Lucerne Water – the best things in life are free!

We recently wrote about how Switzerland is the most expensive country on continental Europe, so this news will be a welcome reprieve. You can drink the freshest water coming directly from the Pilatus mountain for free at anyone of the 200 fountains to be found in and around Lucerne.

In the past, social life took place around fountains. Housewives and servants chatted and exchanged news while the tanks they had brought with them slowly filled with water. Many fountain troughs were originally made out of wood, in the 14th and 15th century they were then made from stone.

It cannot be said precisely which is the oldest fountain in Lucerne but it is known that a fountain already existed at the Weinmarkt in 1332 when Lucerne joined the Swiss Confederation.

The fountains of Lucerne all carry clean water, suitable for drinking. Most of the really old fountains are connected to an old water-collecting network at the foot of Mount Pilatus which runs into the Kriens River, now underground, and thence into the city. The newer fountains, for example the one outside the KKL, are connected to the mains-pressure water delivery system which is supplied with treated water from the Lake of Lucerne.

The fountains are maintained by employees of the street inspectorate team who regularly check and clean every single fountain and report any damage to the preservation office. Recently this team won an award from the World Heritage organization for their efforts in maintaining clean drinking water in the town of Lucerne.

So do what the locals do, refill your water bottles from any of Lucerne’s fun-painted and amusingly decorated fountains.

Fountains which carry the sign “kein Trinkwasser” are obviously not a suitable source of drinking water, but these are found mostly on farms or near to agricultural or industrial activity.

There is a new website called Lucernewater which will not only show you where all the fountains are thanks to their interactive map but also where you can buy metal bottles to fill up.

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