When you’re having fun abroad, sometimes you might find yourself in a bit of a situation.
The European Union might be united, but that doesn’t mean the rules regarding access to emergency contraception are the same across the region. When it comes to finding the morning after pill (also known as Plan B) in Europe, the rules vary.
Availability varies country-by-country, so it can be hard to keep track of what the rules are where and when you’re in the midst of a European Grand Tour.
We’ve compiled a list of the rules and regulations for each country, so you’ll never find yourself in a pickle!
You Cannot Find the Morning After Pill in These Countries
Malta: Emergency contraception is viewed as an abortifacient in Malta, and abortions are illegal. However, you can have an IUD fitted within five days of unprotected sex if you really find yourself in a bind.
Available but requires prescription – book an appointment with a doctor or clinic
Albania– Can be bought for €4-6 in pharmacies. Although legally it requires a prescription, according to the European Consortium for Emergency Contraception, anecdotal evidence suggests you often do not need one.
Croatia– Available at pharmacies with a prescription at a cost of €26.
Germany– The morning after pill in Germany can be bought at pharmacies, hospitals, medical practices, walk-in centers and family planning clinics. Cost is approximately €17 with a prescription. Under-18s are not charged, and women aged 18-20 only pay €5. However, Catholic-run hospitals are not required to prescribe it and can reserve the right to refuse.
Hungary – Available at pharmacies, hospitals and family planning clinics with prescriptions for roughly €18. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that it can often be obtained without a prescription in areas close to the border.
Italy – Available from pharmacies with a prescription for roughly €13. However, my own experiences suggest that physicians may well refuse to prescribe due to moral objections, so you may wish to book an appointment with a private doctor for peace of mind.
Macedonia – Visit a physician or private practice to obtain a prescription.
Poland – Available in pharmacies with a prescription to women aged 18 or over, at a rough cost of €12. For an under-18 to be prescribed emergency contraception, an in-person request must be made by a parent or guardian.
You CAN find the morning after pill here behind the counter – ask a chemist
Austria – May be purchased from chemists at a cost of around €13.
Belgium – Can be obtained for free when prescribed, or bought for roughly €10 directly from pharmacies.
Finland – Can be bought in pharmacies, hospitals and family planning clinics for €19 by women aged 15 or over; only one pack can be bought at a time; women under 15 require a prescription.
France – Available behind the counter from pharmacies and hospitals for roughly €7. Of this, 65% is reimbursed if you have a prescription, and there is no charge at family planning clinics, or to women under 18. Contraception can also be ordered online using France-based websites.
Georgia – Can be bought from pharmacies for roughly €5.
Greece – No prescription or proof of age required.
Ireland –Available behind the counter from pharmacies, hospitals, family planning clinics and general practitioners. The cost is roughly €40.
Latvia – Cost roughly €15 in pharmacies.
Lithuania – Available for approximately €15 in pharmacies.
Luxembourg – Available in pharmacies only with prescription.
Serbia – Available in pharmacies.
Slovenia – Can be purchased for around €14 in pharmacies.
Spain – Available in pharmacies for approximately €19, although some or all of this cost can be reimbursed if accompanied by a prescription. Emergency contraception can also be obtained free of charge from the public health sector.
Switzerland – Available behind the counter from pharmacies and family planning clinics for a cost of around €18, and can in hospitals and private practices. In some areas, the cost is partially reimbursed if contraception is purchased at a family planning clinic.
Turkey – Costs around €7 in pharmacies.
UK – Women of any age can obtain contraception free of charge from family planning centres, contraception clinics, Brook centres, pharmacies in certain areas, most sexual health clinics, most minor injuries units, most GP surgeries, most walk-in centres in England, and some hospital A&E departments. Women aged 16 or over can also buy contraception in pharmacies for roughly £25 without a prescription.
Available over the counter – pick them up in any pharmacy
Bulgaria – Available to women aged 16 or over for €14. Women under 16 require a prescription
Cyprus – Can be purchased at the online pharmacy for roughly €10. However, there have been importation issues since early 2013 due to the financial crisis in the region, leading to shortages. Research the situation beforehand.
