Yes, tap water is the safest and most controlled beverage/food product in Germany. Many German cities including Berlin and Munich brag about the quality of their tap water which often comes from the same source as mineral water.
In multiple blind-tests, various mineral water (still and sparkling) were tested against normal and carbonated tap water. Tap water came out at the top or equal to the mineral waters.
Like everywhere else the taste and quality of the tap water differ across the country. Usually, taste is related to the hardness of the water. While softer water tastes good almost everywhere, harder water generally tastes better cold.
For those that simply don’t like the taste of the water, a faucet water filter such as Brita Filter which removes chlorine and odor is very efficient. In addition to improving taste, it also removes a further 80+ potential tap water contaminants, including byproducts of Chlorine, identified as cancerogenous. But that investment would only make sense if you're in Germany long-term.
Another tip is to simply pour the water into a carafe and leave in the fridge overnight whereasmost of the chlorine evaporates.
10 Curious Facts for Travelers
- German tap water is so clean you could drink from the toilet...not that you'd want to! It undergoes rigorous quality testing.
- Despite great tap water, Germans are still among the biggest consumers of bottled water. Pfand those plastic bottles!
- The hardness of tap water varies greatly by region - very soft in the north, moderately hard in the central belt, and extremely hard down south.
- Ancient Roman aqueducts built 2000+ years ago are still used for some of Germany's water supply, like in the city of Cologne.
- While safe to drink, tap water is not usually free at restaurants. Stick to Leitungswasser instead of mineralwasser to save money.
- In old buildings, lead pipes may contaminate tap water. Run it 30 seconds before drinking or cooking if unsure.
- Locals often filter hard tap water before drinking. Letting water sit also allows mineral precipitates to settle.
- Filling up your bottle from the bathroom is fine! But asking for tap water at a bar or café is a major faux pas.
- Chlorine disinfectants can make German tap water taste bleachy. Letting it air out helps dissipate the smell.
- Pack a BPA-free bottle and quench your thirst with German tap water! It's rigorously tested, widely available, and free.