Can you drink tap water in Spain? If you’re eager to reduce your plastic waste and rein in your overheads while traveling in Spain, this post is for you.
Read on for a brief overview of drinking water in Spain and what to know before you sip.
Can You Drink Tap Water in Spain?
Before traveling to a new country, it’s always a wise idea to scope out whether it’s safe to drink tap water.
So, can you drink tap water in Spain?
The quick answer is yes: the average traveler absolutely can drink tap water in Spain. Essentially, 99.5% of Spain’s tap water is deemed safe for consumption. In fact, Spain has one of the most advanced public filtration and wastewater management systems in the world. There is minimal bacteria content in tap water and a slim chance of getting sick.
The only snag is that while it is perfectly safe to sip, the taste of the water might leave something to be desired in certain parts of the country. If you spot Spaniards chucking back bottled mineral water, it likely just means they prefer how it tastes. Typical complaints regarding drinking water in Spain are that it tastes a little salty or chlorinated. Certain parts of the country suffer from “hard” water where the taste is more bitter.
Furthermore, if you know that you have a sensitive stomach, you should allow a little extra time before reaching for the faucet. Adjust your body to Spanish water by boiling your water first or picking up a couple of bottled mineral waters for your first day or two. In reality, the average traveler will not need to do this.
If you suffer from any underlying health concerns or are at risk of any genetic conditions, you can contact your physician or a travel health clinic for clarity prior to travel. This is purely due to the higher mineral content of tap water in Spain.
But, to reiterate – you can rest assured that most of the drinking water in Spain is fit for consumption.
Can You Drink Spain Tap Water in Hotels?
Considering the high standard of tap water in Spain, it’s absolutely fine to top up your water bottle from the tap in your hotel bathroom in most instances.
If the water is not potable, it’s likely that there will be a sign on the bathroom sink. Otherwise, you can ask the front desk if there are any issues you might not be aware of. If it’s not translated into English, look for something along the lines of,
“No bebas el agua”.
“El agua no es potable”.
However, looping back to that comment about adjusting to different water – it’s best to introduce yourself to Spain tap water gradually. If you do suffer from sensitivities to foreign food or water, you can ease yourself in. Boil up your first round of tap water by using your hotel kettle.
Another trick that works for digestive sensitivity issues is to take a probiotic capsule while traveling. This is considered to strengthen your immune system against bacteria in food and possibly ease the transition to foreign tap water. Only a professional can confirm exactly which probiotic is best for you.
Can You Drink Tap Water at Airbnbs in Spain?
Unless your Airbnb host tells you otherwise, you can drink the tap water in an Airbnb in Spain. Of course, if you are staying off the grid, you might want to double-check before you hydrate.
In fact, many private homes in Spain will be fitted with a water filter on the tap. This serves to improve the taste of the tap water. Otherwise, some Spaniards favor countertop water dispensers that hold 5-gallon bottles of water. If you spot one in your Airbnb, it’s up to you whether you drink from that or the tap.
Can You Drink From Water Fountains in Spain?
In its efforts to tackle plastic pollution, the Spanish government and local authorities are committed to providing public drinking fountains.
These are spread throughout all the large cities – in parks and close to principal tourist attractions. If a water fountain is not potable or is out of order for any reason, it will be clearly identifiable.
Remember your reusable water bottle and you can save cash while doing your bit for the environment.
Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water in Madrid?
If there was a hierarchy of Spain tap water, Madrid would fly straight to the top. The water in the Spanish capital is considered the safest and cleanest in the whole country. In addition, the water is deemed “soft” and therefore it even tastes good!
Therefore, you can rehydrate without a shred of concern from the taps in your hotel or Airbnb. Best of all, this beautiful city in Spain is home to over 2,000 public water fountains where you can safely top up on the go. If you take any day trips from Madrid or stay in other cities in Castilla y Léon or Castilla La Mancha, tap water is fine to drink.
Remember to slip a reusable water bottle into your bag and you can join 96% of the Madrid population who favor tap water. These Hydro Cell bottles are what we prefer and use to travel all over Spain with.
Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water in Barcelona?
It’s just as safe to drink tap water in Barcelona as it is in Madrid. However, the taste of the water in the coastal city is far less favorable with many residents opting to stock their pantries with bottled water or install a filter.
The water in Barcelona comes from a high-mineral river that results in hard water due to the concentration of calcium and magnesium ions. It’s safe, but few would consider it the tastiest drinking water in Spain.
If you are used to tastier spring water from some regions of the UK or northern Europe, then you will definitely notice a difference in the taste of the tap water in Spain.
However, there is a simple hack for tourists that works like a charm. All you need to do is store your Barcelona tap water in your hotel (or Airbnb) fridge for a couple of hours. Chilling the tap water takes the edge off the taste.
Otherwise (or additionally), you can squeeze fresh lemon or lime into the water to mask the flavor.
