What’s the legal drinking age in Greece for tourists? Do you need to show ID? What’s the legal limit for drinking and driving in Greece? Don’t worry – we’ve got the answers to these questions and to the other ones you have about ID checks, clubbing age, and what to drink in Greece.
So read on because we’ve got all of the frequently asked questions about the drinking age in Greece in 2023 covered!
Table of Contents
- Do Greeks drink a lot? Traditional Greek Drinking Culture
- Ouzo in Greece
- Is Greece strict on the drinking age?
- At what age can I legally purchase alcohol in Greece?
- Can I walk around with alcohol?
- What is the Legal Limit for Drinking and Driving in Greece
- Greek nightlife: Clubbing and IDs
- Frequently asked questions
- Final Thoughts
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Do Greeks drink a lot? Traditional Greek Drinking Culture
Social drinking is the norm in Greece and drinking alcohol, including strong liquor, is part of traditional Greek life.
If you visit an archaeological site in Greece, like Akrotiri on Santorini, you’ll see wine storage containers (urns and amphorae) from 3,500 years ago.
By the Hellenic Age, a part of Greek identity that they believed distinguished themselves from other less ‘civilized peoples’, was their consumption of wine.
Even young children may be given very watered-down wine to drink at family gatherings and alcohol is generally consumed by adults at all meals (not so much breakfast anymore!)
Despite the fact that they seemingly put away alcohol nonstop, in Greece social drinking is all about being able to demonstrate that you can drink responsibly, which is to say, to drink moderately.
Public displays of drunkenness in Greece, as in many other European countries (Continental Europe), is rare and it is not considered appropriate to be obviously very inebriated.
There are always areas of big cities and some beach resorts where you can find exceptions (especially among tourists).
Related: Is Santorini Water safe to drink? 2023 Santorini drinking water guide
Ouzo in Greece
The smell and taste of anise will always evoke the magical Greek islands after you’ve been introduced to the Greek’s favorite spirit, Ouzo.
It’s hard to imagine that the monks of Mount Athos in the 14th century could have foreseen just how popular their new strong liquor would be.
Traditionally Ouzo is served chilled, with water and ice, in a small glass, and while eating mezze.
And while it may seem like Greeks consume incredible amounts of the stuff every day, for people who don’t drink spirits every day, you can find yourself becoming legally drunk very quickly!
And the point about Greeks drinking in moderation is really important – they’re not trying to drink half a bottle as quickly as possible.
In fact, a WHO study has found that Greeks drink on average quite a bit less than other Europeans. They are also drinking less Ouzo, and more wine and beer.
Beer is a safer alcohol to stick to, especially if you are trying to stay under the legal driving limit by drinking moderately over a long evening.
Is Greece strict on the drinking age?
The official legal drinking age in Greece is 18 in public and you also have to be 18 to buy alcohol. In reality, these laws are not strictly enforced and in many tourist zones, they’re not enforced at all.
At what age can I legally purchase alcohol in Greece?
Under Greek law, you can purchase alcohol at 18 but the reality is that you’ll be sold alcohol of just about any type in a supermarket without being asked for ID.
Can I walk around with alcohol?
Yes and No. No in Athens. In Athens, there is an ‘open container ordinance’ so you can’t even stand a meter or two away from a bar with alcohol in your hand.
In Athens, the Greek police do enforce the law of no alcohol consumption in public spaces.
Otherwise, you can walk around with alcohol in your hand, but you can’t walk around drunk! But again, the chances of this law being enforced is low.
What is the Legal Limit for Drinking and Driving in Greece
Like many European countries, a blood alcohol content of 0.05 percent is the maximum allowable to drive in Greece. This is lower than England, Northern Ireland, and the U.S. where it is 0.08 percent.
If you are a novice driver, that drops to 0.02 percent.
In other words, you can have two standard drinks and drive if you have a regular license, and no alcohol if you don’t yet have your full license.
If you live in the U.S. and the U.K., you might be more used to the limit of three standard drinks or 0.08 percent, so you need to take care with Greece’s lower limit, even if you believe you can drive perfectly well on at 0.05 blood alcohol content.
It’s also the case that in many parts of Greece, you’ll find yourself driving at night on dirt and winding roads, often without street lighting, and the police do enforce drink driving laws.
The fine for being caught over the limit is €1,200 and, depending on the severity of the charge, a prison term can be involved.
