Tap water in Madrid – and Spain overall – is safe to drink. It actually ranks at the top of Spain’s cities with the best tap water, with minimal contamination level. The only issues known risks are microplastics, possible contamination from the pipes and that it might taste bad in some areas. But this does not mean that it poses any dangers.
Why are people afraid of tap water?
It is understandable that people are concerned about tap water. If it’s contaminated you could get a fair number of tricky diseases. Did you know that you could get Hepatitis A by drinking water infected with fecal matter which is common for well water? It can be a microscopic bit, but it will be enough to raise a load of problems. Contaminated tap water was a real problem 40+ years ago in Spain.
For this reason, many travelers and locals therefore go for the option of buying bottled water. But is this really safer? To answer the question “Can I drink the tap water in Madrid?”, let us find out some more details about the tap water in and around the city.
Where Does the Tap Water Come From?
Considering that the water in Madrid comes from the Guadarrama Mountains, the water is said to be one of the best-tasting throughout entire Spain. Before it reaches the home of every citizen or tourist, it is required to pass a series of tests – therefore, meeting certain standards of quality.
To meet these standards, the water needs to pass through a variety of filters. For that reason, the taste is described to be as “fantastic” – at least compared to other cities in Spain. Considering that it is the capital, the country is trying to ensure that its visitors have as fewer issues as possible.
Most of the water is provided by the Madrid Water Department. According to the EWG water quality report, they are doing a fairly good job at keeping the Madrid tap water at compliable standards.
Is Madrid Tap Water Clean and Drinkable?
Yes, tap water in Madrid is clean and definitely drinkable. You can drink it from public places, such as restaurants, bars, hotel bathrooms or public fountains.
Considering that the water is tested every day before it is sent into the tap, you don’t have to worry about the safety and cleanliness of the water. Granted, it might have some chemicals which are necessary to kill any bacteria from the water. However, those chemicals are not dangerous – and most of the time, they are odorless and tasteless. Depending on how sensitive your taste buds are, you might feel a slight difference between the Madrid tap water and the bottled water.
The only known risks to the tap water in Madrid are microplastics, contaminants from leeching pipes and chlorine bi-products. To reduce the risk of tap water contaminants use an affordable water filter in Madrid such as TAPP 2.
What Do the Locals Say about Madrid Tap Water?
The opinions regarding the tap water in Madrid are relatively mixed. Some say the tap water in Madrid is very good – delicious, even. Compared to other countries, it apparently cannot get any better than this – which is why the locals do not often buy bottled water.
They are actually particularly proud of their water sources: pure, underground streams and reserves that have not been touched by humans in millennia – or so they say. Still, this will depend on where exactly you are drinking the tap water.
In the main city, the water is very clean – and according to the locals, it is also very tasty. On the other hand, you may be disappointed by tap water in the more remote areas. It’s not that the water is bad or dangerous, but it has a particular taste that you might not find very tasty.
How Can I Test If the Tap Water Is Safe to Drink?
The tap water in Madrid is safe to drink – and as you can see, the locals are actually particularly proud of this. However, if you still have your concerns or if you prefer to better be safe and sorry, you can choose to have your water tested.
How do you do that? Well, it’s relatively simple. You take a sample of the water and bring it to a certified lab. There are several options in Madrid, one of them found at the MSCBS. Generally speaking, if the area that you are staying in is relatively remote, you might want to consider having the water tested.
In particular in case you plan on consuming the tap water in the long term. A glass or two of water might not be a problem – but if you are continuously exposed to contaminants, you might develop health issues. You might want to invest in a water filter in Madrid.
Is It Healthier and Better to Drink Bottled Water in Madrid?
Very unlikely. Locals rarely drink bottled water, since they trust their local sources. Their mindset is: “why pay for it when you can actually get it for free?”
In fact, there have been more scandals and incidents regarding bottled water than tap water. That’s why we can’t be 100% sure that bottled water is safe. Granted, there hasn’t been any recent incidents in Madrid precisely, but it was close enough.
Generally speaking, bottled water goes through fewer tests compared to tap water. Tap water is also treated to kill the unhealthy bacteria and things that might make you sick. So, if processed right, it is understandable that the Madrid tap water should be superior.
In addition to this most bottled water has been found to contain microplastics and hormons so the risk might actually be greater.
Should Tourists and other Foreigners Drink Bottled Water?
Preferably no. Technically speaking, there is no reason why tourists should go for bottled water. Tap water is already good enough as it is.
Unfortunately the plastic recycling system in Spain is not as effective as in other countries such as Sweden or Germany. Less than 50% of single use plastics get recycled and only 15-20% of plastic bottles are made out of recycled plastic. This means that each bottle you consume has a negative environmental impact due to plastic production, transportation, water wastage and waste management.
In the event that you don’t like the taste, you could use a water filter in Madrid. This way reduce risk of contaminants and get better tasting water.
The only case where bottled water is recommended is country side residents that use well water.
If the tap water source is unreliable, you can chose between two water types: con gas (fizzy water), and sin gas (still water).
- Generally speaking, tap water in Madrid is safe to drink and the preferred option.
- Locals rarely drink bottled water, but you can still find it at every store and supermarket.
- Avoid bottled water if you can as it’s expensive and bad for the environment. If the taste of tap water bothers you, then you may want to buy a water filter in Madrid. See TAPP 2 for example.
- Watch out for the tap water in more remote areas. If you plan on drinking tap water in the long term in Madrid and you are uncertain or worried about the quality then have it tested by a professional lab.