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Are you wondering about the drinking age in Croatia? You’ve just landed on the ultimate local guide to drinking in Croatia.
If you’re traveling to Croatia for the first time, it’s important to know the legal drinking age and the do’s and don’ts about enjoying the best local spirits and brews.
I’ve been living in Croatia full time since 2014, and before moving here, I visited the country nearly every single summer. Like any young adult that was raised in the United States, I was excited to experience the nightlife in Croatia, because, let’s be honest, I could legally drink there.
From bar hopping on the coast of Makarska, sipping casual cocktails surrounded by the ancient architecture in Split, all the way to the trendiest clubs in Zagreb, I’ve done it all. So make sure you read through to the end of this post, because you’re about to become an expert on how to navigate Croatia’s drinking scene like a local.
Let’s dive into all you need to know about the drinking age in Croatia.
What is the Drinking Age in Croatia?
The legal drinking age in Croatia is 18, just like most of Europe and the United Kingdom. Once you hit that milestone, you’re free to enjoy everything from local craft beers to cocktails, and even famous hard liquors like rakija and šljivovica.
Basically, if you’re under 18, it’s a no-go for booze. Croatian law strictly prohibits selling, serving, or even gifting alcoholic drinks to minors.
On top of that, establishments are not obliged to sell or serve alcoholic beverages if the consumer does not provide them with a valid, government-issued identity card, passport, or driver’s license.
Legal consequences for breaking drinking laws in Croatia
Croatia is known for its fun nightlife, especially when it comes to coastal destinations like Hvar Town, Split, and even Dubrovnik. But don’t let the laid-back Mediterranean vibe fool you—Croatian authorities are pretty strict when it comes to enforcing drinking laws.
If you’re caught drinking underage, expect to be asked for valid ID on the spot. Failure to produce it—or worse, getting caught with a fake one—could land you a fine that will surely put a dent in your vacation budget.
The fine varies but can be quite hefty, so it’s definitely not something you want to gamble with, especially if you’re already staying in more expensive destinations like Dubrovnik.
Moreover, selling or serving alcohol to minors is also a big no-no, and establishments caught in the act face severe penalties, including the possibility of losing their license.
Are they strict on ID in Croatia?
When purchasing alcohol at a store in Croatia, the employee is required to ask you for your ID. No valid ID, no drink—simple as that.
If you are under 18 and attempt to purchase alcohol in a store in Croatia, you may face consequences. It is important to respect the legal drinking age in Croatia, as it is in place to promote responsible drinking and protect the health and safety of young people.
I know it may be tempting to try and buy alcohol under 18, especially when you’re away from your home country. But I would strongly suggest you wait until you reach the legal age requirement to purchase alcohol.
Drinking and driving in Croatia
Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in Croatia is a criminal offense.
According to the Road Traffic Safety Act, drivers are permitted a blood alcohol content (BAC) of up to 0.5 grams per liter of blood.
However, there are exceptions: certain specialized categories of drivers are expected to maintain a zero BAC, and this rule also applies to all young drivers under the age of 24.
If you’re renting a car while in Croatia, you should know that law enforcement can pull you over for any reason, or no reason at all.
Particularly on weekends, police officers frequently station themselves at key locations to conduct random sobriety checks. They’ll signal you to stop, request your documents, and administer a breathalyzer test.
And if you’re driving under the influence, the consequences are steep.
Fines for DUI offenses vary, but can range from €100 to a whopping €2,600. If your BAC is above 1.5, you’re looking at a potential jail sentence of up to 60 days. Moreover, refusing to undergo alcohol and drug testing is also a punishable offense.
So if you’re planning to enjoy a night out, I highly recommend arranging for alternative transportation. Whether you call an Uber or hail a local taxi, it’s far safer—and cheaper—than taking the risk.
Drinking in public in Croatia
Wondering if you can drink in public in Croatia? This is sort of a gray area.
While the laws in Croatia generally prohibit alcohol consumption in public places, enforcement can be a bit hit-or-miss. You’re unlikely to see people walking around with an open container, but a casual drink on the beach or a park bench usually goes unnoticed.
The key is discretion: as long as you’re not causing a scene or disturbing others, you shouldn’t have any problems.
