Your essential guide for tipping in Europe

Are you visiting a country where tipping is customary or required? Appreciated but not expected? Or practically unheard-of? The truth is, tipping rules vary from country-to-country, from region-to-region, and from scenario-to-scenario. For example, a simple rounding up of the bill may be fine in some places, but insufficient, or even rude in others. These kinds of uncertainties can throw an uneasy cloud over even the most exhilarating experiences, whether it’s a tasty meal, a guided tour or the taxi ride from the airport. This is a quick tipping guide for some major cities world-wide, discover the appropriate ‘tipping etiquette’ and local expectations from across the globe.

check-paid-for-with-euros-horiz MAJOR CURRENCIES: EURO and BRITISH POUNDS As Eastern and Central European countries become tourist enticers alongside Western European favourites, you’re left to wonder what to tip where, and when to put down Euros, or local currency…? As a tourist you will be an instant target, so make sure you’re in-the-know before you arrive.

WESTERN EUROPE

FRANCE A 15% service charge is automatically added to your bill by law. In many parts of France, that’s enough, unless you’ve received special service. In Paris, leave an extra 10% for good service.

At Restaurants: The words service compris on your bill mean no tip is required, but most locals leave up to 10 percent in coins.

At Hotels: One Euro per bag; 1–2 Euros for a housekeeper; 10–15 Euros per restaurant reservation made by a concierge—half on arrival at the hotel, half at the end.

Guides and Drivers: About 25 Euros per person per day for guides, and up to 50 Euros for one who’s nationally certified; a separate driver should get about half of that. You can give a euro or two for taxi drivers, depending on how helpful they are.

GERMANY If service is not included in your bill in a German restaurant, tip 5% to 10% or Trinkgeld in German (which translates as “drinking money”).

At Restaurants: Add10 to 15% to the waiter or bartender and just put on the bill.

At Hotels: 3 Euros per bag for the porter; 5 Euros per night for the housekeeper; 20 Euros for a helpful concierge.

Tipping ‘tip’: Despite its reputation for precision, Germany has no hang-ups about generous tipping.

GREECE: Since the introduction of the euro and the national recession, tipping expectations have become considerably inflated in Greece because people tend to round up to the next euro. 4 Euros for a 3-euro drink isn’t unheard of!

At Restaurants: Round up, plus a little more for excellent service—say, to the fives (25 Euros for a 22-Euro meal).

At Hotels: Porters, a euro per bag; housekeepers, a euro a day at most; concierges only for something very special.

Guides and Drivers: No tip expected for taxis—round up and they’ll be delighted; private drivers, 20 Euros per day, 50 if they’ve gone out of their way. Group tours, 2–5 Euros per person; personal tours, 20 or more.

ITALY A service charge (servizio) is usually included in the price of the food, although it is sometimes a separate item. You may also see a non-optional “cover charge” on your bill. Tipping is a delicate matter in Italy. In some places, particularly in rural areas, it’s not welcome. In others, if you leave tip, it’s commonly a few coins, perhaps up to 5% if the service is good; 10% for terrific service.

At Restaurants: Leave as close to 10% as is convenient.

At Hotels: Porters, 5 Euros; housekeepers, 1–2 Euros per night, more for extra service (or 15–20% of the tab). Venice-Gondola TIPPING SENARIO: What to expect… GONDOLA RIDES in VENICE. Gondola rides are the one Venetian tourist trap that everyone falls into. Touristy or not, your visit to Venice isn’t complete until you hop aboard one of these time honoured water taxis! Gondola rides last for around 40 minutes and make sure you agree on the price and the duration of your trip before you set off. The official rates if you’re using a gondola as a taxi are 80 Euro for up to 6 people for a 40 minute ride. After 7pm, the prices rise to 100 Euro for 40 minutes, so plan your trip! TIPPING – Great news! Gondoliers will not customarily not expect a tip! So feel free to tip at your own leisure!

SPAIN Tipping in Spain is apparently a fraught issue. In summary, tipping isn’t that common, especially at bars and cafeterias, but at a nicer restaurant, it’s not unheard of. If you’d like to leave a tip, leave the change up to the nearest Euro, or tip up to 5 – 10%.

At Restaurants: If the service is good, round up the bill to anywhere from 7 to 13% and leave it in cash.

At Hotels: Tip concierges who do you a special favour 5 to 10 Euros, cleaning staff about 5 Euros a day (up front if you want them to treat you super nice), and bellboys about one euro per bag.

Guides and Drivers: Leave guides 30 Euros per person per day (up to 40 Euros if they’re really good), drivers half that. With taxi drivers, round up the fare.

THE UNITED KINGDOM Tipping is said to have originated in sixteenth-century England, and though it has since spread across the globe, England has by and large gone the way of most of Europe: Tips are included in many bills, especially in formal settings, and discretion is key in handing them over.

Restaurants: Service is often included; if not, tip 10–15%. Sometimes you’ll see an “optional” charge added to the bill; make sure you’re not just blindly paying it but adjusting to the level you feel comfortable with. And feel free to round to the nearest pound—up or down. Tipping in pubs is not customary.

At Hotels: Porters, 1–2 pounds per bag; housekeepers, 1–2 pounds. Go up to 5 pounds apiece at the five-star hotels.

Guides and Drivers: Taxis, 10 percent or less; tipping optional for a narrated boat tour through the Thames—they’ll certainly ask. A few pounds, up to 10 percent, for a guide or driver at the end of the day, or maybe take him to lunch.  

ROUND UP OF NORDIC STATES

SWEDEN Tip by rounding up the bill to the nearest kroner, approximately 5 to 10%.

NORWAY In Norway, tip 6 to 10%.

DENMARK Tipping is less common in Denmark, restaurant bills often include the tip — if not, add up to 10%.

ICELAND Tipping in Iceland is not common or expected, although no one will think you’re rude if you round up your bill to the next kroner.

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