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Drinking water on the Camino

LizKhan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019
#1
Hello fellow Pilgrims,

I will be doing my first Camino in Sept 2019. So I'm busy planning and budgeting right now. I'm talking to people who've gone before and reading these forum posts. They're fantastic. I'm keen to find out about the water situation . Is the local tap water drinkable ? Or does every one use those water purifying tablets ? I live in New Zealand and we drink the municipal water straight from the tap with no problems. I'm keen to find out what everyone does.

Cheers :)

Liz
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Fisterra-Muxia (Sept/Oct 2017)
#3
I’m a water hog (consume lots). I carried 2L and had no issues refilling from spickets throughout my entire Camino Frances (no filtering or tablets needed) albeit most were from private sources.
 

LizKhan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019
#4
I’m a water hog (consume lots). I carried 2L and had no issues refilling from spickets throughout my entire Camino Frances (no filtering or tablets needed) albeit most were from private sources.
Thanks for that Alexander. I'm a water hog, too. While we're on the topic of hogging water, what's the bathroom situation on the Camino ? Are there public toilets along the route ? Or do you just go in the bushes ?
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#5
Thanks for that Alexander. I'm a water hog, too. While we're on the topic of hogging water, what's the bathroom situation on the Camino ? Are there public toilets along the route ? Or do you just go in the bushes ?
No public toilets but lots and lots of cafes on the route. You’ll have to purchase something though before you use their facilities (understandably).
 

AlexanderAZ

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF-Fisterra-Muxia (Sept/Oct 2017)
#6
No public toilets but lots and lots of cafes on the route. You’ll have to purchase something though before you use their facilities (understandably).
Thanks for that Alexander. I'm a water hog, too. While we're on the topic of hogging water, what's the bathroom situation on the Camino ? Are there public toilets along the route ? Or do you just go in the bushes ?
As a male, I had no issues with “watering the bushes”. (Can’t speak for the ease of females doing same). I drank wayyyy too much water to wait to use facilities between towns/villages.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis SJPP
April 2016, August 2017, May 2018
Camino PortuGUESE
May 2019
#7
Thanks for that Alexander. I'm a water hog, too. While we're on the topic of hogging water, what's the bathroom situation on the Camino ? Are there public toilets along the route ? Or do you just go in the bushes ?
Wow you're planning ahead. Toilet situation is we use the bars, and I always bought something from the owners. I felt better. The Spanish govt May give a tax break as they don't seem to build public toilets. I always used toilets where available and tried not to go in the woods.
Buen camino....
Miki Goldie
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#8
Wow you're planning ahead. Toilet situation is we use the bars, and I always bought something from the owners. I felt better. The Spanish govt May give a tax break as they don't seem to build public toilets. I always used toilets where available and tried not to go in the woods.
Buen camino....
Miki Goldie
I actually found several public toilets at the beginning of the Camino del Norte in Basque Country.
 

LizKhan

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
2019
#9
Thanks everyone. At the Albergues, are there facilities for a cup of tea first thing in the morning ? I might not be a nice person for the rest of the day if I don't have my tea.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#10
I actually found several public toilets at the beginning of the Camino del Norte in Basque Country.
Same on Via de Bayona, again in Basque Country. But I don't remember any on CF although there might be.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2011-12-14-15-16-17-18CF
2013 Arles/Aragones
2015 & 2017 HærvejenDK
#11
Thanks everyone. At the Albergues, are there facilities for a cup of tea first thing in the morning ? I might not be a nice person for the rest of the day if I don't have my tea.
You might have access to an electric kettle, depending on the albergue and if there are kitchen facilities. Sometimes there is a serve-yourself breakfast set out in the morning with coffee and tea available. The albergues are all different.
 

twh

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances from SJPdP May/June, 2018
#12
cup of tea - yes the Albergues have kitchens with cups, pots/pans, cutlery, glasses etc... The kitchen areas vary in completeness but at a minimum they have a pot, a faucet for water and a stove/hob to boil your water. Maybe bring a camping collapsible cup to keep with you along with your stash of tea and you should be set to start each day with a hot cup of tea and a big smile. Most Albergues offer a light breakfast of coffee/tea, toast and jam/jelly/marmalade for 3.5 Euro. I'm not a big tea consumer so I did not pay attention to the tea selection offered, if any but I did notice tea just about everywhere there was also coffee. On my next camino, I will not buy the Albergue breakfast. Instead I will bring my own coffee/tea and prepare it at the Albergue for free using my collapsible cup and then an hour or so into my morning walk, I'll stop for a proper breakfast at a bar/restaurant. When you call for a reservation or while checking in to an Albergue, ask about kitchen facilities for boiling water.
 

