Many visitors to a foreign city want to know if you can drink the water. Well, in Vienna, mineral water comes out of the taps. And I’m only half joking.
- The tap water in Vienna is generally very high quality
- Drinking fountains are quite common in tourist areas
- Summer sees Vienna add cooling stations throughout the city
- See also: How safe is Vienna | Visitor questions
Water quality in Vienna
You never realized how bad the tap water is back home until you experience the Viennese equivalent; over 95% of the water used in Vienna over the course of a year comes through two direct pipelines from the Alps mountains.
The authorities don’t even need to pump water into the city: gravity does the job for them.
These mountain areas sit in water protection zones with no significant industry and few people all told (it’s basically mountains and not a lot else).
As a result, this “Alpine” tap water is very high quality, low in nitrogen, and with no measurable pesticide residues. Frankly, it tastes as good as any mineral water you’re ever likely to drink.
(In case you were wondering, Viennese people still buy vast quantities of mineral water. Go figure.)
Can you drink the tap water in Vienna?
So, yes, you can drink the tap water or use it to clean your teeth etc..
In fact, in contrast to most cities, it’s the undrinkable water that tends to get labelled in Vienna. If you see a Kein Trinkwasser sign, this means the water is definitely not suitable for drinking. You typically see such signs on large fountains, for example.
As you wander the city, you’ll come across drinking water fountains put there for your refreshment. These are labelled Trinkwasser (drinking water) to make it clear that you can use them. Vienna has around 1000.
(A drinking water fountain in the centre of Vienna)
In hot periods, the city also installs a variety of water-based cooling facilities in busy areas. These include mobile drinking fountains, as well as mist and water spraying devices designed to tackle urban heat. All part of a wider package to prevent and/or ameliorate the effects of the climate emergency.
These facilities sometimes come as a surprise when you’re not paying too much attention to your surroundings; you wander long a street in the blazing sunshine and have the unshakable feeling that someone just sprayed you with a plant mister.
Incidentally, the two Alpine water pipelines that provide Vienna with most of its water have been around for many years. The first opened officially in 1873, an event celebrated in fountain form through the Hochstrahlbrunnen. The second opened in 1910.