Austria’s Alcohol Rules: Legal Drinking Age

Nadia Podrabinek Nadia Podrabinek

Written by Nadia Podrabinek

Drinking age in Austria

The minimum age to legally buy and drink alcohol in Austria is 18, like in many other European countries (SpainFranceItaly, etc.).  

However, it is possible to buy and consume alcoholic beverages like beer and wine at 16. According to the Vienna Youth Protection Act (2002), you can purchase and drink alcoholic beverages at the age limit of 16 (wine, beers, etc.) in Vienna. In contrast, buying distilled alcohol such as liquor or spirit is only allowed at 18.

In addition, the protection of minors in the areas of smoking, alcohol, and going out in Austria is not regulated nationwide. Still, it is a matter for the federal states.

Therefore, there may be different regulations in the individual federal states. The rules of the federal state in which the child or young person is currently staying apply. The difference in regional restrictions is not great, though, and mostly affects minor nuances.

Practically, unless you look like a 10-year-old, no Austrian place will refuse to serve you alcohol, especially beer or wine. Drinking is socially accepted in Austria; unless you buy and drink vodka in public, there will be no issues. 

Read also: Best breakfast spots in Vienna

What people say on Reddit

Does Vienna still have the weak/strong distinction? I.e. I remember you could only get non distilled alcohol before the age of 18 in the past. Might have been Lower Austria though.


Have an ID with you in case someone wants to check if you’re over 16. Beer and wine shouldn’t be a problem, hard liquor may not be sold to you. I suggest you check out Stiegl, Murauer and Wieselburger if you like beer.


So alcohol is legal at the age of 16 (only wine, beer) and at 18 everything else.

In my city the owner of the bar or nightclub can decide when to close, so some are open until 4am, some 2am or earlier. I‘ve been in a club that closed at 5am and i even know one that opens at 3am when some are already closing! I dont really know if there‘s a rule for it overall!

I like the idea of having different closing times. If every bar had to close at, lets say 2am, then you couldn‘t go anywhere else.

So thats the situation in my city, i dont know if its the same in bigger ones like Vienna!


Sir / Ma’am, this is Austria. Of course is alcohol legal. Well, you have to be at least 16 to enjoy beer and wine or have to look at least somewhat like 16.

Bars and nightclubs are a thing. For me not that important, but that’s just my personal preference. I prefer to be with friends an my or their home and just enjoy ourselfes. That way I can stay in comfy clothes and don’t smell overly like cigarettes which bothers me as I’m a non smoker.

When you come to Austria I really hope that you enjoy our beautiful country and have a great time there!


There are reasons why alcohol is banned for minors

Drinking alcohol at a young age is dangerous for several reasons.

Alcohol consumption can lead to many problems, including liver damagebrain damage, and addiction. It can also interfere with organism growth, leading to problems later in life, and contribute to accidents and fatalities among young people.

Drinking alcohol at a young age also increases the probability of becoming dependent on it in adulthood and affects brain development.

This also has consequences in the social and educational sphere since violent attitudes, alterations in family relationships, problems with studies, and risk behaviors can occur.

That being said, waiting until 18 is the most sensible thing to do.

The flaws in the alcohol law

The legal minimum age of 16 years for alcohol consumption in Austria brings some concerns as it lowers the starting point of alcohol consumption for young people. 

As a result, there are serious problems with drinking among minors in Austria, with “84% of 15-year-olds perceiving access to alcohol as easy”, according to the ESPAD survey.

The most popular alcoholic beverages in Austria

I suggest you the following drinks to try while you are in Austria. As a minor, you can try some of them, I think:

NameAlcohol content
Spritzer: White wine, soda 6-8%
Schnaps: A distilled German spirit30-40%
Grüner Veltliner: Dry white wine12.5%
Zweigelt: Dry red wine13%
Blaufränkisch: Dry red wine with a fruit aroma14%
Glühwein: Mulled wine, a must-have drink at Christmas markets7-14%
Vienna Lager beer5.2%
Jagertee: A mixture of rum, black tea, and citrus fruit, with the addition of cinnamon and cloves38%
Marillenschnaps: An apricot brandy40%

The drinking age in Austria if you are with parents

It is socially accepted in Austria if minors drink, even more so if parents are nearby. Everything will be okay unless you make a lot of noise and disturb others.

If you are not an Austrian parent, do not go too far with your rules. Give your minors a taste of wine if they ask – the forbidden fruit is sweet. Excessive forbiddings make youngsters more likely to binge once they start drinking with friends.

Eventually, your child will get drunk, and it is better they are not obsessed with the idea of drinking to spite their parents.

Additional questions

Can you drink alcohol at 16 in Austria?

Yes, you can. However, buying distilled alcohol in Austria is illegal unless you are 18+.

What is the drinking age in Vienna or Tirol?

The legal drinking age in Austria applies to all cities and has some differences only in buying, not consuming.

Can I drink alcohol in public in Austria?

Public drinking is not prohibited in Austria. In general, Austrians don’t worry about what is generally accepted. Just don’t get too drunk.

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