Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water in Greece?

faucetTourists as well as expats in Greece seem to have conflicting information concerning the safety of drinking tap water in Greece. Maybe this is because there really isn’t a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, more of a ‘sometimes you can’, and ‘sometimes you might not want to’. Throughout the country you will see Greeks drinking tap water without hesitation, however, there are a few places that you need to exercise caution.

Consider the Source

When it comes down to it, tap water in Athens and surrounding areas comes from the manmade Lake Marathon, and is considered safe to drink according to the report Evaluation of the quality of drinking water in regions of Greece. The report states that “the best quality of drinking water is found in the big cities of Athens and Thessaloniki, where the majority of the Greek population resides and where good-quality “parent” waters are used and their treatment and distribution networks are well maintained.”

However, in most islands and in few mainland towns, bottled water is recommended, not only to avoid health issues, but also because sometimes it just doesn’t taste right. This is because there is an actual underlying problem with the quality of the water. “In remote areas with small populations where drinking water originates mainly from local drillings, several problems related to drinking water quality emerge, while many others may remain unidentified, since drinking water quality is not effectively monitored in these areas,” the report further states.

Mountain Springs

The country of Greece is full of mountains and natural mountain spring water. There are often springs available to drink from along hiking trails, in public parks and gardens. Many villages also have spring water constantly flowing from public drinking fountains. This water is very safe to drink and is always crisp and refreshing. If you are staying in proximity to a fresh mountain spring fountain, take an empty water bottle to fill up and carry with you to avoid dehydration.