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Legal Drinking Age in Portugal: Everything You Need to Know

Are you considering a trip to Portugal? It’s a country celebrated for its vibrant culture, storied past, delicious food, and renowned wines and beers. Enjoying a glass in good company is part of the local charm. However, it’s wise to familiarize yourself with the local drinking laws to ensure your experience is enjoyable and responsible.

The flag of portugal is flying high in the sky photo – Portugal flag Image on Unsplash

In Portugal, the magic number is 18. That’s the age you need to be to enjoy a local wine, beer, or spirit. This rule is country-wide, covering everywhere from Lisbon to the scenic islands of Madeira and the Azores. The age limit was set in 2012, up from 16, as part of efforts to curb underage drinking and ensure the well-being of Portugal’s youth. So, if you’re 18 or over, you’re all set to savour Portugal’s famous hospitality responsibly.

Can 16-Year-Olds Drink in Portugal?

If you’re 18, you’re good to go for a drink. But there’s a little leeway for those who are 16 or 17. They can enjoy a beer, wine, or cider during a meal in a restaurant, but only with their parents or guardians. This nods to Portugal’s tradition of moderate drinking with meals. Remember, this doesn’t extend to buying drinks in stores or sipping without a meal. For all other cases, the under-18 rules apply, keeping the youth safe and sound.

What are Portugal’s Alcohol Laws?

Are you heading to Portugal and planning to enjoy a drink? Keep in mind that you need to be 18 to do so. But there’s more to it:

  1. Driving? Stick to one drink. Portugal’s limit is 0.5 grams per litre of blood—cross it, and you might face fines or worse.
  2. Are you buying a drink? Make sure the place is licensed. Selling alcohol to anyone under 18 is a big no-no, with hefty fines for those who break the law.
  3. Are you drinking in public? Usually, it’s okay, but local rules can vary, especially regarding time and place.

So, sip back and relax, but always drink responsibly.

Can You Drink on Beaches in Portugal?

In Portugal, beach days can be even more relaxing with a drink in hand. But it’s not the same everywhere—each beach has its own set of rules. You might find signs telling you if it’s okay to drink and under what conditions. Maybe it’s a yes, but only for certain hours, in specific zones, or using non-glass containers.

Unsure about the rules? Just ask a lifeguard or local authority—they’ll steer you right. Remember, though, the beach is for everyone. Please keep it clean, keep the peace, and drink in moderation. That way, everyone can enjoy the sand and sea, with or without a toast.

What Time Can I Buy Alcohol in Portugal?

In Portugal, you’re never too far from a refreshing drink, with supermarkets and convenience stores serving alcohol daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. But keep an eye out—some might adjust their hours. For a night out, bars and pubs welcome you from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., though this can vary too. Just check their doors or websites for the exact times. And remember, while it’s easy to find a good drink, always do so responsibly and only if you’re 18 or older.

How Do You Ask for a Beer in Portugal?

Ready to order a beer in Portugal? Here’s a quick guide to the essential Portuguese phrases you’ll need:

  1. “Uma cerveja, por favor” – “One beer, please.”
  2. “Duas cervejas, por favor” – “Two beers, please.”
  3. “Uma imperial, por favor” – “A draft beer, please.”
  4. “Uma garrafa de cerveja, por favor” – “A bottle of beer, please.”
  5. “Uma caneca de cerveja, por favor” – “A mug of beer, please.”
  6. “Uma mini, por favor” – “A small beer, please.”
  7. “Qual é a melhor cerveja?” – “What’s the best beer?”
  8. “Quanto custa uma cerveja?” – “How much is a beer?”

Beer is more than just a drink in Portugal—it’s a part of the culture. You’ll find plenty to love, whether you prefer a crisp lager, a rich ale, or a hearty stout. Don’t miss out on local favourites like Sagres and Super Bock, or dive into the craft scene with brews from Alentejana or Sovina. Cheers to your Portuguese adventure! 🍻


So, you’re curious about enjoying a drink in Portugal? Here’s the scoop: once you hit 18, you’re all set to partake in the local libations—wine, beer, or spirits. This age limit is the standard across Portugal, from the bustling streets of Lisbon to the tranquil islands of Madeira and the Azores. So, if you’re of age, raise a glass to the Portuguese way of life!


Q: How old do you have to be to drink alcohol in Portugal?

A: You must be 18 or older to drink any alcohol in Portugal, except for beer, wine, or cider with a meal in a restaurant if you are 16 or 17 and with your parents or guardians.

Q: When did the legal drinking age change in Portugal?

A: The legal drinking age in Portugal was raised from 17 to 18 in 2015 based on scientific evidence and public health concerns.

Q: Is the legal drinking age in Portugal the same as in other European countries?

A: Yes, the legal drinking age in Portugal is the same as in most other European countries, except for the Balearic Islands in Spain, where there is no minimum age to buy alcohol.

Q: What happens if you break the legal drinking age in Portugal?

A: If you are under 18 and you buy or drink alcohol in public places, you could be fined up to €500. If you sell or serve alcohol to a minor, you could be fined between €500 and €30,000 and lose your license or business.

Q: What happens if you drink and drive in Portugal?

A: If you drink and drive in Portugal, you could face a fine, a suspension of your license, or imprisonment, depending on your blood alcohol level and the severity of the offence.

Q: Can you drink alcohol in public places in Portugal?

A: Yes, you can drink alcohol in public places in Portugal, as long as you are of legal age and behave responsibly. However, some areas may have signs or rules that prohibit or restrict alcohol consumption, so you should always check before you drink.

Q: What are the benefits of the legal drinking age in Portugal?

A: The benefits of the legal drinking age in Portugal are that it helps to prevent underage drinking, reduce illegal alcohol sales, protect minors from alcohol-related harms, and promote a responsible drinking culture.

Q: What are the challenges of the legal drinking age in Portugal?

A: The challenges of the legal drinking age in Portugal are that it may be difficult to enforce, especially in rural areas or during festivals, that it may not address the root causes of alcohol abuse, and that it may face resistance from some groups or individuals.

Q: How can you get help if you have a problem with alcohol in Portugal?

A: If you have a problem with alcohol in Portugal, you can get help from various sources, such as your family doctor, a psychologist, a social worker, a support group, or a specialized treatment centre.

Q: Where can you find more information about the legal drinking age in Portugal?

A: You can find more information about the legal drinking age in Portugal on the official website of the Portuguese government, the World Health Organization, or the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.