Pyrenees/Continent — Finding Alcohol For Stoves

I’ve had a couple of queries recently about finding alcohol when you are in the mountains or on the continent. French and Spanish outdoor stores rarely carry clonal for stoves. One of my readers emailed in a slight panic yesterday from a Spanish trailhead town from where he was about to start walking.

Stove alcohol will not be found in outdoors shops. You will find it in hardware stores. Most French and Spanish towns still have stores that sell all manner of hardware products. In my experience the alcohol is of a high quality and burns well, but you will have to buy it in litre containers — containers that look like this:

In France ask for alcohol de bruyer. (The direct translation is Esprits Méthodiques but I’ve never seen it described as this).

In Spain ask for alcohol de quemar

IMG 20170410 120933


You should never have any trouble finding this. It is very cheap, 2 Euros for 1 litre at the moment I am told!


  1. I believe the french should be “alcohol de bruler”

    Bottle in the pic is the very same one I just used to fill my container for evening departure today 🙂

  2. Hi Andy. What you need in France alcool à brûler (alcool is pronounced as if it only had one “o”). De Buyer is a trade mark but they do a lot more than just alcohol. The most annoying thing is that you can only get it in large bottles.

  3. Thanks Steve — I always refer to it as alcool here — slipped my attention this time!

  4. Gordon says:

    I had difficulties buying gas cylinder for my burner back in 2010 after it was confiscated when boarding Eurostar. We could do with a database building up of where you can obtain such essentials if travelling by Eurostar or air. It took me from Hendaye to Cauterets (think it was at the Intersport shop) before I was able to buy one (the self-sealing type).

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