Ah, Croatia! It is known for its stunning coastline, historic towns, and rich culture. But knowing a few things is essential if you’re gearing up to enjoy a refreshing beverage by the Adriatic Sea.
I know much about Croatia; I have lived here since 2012 and have been married to a Croatian for over 25 years!
In my guide, I will detail the Croatian drinking culture, the youngest drinking age, and Croatian laws about booze – oh, and a few my suggestions on what to drink in Croatia.
Picture this: the sun setting over the Adriatic Sea, a glass of Croatia’s finest wine in hand, and the hum of a lively coastal town setting the evening’s ambiance. Before immersing yourself in Croatia’s rich drinking culture, it’s essential to be aware of the country’s drinking age and regulations.
Join me as I guide you through the ins and outs of enjoying drinks responsibly in Croatia.
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The Minimum Legal Drinking Age In Croatia
In Croatia, like in many European countries, the legal drinking age is 18. Whether you’re indulging in local craft beers, exquisite wines, or the cherished national spirit, Rakija, Croatia, offers a variety of libations. Just remember to verify you’ve reached the legal age before raising your glass for a toast. Rakija is a hard liquor and has an alcohol percentage of 40% (but can be made stronger if it’s homemade).
Drinking In Public In Croatia
While the allure of sipping light lagers or cocktails on a hot Croatian day is tempting, it’s important to note that public consumption of alcohol isn’t always tolerated.
So can you drink on the streets in Croatia?
…and no. Let me break it down for you.
While the laws in Croatia generally frown upon drinking alcohol in public, the actual enforcement can be a hit-or-miss. You won’t come across many folks strolling around with open containers. Still, if you’re discreet about having a casual drink on the beach or chilling out on a park bench, chances are your consumption of alcoholic beverages in public will go mostly unnoticed and without issue.
The key is avoiding causing a scene or disturbing others; you should be good to go. Please do not be that drunk tosser being all rowdy in the public square we locals see on the news every summer.
Some cities, like Split, have tightened their local laws due to issues with rowdy tourist behavior (say no to being that drunk tosser I mentioned). To tackle this problem, they’ve implemented stricter regulations that completely ban public drinking. Ignoring the rules could land you a hefty fine of up to €700 (Hvar Island) or around €300 in Split.
Different regions don’t have such policies, and I have wandered down the street with a cider can in hand without issue.
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Strict Enforcements And Penalties
Despite the relaxed vibes of Croatia’s beaches and historical sites, the country takes its drinking laws seriously, and excessive drinking is not accepted here. Underage drinking can lead to significant fines that might dent your vacation budget, while establishments can face severe repercussions, including the loss of their licenses, for serving minors.
People who are younger than 18 years old are not allowed to consume alcohol in Croatia. The law in Croatia strictly forbids the sale of alcoholic beverages or even the act of giving alcoholic beverages to individuals who are minors.
Plus, establishments have the right to decline selling or serving alcoholic drinks to customers who cannot provide a valid identification card, passport, or driver’s license issued by the government. So if you look young – take your I.D. out with you.
Drink Driving In Croatia
As you traverse Croatia’s scenic routes, remember that enjoying the charm of Croatian wines does not excuse drinking and driving. Our country imposes strict blood alcohol limits, and surpassing them can result in hefty fines or even imprisonment. You can be subject to a breath test at any time and must comply.
Prioritize your safety and that of others by opting for a taxi or Uber after a night (or boozy beach day) of indulgence.
The blood alcohol content limit is set at 0.05
What To Drink In Croatia
I’ve been coming to Croatia since 2000 (yeah, I am old!). Here are a few drinks I suggest – alcoholic and non-alcoholic for those under 18 years.
- Rakija: a potent fruit brandy that holds a special place in the hearts of Croatians. It comes in various flavors depending on the fruit used, such as plum (šljivovica), grape (lozovača), and cherry (višnjevača). I wrote a whole post about rakija here.
- Wine: Croatia has a rich wine-making history with numerous local grape varieties. Some Croatian wines include:
- Pelinkovac: a bitter herbal liqueur often compared to Jägermeister but with a distinct taste, it’s popular in Croatia and neighboring countries
- Maraschino: a cherry liqueur originating from the city of Zadar
- Karlovacko and Ožujsko: Two of the most famous Croatian beer brands. There are dozens of other traditional beer types to try also!
- Biska: a particular type of rakija made from mistletoe and often associated with the Istrian region
- Prošek: a traditional sweet dessert wine from Dalmatia
- Gemišt: a refreshing drink made by mixing white wine with sparkling water, similar to a spritzer
- Cedevita: a popular instant drink powder that’s mixed with water to create a refreshing, vitamin-rich beverage
- 🍊 Orangina: a unique blend of sweet and tangy flavors, thanks to its mix of citrus juices. One of the yummiest soft drinks for the hot summer months
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Final Word On Drinking In Croatia
Croatia has a laid-back drinking culture, with heavy drinking seen as vulgar. The national minimum drinking age act in Croatia states that you must be 18 years old, and while public drinking is technically not allowed, enforcement can vary. Remember to carry your identification, which may be requested at bars, clubs, and stores.
Ultimately, by drinking responsibly (no binge drinking and keeping your alcohol consumption in check) and respecting local regulations, you can fully enjoy Croatia’s delightful libations. Živjeli!