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The ultimate guide to tipping in Europe

Tipping can seem like a complicated subject to navigate, but don’t let anxiety take you over. We break down some of the most common tipping practices across Europe to make your next holiday a breeze.

4 min read

Tipping can be a tricky or even contentious subject, and when you travel, things can get a little confusing. Is it mandatory? How much should I give? When do I tip and when do I not? Perhaps where you come from, tips are a way to show your appreciation for a job well done. Perhaps they’re a way for people working in service professions to make a fair wage. In the United States, for instance, tipping 15-20% on top of your final bill is usually expected, and leaving less than that can be seen as a sign of dissatisfaction with the service provided. 

In some countries, it’s also not uncommon for a gratuity or a service charge to be automatically included in your bill. And in more extreme cases, like Japan or China, tipping at all can be considered a sign of disrespect and is highly discouraged. 

Tipping in Europe is not as straightforward as you might think.. While in the past tipping a few euros could be considered a good rule of thumb, tipping traditions have evolved and vary from country to country. In order to help you navigate your next getaway, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide that will help you navigate those last moments after your meal. 

Tipping in Spain

Spain is known for its beautiful weather and delicious food, yet tipping in this popular summer destination is not entirely straightforward. Unlike many places, in Spain tipping isn’t regulated or mandatory, and it’s not uncommon for customers not to leave money in addition to their final  bill. However, while it’s not an enforced rule, restaurants expect customers to leave a 10% gratuity for their meal. 

For many other situations, many locals decide based on the quality and type of service if they will leave any tip. Keep in mind that some places will include a tip in their final bill, so it would be wise to take a look before leaving anything extra. 

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Tipping in Italy

The land of pizza, espresso, and DaVinci, is also a rather tricky one when it comes to tipping. If a service charge is included in your bill, you will likely see it as “servizio.” However, should this not be included, it is customary to leave anywhere between 10-15%. Keep in mind that “coperto,” a common cover charge included in many bills, isn’t normally given to your server, therefore you shouldn’t see this as a substitute. 

For other services such as hotels, taxis, and tours a few euros should normally be enough.

Tipping in France

If you’ve ever heard the expression “service compris,” you’ll know that in France, a service charge is often included with your bill. Tipping anywhere from 5-10% for service if your tip isn’t included in the bill isn’t uncommon, although don’t let tipping anxiety get the best of you—by law, in France service workers are paid a minimum wage, and the tip, or “pourboire” is entirely voluntary. Like in many other European countries, tipping hotel staff, tour guides, and taxi drivers, a few euros or about 10% is a good rule of thumb, unless anyone provides an extra service. 

Tipping in Germany and Austria

Germany and Austria have pretty established tipping cultures, and while a small percentage of Germans and Austrians still choose not to tip at all, leaving 5-10% of your bill total as tip, or “trinkgeld,” is customary in most instances. For sit-down meals at restaurants a tip for good service is expected and 10% tip is usually the norm. Be sure to include the tip to the total sum when paying by credit card before paying, or you can always opt to pay the tip in cash. Whatever you do, don’t leave the tip on the table and walk away 

For smaller meals, coffee, or at bars, rounding up to the nearest euro is also acceptable, although some choose to leave a little more depending on the service provided. 

Tipping in Scandinavian countries

Unlike most of Europe, tipping in nordic countries is not only uncommon, but also not expected. Generally speaking, restaurants include a service charge so feel free to round up and leave the change if you want. Taxi drivers and hotel employees also don’t expect a gratuity, but if an extraordinary service is provided, leaving a small tip in cash at your could be considered appropriate.

Tipping in Europe

While there is no one-size-fits-all playbook for tipping in the rest of Europe, a good rule of thumb is to look out for service charges included in your bill. These are generally an indicator that you don’t have to leave extra money, or can possibly just add a little bit extra on top of your bill. Any time you don’t see an included tip, leaving 5-10% on top of your total will likely be appropriate for most situations. For coffee shops, bars, taxis, and other service industries, leaving a few euros or rounding up your total can also be a good rule of thumb. For restaurant meals 10% is seen as very adequate while 15% is usually rather generous. 

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