The same situation applies elsewhere in the region of Catalonia.
Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water in Málaga?
Drinking water in Spain’s sunny Costa del Sol region, the region where you’ll find Málaga, is a similar story to Barcelona: it’s safe, but lacking in taste.
Therefore, you might want to chill your tap water prior to drinking it while in this region.
Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water in Ibiza?
All tap water in Spain’s party island is treated, purified, and ready to drink. On the downside, the calcium-loaded tap water in Ibiza is legendary for its poor taste.
As Ibiza is an island, bottled water is more expensive than on the mainland. Be prepared that in the clubs and some restaurants, a 500 ml bottle of water can cost over €10. This is definitely somewhere where you will want to stick to tap water or opt for a filter water bottle like some of the bottles we suggest below.
Can You Drink Tap Water in Spanish Restaurants?
According to a new law passed in Spain in April 2022, all restaurants and bars in Spain are obliged to provide free tap water to their patrons.
This law was created to reduce the consumption of bottled water and subsequent plastic pollution. In addition, this makes it even easier to avoid a sore head the next day following one too many glasses of Rioja.
How to Order Water in Restaurants in Spain
Fancy practicing your español while traveling in Spain? This is how to order a glass or bottle of water in Spain.
“Por favor, ¿puede traerme una jarra de agua del grifo?” – Please can you bring me a jug of tap water?
“Por favor, ¿puede traerme un vaso de agua del grifo?” – Please can you bring me a glass of tap water?
If you would prefer to order a bottle of mineral water, you can ask,
“Por favor, ¿puede traerme una botella de agua mineral?” – Please can you bring me a bottle of mineral water?
You can specify whether you prefer sparkling water by modifying your query as follows:
“…una botella de agua mineral sin (without) gas.”
“…una botella de agua mineral con (with) gas.”
Should I Avoid Ice in Spain?
Seeing as tap water in Spain is approved for consumption for the most part, there is no need to avoid ice. In fact, much of the ice served in restaurants and bars comes from store-bought bags which are subject to health and safety regulations and are usually made from filtered water.
Either way, the ice served in Spanish establishments is perfectly safe to consume.
If you would prefer not to have an ice-cold drink, just ask your server to bring you a cocktail or glass of water “sin hielo“(without ice, pronounced ‘ie-lo’).
Can I Use Tap Water to Cook in Spain?
It’s perfectly safe to boil pasta, prepare coffee, and wash fruit and vegetables with tap water in Spain. If you are concerned, you can buy a vegetable cleaner in the supermarket. These are sold in the fresh produce selection at most supermarkets. However, they’re not necessary.
Can I Brush My Teeth With Tap Water in Spain?
It’s perfectly safe to brush your teeth with tap water anywhere in Spain. There’s no need to revert to using bottled water.
Water Filter Bottles We Love
If after reading this, you’re still dubious about drinking water in Spain – you might want to treat yourself to a filtered water bottle.
While these aren’t necessary for travel in Spain, they’re a useful investment for avid travelers. Especially if you do travel to other countries where tap water isn’t potable, such as certain regions in Mexico.
LifeStraw is the number one manufacturer of filter water bottles.
The BPA-free LifeStraw Go Bottle is designed for everyday use as well as camping, hiking, and backpacking. It holds 650 ml of water and contains two filters that purify your drinking water. The membrane micro filter lasts for up to 1,000 gallons (4,000 liters) of liquid while the activated carbon filter covers you for up to 25 gallons (100 liters).
These filters remove bacteria, parasites, chemicals (including chlorine), and microplastics. It’s easy to use, you just fill it up and glug water on demand.
A cheaper alternative, this insulated filtered water bottle by Brita works in a similar way. The main difference is that this bottle focuses on improving the taste of the water. While you can fill your LifeStraw Go Bottle with water from streams, the Brita one is more for use with tap water and public drinking fountains.
For water that stays cold all day, you can opt for a stainless steel bottle that is also a water filter. Either of these will help with the taste when drinking water in Spain. However, the LifeStraw Go Bottle is a better choice if you spend a lot of time camping and hiking.
In Conclusion – Can You Drink Tap Water in Spain?
So, can you drink tap water in Spain?
Absolutely. It’s clean, safe, and far better for the environment.
- Expect that the taste of the tap water in Spain will vary subject to the location
- Ease yourself in with drinking Spanish tap water by boiling it first at the start of your trip
- Ask the hotel staff (or your Airbnb host) for advice about the local water safety/supply if concerned
- Seek medical advice if you have chronic health issues
- Chill your tap water in the fridge overnight or add citrus to improve the taste
- Consider investing in a filter water bottle to improve the taste
Last but not least, if you do decide to drink bottled mineral water in Spain – buy from a Spanish brand. This means that you’re buying from a national country rather than an imported bottle with an increased carbon footprint.
And, if in doubt – rehydrate with an ice-cold cerveza!