Everything You Need to Know About the Legal Drinking Age in Norway

Legal Drinking Age in Norway

blog authorBy Johanna Hansen shield verificationVerified Expert

    Planning a trip to Norway and wondering if you can enjoy a glass of wine with dinner? Whether you're a tourist or a curious local, understanding the legal drinking age in Norway is key. In Norway, the legal drinking age for buying wine and beer is 18 years, while the age for purchasing spirits is 20. 

    This article will provide you with detailed information about the Norwegian drinking age, including any exceptions, how the laws are enforced, and cultural norms around drinking. Keep reading to get all the essential details you need for a smooth and enjoyable experience in Norway!

    Legal Drinking Age in Norway

    The Norwegian drinking age is straightforward but varies slightly based on the type of alcohol. To purchase and consume beer and wine, you must be at least 18 years old. However, if you're interested in buying spirits or any beverage containing over 22% alcohol, the legal drinking age is raised to 20. This distinction ensures that younger adults have limited access to stronger alcoholic drinks.

    Alcohol in Norway

    Purchase and Consumption Laws

    Understanding the purchase and consumption laws related to the legal drinking age in Norway is essential. Here's what you need to know:

    • Where You Can Buy Alcohol: Alcohol is sold in grocery stores, but only beer and beverages with up to 4.7% alcohol. Stronger drinks are available at state-run Vinmonopolet stores with restricted hours.
    • When Can You Buy Alcohol: In grocery stores, alcohol can only be purchased before 8 PM on weekdays and before 6 PM on Saturdays. Vinmonopolet stores have shorter hours. The opening is at 10 AM and closes at 6 PM on weekdays. On Saturdays, they close at 4 PM. On Sundays, you cannot buy alcohol at all.
    • Consumption Locations: You can legally drink in bars, restaurants, and private spaces. Public drinking is generally prohibited and can result in fines.
    • Proof of Age: Always carry a valid ID, such as a passport or driver's license, as proof of age is strictly enforced at points of purchase and in drinking establishments.

    Enforcement and Penalties

    Enforcement of the Norwegian drinking age is strict and overseen by the police and local licensing authorities. They ensure compliance with age regulations and take violations seriously. For individuals, penalties for underage drinking can include fines and legal consequences, such as a criminal record. Businesses face even harsher penalties if caught selling alcohol to underage individuals. These consequences can range from hefty fines to the revocation of their alcohol licenses and, in severe cases, closure of the establishment. 

    Cultural Context and Social Norms

    Norwegian drinking culture is largely social, with a relaxed yet responsible attitude toward alcohol. Understanding the legal drinking age in Norway is crucial for both locals and visitors. Here's a quick overview:

    • Norwegian Drinking Culture: Norwegians enjoy social drinking, especially during weekends and holidays. It's common to see gatherings where beer and wine are shared. Spirits like aquavit are popular during festive occasions.
    • Common Drinking Practices: Popular drinks include beer, wine, and traditional spirits like aquavit. Drinking usually takes place in homes, bars, or restaurants.
    • Tourist Tips: To respect local customs, join in on toasts, be mindful of moderation, and understand Norwegian traditions. When invited to a home, bringing a bottle of wine as a gift is a nice gesture.

    Beer in Norway

    Is Alcohol Expensive in Norway?

    Yes, alcohol can be quite expensive in Norway. This is largely due to the high taxes applied to all alcoholic drinks containing more than 0.7% ABV, with no distinction between locally produced and imported beverages. 

    Exceptions are made for alcohol intended for technical, scientific, or medical purposes. In addition to the alcohol tax, there's also a tax on beverage packaging. For perspective, drinks containing between 4.7% ABV and 22% ABV are taxed at NOK 5.11 per volume percent and liter. 

    These high taxes significantly increase alcohol prices in Norway than in countries like the UK or USA. The Norwegian government argues that these taxes are meant to discourage excessive alcohol consumption.

    Navigating the Legal Drinking Age in Norway

    Understanding the legal drinking age in Norway is crucial for young travelers. Renting a campervan in Norway can be a smart choice to help you save money while exploring this beautiful country. 

    By opting for a campervan, you can reduce accommodation costs and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace. Plus, having your own space means you can enjoy a drink without worrying about finding transportation back to a hotel, making your trip more convenient and enjoyable.

    Let’s go on an adventure!

    Unbeatable prices. Premium customer service.

    Book now
    Book now