The sparkling water you encountered in Europe is not soda water, which is carbonated tap water, but mineral water, carbonated water from thermal springs. @daniel - Regarding the edit: the term mineral water can locally refer to different products -- water with minerals in it, or sparkling water ("soda water") and perhaps others. Though German tap water is among the safest and best-tasting in Europe, most Germans prefer bottled water, in mineral, sparkling, and … Because people in Europe who buy bottled water developed a taste for this, they tend to expect bottled water to be mineral water, and for it to be naturally carbonated … If you leave a bottle of mineral water … Tap water was used for cleaning, washing and things of that nature, and carbonated water … (Germans can be particular about anything they set their minds to.) I presume that the edit was targeted at a more specific description of the water… For the most part, in Europe when you buy a bottle of water, what you're getting is the water from that spring as it naturally comes out. The main difference is the mineral content. As carbonated waters became popular all over Europe, it became the norm for bottled water . Again a generalization about “Europeans like this/that” … Ppl outside Europe need to understand that Europe is not a homogeneous continent so generalizations about Europeans are incorrect since everything in European … Why do Europeans drink sparkling water? By the time tap water became healthy enough for Europeans to drink , they were already somewhat set in their preferences.