Alcohol Drinking Ages Around the World

What's the Legal Drinking Age for Countries Worldwide?

woman chatting with a friend in a pub
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As a student traveler, you may be under 21, which is the legal drinking age in the U.S. Guess what? Drinking ages around the world are far more reasonable -- most drinking ages worldwide are at maximum 18, if not less, which makes sense for legal drinking ages. And provided you act like a grown up, you can probably be served a cerveza with that fish taco anywhere, regardless of age.

Following is a brief rundown of legal drinking ages around the world (see a more complete list of legal drinking ages worldwide at International Center for Alcohol Policy).

Remember that if you're old enough to fight wars, drive cars and vote, you're old enough to buy alcohol in most countries -- there's a reason you'll be treated like an adult with adult smarts and privileges elsewhere in the world. The joys of a pint of ale in London or a glass of vino in Italy are well worth exercising the self control 21-and-unders are assumed to possess and expected to demonstrate elsewhere on the planet.

Exceptions to legal drinking ages exist in many places (including the US) -- you can drink alcohol when you're with your parents in some countries, for instance. And the island of Puerto Rico is a US territory (meaning no passport is needed for travel to that piece of the Caribbean), but the legal drinking age is 18.

Drinking Ages Worldwide

Afghanistan: Alcohol is illegal in Afghanistan.

Albania: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Algeria: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Andorra: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Angola: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Antigua and Barbuda: Age 16 for both drinking and purchasing.

Argentina: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Armenia: There are no drinking or purchasing laws in Armenia. 

Australia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Austria:  Age 16 for both drinking and purchasing.

Azerbaijan: Age 16 for both drinking and purchasing.

Bahamas: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Bahrain: Age 18 or 21 (depending on the bar's rules) for drinking.

Bangladesh: Alcohol is illegal in Bangladesh. 

Barbados: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing; age 16 if you're with a parent.

Belarus: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Belgium: Age 16 beer and wine, age 18 for spirits.

Belize: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing, although it is rarely enforced.

Benin: There is no minimum drinking age in Benin.

Bhutan: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Bolivia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Botswana: Age 18 for purchasing.

Brazil: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Brunei: Alcohol is illegal in Brunei, but it is legal for non-Muslims older than 17 to bring alcohol into the country.

Bulgaria: No drinking age; purchase age of 18.

Burkina Faso: This is no minimum drinking age in Burkina Faso

Burundi: Age 16 for both drinking and purchasing.

Cambodia: There is no drinking or purchase age in Cambodia.

Cape Verde: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Cameroon: This is no drinking or purchase age in Cameroon.

Canada: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Central African Republic: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Chad: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Chile: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

China: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Colombia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing, although laws are lenient.

Comoros: There is no legal drinking or purchase age in Comoros.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Republic of the Congo: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Costa Rica: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Ivory Coast: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

CroatiaAge 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Cuba: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Cyprus: Age 17 for both drinking and purchasing.

Czech Republic: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Denmark: No drinking age; purchase age of 16 to buy alcohol of less than 16.5% alcohol, age 18 to buy alcohol of greater than 16.5%, age 18 to be served in restaurants, pubs and bars.

Djibouti: There is no legal drinking age in Djibouti.

Dominica: Age 16 for both drinking and purchasing.

Dominican Republic: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Ecuador: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Egypt: Age 21 for both drinking and purchasing.

El Salvador: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Equatorial Guinea: There is no legal drinking age in Equatorial Guinea. 

Eritrea: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Estonia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Ethiopia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Finland: Age 18 for alcohol between 1.2-22% alcohol, age 20 for 23-80% alcohol, age 18 to be served in bars, clubs and restaurants. 

France: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Georgia: Age 16 for both drinking and purchasing.

Germany: Age 14 for beer and wine (in the presence of your legal guardian), age 16 for beer and wine, age 18 for spirits. 

Gibraltar: Age 16 for alcohol with less than 15% alcohol. 

Greece: Age 17 for both drinking and purchasing.

Hong Kong: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Hungary: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Iceland: Age 20 for both drinking and purchasing.

India: The drinking age varies between age 18 and 25, depending on the state you're in. It's illegal in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Gujarat. 

Indonesia: Age 21 for both drinking and purchasing.

Iran: Alcohol is mostly illegal in Iran, but religious minorities can buy alcohol from shops owned by people of the same religion.

Iraq: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Ireland: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Israel: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing. It's illegal to sell alcohol between 11 pm and 6 am outside of bars and restaurants. 

Italy: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Jordan: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing

Japan: Age 20 for both drinking and purchasing

Kazakhstan: Age 21 for both drinking and purchasing

Kuwait: Alcohol is illegal in Kuwait. 

Kyrgyzstan: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing

Latvia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Lebanon: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Liechtenstein: Age 16 for wine, beer and cider, age 18 for spirits.

Lithuania: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Luxembourg: Age 16 for both drinking and purchasing.

Macau: There is no drinking or purchase age of alcohol in Macau.

Macedonia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Malaysia: Drinking age of 16; purchase age of 18.

Maldives: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing, with the sale of alcohol limited to tourist resorts. It is illegal for Muslims to buy alcohol. 

Malta: Age 17 for both drinking and purchasing.

Moldova: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Mongolia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Montenegro: No drinking age; purchase age of 18.

Nepal: Drinking age of 18; there is no purchase age. 

Netherlands: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

North Korea: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing. Alcohol is only served on Saturdays. 

Norway: No drinking age; purchase ages of 18 for less than 22% alcohol and 20 for greater than 22% alcohol. 

Oman: Age 21 for both drinking and purchasing. 

Pakistan: Age 21 for both drinking and purchasing. Alcohol is illegal for Muslims. 

Palestine: Age 16 for both drinking and purchasing. It is illegal in a few cities.

Philippines: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Poland: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Portugal: Age 16 for beer and wine; age 18 for spirits.

Qatar: Age 21 for both drinking and purchasing. Muslims are allowed to purchase alcohol but not consume it. 

Romania: No drinking age; purchase age of 18.

Russia: No drinking age; purchase age of 18.

Saudi Arabia: Alcohol is illegal in Saudi Arabia. 

Serbia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Singapore: No drinking age when consumed on private property, age 18 when in public places. Age 18 for the purchase of alcohol.

Slovakia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Slovenia: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing; no drinking age for drinking on private property.

South Korea: Age 19 for both drinking and purchasing.

Spain: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Sri Lanka: Age 21 for both drinking and purchasing.

Sweden: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Switzerland: Age 16 for fermented alcoholic drinks; age 18 for spirits.

Syria: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Taiwan: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing.

Tajikistan: Age 21 for both drinking and purchasing, but only if you're not Muslim. 

Thailand: Age 20 for both drinking and purchasing. The sale of alcohol is banned from 2 pm to 5 pm, and from 12 am to 11am. It's also banned on some religious festivals. 

Turkmenistan: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing

Turkey: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing. The sale of alcohol in shops is banned from 10 pm to 6 am in Turkey. 

Ukraine: Age 18 for both drinking and purchasing

United Arab Emirates: Age 21 for both drinking and purchasing for non-Muslim visitors. You must request a liquor permit in order to do so. 

United Kingdom: Age 5 for drinking on private property, age 18 for both drinking in public and purchasing.

Vietnam: There is no drinking or purchasing age in Vietnam. Anyone can buy it.

Yemen: Alcohol is illegal in Yemen.