Drinking Alcohol & The Legal Drinking Age in Greece

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Post author Nick

Written by our local expert Nick

Nick is is digital nomad originally from Athens, Greece. You will now find him exploring the Greek islands, Bulgaria and beyond.

Welcome to your comprehensive guide on navigating the drinking scene in Greece! We’ve got all the information you need, including the answer to the frequently asked question, “What is the legal drinking age in Greece?” So, let’s embark on this practical journey through Greece’s drinking culture and regulations.


Greece Travel Blog_Drinking Alcohol & Legal Drinking Age In Greece

Greece is the birthplace of our modern world, home to a rich culture, and a perfect destination for your next summer holiday.

However, if you’re planning to indulge in a few drinks, a common question you might be asking is: “What’s the legal age to drink in Greece?” or “What should I know about Greek drinking culture.”

In this post, we’ll talk about the lowest drinking age in Greece, whether you need an I.D. card, the drinking culture and customs, as well as a few things to be aware of for safe drinking and what are some of the popular alcoholic beverages on the Greek Islands and the mainland.

What Is The Legal Minimum Drinking Age In Greece

The legal drinking age in Greece is 18 years of age – like the driving age in Greece. Anyone, including those coming from the U.S. or other countries with a higher drinking age, can purchase and consume alcohol in Greece as long as they are over 18 years old.

The sale of alcohol to anyone under 18 is illegal, and companies face hefty fines if caught, so if you look young, then your alcohol purchases may come with a request to show I.D. So carry it with you.

The minimum legal drinking age in Greece is the same for all cities, so you don’t have to wonder whether the Corfu drinking age restriction is different from Athens.

In some cases, you might need to prove you’re at least 18 years old. So, you should carry your passport, national I.D. card, or another valid form of identification to avoid problems.

Plus, if you wonder: “What is the official legal drinking age in Europe?” We can say that the minimum age requirement is not the exact same across the whole continent.

Legal drinking ages in European countries vary between 16 and 18 – much lower than that of 21 in the United States. While some countries allow anyone over 16 to drink mild alcoholic beverages, the most common European drinking age is 18.

Do I Need My ID Card

In Greece, most restaurants, bars, clubs, or cafés don’t ask for an I.D. card. However, as Greek alcohol laws prohibit younger people under 18 from drinking alcohol, those who look young might be asked to show their I.D.s before purchasing alcohol. That’s why you should carry a passport or I.D. card when going out to have a couple of drinks.

What Should I Know About the Drinking Culture in Greece

Drinks in Greece - Traditional greek kumquat liqueur in shot glass

Drinking is a big part of Greek life and Greek culture, as it’s a way of socializing, celebrating, and enjoying your loved one’s company. From a glass of wine to beer to local spirits, Greeks enjoy quite a vast array of alcoholic beverages.

This deep-rooted drinking culture can be traced back to the country’s ancient history. During antiquity, Greeks saw wine as a gift from the gods and consumed it almost all the time, from religious gatherings to family dinners. Besides, ancient Greeks used wine as a medicine and ingredient for different recipes.

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What Are The Most Popular Alcoholic Beverages In Greece

If you don’t know what to drink in Greece, you needn’t worry! Here is a brief list of the most popular Greek alcoholic drinks and when to try them:


Greece Travel Blog_Complete Guide To Lesbos_Ouzo Barbayannis
Photo Credit: Ouzo Barbayannis

The most famous Greek alcohol, Ouzo, is the anise-flavored national drink of Greece. The traditional Greek way to enjoy this drink would be during or after meals and served with ice or water. It’s customary to have small plates of mezze, such as olives, cheese, and seafood with Ouzo.

We recommend you try Ouzo when you aren’t alone – as it’s customary to drink it with others – and have plenty of time to spend. It also makes a fantastic souvenir!


Tsipouro is another anise-flavored Greek spirit that tastes, smells, and looks like Ouzo. However, tsipouro is typically stronger and more flavourful than Ouzo. If you have already tried Ouzo and loved the flavor, it might be time to try tsipouro.

Greek Wines

Wines In Greece - Drinking in Santorini

As mentioned earlier, Greeks are known for their delicious traditional wines. Since the country has a long history of winemaking, they have a vast variety of wines with different flavors. Romantic evenings or fancy dinners are the perfect setting for having a few glasses of Greek wine – don’t forget to buy a few bottles as souvenirs.

Greek Beers

If you enjoy a beer with your burger, you’re lucky! Most Greek restaurants have many beers on their menu, including lagers, ales, and craft beers. Whenever you want to drink something lighter than Ouzo or less fancy than wine, go for Greek beers.

What Is Mezze

Women eating Traditional Turkish Village Breakfast served in restaurant. Meze

Mezze is a large selection of appetizers served on small plates and consumed with meals and – usually – spirits. Mezzes are important in Turkish, Greek, Albanian, Armenian, Balkan, and Persian cuisines. 

  • Hummus
  • Taramasalata
  • Tzatziki
  • Melitzanosalata
  • Salads
  • Falafel
  • Calamari
  • Kibbeh
  • Grilled Meats
  • Seafood
  • Cheeses
  • Olives

Mezzes are usually served with drinks, such as tsipouro or Ouzo.

It is customary to start with lighter dishes like dips and spreads. Grilled meats and seafood often come afterward. Using bread is a must to scoop up dips and spreads better.

