Is Santorini Water safe to drink? 2024 Santorini drinking water guide

Is Santorini Water safe to drink? 2024 Santorini drinking water guide

If you’re planning a trip to Santorini, Greece, you might be wondering if you can drink Santorini water. The answer is “Yes,” but it’s got a slightly salty taste. Most people drink bottled water rather than drinking tap water.

In this guide, I’ll answer every question you have about washing clothes, bathing, brushing teeth, drinking tap water, having drinks with ice in them, swimming, buying bottled water, and using filtered water in Santorini.

I’ll even show you where Santorini’s water supply comes from, and why it’s so important to use it carefully when you visit Santorini.

Where does Santorini Drinking Water come from?

Did you know that more than half of all households on this small island rely on bottled water deliveries because they’re not connected to the Santorini water system?

Many houses still collect rainwater runoff and pipe it up to large tanks on the roofs, but supplement this with bottled water.

Photo of Santorini Island's volcanic cliffs along the caldera, Greece, taken from the cliff path between Fira and Imeroviglia
Santorini Island’s volcanic cliffs along the caldera, Greece

Santorini island is part of the Cycladic Greek island chain in the Aegean Sea. The spectacular island is shaped like a croissant and is part of an enormous volcanic caldera, most of which is underwater.

Santorini was formed when the island of Thera was blown up in the greatest volcanic explosion that has ever happened during human history.

So this small volcanic island (only 18 km long) isn’t overflowing with natural water sources.

That’s why you won’t find articles about lakes, rivers, waterfalls, or natural pools on Santorini, – because there is only one on the whole island!

Does Santorini have fresh water?

The only fresh water is from the one spring, and from runoff collected when it rains.

The Life-Giving Spring

It’s a natural spring called Zoodochos Pigi which translates as the “Life-giving Spring” (which makes a lot of sense!)

Photo taken inside tthe Zoodochos Pigi cave and Spring on Mount Profitas Ilias, Santorini, Greece
Zoodochos Pigi cave and Spring on Mount Profitas Ilias, Santorini, Greece

You can visit the Zoodochos Pigi Cave and see the only natural source of water for Santorini. It’s located in Kamari, up a steep set of steps on the slopes of Mount Profitas Ilias.

Every time it rained, the islanders swung into action, diverting the rainwater into deep cisterns for use in the summer months.

The Greek government extended this underground cistern system but then created desalination plants that provide tap water to the main cities of Santorini island.

This means that the tap water that you shower in, drink, and clean your teeth with comes from deep wells or from Santorini’s desalination plants.

So is it safe to drink tap water in Santorini?

Yes, you can drink tap water in Santorini. Like all of the rest of the country, the water in Santorini meets EU standards for water quality.

Most of the water you will drink in Santorini will come from a desalination plant. The water may taste brackish but Santorini, Mykonos, and Crete use the newest form of reverse osmosis desalination technology, so it’s less salty than the older evaporation-style of desalination.

However, many hotels prefer to use a filtered water system, removing the salty tang from the water, so it’s perfectly fine to use.

Santorini hotel breakfast, Santorini, Greece

It’s because the local tap water tastes a little salty that locals offer visitors bottled water instead of the local drinking water.

Can I brush my teeth with Santorini tap water?

Yes, it is safe as Santorini provides tap water from its reverse osmosis desalination plants that meet EU standards for water drinking quality.

Is it safe to wash dishes with tap water in Santorini?

It is safe to wash dishes with tap water in Santorini. The only downside with using water that comes from Santorini’s desalination plants is that it may have a slight salty tinge.

If you want to remove this taste, use a filtered water bottle on your trip to the Cyclades.

Can I open my mouth in the shower in Santorini?

Photo of a shower dripping water in front of a beach in greece
Shower by the sea, Greece

It is safe to open your mouth in the shower in Santorini as Santorini tap water meets EU quality water-drinking standards.

Can you drink ice in Santorini?

Photo of Two cocktails with ice waiting to be drunk during sunset in Santorini
Two cocktails with ice waiting to be drunk during sunset in Santorini

Should I bring a filtered water bottle to Greece?

Yes! This is the savviest way of (a) knowing that you’re drinking water doesn’t contain impurities, (b) saving money, and (c) not further damaging the environment by buying single-use plastic bottles.

