Tap water in Sofia is considered among the best in Europe, because it comes directly from nearby mountains

Restaurants in Sofia beat the heat with free water refills

Restaurants in Sofia beat the heat with free water refills

The city’s municipal water company urges restaurants to start serving tap water. People will be able to find such establishments on a digital map

At the end of June, Sofiiska voda, Sofia’s municipal water company, announced the start of a new campaign aiming to reduce the use of plastic bottles. The campaign will feature various restaurants, cafés and bars in the city that offer free tap water to their clients or refills to people on the go. Said establishments will be labeled with a special sticker, ESGNews reports.

Residents and tourists will be able to find restaurants participating in the campaign through an interactive map, provided by the StolichnaH2O non-governmental organisation.

The idea of the campaign is to promote more sustainable drinking habits among citizens, especially during the summer heatwave. An additional benefit is that Sofia’s tap water is considered among the best in Europe, as it is piped directly from the Rila mountain.

The water in Sofia

One distinguishing feature of the water in Sofia is the neutral pH, estimated at around 7.2. This is because it comes from the nearby Rila mountains, while the springs are primarily filled through melting snow. The water also lacks a characteristic taste and odour, making it perfect for everyday use by people of all ages.

Additionally, according to data from Sofia’s municipal water company, in 2021 alone, authorities took over 9,000 samples from different points along the pipelines, from the sources to the consumer. These samples have reportedly been tested around 150,000 times and have proven to exceed by far the national quality control standards.

Public fountains are in disrepair for years

Another key reason for the campaign, according to the water company, is to try and shift people’s perception of water consumption, making tap water more socially acceptable. At the same time, tap water has the added benefit of reducing the use of single-use plastic bottles.

According to StolichnaH2O, Bulgaria's capital used to have a lot of public water fountains and for generations they used to be the primary source of hydration for residents. However, in the last decade, more and more fountains have fallen into disrepair and stopped functioning.

Despite the relative dry spell, water fountains are still shown on the map, regardless of their functioning. This is because the group wants to draw attention to the unavailability of public water sources.

According to their estimates, saving five bottles of water per week for one year would be the equivalent of saving 65 litres of petrol, 780 litres of water, 2.5 kilos of plastic, 21 kilos of carbon dioxide and around 170 euros.  



Growing City


Smart City


Green City


Social City


New European Bauhaus




ECP 2021 Winner TheMayorEU