Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Skopje? A Comprehensive Analysis

If you’re planning a trip to Skopje, you may be wondering if it’s safe to drink tap water.

While it’s always important to be cautious when traveling to a new place, you’ll be happy to know that tap water in Skopje is safe to drink.

According to a number of sources, including Tap Safe and Quora, the tap water in Skopje is safe for consumption.

While there may be variations in taste and mineral content, the water supply in Skopje is considered to be of good quality.

However, it’s always a good idea to check with locals (or your Hotel/Airbnb Hosts) and follow any specific recommendations they may have.

As with any foreign country, exercising caution when consuming food and drink is an important step to protect your health and well-being while traveling.

can you drink tap water in skopje

The Tap Water Quality in Skopje

Sources of Tap Water

The tap water in Skopje is supplied from several sources, including the Vardar River and several underground wells.

The Vardar River is the largest source of drinking water in Skopje, providing approximately 70% of the city’s water supply.

The underground wells are also an important source of water, providing the remaining 30% of the city’s water supply.

Water Treatment Process

The water treatment process in Skopje is designed to remove impurities and ensure that the water is safe for drinking.

The treatment process includes several steps, such as:

  • Coagulation and Flocculation: Chemicals are added to the water to help impurities clump together and form larger particles.
  • Sedimentation: The larger particles settle to the bottom of the treatment tank and are removed.
  • Filtration: The water is passed through a series of filters to remove smaller particles and impurities.
  • Disinfection: Chlorine is added to the water to kill any remaining bacteria and viruses.

After the treatment process, the water is tested to ensure that it meets the standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other regulatory bodies.

The water is also regularly monitored to ensure that it remains safe for drinking.

Overall, the water quality in Skopje is considered to be high, and tap water is safe for drinking.

According to recent reports, the water in Skopje meets the requirements for the safety and quality of drinking water set by the regulations.

However, it is important to note that the water in Skopje is considered to be hard water with high mineral content compared to other Macedonian cities and towns.

You may not be able to taste the difference, but you may notice your skin and hair feeling drier and harsher than usual.

Additionally, when you pour tap water into a glass, you may notice it to be white or foggy, which is considered to be the result of chlorine treatment.

From someone who’s traveled to multiple Macedonian cities and towns, we have noticed that this only happens in Skopje.

Potential Contaminants

Although tap water in Skopje is generally considered safe to drink, there are potential contaminants that can be present in the water supply.

These contaminants can come from a variety of sources, such as agricultural runoff, industrial discharge, and human waste.

In this section, we will discuss two types of potential contaminants: chemical and microbial.

Chemical Contaminants

Chemical contaminants can come from a variety of sources, including agricultural and industrial activities, as well as the treatment and distribution of water.

Some common chemical contaminants that can be found in tap water include:

  • Chlorine and chloramine: These chemicals are added to water as disinfectants but can have negative health effects, such as digestive issues and respiratory problems when in high concentrations, due to the release of chlorine gas when the water is heated.
  • Lead: Lead can leach into water from pipes and plumbing fixtures and can have serious health effects, especially in children. Some potential health issues caused by lead may include loss of appetite, sluggishness, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, and increased blood pressure.
  • Mercury: Mercury can enter waterways from industrial discharge and can cause health issues, such as harm to the nervous system, impaired physical and cognitive functions, etc., when in high concentrations.

It’s important to note that the levels of these contaminants in Skopje’s tap water are generally within safe limits set by the World Health Organization and other regulatory agencies.

However, it’s still important to be aware of potential risks and take steps to reduce exposure, such as using a water filter or drinking bottled water.

Microbial Contaminants

Microbial contaminants can come from a variety of sources, including human and animal waste, and can cause a range of illnesses, from mild to severe.

Common microbial contaminants found in tap water include:

  • Bacteria: Bacteria such as E. coli and Salmonella can cause gastrointestinal illness.
  • Viruses: Viruses such as Norovirus and Hepatitis A can also cause gastrointestinal illness.
  • Parasites: Parasites such as Giardia and Cryptosporidium can cause gastrointestinal illness and other health effects.

To reduce the risk of exposure to microbial contaminants, it’s important to follow basic hygiene practices, such as washing hands regularly and avoiding cross-contamination of food and water.

Additionally, boiling water can kill many types of bacteria and viruses, and using a water filter can remove many types of parasites.

That said, while it’s true that diseases related to microbial contaminants like E.coli exist everywhere in the world, they are not considered a public health concern in Macedonia due to the country’s stringent health regulations and standards.

Health Risks

While tap water in Skopje is generally safe for consumption, it is important to note that there are still some health risks associated with drinking it.

In this section, we will take a closer look at the short-term and long-term effects of consuming tap water in Skopje.

Short-term Effects

Short-term effects of consuming tap water in Skopje may include:

  • Stomach upset
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

These symptoms are typically caused by bacteria or viruses that may be present in the water supply.

While these symptoms can be unpleasant, they are usually not serious and will go away on their own within a few days.

Long-term Effects

Long-term effects of consuming tap water in Skopje may include:

Health Risk Description
Chronic Kidney Disease Long-term exposure to high levels of heavy metals in tap water may increase the risk of chronic kidney disease.
Cancer Exposure to certain chemicals in tap water over a long period of time may increase the risk of cancer.
Reproductive Problems Exposure to certain chemicals in tap water may increase the risk of reproductive problems, such as infertility or miscarriage.

It is important to note that the risk of these long-term effects is generally low, and the tap water in Skopje is still considered safe for consumption.

However, it is always a good idea to take precautions to minimize your exposure to potential health risks.

Precautionary Measures

Boiling Water

Boiling water is one of the most effective ways to purify water and make it safe to drink.

If you are unsure about the quality of tap water in Skopje, you can boil it for at least one minute to kill any harmful bacteria or viruses that may be present.

Boiling water is a simple and cost-effective way to ensure that your drinking water is safe.

Water Filtration

Another option for ensuring safe drinking water in Skopje is to use a water filtration system.

These systems can remove impurities and contaminants from tap water, making it safe to drink.

There are many types of water filtration systems available, including pitcher filters, faucet filters, and under-sink filters.

Make sure to choose a system that is certified to remove the specific contaminants found in Skopje’s tap water.

Bottled Water

If you are concerned about the water quality in Skopje or you are sensitive to hard water, consuming bottled water is another effective short-term solution.

Now, Macedonia has a range of bottled water brands, and while these may vary in price, you can easily find 6l bottles for only $1.15.

You can then use this to fill up a small water bottle that you will carry around with you or to use for cooking and drinking at home.

Some of the popular bottled water brands in Macedonia include Dobra Voda, Pelisterka, and Gorska.

Dobra Voda, originating from the region of Kratovo in Macedonia, is known for its high mineral content.

Pelisterka, on the other hand, is a classic, ecologically friendly mineral water.

Gorska has also gained significant popularity in the Macedonian market in a short span of time.

Some other water brands found in the country, such as the Croatian Jana and Ladna, are also decent, with the latter being one of the cheapest on the market.


Overall, while tap water in Skopje is generally safe to drink, it is always a good idea to take precautionary measures to ensure that your drinking water is clean and free from harmful contaminants.

Boiling water, using a water filtration system, or relying on bottled water while also bringing your own water bottle are all effective ways to ensure that you have access to safe drinking water in Skopje.


This guide was first published on March 23, 2023 and was last updated on February 13, 2024. For more information, please contact us at contact@skopjeguide.com.