Unraveling the Mystery: Is Drinking Alcohol in Public Allowed in Iceland?

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Are you planning a trip to Iceland and wondering if you can enjoy your favorite drink in public? Well, the answer is not as straightforward as you might think. Let’s dive into the details that you need to know before deciding to indulge in your favorite poison on the streets of Iceland.

Understanding the Law

Iceland has strict regulations when it comes to the consumption of alcohol in public places. The country bans the consumption of alcohol in public places and has hefty fines for those caught breaking this law.

So, if you are caught drinking in public, you might face a fine of up to 100,000 ISK (around 750 USD at the time of writing) or even imprisonment for a maximum of 2 years. Hence, it’s better to avoid drinking your favorite beverage in public places in Iceland.

Where Can You Drink Alcohol in Iceland?

While drinking in public is banned, there are several places where you can legally enjoy your drink in Iceland. Let’s take a look at some of these options:

Bars and Restaurants

The easiest way to enjoy your favorite drink in Iceland is by visiting one of the many bars and restaurants spread across the country. These establishments have licenses to serve alcohol, and you can indulge in your preferred beverage while enjoying the ambiance of the place.

At Home or In a Private Property

If you are staying in Iceland for a more extended period, you can purchase alcohol from state-run liquor stores, Vínbúðin, and enjoy it in the comfort of your home or within a private property.

Drinking Culture in Iceland

The Icelandic drinking culture is quite different from what you might be used to in other countries. Here are some of the things you need to know:

Binge Drinking is Not Acceptable

In Iceland, drinking to get drunk is heavily frowned upon. Icelanders prefer to drink slowly and enjoy the company of their friends while having a conversation. Hence, if you are planning to drink in Iceland, make sure to do it slowly and responsibly.

Age Limit for Drinking

The legal drinking age in Iceland is 20 years. Make sure to carry a valid photo ID if you plan to drink in any of the bars or restaurants.

Expensive Alcohol

Alcohol is quite expensive in Iceland due to high taxes. Hence, expect to pay more for your favorite drink than what you would pay in other countries.


So, to answer the question, no, you cannot drink alcohol in public in Iceland. It’s better to avoid this to prevent any legal troubles during your trip. However, there are several other options to enjoy your favorite drink, such as bars, restaurants, and private properties. Make sure to drink responsibly and respect the Icelandic drinking culture while you are in the country.

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