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Top 10 countries in Europe with the most relaxed drinking guidelines

The most relaxed drinking guidelines in Europe allow for 35 units a week for men. That’s almost a litre of gin or 11.5 strong beers to me and you.

The laws around drinking guidelines vary significantly across European countries with some far more relaxed than others. The top nation, Poland, allows for a whopping 35 units per week for men.

In England, Scotland and Wales, for instance, there is no differentiation between guidelines set for men and women. This is starkly different to some countries where the guidelines are as different as half for women as compared to those for men. Drink Aware website puts many countries’ choice to set gendered limits down to the higher percentage of fat in women’s bodies. The alcohol education charity states that since women have more fat on average, they have less water in their bodies meaning alcohol can be more concentrated.

According to research from the University of Murcia in Spain, those who drink beer in moderation reported themselves as happier compared to those who are teetotal. The study found that 80% of moderate drinkers rated themselves with high level of physical health ,and 90% a good level of wellbeing and mental health.

Though some countries set weekly limits, others set daily limits with Greece coming in at highest for a daily measure of 2/3 units for women and 3/4 units for men. The Netherlands, which launched a ‘stay away’ campaign for rowdy Brits planning boozy weekends in the country’s capital of Amsterdam, come in last with the guidelines set for one drink a day.

For the purposes of this list, countries which set daily limits will be counted weekly with the daily guidelines multiplied by seven.


Poland: 2.5 units for women and 5 for men, per day, [17.5 units for women and 35 for men, per week]

Hungary: 2 units for women and 4 for men, per day, [14 units for women and 28 units for men, per week]

Belgium: 17 units for women and 26 for men, per week

Greece: 2/3 units per day for women, 3/4 for men, [14/ 21 units for women, 21/28 for men, per week]

Ireland: 14 units for women and 21 for men, per week

Portugal: 2 units for women and 3 for men, per day, [14 units for women, 21 for men, per week]

England, Scotland & Wales: 14 units for everybody, per week

Austria: 2 units for women and 3 for men, per day, [12 units for women and 21 units for men, per week]

Spain: 1.5 units for women and 3 for men, per day, [10.5 units for women, 21 for men, per week]

Netherlands: 1 drink per day for everybody, [7 drinks per week]


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