It’s mad to be drunk driving in Greece, most especially if you’ve rented a quad bike. ATVs (Quad bikes) are less stable than cars because of their high center of gravity.
They’re also harder to see at night, and so you have more chance of being hit by an equally drunk guy in another car!
There are so many pubs and clubs and Greece – choose one you can walk to, get an Uber, or stay at an all-inclusive resort!
Greek nightlife: Clubbing and IDs
Young people in Greece begin to filter into late-night bars and clubs around midnight. The bars close in the early morning hours but in party areas, the clubs stay open until about 7 am.
Legally you can be denied entry if your ID was checked and you were under 18 years of age. In practice, this doesn’t happen.
Frequently asked questions
Is There a Drinking Age Limit in Greece?
There’s no maximum drinking age limit in Greece, but there is a minimum age. You cannot be served alcohol in Greece if you are under 18 years of age.
Do Greek clubs check ID?
Can I go clubbing in Greece at 17? How old do you have to be to go clubbing in Greece?
Legally no, however, the chances of anyone ever checking your ID – well- it would be a very rare occasion, especially on party islands like Zakynthos and Mykonos.
The legal age to go into clubs that sell alcohol (and that would be all of them!) is 18.
Is 16 legal in Greece?
It is not legal to drink or consume alcohol in Greece in public at 16 years of age but the is no legal minimum age for drinking alcohol in private. The legal drinking age in Greece is 18 for drinking in public and for purchasing alcohol.
What country lets you drink at 13? What country has the lowest drinking age?
According to the World Population Review, 2023, there is no minimum age to legally drink alcohol in 111 countries. There is usually, however, a minimum legal age to purchase alcohol, with the average age being 18.
In what countries can 16-year-olds drink?
There are around 20 countries in which 16-year-olds can legally consume alcohol. They include:
Bosnia and Herzegovina
What is Ouzo?
Ouzo is a distilled spirit that is flavored with anise. It is a traditional aperitif in Greece and has been recognized by the European Union with a Protection Label of Origin which means it can only be produced in Greece and Cyprus.
The main Ouzo distilleries in Greece are on the island of Lesbos, and there is also a Museum of Orzo on the island.
Keep planning your trip to Greece with more Greek Planning Tips and destinations to get inspired about!
Is Greece strict on the drinking age? The official legal drinking age in Greece is 18 in public and you also have to be 18 to buy alcohol.What is the drinking age laws in Greece? ›
In Greece, there's no minimum age for the consumption of alcohol, but you must be 18 or over to buy it. However, it's unusual to be asked for ID in bars, cafes or supermarkets where you can buy just about any type of alcohol.Do you have to be 21 to drink in Greece? ›
According to the law, the minimum legal drinking age in Greece is 18, and it is also mandatory to be 18 years or above to purchase alcohol. However, in practice, these laws are not always enforced strictly, and in some tourist zones, they may not be enforced at all.What age do you have to be to go to a club in Greece? ›
Therefore are signs affixed at the entrances (0,60x0,30 ): An unaccompanied person, who have not reached 18 years of age is not allowed to enter the club. However minors are prohibited to enter and stay at entertainment clubs, bars, as well as any kind of employment at these places.
The age of consent in Greece is 15 – this applies to partners of both the same sex and opposite sex. Transgender people are able to change their legal gender.Which country is drinking age 15? ›
The youngest legal drinking age in the world is 15, with both Mali and the Central African Republic allowing folks to drink at that time.Is 16 and 18 legal in Greece? ›
Greece. The age of consent in Greece is 15. The general provision for age of consent in Greece is 15 as specified by Article 339, as well as Articles 337, 348B of the Greek Penal Code.What country can a 13 year old drink alcohol? ›
Burkina Faso — Age to purchase is 13 for males, 16 for females. Burundi — Age to purchase is 18 unless accompanied by parent. Cambodia. Cameroon — Age to purchase is 18 on-premise, 21 off-premise.How old do you have to be to drink alcohol in Santorini Greece? ›
Drinking Responsibly in Santorini:
Legal drinking age: There is no minimum age for drinking in private, but you must be 18 or older to purchase alcohol and drink in public.
Not legally, but you can purchase alcohol from most places since ID checking is not a common practice, unfortunately. In bars and restaurants, the law states that you can drink from your 17th birthday, which is not always obeyed of course.
