If you are coming from America, especially for the first time, tipping in Europe can be difficult to understand.
You’re used to tipping for almost all services at home and you might be expecting to do the same while visiting Europe. But, believe it or not, tipping works completely differently there! Here’s a quick look at how to tip on your next vacation:
Tipping in Restaurants
When you see people leaving a few euros on the table, they aren’t being unbelievably tight, this is actually quite normal.
First, check whether service is included in the bill, it often is. If you have paid service, there’s no need to leave a percentage of the bill. But this charge goes straight to the restaurant and it’s hard to know how much the staff get, so if you have a great waiter, most people choose to leave a small gesture of thanks of €1-2 per person. If the bill doesn’t include service, the norm is to leave 10% as a tip.
In popular tourist destinations across Europe, you will often find the two extremes: waiters who want you to have a great experience, who will help you with the menu, order taxis, tell you where to visit next and who don’t think you’ll be back so they don’t need to try. Remember, locals in Europe have no problem not tipping if the waiter has been rude.
Tipping Taxi Drivers
Tipping taxi drivers in Europe isn’t necessary. On a metered trip you might round up the bill, or leave a euro or two for a fixed fare if your driver helped with your luggage.
Tipping in Cafes and Bars
This varies between cultures. If you get coffee standing at the bar, it’s usual to leave 10-20 cents with your receipt; where you order coffee at the table, you can leave some change on the table when you go.
Tipping in pubs and bars isn’t usually necessary when there’s no table service. There may be a jar on the bar to leave something for the staff to share out at the end of the night.
Tipping in Hotels
For hotel services, it is smart to follow the one-euro rule: pay a euro for each service. For example, if the porter helps you with your bags, €1 per bag carried.
Tipping Tour Guides
After a great tour experience, you may want to leave something to express your appreciation to your guide directly. There’s no hard-and-fast rule of what to tip, it depends on how long your tour was and the number of people in your group.
In the end, remember that you don’t have to tip a certain percent in Europe, but it’s a great way for you to express your appreciation for great service.