What is the legal drinking age in Portugal?

Nadia Nadia

Written by Nadia

drinking age in portugal

The minimum age to legally drink alcohol in Portugal is 18, as in most European countries such as Spain, Italy, and France. The law has an exception – minors aged 16 can legally consume a glass of beer or wine in a restaurant.

Remember to have a photo of your ID/passport when buying alcohol in Portugal. Otherwise, they might not sell you alcoholic beverages if you are under 18 (or looking younger). And the best option will be a photo of you holding the document.

Besides the grocery stores, the Portuguese people are not picky about minors having a beer or watered wine.

The law does not ban drinking in public places (like beaches, streets). It is also more or less socially acceptable as long as you behave and do not cause any scenes or get into physical altercations.

Drinking is acceptable in Western culture; let's admit that. And people tend to feel concerned when you say you do not drink. 

Why ban alcohol for young people?

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

Alcohol consumption can lead to many issues, including liver impairment, brain damage, addiction, and a ruined and much shorter life. 

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

Not to mention some severe social consequences since “violent attitudes, alterations in family relationships, problems with studies and risk behaviors” can occur. 

So, waiting until 18 is the most sensible thing to do.

The drinking age law is not perfect

Drinking in nightclub

Law restrictions do not always pass the reality check. According to studies, many young Portuguese people start drinking before 18.

Study shows that young people in Portugal were, on average, just 14 years old when they tried alcohol.

As I mentioned above, the Portuguese tend not to criticize minors for experimenting with alcohol. It is easy for young people to consume alcoholic beverages publicly without feeling guilty.

What are the most popular traditional alcoholic drinks in Portugal?

Beverage% alcohol
Port Wine18-23%
Madeira Wine17-21%
Local beer (Lager, Ale)5-7%
Licor Beirão22%
Aguardiente50-80% ⚠️
Aguardiente de Madroño42%
Sour cherry liquor (Ginjinha)18-20%
Ginjinha cherry liquor
Ginja cherry liquor

Which beverages can minors drink in Portugal?

The question is not as simple as it may seem because some alcohol-free drinks can still have traces of alcohol.

Non-alcoholic beverages (apart from the obvious ones) that you can find in Portuguese grocery stores:

  • Kombucha
  • Kefir
  • Sumol Ananás (soft drink)
  • Kima Maracujá (soft drink)
  • Laranjada Melo Abreu (soft drink)
  • Água das Pedras (gas water)
You may be surprised to learn that most alcohol-free beers still contain some amount of alcohol. This amount could be almost 0.5%, even though the label says 0%.

The same is the case with kombucha. It is a fermented drink, so it can contain alcohol that originates from fermentation. However, you can typically find kombucha in the non-alcohol section in grocery stores. 

I have a question (for adults). Would you tolerate minors drinking non-alcoholic beer/wine? I guess not since it cultivates a drinking culture and, later on, leads people to make a smooth transition to consuming alcoholic drinks.

The drinking age in Portugal if you are with parents

In Portugal, it is legal to consume alcohol while monitored by parents

Giving your little one a taste of wine if they ask is a great way to build trust and prevent a child from uncontrolled drinking. 

And if you are young and curious to partake in adult behavior such as drinking, talk to your parents – communication is the key. This way, you might devise a perfect way to try an alcoholic beverage in a safe environment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you drink alcohol at 16 in Portugal?

Yes. You can legally drink a glass of beer or wine in Portugal at 16. The “Alcohol Law” No. 50/2013 removed beer and wine from the list of prohibited drinks.

What is the legal age to drink in Lisbon?

The legal drinking age in Portugal is 18 and applies to all cities.

Can I drink alcohol in public areas in Portugal?

Public drinking is not prohibited in Portugal. While it is not the nicest thing to do, you can drink alcohol on the beach and the streets. In general, people in Portugal don’t care much. Just don’t get too drunk.

What is considered a low-alcohol beverage?

The definition of a low-alcohol beverage (low-ABV) may vary from country to country. In Europe, a beverage with less than 1.2% alcohol by volume is considered a low-alcohol drink. In other countries, 5-7% alcohol is also considered a low-ABV drink.

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