Switzerland Drinking Age: Everything You Need To Know

Switzerland Drinking Age

This is a discussion regarding the Switzerland drinking age, as well as the drinking culture and customs followed in this luxurious European country. Switzerland is a dream destination for many individuals because of its rich culture, plenty of tourist attractions, and of course, its roster of refreshing alcoholic drinks. Switzerland has tons of alcoholic drinks that are both refreshing during the summertime and will warm you up during the winter. 

To be a good tourist who still wants to make the most out of their vacation in the Swiss Alps, be sure to follow the rules regarding alcohol consumption in this country. This topic aims to talk about the most pressing questions you may have regarding alcohol purchase and consumption in Switzerland. And if that interests you, then by all means, keep on reading!

What is the Legal Drinking Age in Switzerland?

At an eyebrow-raising 16 years old, Switzerland has one of the lowest legal drinking ages in the world. This is actually their age of consent as well, which means that once a person turns 16, they can officially be considered a legal adult. There are actually several establishments around the country that consider 18 as the legal drinking age. 

What is the Legal Drinking Age in Switzerland for Tourists and Foreigners?

Similar to everyone else who resides there, foreigners and tourists in Switzerland can consume beer and wine once they are 16 years old. This might be a bit of a shock for some, especially since 16 is still considered too young in certain countries. Meanwhile, for other kinds of hard liquor, the legal drinking age is 18. 

Do You Need an ID to Drink in Switzerland?

Switzerland Drinking Age

Yes, especially if you’re a minor. According to statistics, boys were more likely to be requested for IDs compared to girls, and liquor store owners will give female customers a free pass in regards to buying alcohol, no matter what age they are. But since the age of consent here is a bit young, perhaps the more relaxed laws when it comes to requesting an ID for alcohol purchase might be seen as normal.

Legal Drinking Age in Switzerland with Parents 

Since the legal drinking age in Switzerland is quite young, any minor who wants to drink alcohol – Even just a few sips of beer or wine – Must be accompanied by a parent, a guardian, or just about any responsible adult. For harder types of liquor, Swiss residents can only purchase or consume them once they turn 18, which is technically the approved age for an individual to be considered an adult. The reason why parents are required to accompany minors when drinking beer or wine is so that they won’t abuse it too much. 

Legal Drinking Age in Switzerland by Region 

Normally, the legal drinking age around Switzerland is 16 – This includes Zurich, its largest city, and Bern, the country’s capital. But there are areas in Switzerland where it is officially raised to 18, especially in places where they normally serve harder kinds of liquor, like brandies and cognacs. As for other harmful substances, such as tobacco, the legal age to buy them is 18 years old. 

Can Minors Drink in Switzerland with Their Parents?

For teens aged 15 and below, the country officially considers them minors, so no – They are not allowed to consume alcohol, even when guarded by a parent or adult. Keep in mind that despite their legal drinking age, Switzerland is still quite strict when it comes to giving or selling alcohol to minors to prevent potential alcohol abuse as they get older.

Meanwhile, 16-year-olds are already considered mature enough to savor the flavors of wine and beer, so they are allowed to have even just a glass, as long as there’s a responsible adult guarding them. 

Consequences of Breaking the Drinking Age Law in Switzerland

Official law states that having a blood alcohol content level of over 0.05% is not allowed in Switzerland. Punishments can range from the following: A fine of around 600 to 800 Francs and driving disqualification for a month, to a prison sentence for a year, to being required to attend rehab for alcohol addiction.

A Quick Summary of the Switzerland Drinking Age

We hope that you learned a lot of information regarding the alcohol consumption laws in Switzerland and whether or not it’s okay for you to consume liquor there as a tourist or a resident. Keep in mind that Switzerland is a beautiful country with plenty of things to do and places to explore, so not being able to consume alcohol shouldn’t stop you from having fun. But if you insist on drinking your favorite alcoholic beverage, just be sure that you’re in right Switzerland drinking age, and learn how to pace yourself.   

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