Glenshiro

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy - Burgos, Camino Frances (2012 - 2018)
#13
I always take teabags and a vacuum flask, although that's mainly because I started walking the Chemin de Compostelle in France where there are often no facilities between (fairly scattered) towns. Now that I'm walking in Spain, where there's a coffee stall every 1/2 hour or so, I may dispense with the flask next time - but I'll definitely take the tea for first thing in the morning!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, Fall 2016
#14
Hello fellow Pilgrims,

I will be doing my first Camino in Sept 2019. So I'm busy planning and budgeting right now. I'm talking to people who've gone before and reading these forum posts. They're fantastic. I'm keen to find out about the water situation . Is the local tap water drinkable ? Or does every one use those water purifying tablets ? I live in New Zealand and we drink the municipal water straight from the tap with no problems. I'm keen to find out what everyone does.

Cheers :)

Liz
I think this is a question we all ask ourselves, "is the water safe?" The short answer is "yes" it's safe. I completed the CF two years ago and had no problems. I filled my bladder at alburges, bars and public fountains. If the water is not portable, there were always signs clearly warning against drinking the water. No pills, filters, worries - enjoy your transforming experience.
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#16
I should add that I have drunk the local water (not to mention wine) all over Spain for many years with no ill-effects. Their tapwater is of a very high standard.
Same experience.
Many times I even saw local Senoras filling up huge canisters with village fuente water although I'm sure their household tap water was also good. Those fuentes are fed from sometimes centuries old wells of fresh water and locals surely know what's good :)
 
Camino(s) past & future
2018
#17
Hello fellow Pilgrims,

I will be doing my first Camino in Sept 2019. So I'm busy planning and budgeting right now. I'm talking to people who've gone before and reading these forum posts. They're fantastic. I'm keen to find out about the water situation . Is the local tap water drinkable ? Or does every one use those water purifying tablets ? I live in New Zealand and we drink the municipal water straight from the tap with no problems. I'm keen to find out what everyone does.

Cheers :)

Liz
I drank tap water all the time from hotels, cafes and from the potable water fountains along the Camino. You won't have any problems.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#18
There are a couple of stretches on the Francès where you might need to get bottled rather than tap, but frankly this is not a subject that you should worry about.

Water purifying tablets are not just suspect a priori, but they are very unnecessary.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012 SJPP-Burgos, 2014 Burgos-Leon, 2018 Leon-Santiago
#19
Thanks everyone. At the Albergues, are there facilities for a cup of tea first thing in the morning ? I might not be a nice person for the rest of the day if I don't have my tea.
By the way most places that have coffee will have tea, sometimes in lush and exotic plenitude (e.g. mango, green and infusions). When I needed a break for the WC or a rest I usually stopped at a bar and asked for a té negro and something to eat, like a croissant or tortilla. Hot water refills can range from free to half a euro.

All the best,
Paul
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#20
Spain is a first-world country. All municipal water systems are certified safe and are regularly tested. If the water comes from a tap at a home, bar, cafe, restaurant, hotel, albergue, etc., it can be presumed safe to drink.

Water that comes from outside 'fuentes' may or may not be safe to drink. Look for signs suggesting 'agua potable' or 'agua no-potable.' An international sign with a tap icon and a red circle and diagonal line through the tap icon is one good indicator that the water is NOT safe to drink.

One other sign that the water coming from that path-side spring might not be safe is if there is a pasture directly beyond or above, with cows or other animals in it. Many of the older fuentes found outside towns and villages are old, and the wells or springs are not deep enough to filter enteric waste. Consider what might have gotten into the water...o_O

Drink your fill before leaving your overnight accommodation. Carry one to two liters of water. Personally, i prefer multiple .5 liter water bottles arrayed around me to distribute weight effectively. You buy the bottles already filled with water. Reuse them until they are disgusting, then recycle them properly and replace with new...also already filled with drinking water.

Every pilgrim develops their own water carrying plan. Some folks prefer bladders. I am too lazy to clean them and the empty bladder weighs a lot more than my empty water bottles. Some folks like commercial water bottles. But they present the same challenges as bladders and can be heavier still.

Hope this helps.
 
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean - Finisterre (August 2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (January 2015)
Bilbao - Santander (May 2015)
St Jean - Sahgún (2nd Sept - 20 Sept 2015)
León - Sarria (26/12/2015 - 04/01/2016)
Lisbon - Tomar (02/04/16 - 10/04/16)
Pau - Pamplona (August 2016)
#21
Thanks everyone. At the Albergues, are there facilities for a cup of tea first thing in the morning ? I might not be a nice person for the rest of the day if I don't have my tea.
As a tea drinker: tea bags in Spain are not as good as English (or Australian), so bring your own, and if you take milk, maybe some powdered milk or save up a few sachets of liquid milk from places like McDonalds! If your albergue has a kitchen, then no problem about boiling water (even a micro wave will do, but not as good). Lots of times I've been in albergues with no kitchen, and no bar open in the town, so had to walk a while until the next town - which is a bit of a trial. Spain is a coffee country and a decent cup of tea in a bar is difficult. A few weeks ago I asked for a cup of tea with milk and they brought me a cup of hot water with a teabag separate, and an extra cup of hot milk. The waiter and was surprised that really all I wanted was a few tea spoons of milk in my tea.
 
