Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Portugal?

If you’re traveling to Portugal anytime soon, then you’re probably wondering how safe the water will be for you to drink. Don’t worry; we’ll help address that question in detail below to help you avoid getting sick.

Is tap water safe to drink in Portugal? Yes, you can drink the tap water in Portugal, but you’ll probably want to be careful. The tap water in Portugal isn’t as high-quality as it is in some other European countries, like Scotland, for instance, but it is considered safe to drink. However, because of the poor taste and water quality, you may want to take precautions with Portuguese tap water. 

If you’re worried about getting sick because of the quality of tap water in Portugal, don’t fret. We’ve got plenty of advice to help you out, along with a few suggestions if you want to avoid drinking straight tap water during your next trip to Portugal.

Portugal’s Tap Water Quality

While the tap water in Portugal is safe to drink, you won’t be getting tap water that is as pristine as other parts of Europe. So, Portugal’s tap water isn’t as high-quality as the tap water you’ll find in countries like Scotland and Ireland. However, you can drink it and still be safe.

When you get to Portugal, you’ll probably notice that a lot of residents purchase bottled water to drink. Portuguese residents tend to buy bottled water because it tastes better than tap water, not because of safety reasons. However, if you decide to use bottled water, you’ll wind up with a lot of empty bottles that you’ll want to recycle. Also, you’ll have to consider the quality of the bottled water, which we’ll discuss in more detail below.

  • One option you can consider when going to Portugal is using a Brita filter to help cut back on the poor taste of the Portuguese tap water. On Amazon, these filters can be purchased in packs, allowing you to drink good tasting water without creating damage to the environment. Plus, the filters last around sixty days each, and you’ll also find them in regular supermarkets.
  • If you’re taking a short trip to Portugal, then you’ll probably want to avoid purchasing a regular Brita Filter because it’ll be a lot to lug around. Consider buying one of the travel Brita Filtersoptions to save yourself some space.
  • Another idea to make the water taste a bit better is to add a bit of lemon juice to the water. Lemon juice helps hide the weak flavor that you’ll traditionally find with Portuguese tap water.

Tap Water Precautions You Can Take in Portugal

While Portugal’s tap water is safe to drink, that doesn’t mean everybody can drink it and not experience side effects. That’s because the European Commission claims that about half of Portugal’s water supply areas don’t fall in line with European Union safety standards. So, although many people consider the water in Portugal to be safe to drink, you’ll want to take extra precautions because some areas of Portugal may have water that is questionable in quality.

Remember, although locals in Portugal may be able to drink the water there without getting sick, that doesn’t mean you, as a foreigner, won’t have a problem. While locals might not get sick from the tap water, they are probably immune to many of the impurities in the water that could make a traveler ill.

It does take time for travelers to get used to different types of water from different areas. So, if you don’t want to get sick at all, don’t drink tap water if you wish. You do have other options when it comes to water, like the Brita filters mentioned above.

Many travelers also opt for bottled water instead of tap water. However, when purchasing bottled water, you will need to approach still what you are buying with caution. We’ll cover what you’ll need to know about bottled water in Portugal in more detail below.

#1 Bottled Water in Portugal

Bottled water is prevalent among the residents of Portugal. That’s because many of them feel that bottled water not only tastes better but is healthier. However, lately, Portugal has discovered more and more people placing tap water in recognized bottled water brands and then selling that water.

Not only will you need to make sure you find a reliable store in Portugal to purchase bottled water, but you’ll also need to make sure you are buying reputable bottled water brands. Some bottled water manufacturers in Portugal sell products that aren’t safe for consumers. Some manufacturers of bottled water in Portugal put impure tap water in their bottled water and sell it that way.

Whenever you travel outside of the United States, and you are worried about the quality of the tap water, you should look for water bottles that have an IBWA (International Bottled Water Association) seal on the packaging. Also, check out the NSF’s website to check on brands that meet IBWA standards.

Since bottled water in Portugal can be questionable, you’ll want to make sure you follow our recommendations before you purchase any bottled water.

#2 Hot Tap Water

Another option you have is to make your tap water as hot as possible before you drink it. As a general rule of thumb, hot tap water is far less risky than cold tap water. If you can boil your tap water, that will make it even safer. If you can get your water to about 150 degrees Fahrenheit when boiling it, you should be able to kill off any bacteria and germs still present in the water.

#3 Do Your Research and Buy a Water Treatment Kit

You should also think about doing some research about the water you are likely to encounter before you head overseas. To do that, check out the CDC’s Travelers’ Health website. The CDC will give you some general advice about your risk when drinking certain countries’ tap water. Many parts of Europe are considered low risk when it comes to drinking tap water.

Although the tap water in Portugal is safe for drinking, Portugal’s water is at a higher risk. If you want more advice about what you can do as a traveler in Portugal, you can ask a travel medicine specialist or people at a nearby U.S. embassy in Portugal. Since you want to avoid getting traveler’s diarrhea, you can learn about more precautions this way. You can bring a small kit to treat drinking water and purchase some drinking water tablets to make the water safer for you.

Tap Water in Restaurants

Once you get to Portugal, you’ll likely find that bottled water is quite expensive in Portuguese restaurants. A large bottle typically costs €4-5 per bottle. At your local supermarket, the same container will cost around €0.50.

You won’t be served tap water in a Portuguese restaurant unless you ask for it. You’ll get tap water if you ask for it, but you might get a funny look for the asking. Most Portuguese residents don’t drink tap water when going to restaurants, so they never ask for it. Instead, they are more likely to drink bottled water.

As a traveler going to Portugal, we understand how expensive bottled water will feel when you eat out. While the tap water in Portugal is considered safe to drink, if you are worried about getting sick, shell out the extra cash and get bottled water.

Final Thoughts

In the end, it’s up to you to decide if you want to drink the tap water on your next trip to Portugal. While the tap water in Portugal is considered safe to drink, that doesn’t mean it won’t cause traveler’s diarrhea in some people. If you know that you already have a sensitive stomach or problems digesting things, then you might want to take extra precautions and purchase a water filter, water purifying tablets, or safe bottled water.

Read Next: How to Boil Water in Microwave, Safely?

 

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