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Ordering tap water in Berlin

Sydney, New South...
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14 posts
125 reviews
153 helpful votes
Ordering tap water in Berlin

A cultural thing: Berliners don't drink tap water when they dine out. You will even get charged for it if you ask for tap water, so cut your losses and order a bottle of water. I witnessed a couple of American tourists arguing with a waiter over being charged for water. The alternative to this is to order a cup of hot water. In the hotel, i boiled the water, and yes, it did taste strange.

London, United...
Destination Expert
for Berlin
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7,343 posts
92 reviews
59 helpful votes
1. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

It most likely tasted strange because it's not the water you're used to, and because boiling it removes a lot of the mineral content. But yes, Berliners - Germans - don't drink tap water. Sparkling water is actually most common, especially when eating out.

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
5,443 posts
43 reviews
57 helpful votes
2. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

Why would anyone want to order tap water?

The water in the reservoirs is perfectly all right, but then you have very old water pipes containing lead and all kinds of chemical pollution get into the water until it reaches the tap. Maybe that's why we tend to prefer bottled water no matter if sparkling or not.

Tap water is perfect for brushing your teeth, but not for drinking on a daily basis.

Karlsruhe, Germany
Destination Expert
for Baden-Wurttemberg, Baden-Wurttemberg
Level Contributor
11,895 posts
3. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

Sorry Quiltneedle, that's nonsense. The tap water is often of better quality than bottled water. Quality checks are very strict. Many people drink tap water all the time, including myself. However, the silly opinion is prevalent that "one does not serve tap water to guests" and you will hardly find it in restaurants. Be prepared for a firm "No" if you ask. Some Italian-style places will serve a glass of tap water together with coffee or wine. But never, never as your only drink.

Hamburg, Germany
Level Contributor
1,338 posts
15 reviews
15 helpful votes
4. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

Quiltneedle I suggest you watch the very recent TV program to see how great your bottled water is ndr.de/ratgeber/…mineralwasser115.html

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
5,443 posts
43 reviews
57 helpful votes
5. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

The old and often rotten pipes between "Hausanschluss" and tap are the problem. As I wrote, the water is perfectly okay at the reservoir where it is tested.

Two out of six mineral waters are polluted. But that's nothing new for Vittel and Volvic - one of the reason why I don't drink that for ages.

Edited: 7:12 am, June 08, 2013
London, United...
Level Contributor
22,081 posts
10 reviews
15 helpful votes
6. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

I order Leitungswasser on principle, but have given up expecting to be brought a carafe and a water glass, as one would just about everywhere else in Europe. I am usually given a small glass only partly full of water - a token of disrespect for my poor taste, or contempt for my meanness? (Once the water was luke-warm.)

I can't fathom it, but I'll continue to do my bit to persuade Berlin restaurateurs that quite apart from the environmental issues, those who don't want to pay for drinking water shouldn't be asked to.

And yes, as a frequent visitor to Berlin, I agree that the tap water is of good quality.

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
5,443 posts
43 reviews
57 helpful votes
7. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

berliner-kurier.de/kiez-stadt/…20960310.html

use Google Translate

PARIS
Level Contributor
12,804 posts
8. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

Quilt!

In many European countries (France where I live, the Uk...) It is more than acceptable to drink tap water.

In the US you will very often be immediately brought a big glass of chilled tap water.

Now, if the tap water in a country isn't up to scratch that's another problem.

Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
100 posts
21 reviews
13 helpful votes
9. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

We just returned from two weeks in Germany.i have a long standing aversion to paying for water. We drink more beer abroad in two weeks than we do all year at home, and so every once in a while I get a hankering for just a glass of water. Not always an easy trick. One restaurant told me they didn't have any. Wondered then whether they'd washed the dishes our dinner came on, but decided not to persue the topic. After pantomiming turning taps on and off,I Iearned "Leittungswasser" and that helped a bit. Sometimes. In a museum cafe when English did not work, I pointed to the glasses and the sparkling tap right in front of me, and 2 colleagues had to be called in to assist in this bizarre request. I just guess they drink it in bottles. It's their country. The worst outcome is another glass a terrific beer.

Frankfurt, Germany
Level Contributor
5,443 posts
43 reviews
57 helpful votes
10. Re: Ordering tap water in Berlin

Drink whatever you want to drink. I just tried to explain why tap water isn't drunken in Germany that often.