Camino(s) past & future
St Jean - Finisterre (August 2014)
Pamplona - Burgos (January 2015)
Bilbao - Santander (May 2015)
St Jean - Sahgún (2nd Sept - 20 Sept 2015)
León - Sarria (26/12/2015 - 04/01/2016)
Lisbon - Tomar (02/04/16 - 10/04/16)
Pau - Pamplona (August 2016)
#22
Hello fellow Pilgrims,

Is the local tap water drinkable ? Or does every one use those water purifying tablets ? I
Liz
Spanish water is great, whether from the tap in buildings, or the local outdoor fountains. Just be careful in Galicia, I drank water from an outdoor tap high up in the mountains - it was very hot and I was incredibly thirsty. It had no sign on it, and I thought that being so high, and no sign not to drink it would be okay. I really paid for it that night - I was so ill - but a big lesson learned about being careful. Galicia also seems to have less public water options than the rest of Spain.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#23
Thanks everyone. At the Albergues, are there facilities for a cup of tea first thing in the morning ? I might not be a nice person for the rest of the day if I don't have my tea.
These albergues cater for a path that has 250,000 - 350 000 people per year.
The books you will buy especially MMDD will tell you what facilities they have .
And may i suggest you learn to enjoy coffee has everyone stops for coffee , especially around 6.30am when leaving the villages / towns.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#24
There are a couple of stretches on the Francès where you might need to get bottled rather than tap, but frankly this is not a subject that you should worry about.

Water purifying tablets are not just suspect a priori, but they are very unnecessary.
@JabbaPapa
What do you mean by "Water purifying tablets are . . . suspect a priori?"
I have water purification tablets, given me by the Red Cross as part of an emergency kit, which I took with me when I walked the VdlP last year, as lack of safe water can be a hazard on that route. Since they are very compact, I plan on continuing to carry them, although I do not expect to need them. I do not consider them to be in any way suspect.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Camino(s) past & future
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
#25
@JabbaPapa
What do you mean by "Water purifying tablets are . . . suspect a priori?"
I have water purification tablets, given me by the Red Cross as part of an emergency kit, which I took with me when I walked the VdlP last year, as lack of safe water can be a hazard on that route. Since they are very compact, I plan on continuing to carry them, although I do not expect to need them. I do not consider them to be in any way suspect.
OP was asking about the quality of water on the Francès.

Water purifying tablets are a bandage, not a solution -- as it is obvious that they do not render chemically pure that which is not, as they are not chemically pure themselves.

YES they can be vitally important in some locations with some severe water sanity problems, and particularly so for those individuals who are poorly resistant to the potential infections, bacterial or parasitical.

The Camino Francès isn't one of them.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#26
As a tea drinker: tea bags in Spain are not as good as English (or Australian), so bring your own, and if you take milk, maybe some powdered milk or save up a few sachets of liquid milk from places like McDonalds! If your albergue has a kitchen, then no problem about boiling water (even a micro wave will do, but not as good). Lots of times I've been in albergues with no kitchen, and no bar open in the town, so had to walk a while until the next town - which is a bit of a trial. Spain is a coffee country and a decent cup of tea in a bar is difficult. A few weeks ago I asked for a cup of tea with milk and they brought me a cup of hot water with a teabag separate, and an extra cup of hot milk. The waiter and was surprised that really all I wanted was a few tea spoons of milk in my tea.
On a day trip from Granada to the Sierra Nevada a friend asked for "té hace con leche" and that's exactly what she got: hot milk with a tea bag in it and it did not look good!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Contemplating yet another "final" camino
Porto to SdC May 2019
#27
Sometimes the water from the fuentes is far superior to tap water. I found the water in Burgos to be dire and dumped it (and washed the bottle) at the first fuente.
For what it's worth the water in the fuente across the road from the Santa Clara convent (SdC) last week was far nicer than the water in the convent.
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Who knows! ;-)
#28
On a day trip from Granada to the Sierra Nevada a friend asked for "té hace con leche" and that's exactly what she got: hot milk with a tea bag in it and it did not look good!
In Spain (and in France), tea is not drunk with milk but often served with a slice of lemon :D
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#32
Also, if you’re feeling lucky...
View attachment 47497
This in Vega de Valcarce.
I’m not sure that this sign is absolutely clear, but I will not be filling my bottle here, thank you.
Paul
In this area Paul all you needed was a hat to collect enough h2o from the sky ...
We got drenched just before Vega until we reached La Faba .
 

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