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A Traveler’s Guide To Tipping Etiquette In Europe

Updated: May 18, 2023


Tipping in Europe restaurants bill in a small dish with Euros and change next to coffee cup and plate
Restaurant bills will often be presented on a small tray or dish.

To tip or not to tip?


Knowing when, where and exactly how much to tip can be confusing, especially when visiting multiple countries with different currencies and customs.


In many European countries, wages for restaurant and hotel workers are higher than in the US, where employees rely on tips to supplement their income. The customs and guidelines for gratuities vary from country to country. Generally, it is customary to leave a tip for great service, but it is not always expected.


Tipping is unnecessary in Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland where service is included in restaurant prices and tipping is not expected. Round up if you wish, but anything more is unnecessary.


Check the bill to see if the service is included.


In some countries, a service charge is included in the bill, making it unnecessary to leave an additional tip unless the service is exceptional. Tipping is more common in other countries, and it is customary to leave 5-15% of the total bill for good service.


To determine if a gratuity is included in a restaurant bill, look for a line that says "service included." If the service charge is included, leaving an additional tip is unnecessary, but it’s always appreciated for great service.


Check restaurant bills for the words "service compris" (in French) or "servizio incluso" (in Italian), or "servicio incluido or I.V.A." (in Spanish).


It is important to note that in some tourist areas, restaurants may add an extra charge to the bill for "tourist tax" or "cover charge" that is not a service charge. In these cases, leaving a tip for good service is still customary. Be wary of places that directly ask for a tip or point out that tips are not included.


Tip in cash


Always tip in cash rather than on your credit card to ensure the money reaches its intended recipients. If possible, hand the cash gratuity to your server when you pay the bill.


Keep a supply of €1 and €2 coins handy for tipping, and avoid using coins smaller than €0.50. If you're short on coins, make a few small purchases with small bills, and you'll quickly get an assortment of coins useful for tipping.


In Europe, there isn't typically a line on the credit card slip to add a gratuity as you find in the United States. If you must use your card for the tip, tell the server the total amount you would like to pay (including the gratuity) when you give them your card to pay. The credit card receipt should show the total charged, including the tip.


Note: Most restaurants bring the credit card machine to the table if you pay by credit card. You may be asked to enter your pin code, but this is only necessary when you use a debit card. You can indicate you don't have a code, and they may ask you for your signature on the receipt instead. Some places have a minimum purchase of €10 or €20 to pay with a credit card.



Traveler paying by credit card at a restaurant counter


Rounding Up


It's common to round up or leave the change for coffee or drinks. For example, if your bill was €9,20, round up to €10, and leave the €0,80 change as a tip. Note: A comma is used instead of a decimal point for Euros.


Rounding up is often common for taxi and Uber drivers as well.



Hotel staff: porters, housekeepers, and concierges


Porters: A general rule for porters or door staff who assist with your baggage is 1-2 euros per bag.


Housekeeping Staff: 1-2 euros per day.


Hotel Concierge: 5 - 20 euros depending on how much they helped you.



Hotel Valet's outside the St. Regis hotel next to a black SUV


Tour Guides


Private Tour Guides: 5-10% of the cost of the tour is appreciated


Group Tour Guides: (half-day €2-5 per person, full-day €5-10 per person)


Tour Bus Drivers: €1-2 per person



What to do if you’re unsure if you should tip?


If the service was bad, do not feel obligated to tip.


For taxi rides, coffee, or drinks, round up to the nearest 1 or 2 euros (or the equivalent of $1-2 in the currency of your destination).


Always check the bill to see if a service charge is included and adjust your tipping accordingly. When in doubt, tip 10 %.










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