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ozrick33 Feb 14th, 2008 01:26 PM

Public restrooms in Europe
A rather delicate subject I know. I have a very ordinary bladder and when its time to go, its time! We will be visiting Londin, Edinburgh and Rome. I am jsut wondering if there are many puiblic restrooms there. Are they free? Clean? I dont mind paying. I once spent 25 cents to use the bathroom at a McDonalds in Hollywood. Money well spent.

halfpint Feb 14th, 2008 01:42 PM

They do have public bathrooms in many of the areas and most of them will require payment and with the Euro, perhaps a half a euro amounting to almost 75 cents with our present value. However with the ones that charge, they generally are kept CLEAN which is nice. You have to keep change handy.

tedgale Feb 14th, 2008 01:48 PM

Apart from train stations, St Peter's (on the left side of the colonnade) and MacDonald's, I can't recall a single *public* washroom in Rome.

Fortunately for me and other men, there are many ruins and other bits of wilderness, also lots of small, twisty streets.

(You think I'm kidding but I'm not.)

ozrick33 Feb 14th, 2008 01:55 PM

Fortunately for me and other men, there are many ruins and other bits of wilderness, also lots of small, twisty streets.

(You think I'm kidding but I'm not.)

Yikes. I understand the desperation though.

annhig Feb 14th, 2008 01:56 PM

hi, ozrick,

i have to agree with tedgale - i can't remember a single public loo in Rome, apart from the ones in museums and other attractions.

the best way to deal with this is to use the facilities every time you stop for coffee or whatever - which of course means you'll have to stop again in about 1/2 hour!

Venice DOES have public loos - but unless you have a vaporetto or museum pass, it'll cost you 1E every time you spend a penny.

regards, ann

annhig Feb 14th, 2008 01:57 PM

ps certaily in london and edinburgh, all the department stores have free toilets which are normally very clean and pleasant.

the only downside is that they are often on the top floor, which is a bit of a drag if that's all you've gone in for.

WillTravel Feb 14th, 2008 02:04 PM

In Rome, there is a pay (75 Euro cents) public bathroom near, I think, Piazza San Silvestro.

Everyone suggests McDonald's, but I tried that once, and it was a terribly long wait, and it wasn't that great when I finally got there.

suze Feb 14th, 2008 02:05 PM

This is not specific to your destination but I find it easiest to use the restrooms somewhere with a small purchase (like a local cafe, restaurant, fast food place) and sit down for a bit. Museums, libraries, hotel lobbies, department stores are sometimes also options.

nametaken Feb 14th, 2008 02:39 PM

I have found that finding restrooms in Europe is challenging. Public ones are not easy to find. Try to use restrooms in restaurants, museums, and large stores. Don't assume there will always be toliet paper. Don't pass up any opportunity to use a facility. Good luck.

LoveItaly Feb 14th, 2008 02:50 PM

Yes, take advantage every time there is a restroom. And the comment about cafes etc., order a drink and use the restroom, and than use the restroom again before you leave, lol.

If you are dressed appropriately you may be able to walk into a larger hotel that has a restroom off their lobby without any problem.

ozrick33 Feb 14th, 2008 03:08 PM

As a Pastor I have preached a sermon entitled, "take every opportunity as if from God". I certainly apply that to restrooms and will be doing just that in Europe. Thanks for the feedback everyone.

suze Feb 14th, 2008 03:19 PM

As far as clean... you can tote along a small pack of travel kleenex (for TP) and those little packets of hand wipe sanitizers in your day-bag.

Debs Feb 14th, 2008 03:29 PM

Watch out for the squat toilets - although you shouldn't encounter any where you're headed. First time I encountered one of them was last year in Italy - good thing my husband used the facilities first and warned me what to expect. Yikes!

You can pick up some travel toilet paper at any drugstore (CVS, Walgreens, etc). Have found it comes in handy in places you wouldn't expect to need it.

