Budapest Alcohol Laws – What You Need to Know

by | Mar 7, 2024 | Pub Crawl Budapest

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If you are planning a visit to Budapest, it is important to familiarize yourself with the alcohol laws in the city to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. With its vibrant nightlife and diverse range of establishments, Budapest offers plenty of opportunities to indulge in alcoholic beverages. However, there are certain regulations and cultural norms that tourists should be aware of. In this article, we will outline the key aspects of Budapest’s alcohol laws and provide you with the information you need to make the most of your visit.

Legal Drinking Age

The legal drinking age in Budapest is 18 years old. This applies to both the purchase and consumption of alcohol in bars, restaurants, and stores. It is important to carry a valid form of identification such as a passport or driver’s license to prove your age if requested by authorities or establishment staff.

Alcohol Sales and Service Hours

The sale of alcohol is prohibited between the hours of 10:00 PM and 6:00 AM in Budapest. This means that most bars and clubs will stop serving alcohol at around 9:30 PM to allow customers to finish their drinks before closing time. Restaurants, on the other hand, are exempt from this restriction and can continue to serve alcohol until their closing time. It is also worth noting that some establishments may have their own policies regarding alcohol service hours, so it is always a good idea to check with the venue beforehand.

Drinking in Public

Unlike some countries where it is permissible to consume alcohol in public places, Hungary has strict laws against public drinking. It is illegal to consume alcohol on the streets, parks, or any public spaces in Budapest. Violators can be subject to fines or even arrest. If you want to enjoy a drink, it is best to do so in a licensed establishment such as a bar, restaurant, or pub.

Blood Alcohol Concentration Limit

To ensure public safety, Hungary applies a strict blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for driving. The legal limit for BAC while driving is 0.00%. It is important to note that this means even a small amount of alcohol in your system can result in penalties, including fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even imprisonment. It is always best to designate a sober driver or use alternative means of transportation such as taxis or public transport after consuming alcohol.

Banned Substances and Drugs

Hungary has strict laws regarding the use and possession of banned substances and drugs. It is illegal to use or possess drugs, including marijuana, in Budapest. Violators can face severe penalties including fines and imprisonment. It is important to be aware of and respect these laws to avoid legal trouble during your visit.

Useful Tips and Cultural Considerations

1. Respect Local Customs

When visiting Budapest, it is important to be respectful of local customs and cultural norms. Hungarians take pride in their traditions and appreciate visitors who show an understanding of their way of life. It is important not to be overly intoxicated or engage in disruptive behavior while consuming alcohol, especially in public spaces.

2. Look Out for Certified Venues

To ensure the quality and safety of your drinking experience, look for venues that have the “Certified Venue” logo displayed. These establishments have undergone inspections and meet certain standards regarding hygiene, service, and quality of beverages. Choosing certified venues will help you have a great time while avoiding potential issues.

3. Explore Hungarian Beverages

Budapest offers a wide range of alcoholic beverages that may be unique to the region. Don’t miss the opportunity to try local Hungarian drinks such as palinka, a fruit brandy, or Hungarian wines which have a long history and are known for their quality. Exploring these local beverages can add to your overall Budapest experience.

4. Be Vigilant with Your Personal Belongings

As with any destination, it is important to take precautions to protect your personal belongings. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially when you are in crowded areas or busy establishments. By staying vigilant, you can avoid potential issues such as theft or loss of valuable items.

Key Points Action
Legal drinking age 18 years old
Alcohol sales and service hours 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM (bars and clubs), exempt for restaurants
Drinking in public Not allowed, consume alcohol in licensed establishments
Blood alcohol concentration limit for driving 0.00%
Banned substances and drugs Strictly prohibited, severe penalties for possession and use


Having a good understanding of the alcohol laws in Budapest is essential for enjoying your time in the city responsibly and safely. Remember to adhere to the legal drinking age, respect local customs, and be mindful of the restrictions on public drinking. By being aware of the regulations and following the tips mentioned, you can have a fantastic experience exploring Budapest’s vibrant nightlife.

Eager for an unmatched evening escapade? Plunge into Budapest’s pulsing nightlife with our iconic pub crawl in Budapest. Each venue unravels a fresh tale, every sip crafts a lasting memory. Prepare for a night like no other!

Budapest Alcohol Laws – What You Need to Know