour members the same thing - tap water is OK to drink in Tallinn but not recommended in Russia. But if buying a few bottles of water during a short stay in Estonia makes you more comfortable, then that's a small price to pay.
I've found I have developed a taste for sparkling mineral water......So I think I will continue to drink only bottled water here in Estonia, and maybe Finland too.
I spent a week travelling around Estonia last fall and the tap water was just fine.
In St. Petersburg and most of Russia, avoid drinking the water. You can get a bottle for a little as 10 rubles (30 cents) in a supermarket. I drink the Moscow water in an emergency and have experienced no ill effects.
The tap water had a very strange smell. Like fish. I stayed with bottled water even for brushing teeth.
On our RS tour to Estonia, Finland, and Russia the hotels provided bottled water. Play it safe and don't drink the local water. The inconvenience of buying it is much less than getting sick for a few days.
Don't drink the water in Sochi. Report on what happen to the Dominica skier where one report said that he was deluged in "brown water" while showering during the Winter Olympics:
“On Saturday, February 8 Gary woke up with severe abdominal cramps so severe he could not walk nor even stand for more than a few seconds. [...] Ultimately he was diagnosed [...] as having a serious bacterial gastroenteritis infection. Our best guess was the water in our lodging as the culprit. The symptoms came and went for over a week. In the best of times he could ski, but felt very weak. At the worst, he was back to the day one misery and barely able to walk or stand.