What Should I Know About The Drinking Customs

Honeymoon in Corfu - Drinking wine

When in Greece, you should do as the Greeks do. Here is a list of the most prominent aspects of Greek drinking customs:


Drinking Is A Social Activity

You can, of course, drink alone; however, Greeks consider drinking a sociable activity. It’s a way of socializing with people and enjoying each other’s company. That’s why when there’s alcohol, there’s also an endless amount of mezze and food. The traditional alcohol Greece prefers for such a social setting is usually Ouzo or tsipouro.

Always Finish Your Drink Before Ordering Another One

If you’re unable to finish your drink, it’s alright; however, Greeks consider it rude to have a refill when your wine or beer is unfinished.

Don’t Forget To Toast

Greeks almost always toast before having a drink. The most Greek way to say “Cheers” is by shouting: “Yiamas!” (Γειά μας!) which means “to our health!” Then, you can clink your glasses together and begin drinking.

Don’t Rush, Drink Slowly

Greeks love their Ouzo; they always drink slowly and never rush. Since drinks are seen as appetizers to the gathering, you should focus on each other, not your drinks. If you think you’re going too fast, take a break and wait for your friends to catch up with you.

How Can I Avoid Greek Drink Scams

Some restaurants or bars in Greece have various strategies to rip off their customers. It is common for restaurant staff to try to sell you a product without revealing its price or showing you the menu. In such cases, you should suspect it might have an inflated price. The best way to avoid these scams is never to order something before reading the menu.

Can I Drink In Public Places In Greece

Drinking age in Greece - Woman on chaise lounge with cocktail on the beach at sunset

Although being drunk in public is frowned upon, there’s no Greek drinking law against public drinking in Greece. However, you should behave well and avoid causing any trouble to locals.

Since Greeks prefer drinking in private, we recommend you do the same. This way, you can truly enjoy local drinking culture with the tastiest mezze and best spirits you can find.

Drinking In Greece FAQs


Here are some common questions about drinking and alcohol in Greece.

What is the legal drinking age in Greece?

In Greece, the legal age for purchasing alcohol is 18 years of age, in line with the regulations in most European Union countries.

Will they ask me for my I.D. in Greece?

Yes, they may ask for your identification in Greece. While it’s not uncommon for stores, local bars, and clubs to occasionally overlook checking age, it’s advisable to carry your I.D. with you.

Can my parents/legal guardian let me drink in Greece?

Interestingly, in Greece, there is no specified minimum age for consuming alcohol in a private home. Plus, it’s unlikely that anyone would check at private residences. During family gatherings and special occasions, some young individuals who are not yet of legal age are allowed to sip homemade wine with parental consent. For example, I had my first glass of wine at age 16, handed to me by my father on the island of Lesbos at a family gathering.

What is Greece’s national drink?

Ouzo is Greece’s national drink. It’s an anise-flavored liquor known for its strong and distinct taste.

How do you say “cheers” in Greek?

“ΥΓΕΙΑ!” (Yia sas!) is the Greek way to say “cheers.” Maintaining eye contact during a toast is a customary practice in Greece, similar to other places.

Is there any drinking etiquette in Greece I should be aware of?

Greeks enjoy their alcoholic beverages but always in moderation. It’s important to drink responsibly and be mindful of your alcohol consumption.

Is it true that you can buy wine and beer at supermarkets in Greece?

Yes, Greek grocery stores do sell a variety of alcoholic beverages as they do in North America, including wine and beer, making it convenient for shoppers to purchase these items.

What non-alcoholic products can I drink in Greece?

In Greece, you can enjoy a variety of non-alcoholic beverages. Some popular options include traditional Greek coffee, herbal teas, fresh fruit juices, soft drinks, and mineral water. Greek coffee, in particular, is a unique and strong coffee preparation worth trying.

What hard liquor choices does Greece offer?

Greece offers a wide selection of hard liquors. In addition to Ouzo, which is the national spirit, you can find other popular options such as Tsipouro, Raki, and Metaxa. These beverages come in various flavors and alcohol content levels, providing a diverse range of choices for those who enjoy spirits.

What is the legal limit for drunk driving in Greece?

The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving in Greece is typically 0.05%. However, it’s essential to note that the specific legal limit for the amount of alcohol can vary depending on various factors, including the driver’s age and experience. It is crucial always to be well below the legal limit if you plan to drive after consuming alcohol.

Where can I make a purchase of alcohol in Greece?

You can purchase alcohol in Greece at various places, including liquor stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, and bars. Liquor stores, known as “Κάβες” (kaves) in Greek, typically have a wide selection of alcoholic beverages, including wine, spirits, and beer.

What are the drink-driving laws in Greece?

Greek law strictly prohibits drinking and driving. It’s illegal to operate a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Violating this law can result in severe penalties, including fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment. It’s essential to prioritize responsible and sober driving in Greece.

Are there legal consequences for drinking in public in Greece?

The consumption of alcoholic beverages in places such as streets or parks is generally allowed in Greece. However, it’s essential to do so in moderation and respect local regulations and customs. Young people acting disorderly or public displays of drunkenness may lead to legal consequences or fines, so it’s advisable to drink responsibly and be mindful of your surroundings.

Can alcohol products be purchased at supermarkets in Greece?

Yes, alcohol products, including wine, beer, and spirits, can be purchased at supermarkets in Greece. Greek supermarkets typically offer a wide selection of alcoholic beverages, making it convenient for shoppers to buy their preferred drinks while shopping.

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