Czech Republic – Can be bought for €21 by women aged 17 or over; women aged 16 or under require a prescription
Denmark – Available over the counter in pharmacies and family planning clinics for roughly €12.
Estonia – Can be purchased at pharmacies for roughly €16.
The Netherlands – Costs about €15 in pharmacies, hospitals and family planning clinics.
Norway – Available over the counter from pharmacies, family planning clinics, supermarkets, gas stations, youth health services and Norway-based Internet sites. The average cost is €26, although young people in youth health centres are often not charged.
Portugal – Costs roughly €12 when purchased at pharmacies without prescription. Can also be obtained free of charge at public family planning centres.
Romania – Can be bought for around €20 in pharmacies and family planning clinics.
Slovakia – https://gogirlguides.com/health/abortion-laws-around-the-world/ Available in pharmacies for about €22.
Sweden – Costs around €17 when bought over the counter at pharmacies, hospitals and family planning clinics. Can be obtained free of charge in various public health centers, particularly youth clinics.
If it’s been more than three days…
Note that the above information refers to the availability of levonorgestrel-only emergency contraception pills, which are the most widely available option in Europe and which are effective for up to three days after intercourse.
If it’s been more than three days but less than five, you may still be able to access ulipristal acetate emergency contraception pills, which are effective for up to five days after intercourse.
These are available everywhere except Albania, Estonia, Georgia, Macedonia, Malta, Switzerland and Turkey.
You will require a prescription everywhere except in the UK (where they can buy it from pharmacies provided you are over 18). The IUD is also an effective form of emergency contraception if inserted within five days of intercourse, so that may be an option to you as well.
For information on abortions around Europe and elsewhere, read our post on legality here.
If you have experience or knowledge of accessing the morning after pill in Europe, please share them below. There is an alarming lack of information out there, especially in English!
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Update on the procedures for the morning-after-pill in Germany: it is now available without prescription behind the counter. I am not sure about minors, and I think one has to fill out a questionaire about the reasons for the morning-after-pill, but no need to see a doctor before.
Update on the procedures for morning after pill and other pills in Austria. I have purchased an emergency contraception pill only in Vienna, and it cost me more than 30 EUR. Maybe in other cities in Austria, you can get it for a cheaper price. But I am not sure you can buy the morning after pill for approx. 13 EUR anywhere in Austria. Of course you don’t need a doctor’s prescription to buy the morning after pill as stated in this webpage, but you need to consult a doctor if you opt for buying normal 21 day or 28 day pills.
Great!! Thank you!
At Budapest in Hungary I been able to buy the morning after pill without prescription at the second pharmacy I went. Thanks for that pharmacian that went against the rules.
In Luxembourg the morning after pill is available without prescription since 2015.
Update on Malta as of October 2016 – the morning after pill (EllaOne and Levonelle) is available without a prescription at most pharmacies on the Island.
EllaOne (effective up until 5 days after unprotected sex) is available in pharmacies in Belgium without a prescription, although it’ll set you back about 25 euros.
Not on the original list, but for info: I recently managed to purchase a morning after pill in St. Petersburg, Russia, without any prescriptions or problems – just asked for it using Google Translate at a chemist on Nevsky Prospekt. Only cost a few hundred rubles (less than $5). Apparently this is fairly common, even though technically they have the right to ask for a prescription in Russia.
So good to know! Thank you for sharing!
Thanks for providing this list — such an important thing that so many people forget about — I really learned this experience, first hand, when I found myself in a jam in my travels and didn’t know the laws or what was okay to ask. So, yeah, thanks for providing this resource 🙂 Also, do you know about Gynopedia: https://gynopedia.org/ -> It’s an online resource where you look up a city and you get information on birth control, the morning after pill, and more in that city. Anyway, thanks for posting this info!
An update, courtesy of the European Consortium of Emergency Contraception!
Regulations on EC changed in Malta in 2016 and EC is now available directly from pharmacies there. See here: https://www.ec-ec.org/emergency-contraception-in-europe/country-by-country-information-2/malta/
Same goes for Italy and Croatia: prescription is no longer required (since 2015). See