How much is bottled water in Greece?

In 2023 in an Athens supermarket, the cost of bottled water from brands such as Nefeli begin at €‎0.14 Euro per liter (in 1.5 L bottles in a packet of 6), rising to as much as €‎3.65 per liter for Perrier carbonated water.

In a restaurant, you can expect to spend €‎1-2 on a bottle of water for your table.

Where can I buy bottled water in Santorini?

You can buy bottled water at supermarkets, grocery stores, and tiny snack bars. It’s cheapest in the largest supermarkets like Lidl in Fira (Thera).

Is the Santorini sea water safe to swim in?

The answer is yes! The waters around Santorini have some of the best swimming conditions in all of Greece.

Red beach in Santorini view of the sea with katamaran
Red beach in Akrotiri, Santorini from the water, Santorini, Greece

It doesn’t matter whether you’re in tiny Amoudi Bay below Oia, on the black beaches on the eastern side of Santorini, or on the Red Beach near ancient Akrotiri – you’re still swimming in the deep volcanic caldera that is part of the Aegean Sea.

The sea temperature averages around 77°F (25°C) between June and September and there are many beaches along the coast to choose from for swimming.

The crystal clear waters make it perfect for swimming and enjoying a variety of water sports activities.

Did you know that according to the European Environmental Agency, Greece has Europe’s third-best sea water quality?

It doesn’t matter if it is a white, red, or black beach, the color of the coastline and the finely crushed rocks on the beach don’t affect the water quality.

Santorini’s volcano hot springs

The difference between swimming in Santorini and other Greek Islands is that it has sulfur springs. I have swum in these warm (not hot!) waters near the volcano and it is the most popular itinerary for sunset cruises and boat trips.

Photo of the green water of the Hot volcanic springs near the shore of the volcano across from Santorini Island, Greece
Hot volcanic springs near the shore of the volcano across from Santorini Island, Greece

The cruise ship or tour boat will pull up about 30 meters from the warm patch of sea and you swim out and float around for a while. There’s a lot of copper in the water. For more detailed information, read:

You should be trying not to swallow this water, just like you wouldn’t voluntarily swallow water from any hot or mineral springs anywhere in the world.

Related: Sailing Around Santorini: Best Santorini Boat Tours

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you brush your teeth with tap water in Greece?

Yes. Should you swallow it? Not if you can help it but it won’t make you ill. In Attika and Thessaloniki, yes, it’s completely fine to drink tap water.

It is safe to brush your water teeth with tap water in Greece because it meets EU standards. Even if the water tastes slightly brackish because it comes from a desalination plant, it is still safe to brush your teeth with and to drink.

In water-scarce destinations, like the Cyclades islands, you can taste the difference between bottled water and water from desalination plants, but that doesn’t mean it’s unsafe.

Is bottled water safe in Greece?

Generally, yes, but of course, it’s not possible, in any country, to be sure that the bottle you’re drinking from hasn’t been stored for a long time at high temperatures.

Check the seal on any bottled water you buy, especially in smaller villages.

Is it OK to drink Greek tap water?

It is safe to drink Greek tap water as it means the EU standards for water quality. In areas of water stress in Greece, like the Cyclades islands, tap water may come from desalination plants and so may taste slightly salty, but it is still safe for drinking, washing, and brushing your teeth with.

Can you drink Santorini tap water?

Yes, but it doesn’t taste good. For drinking water, most people prefer bottled water on Santorini and the other greek islands because it will almost always taste much better.

Is water free in Greek restaurants?

Tap water is free in Greece in both cafes and restaurants, but bottled water is not.
There is a difference in Greece between the water you may be offered in restaurants as opposed to cafes.
In cafes, you are often given a glass of tap water but in Greek restaurants, you will need to ask for it before your waiter opens a bottle of still or sparkling water for your table.

Is there a water shortage in Santorini?

There is a shortage of natural water and many houses are not connected to the town water supply and instead need to buy water during the summer months especially.

What body of water is Santorini on?

Santorini is a part of the Greek Cyclades island chain that lies in the Aegean Sea.

Is Santorini water salty?

Unfiltered water for drinking comes from deep cisterns, but mainly from desalination plants. The desalination plants use the latest reverse-osmosis technology. This means that Santorini water has a slightly salty (brackish) taste.