Can you drink tap water in prague? The short answer
Drinking water from a tap in Prague ( and whole Czech Republic) is considered to be safe. The water quality is monitored closely by the water companies and the government and has to comply with high standards and regulations.
Saying that, there might still be times when you might like to pick a bottle of drinking water from a shop rather than top up your water bottle from the tap in your hotel bathroom.
So let’s have a look at the different options you have for your drinking water, when visiting Prague.
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Drinking tap water from a kitchen tap
If you can (especially if you are staying in self-catering flat or have access to a kitchen) use the kitchen cold water tap to fill your kettle to make drinks and to top up your refillable water bottle when you are getting ready for a day out.
Whilst all water in your self-catering accommodation or hotel should be fine, the kitchen is usually where the water travels first and it’s the freshest.
If the water comes out first with a slight discolouration, leave it to run for a bit and then take fill your water bottle or a kettle. The discolouration is usually just the water pipes residue.
The taste of tap water
Because the water in Czech Republic is under such a high level of regulations (it’s monitored constantly and purified to get rid of any harmful bacteria etc.) it also means that it could sometimes taste a bit funny.
Depending on where you live, your local water treatment plant might add chlorine to the water, which can be still detected (in taste) when you pour your water into the glass.
I’ve noticed that tap water taste different depending on where you are in Prague or Czech Republic.
How to treat drinking tap water if you don’t like the taste or smell
Simply leaving the tap water to breathe (in a large jug or glass) for a few hours, helps to get rid of any remaining chlorine and any calcium levels are also going to settle at the bottom of the glass.
Afterwards, slowly pour the water into another glass and see whether this made any change. Hopefully, it will, and you can drink your tap water without the funny aftertaste.
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When it’s best not to drink tap water in Prague
If you see a sign next to a water tap (something similar to the picture above) that mentions that the water is not suitable for drinking or cooking, then I’d really advise you not to drink it (unless you are super thirsty and you are happy to risk a mild stomach upset over trying to find a corner shop with bottled water).
The sign might not necessarily mean that the water has been tested and found unsuitable, but more that it hasn’t been tested and that nobody wants to take a chance with your digestive system!
Equally if you don’t see a sign telling you not to drink tap water, it’s safe to assume that the water is absolutely fine and you can drink it.
How to treat water if you are not sure if it is drinking tap water
Some hotels might have signs put up in the bathrooms to indicate that the tap water is for washing or cleaning your teeth only and shouldn’t be used for drinking.
But then they still give you a hospitality tray with kettle, tea and everything to make a hot drink. So, what do you ment to do? Go and buy an expensive bottle of water or take bottled water from the mini-bar?
To be fair to the hotels, if you are staying in a hotel, that’s adapted from an old building, the drinking water might be only available in the kitchen taps downstairs and the rest of the hotel might be linked to a different source of water, which might not be as good quality as the drinking water. It’s very unlikely, but it can happen.
Saying that, you are not going to have any problems drinking a little bit of tap water from any tap in the hotel building if you are thirsty at night. All tap water in Prague has to be treated, so you should be fine no matter what.
If you are not sure about the tap water in your hotel or you want to make sure your water contains less chlorine and calcium, boil the tap water first and then leave to cool down before drinking it.
In the same way, I always think that boiling the tap water from any type of water tap, destroys any potentially harmful bacteria anyway, so making hot drinks from tap water should be absolutely fine.
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Drinking water from made drinking fountains around the Prague
You might also come across drinking fountains around the town and again these are perfectly safe to drink from.
These are modern stainless steel type of drinking fountains, not traditional fountains or water pumps which are often just for show (and don’t work).
Occasionally, you can see an old fashioned water pump (like the one in the picture above), which are modernised and they are suitable for drinking. It’s a little faint on the photo, but there is a sign of a cup and water, meaning that the water is suitable for drinking.
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A quick tip to save money when buying a drinking water
Rather than buy a small 250ml or 500 ml bottle in the newsagents or a mini mart, which can set you anything from 20-50 CZK, go to a large supermarket where you can easily pick up 1 or 2 lt bottle for 7-10 CZK.
I prefer the ‘neperliva voda’ (non-sparkling), but you can get also ‘jemne perliva’ or perliva voda (slightly sparkling or sparkling water).
You’ll also be able to choose different mineral waters – for example, Podebradka (which is from a natural springs in Podebrady – a spa town in the Central Czech Republic).
If you want to carry around a smaller water bottle and don’t have your own water bottle, buy small water (in 250 or 300 or 500 ml) and one large one (1-2 ltr).
Replenish your smaller water bottle with the water from the large bottle in the morning and you are set for the day!
Tap water at restaurants
Sadly, in most Czech restaurants it’s not a given thing that you could ask for tap water, and you’d be given a glass for free.
If they do offer you tap water (you’ll not find it anywhere on the menu), you’ll probably be charged for it.
If you are thinking of ordering tap water or bottled water, do check the drink menu first, as the water is very likely to be the same price as other soft drinks. And soft drinks can be sometimes more expensive than a beer.
Drinking water when you are out and about
If you are travelling around Czech Republic, you might come across places where they might be just one source of water (say small town public toilets) with a sign ‘nepitna voda’ (water not suitable for drinking).
Again, if you drink a little bit of this kind of water, you’ll probably be just fine. Saying that, if it’s a small village or a town, it’s possible that the water source is not linked up to the mains and it could be just from a local well.
In this case, the water is labelled as ‘nepitna voda’ probably because it’s never been tested as drinking water, rather than because it would be harmful.
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Drinking water from wells & natural springs
When I’m out and about walking in the Czech countryside, I often drink from natural springs and wells, so I thought I’d mention it here in case you come across these too.
Only drink from wells and natural springs that are labelled as suitable for drinking. If they are not and you are thirsty, at least check where the spring or well is positioned first before you take a drink.
If the well or spring is in a deep forest, it’s nicely looked after and there is mug or a cup next to the well, this usually means that local people and cottage owners from around the area use it as their source of water and it’s fine to drink.
I always drink this water and never had any problems. The best thing is to find one of these on a hot summer’s day, because the water is beautifully cold.
And I should also say, that natural water tastes much better than water in Prague – no chlorine treatment there and the water is always soft too (if you happen to use it for washing).
STAY IN TOUCH
Hope this blog post inspires you and as ever I’d love to what you think! Let me know in the comments below or catch up with me over on Instagram.
This blog post was originally written on 4 May 2022 and last updated on 10 January 2023