MelJ Feb 14th, 2008 03:48 PM

You just brought back a terrible experience I had last April while in London with my family. Walking bown Birdcage next to St. James Park just next to Buck House and I had to go, go, go! Ditched my family and headed toward a little snack kiosk. Down the enbankment, over the little low chain, onto the walkway, across the pond via walking bridge and feeling joy that I was almost there (sign on the walkway said public loos were there). Run up and WHAT???????? Under repair??????????? I just kept running and, to be honest, I can't even remember where I finally found a public bathroom or if I knocked anyone over to get them out of my way to get to it! Whew!

Normally, it's worth the price of a Starbucks or similar to stop in and use the facilities.

ozrick33 Feb 14th, 2008 03:59 PM

When you have to go - money is no object!!!!!!!!!

Jess215 Feb 14th, 2008 04:35 PM

In cities, I go into the nicest hotel I can find, stride in like I know what i am doing, head for the ladies' - usually its in the basement.
The one time I got stopped was in rome, with my DIL, a woman of color and I thought -- oh-oh! But no, they stopped us only to encase her (very ordinary) soft drink in a container bearing a classy logo !

irishface Feb 14th, 2008 04:39 PM

I'm with ozrick that money is no object when one is in need.

Cowboy1968 Feb 14th, 2008 04:46 PM

In central London (Westminster) just send the word "toilet" as text message from your mobile to 80097, and you will receive a message back with the location of the nearest public restroom.

roadlesstraveled Feb 14th, 2008 04:56 PM

I agree about the scarcity of public restrooms in Rome. McDonalds is an good option with many stores. Also in Rome and throughout Italy, there is a department store chain named “Coin”. They are open 7 days a week and have very clean restrooms. I have also used the restrooms in other department stores in Rome, I just don't remember the names.

cathies Feb 14th, 2008 10:09 PM

I absolutely agree with Loveitaly and Jess215. I stroll into any 4 star or more hotel as though I am staying there. I have found that there are always toilets on the ground floor somewhere. I've never been stopped, if I was, I would have an excuse ready - about to eat in their restaurant or perhaps make an enquiry about their rates for next time etc. BTW in London our experience was that the restrooms where we had to pay were DISGUSTING.The free ones were ok.

hanl Feb 14th, 2008 10:10 PM

There certainly are several decent, clean, free public toilets in Edinburgh, usually with attendants (e.g. at the foot of the Mound near the galleries, and next door to Waverley station, among other places)

ozrick33 Feb 14th, 2008 11:13 PM

I guess desperate times call for desperate measures. I have certainly wandered into hotels etc while I have been in India and Thailand. Public toilets there are scary.

GSteed Feb 15th, 2008 12:25 AM

Anecdote...I wondered why the walls outside of Victoria station were always wet. They serve as a public loo. Worst ever, The Windsor station. The loo was locked, the depression in front of the door was abrim with yellow liquid! Next, I regularly see mothers de-watering little ones on public by-ways. Limit liquid intake!

Steve_James Feb 15th, 2008 12:32 AM

'When in Rome, do as the Romans do ...'

Walk into a bar, use their facilities ... and order a small drink (- mineral water is cheap ;) ) - OR ... leave a good tip.


KayF Feb 15th, 2008 01:06 AM

Check this out - the world's largest guide to public toilets -

Public toilets are almost non-existent in Italy, I found it a real problem. London is also an issue, if you plan ahead you'll be OK, but they can be hard to find. I don't mind having to pay, it's when there aren't any that it becomes a desperate situation!


Steve_James Feb 15th, 2008 01:19 AM

Don't expect to find PUBLIC toilets in Italy - they are virtually non-existant.

Bars provide this facility - but they expect an order or a tip in return, obviously ...

Like I said, when in Rome ...

elina Feb 15th, 2008 02:36 AM

Just a word from a non-English-speaker: If you have to ask people, don´t ask for a "restroom". Not that I would not know (after a little thinking) what it means, but the idea that first comes into my head is that you are looking for some strange public place where people go and take a nap. All cosily in one room. And it isn´t a "powder room" either.

It is a TOILET or WC.

kenderina Feb 15th, 2008 03:05 AM

I always think that Americans drink too much LOL I mean, I've only searched for a public toilet once in my St Peters in Rome.

I manage quite well with bars, cafes and , as our moms have always told us, "go peeing before leaving home!" (when travelling it means before you leave the hotel).