That said, certain cities like Split have ramped up their regulations due to ongoing issues with unruly tourist behavior. To address this, they’ve put in place stricter rules banning public drinking altogether.
Keep an eye out for signs around the city spelling out these rules—violating them could cost you up to €300 in fines.
Ultimately, the choice is up to you.
If you do decide to enjoy a drink in public, make sure to do it respectfully, being mindful of both the local community and the city’s regulations. Use good judgment, be aware of your environment, and when you’re unsure, it’s always safer to lean towards caution.
Parental supervison and alcohol in Croatia
In Croatia, the law does grant parents and legal guardians some leeway, allowing them to permit their children to have alcohol in the privacy of their homes. This, however, should not be seen as a free pass to encourage excessive or irresponsible drinking among minors.
FAQs about Croatia Legal Drinking Age
Can you drink at 16 in Croatia?
No, the legal drinking age is 18.
Can you drink at 17 in Croatia?
No, the minimum age for drinking in Croatia is 18.
Can I purchase alcohol in a store in Croatia if I am under 18?
Legally, you are not allowed to purchase alcohol in a store in Croatia if you are under 18. Store employees are not only required to check ID but are also strictly prohibited from selling alcoholic products to minors.
Do they ask for ID in Croatia?
Yes, it’s common for stores, bars and clubs to ask for ID to verify your age.
What is the Croatia drinking age in restaurants with parents?
The legal age is still 18, but parents are allowed to let their children consume alcohol in private settings, which may include some restaurants at the parents’ discretion.
Is Croatia strict on drinking age?
Yes, Croatia is generally strict on enforcing the legal drinking age, both in stores and in bars.
What is the legal drinking age in Split Croatia?
The legal drinking age in Split Croatia is 18 years old, the same as it is in the rest of the country.
What is the fine for drinking in Split?
Public drinking in Split can result in a fine of €300.
Can you drink beer on the street in Croatia?
Technically drinking in public in Croatia is not allowed. However, this rule is not usually strictly enforced as long as you are not being obnoxious or disturbing others around you.
Final Thoughts on Croatia Drinking Age
So there you have it—Croatia has a rich drinking culture, with everything from world-class night clubs to homemade rakijas that pack a punch.
But all of this comes with a responsibility to drink responsibly, staying informed about local drinking laws, and respecting public spaces.
Always keep an ID handy, arrange for a safe ride home if you plan on drinking, and above all, make sure you’re of the legal age of 18 before you even think about ordering that first drink.
Enjoy your time in Croatia, and Živjeli! (That’s “cheers” in Croatian).
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💸 What is the currency in Croatia?
As of January 1st, 2023, the official currency of Croatia is the Euro and NOT the Kuna (which is also the name of the national animal of Croatia).
🇭🇷 What language do they speak in Croatia?
Croatian is the official language of Croatia. Learn some phrases in Croatian before your trip with the Ling app!
🚑 Should I buy Croatia travel insurance?
10000% YES – Seriously, don’t leave home without it. You never know what can happen on the road. I like SafetyWing because they provide excellent coverage for as little as $1.50 a day.
📱 Will my phone work in Croatia?
Maybe – check with your provider to see if you’ll have service while traveling Croatia. If you don’t have service (or it’s too expensive) I recommend getting an eSIM like Airalo. Airalo allows you to have data while traveling without the high costs of roaming. They have super affordable plans available for 190+ countries, including Croatia. Download the app and get your plan before you leave home so that you have data as soon as you touch down in Croatia!
🏨 What’s the best way to book my Croatia accommodations?
For Croatia hotels, Booking is by far the best site.
🛫 What’s the best site to buy Croatia flights?
I always use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights.
🚗 Is it safe to rent a Car in Croatia?
Yes! – In fact, renting a car in Croatia is one of the best ways to see the country! I recommend Discover Cars because they check both local and international rental companies to ensure you get the best deal. (Get your Croatia road trip itinerary here)
💦 Is it safe to drink the water in Croatia?
Tap water in Croatia is completely safe to drink, so bring your reusable water bottle and fill up!
Do I need a visa for Croatia?
Depending on where you are coming from you may or may not need a visa to enter Croatia. Check the official Republic of Croatia Ministry of Foreign Affairs website for more information on who should apply for a visa.