Tipping in Europe

While many service industry professionals earn lower wages and depend on tips for a living in countries like the United States, their European counterparts often earn comparatively higher salaries and view themselves as professionals. Service charge is often included in the bill, even if it states “Tip is Not Included” so be careful not to overpay. It is always better to hand cash to the wait staff discreetly but directly. In the event you don’t have local currency or forget, do not worry, the staff are paid and do not need the tips to earn their weekly wage, it is just a nice bonus.

Bars and cafes

Very little tipping exists or is expected.

Restaurants

Tipping is also not expected in the majority of sit-down restaurants, you can often just leave the change.

Tipping is more common in elegant restaurants or with larger groups. Most Europeans don’t leave more than 10% percent of the total. In some countries like Germany, leaving coins can be considered a little rude, so get the bill, review it for service charge and then state how much you wish to pay.

Taxis

Normally no tipping other than rounding up if you wish. Some locals will tip their cab drivers more if he or she performed a special service, such as helping carry luggage from the cab itself into a hotel. Even in this case, though, the total tip never usually exceeds one or two euro.

Hotel staff

Tipping hotel staff:

  • Porters: Around 1 euro per bag
  • Housekeeping: Between 2 and 5 euros per day
  • Concierge: 5-10 euros for exceptional service
  • Room service: 1 or 2 euros to the person who delivers the service
  • Doorman: 1-2 euros if they help you with luggage or hail a cab

Spa and resort staff

  • Tipping is not expected, but you can leave around 10 percent of your total bill if you wish.

Tour guides

  • Your guide will appreciate a tip. As a general rule, the smaller your group is, the more you should tip.
  • For example, if you and your partner are taking a private guided tour and your guide provided excellent service, most people would tip them anywhere from 10 to 20 euros per day.
  • On a larger tour 5 euro per day is fine.

Tipping By Country

  • The British are used to 10% in a restaurant but check first for service charge.
  • Czech waiters will be happy with 10 – 15%
  • Greece usually like 10% but no less than €2
  • Scandinavian countries usually include a service charge, but you can add 5% if you wish
  • In Spain a 10% tip in an elegant restaurant is plenty