While ouzo is considered the national drink of Greece, many other drinks are popular. A refreshing beer is common during summer, while wine and tsipouro, also called raki, are also consumed. In addition, most bars serve cocktails with rum, vodka, tequila or other imported spirits.Can you drink at 14 in Germany? ›
Adolescents aged 16 and over are allowed to buy and drink beer, wine or sparkling wine also in absence of their parents, but other -heavy- alcoholic drinks are not allowed for them either. From the 18th birthday, a person is considered an adult in Germany.Can you drink at 16 in Greece? ›
Legal Drinking Age in Greece is 18 or over to purchase it. There's no minimum age for consumption of alcohol, no one asks for identification in bars, cafes or supermarkets where you can buy just about any type of alcohol. But do not drive while you drunk!Can you smoke on the beach in Greece? ›
Smoking on the beach
Expect to see a lot of smoking in Greece. Although certain laws limit smoking indoors, it is allowed on the beach, where people will often smoke liberally.
Codeine is one of the most commonly banned substances, as it contains opiates, also found in heroin. It's illegal in both Greece and Hong Kong. Tramadol is another commonly banned substance.Where is the lowest age of consent? ›
According to reports, Nigeria has the lowest age of consent across the world at 11 years which is followed by Angola at 12 years. On the other hand, in countries like the United Kingdom the age of consent is 16, in Greece and France it is 15 and 14 in Germany, and Italy.Can a 14 year old date a 18 year old in Italy? ›
All Member States establish a minimum age for sexual consent. Most Member States set this between 14 and 16 years. The lowest minimum age is 14 years, set in seven Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Portugal. The highest is set at 18 years – in Malta.Why is the age of consent 13 in Japan? ›
Age of consent in Japan
It has been 13 years since 1907 when the Penal Code of Japan set the age limit. At that time, the average life expectancy of women was 44 years, and it was common for women to marry and have children at a young age. In society at that time, 13 was regarded as a reasonable age of consent.
Drink or possess alcohol if you are below the legal drinking age (which is 19 in most provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta where it is 18).Can a 15 year old drink in Canada? ›
As a general rule, you must be at least 19 years old to drink alcohol in Ontario. If you allow an underage byob event to be held on your property, you may be held liable for injuries suffered or caused by a guest who is intoxicated.
The legal drinking age varies by state. In Canada, most provinces have a minimum age of 19 years to buy or consume alcohol, while Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec, the minimum age is 18 years.Are Greece strict on ID? ›
Yes, the bars, restaurants, and stores almost never check IDs when buying drinks. Only thing is the Greek police don't tolerate rowdy behaviour or public intoxication.Do you have to be 18 to check into a hotel in Greece? ›
Any person reserving a room through this site, is required to provide his personal details, including his I.D. or passport number and his credit card number, and details of all the other guests in his party. Accommodation will not be provided to guests under 18 years old that are not accompanied by an adult. 3.1.What is the highest age of consent in the world? ›
The highest Age of Consent in the world is 21 in Bahrain.
The second-highest age of consent is 20 in South Korea, while the majority of other countries have an Age of Consent between 16 and 18.
Unlike other European countries, there is no official legal drinking age in Greece if you are drinking in private (like a house). However, if you want to purchase alcohol and drink in public, you must be at least 18 years of age. While that is the law, it isn't always strictly enforced.What country is 13 the legal drinking age? ›
Burkina Faso — Age to purchase is 13 for males, 16 for females. Burundi — Age to purchase is 18 unless accompanied by parent. Cambodia. Cameroon — Age to purchase is 18 on-premise, 21 off-premise.Can a 15 year old drink in Italy? ›
What's The Drinking Age in Italy? The alcohol age limit in Italy is 18 years old. That means, it is illegal to sell alcohol to minors in either shops, restaurants or bars.Is the drinking age in Italy 16 or 18? ›
What is the minimum drinking age in Italy? The drinking age in Italy is 18 years old. However, it is not strictly enforced. We recommend to always carry a photo ID to prove your age.What is the Canadian drinking age? ›
Legal drinking age versus per capita
Standard drinks per week per person are calculated for each person of legal drinking age in Canada. The legal drinking age is 19 years and older in every province and territory except Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta where it is 18 years and older.
Drink or possess alcohol if you are below the legal drinking age (which is 19 in most provinces and territories, with the exception of Quebec, Manitoba and Alberta where it is 18).
18 in Alberta, Manitoba, and Quebec; 19 in British Columbia, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, and Yukon. *Minors may be served alcohol beverages if accompanied by a parent at an establishment serving food.