The European Cities Where You’re Most Likely To Get A Hangover
23. February 2024
There is nothing quite like being on holiday, is there? The excitement of exploring new sights. The thrill of trying new cuisines. The pleasure of meeting new people. But there is sometimes one unwelcomed feeling - a dreaded hangover. Yes, a night of revelry can sometimes leave you feeling less than enthusiastic the following morning.
Whether in a bustling metropolis where the party never stops or a more quaint town with authentic bars, a hangover can creep in when you least expect it.
But when should we expect it? Well, there are some factors that can make a hangover worse, such as how much you drink, what you drink, and not being hydrated enough.
That’s why we have found out the European cities where you’re most likely to experience a hangover, analysing factors such as the altitude, alcohol percentage of the national drink, the likelihood of consuming very salty foods, and how cheap the drinks are.
The Worst European Cities For Getting A Hangover
Most likely to get a hangover: Iași, Romania & Sofia, Bulgaria
Sharing the gold medal for the European cities in which you’re most likely to suffer a hangover is Iași in Romania and Sofia in Bulgaria.
The third largest city in Romania, Iași is known as the country’s Cultural Capital and is home to Romania's oldest and most prestigious university, and over 60,000 students. As a result, the city offers plenty of restaurants, bars, cinemas, and theaters. Beware when enjoying Romania’s national drink when in the city though, as Țuică can be as high as 55% alcohol! You can also pick up pretty cheap beers when in Iași, with an average price of €1.63, so you could end up drinking quite a few without breaking the bank.
Bulgaria’s capital is also somewhere where you want to consider how much you’re drinking, particularly because of Sofia’s high altitude, which is a lofty 555m above sea level. If you’re keen to avoid a hangover here too, you should refrain from getting swept up drinking with locals, with the average Bulgarian getting through 12.65 liters of alcohol per year. Sofia is a laid back capital that has a youthful feel with an array of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs - not to mention the ski slopes that are but a short drive away.
Least likely to get a hangover: Malmö, Sweden
Scoring the lowest in the study, and therefore being the European city that you’re least likely to get a hangover in, is Malmö. Why? Well, you’re likely to consume less salt when eating here than you would in cities outside of Sweden. Swedes consume an average of 7g of salt per day, the lowest amount of any in our study, which indicates that the local food is likely to be lower in salt than that of elsewhere. You’re also less likely to suffer a hangover here considering that it’s one of the more expensive places to buy a beer, with the average pint being around €6.86.
Cities with the cheapest local beer: Osijek & Rijeka, Croatia
Costing just an average of €0.52 for a pint, Osijek and Rijeka are the cheapest cities for a beer. The Croatian cities, and Croatia in general, are renowned for how cheap their local beer is, with Ožujsko and Karlovačko often being on offer. With both beers being above 5% and incredibly cheap, you might expect a hangover in the morning! Fun fact: Osijek was the 1697 birth place of Croatia’s first ever brewed beer, Osječko.
City at the highest altitude: Madrid, Spain
The city at the highest altitude is Spain’s capital city, Madrid, which sits at a lofty height of 651m above sea level. Altitude dehydrates you and being low on water can causes hangover symptoms. Whilst it’s not counted as ‘high altitude’ as such, it is likely to be at a higher altutdue that you’re used to so this could have some effect on how you feel the next morning after an evening of enjoying Madrid’s nightlife.
City with the highest humidity percentage: Plovdiv, Bulgaria
Again, low humidity is another culprit for dehydration, which can make hangovers worse - and you’re most likely to feel it in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, with an average humidity of 58%. Whilst high humidity can make you sweat a lot, low humidity and dry air can cause your skin to dry out and cause dehydration, which will make any hangover feel a lot worse. Fun fact: Plovdiv is considered to be one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe and one of the oldest in the world.
Country with the highest average salt consumption: Belarus
Another thing that can cause dehydration, and therefore worsen hangovers, is eating too much salt the night before. You’re most likely to do this eating the local food in Belarus, considering that the average person consumes 12g of salt a day. This is exactly double the recommended amount per adult so maybe lay off too much Draniki - the Belarus National Dish of potato fritter.
Country that consumes the most alcohol per capita: Czechia
The cause of a terrible hangover is often from drinking too much so if you’re easily influenced, beware when visiting Czechia. Czechs, on average, drink 14.45 liters of pure alcohol each year, which the highest of any European country and pretty much the world, drinking only less then the Seychelles and Uganda. In 2021, the country consumed 129 liters of beer per capita.
Country with the national drink that contains the highest percentage of alcohol: Switzerland
Speaking of pure alcohol… when we visit new places, we of course like to sample their local beverages, but the higher the alcohol percentage, the worse the hangover typically is. Therefore, you could end up with a sore head when drinking in Switzerland with their national anise-flavored spirit, Absinthe. The product was only made legal again in 2005 after a 95-year ban due to it containing as much as 74% alcohol in some instances.
To find out which European cities you’re most likely to get a hangover, we first took a list of the biggest towns on the continent before analyzing each for the following data points:
- Average price of domestic beer
- Average altitude of the city (meters)
- Humidity of the city
- Average national salt consumption per person per day
- Average amount of alcohol consumed per capita per year (liters)
- Alcohol percentage of the country’s national drink
Cities, where a full dataset was not available, were omitted from the study.
Data is correct as of July 2023.
Sources include the Statista, World Data Bank, and Harvard School of Public Health.
A full data set is available upon request.