At bars and cafes, if I don't want to rest there for a while (I usually want when travelling !!) I ask for a water bottle that I can carry in my purse, it's cheap and it comes handy also if you get thirsty :)

bilboburgler Feb 15th, 2008 03:45 AM

In the UK any restaurant has to have facilities so go to department stores with restaurants.

mjsilver Feb 15th, 2008 04:00 AM

The toilets at the National Portrait Gallery in Trafalgar Square are close-ish to the entrance -- well you have to go down a staircase, but it's right near the front, and you don't have to go into the museum at all.

Just thought you'd like to know.

caroline_edinburgh Feb 15th, 2008 04:10 AM

The public loos in Edinburgh are free but there aren't that many. But it's easy enough to use those in a department store or museum. I have also been known to nip into one of the larger hotels, like the Balmoral, a busy pub, or a Macdonalds (all also free).

In Italy, my answer is always to use the facilities in museums etc when I'm in there, and if I need to go in between, to stop for a drink at a bar and use theirs :-)

Pete_R Feb 15th, 2008 04:58 AM

I can't speak for Rome, as I've never been but as far as the UK goes I'd say we have the same amount of public loos as the US.

I've never seen a municipal public toilet the the US (not to say they don't exist.) So that leaves the same sort of places as in the UK, dept. stores, bars, restaurants, 'malls' and hotels.

GSteed Feb 15th, 2008 05:00 AM

How about Colorado, USA? Sign posted outside pub..No public toilets, no public telephone.

Pete_R Feb 15th, 2008 05:09 AM

P.S. I wasn't trying to make it some kind of toilet competition.

I was just trying to reassure the OP that if they can manage at home then there is no need to worry in the UK - the same strategies will work here.

Tulips Feb 15th, 2008 05:30 AM

As other posters suggested; walk into a hotel as if you are staying there.

Claridges has particularly nice loos! And in Harrods the ones on the fourth floor, near the Georgian Restaurant.

ozrick33 Feb 15th, 2008 11:41 AM

Thanks everyone for your most invaluable help. Here in Australia they are not easy to find either. However, I can tell you where just about every McDonalds is in Sydney because I am constantly on the road here. I will be cutting and pasting a lot of these posts and taking the information with me.

bubblywine Feb 15th, 2008 01:15 PM

Something I do for gelato and pizza, and I imagine would work for toilets in all the cities mentioned is mark on my map where they all are. That way, whichever neighborhood I'm in when the gelato urge hits, I know exactly where to head and what I'm in for.

ozrick33 Feb 16th, 2008 07:46 PM

Nothing l;ike a bit of preplanning Bubbly, good idea.

LoveItaly Feb 16th, 2008 08:22 PM

Hello ozrick, since this thread is still going strong I will share a story with you that still amazes me to this day.

It was our first trip to Italy, in the 1970's. We were in Milan. All of the Italian men were using a male type shoulder bag and so my husband decided he would buy one as he hated anything in the pockets of his clothes.

We had our morning espresso and started wandering around the streets of Milan. He saw a small leather good store which he liked the looks of so we went inside. It was owned by an older gentleman and his daughter worked in the shop also.

The owner was showing my husband various bags (all beautiful Italian leather) and suddenly..oh no! I needed a ladies room, lol. My Italian was terrible but I said to the daughter of the shop owner "toilette, per favore?". She smiled, came around the counter, took my hand and led me up the stairway and down a short hall. She opened up a door and took me into what was their apartment..their home! She took me through the living room, the dining room, and down a short hallway and opened up a door to the "toilette"..their personal bathroom. I was stunned. She indicated she would see me in the shop.

So there I was, a complete stranger from America in their home. She left me alone in their home!

This happened on our first day in Italy, well the day after we arrived, our first full day in Italy.

My husband purchased a beautiful buttery Italian leather male bag. Thank goodness!

I will never forget that lovely young Milanese woman and her kindness and warmth. A very special memory.

greg Feb 16th, 2008 09:40 PM

Another comment about McDonald's. The restroom at McDonald's across from the Arles TI was locked. Had to get the combination for the lock from the cashier.

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