Tipping in Europe: When to tip on vacation

A collection of UK pennies and a five pound note left as a tip on a wooden table with a bill under a cup

When in Rome, do as the Romans do! 

If you’re heading off on a European vacation, you may be wondering how to go about tipping correctly. In the US, tipping is a large part of the service industry, and often, many rely on tips to form part of their wage. So when you are visiting a new destination, you may feel it is important to correctly follow the local area’s customs and practices.

But do they tip in Europe? What is considered a good tip, and in what circumstances do you offer one? 

Do you tip in Europe?

Yes, in a lot of countries tipping is very much a part of the culture for the service industries; that means whenever someone directly provides you with something, e.g. a waiter or a driver. In others, tipping isn’t expected, but it is a great gesture to show you have appreciated the service, or enjoyed your meal. 

Whilst on vacation, it might be difficult to work out the tipping culture of your destination without prior knowledge, and often people want to know in advance what it is that might be expected of them.The etiquette does vary from country to country in Europe, and the expected amount changes depending on the service you have received. Find out more about the tipping culture of some of the most popular destinations in Europe.

Tipping in the UK

Is tipping common in the UK?

Tipping is normally expected in a few key situations where a service is provided. However, service providers in the UK are given a minimum living wage, so it isn’t the case that they rely on tips to live, though of course, the extra certainly helps and is in many cases, completely welcome. Find out about the ins and outs of tipping in the UK below.

Do you tip in restaurants in the UK?

The most common place to tip in the UK is in restaurants. Although it is not compulsory, typically, a good tip is between 10% and 12.5%, though anything you can spare will be welcome. It is also completely up to you whether you pay this or not.

Tips are generally more expected in fine-dining restaurants, as they will often go above and beyond to ensure you have a fantastic experience. And in some places, fine-dining restaurants included, the tip is sometimes included in the bill. So, if you do want to leave a tip, check your bill beforehand to see if it is already included before you add anymore on top.

Although, again, tipping is not compulsory in restaurants in the UK, not tipping is often seen as a sign that you did not enjoy the food or had a problem. In fact, it is the most common reason why a tip might be withheld. You may find your waiter will ask if everything was okay if a tip is not received, but it is unlikely to be pushed further than that.

Equally, if your bill already includes a tip, but you were unhappy with the service, you can ask for it to be taken off or reduced – it is not a requirement for an already added tip to be paid in full.

Do you tip taxi drivers in the UK?

a blurred taxi sign

Yes, you can tip taxi drivers in the UK. The most common form of tipping taxi drivers in the UK is to round up the fare to the nearest five or ten. So, for example, if your fare comes to £17.10, you would typically round it up to £20, so the taxi driver would receive a £2.80 tip.

Similarly to tipping in restaurants, it is not expected, and taxi drivers will typically carry change if you need it. On the other hand, if you were particularly pleased with the service, or your driver went above and beyond, an increased tip would be more than welcome, and it is completely at your discretion how much you give.

Do you tip delivery drivers in the UK?

Tipping food delivery drivers is a very good idea. Although drivers who deliver directly for certain restaurants may receive a living wage, those who work for independent delivery companies often work on a freelance basis, which means a tip would be wholly welcome. Although, as is the case for other services in the UK, it is not considered compulsory, though it is considered very polite. Typically, a good tip ranges between £1.50 and £3.50.

If you are ordering online, a delivery fee may already be included, in which case, it is not completely necessary to add more on top, although you still can if you feel you would like to give more. If you are using a delivery app to receive your meal, often, you can adjust the tip inside the app once you have received the order, which means you can adjust it depending on how pleased you were with the service; e.g. was the delivery quick? Was your food still hot? Was your driver polite? Otherwise, feel free to hand over a couple of pounds to the driver themselves when they come to your door.

Tipping in a UK hotel

Tipping in a UK hotel is much less common than tipping in restaurants and tipping drivers, although it does happen in some instances. The most likely time you may feel the need to tip someone in a hotel, is if you are staying somewhere more up-market and you have received a service from a porter. For example, they may show you to your room or take your luggage up for you. 

In this case, do feel free to tip a couple of pounds if you would like to, though again, this isn’t compulsory. Some also tip those who bring up any room service, though this is even less common than tipping a porter.

Tipping in Spain

Is tipping common in Spain?

Yes, tipping is generally common in Spain, but there are a few caveats to that. Though tipping does occur for services such as meals at restaurants, the culture and etiquette does differ somewhat from tipping in the US. In fact, it is sometimes said that Spanish waiters can be surprised by the generosity of those used to the tipping culture in the US. Find out more about the best way to tip in Spain.

Tipping in Spain restaurants

In the US, it is perfectly reasonable to leave a tip of between 15% and 20% of your bill in a restaurant. In the UK, the typical amount stands at around 10%. In Spain, waiters are generally paid full salaries, and therefore tips don’t make up their base paypacket, and are simply a bonus extra. It is not unusual for Spaniards themselves to not tip in the average Spanish restaurant or cafe, though they may be given if part of the service was particularly exceptional. Tourists to Spain are the most likely candidates for leaving a tip in a restaurant.

That isn’t to say, however, that it won’t be very much appreciated if you do decide to tip. There aren’t any solid customs, however, when it comes to working out the extra amount to leave, so simply leave what you think is deserved. You can also just round up the bill to the nearest whole number in order to leave a little something.

In fancier venues, tipping may be more common amongst both locals and tourists, so be aware that if you haven’t factored in a tip to your dining budget, if you are going somewhere very nice, it may be more customary to leave behind a couple of Euros. 

Keep in mind that bills in Spain may be given to you with a service charge already provided, but this is unlikely to be split amongst the staff. So if you are feeling generous and want to reward someone who has made your day, it is best to hand a tip to them directly. 

Do you tip taxis in Spain?

The tipping custom of no expectations when it comes to handing over your extra change also extends to taxi drivers in Spain. They won’t be offended if you cannot spare the change, and equally, they will appreciate anything you do decide to give them. When it comes to tipping taxi drivers in Spain, the most common way to do so is to simply round up your fare to the nearest whole number and give them the difference. So for example, if a fare costs slightly less than twenty euros, you can simply hand over the twenty euro note and tell them to keep the change.

If your taxi driver goes above and beyond for you, do feel free to pay that little bit extra as a thank you. 

Do you tip in hotels in Spain?

hotel receptionist handing over key card whilst smiling

It is more common to tip in Spanish hotels than anywhere else, as services are frequently provided. However, this is typically never more than a few euros here and there, which you can of course increase or withhold depending on what you think of the service you were given. For example, a porter who helps you with your bags would very much welcome a few euros, housekeeping a few euros also, one or two euros to anyone delivers any room service, each time, and if a doorman personally helps you by tending to your luggage or helping you secure transport, a few euros certainly wouldn’t go amiss in that circumstance either.

Is it rude to tip in Spain?

No, it is not considered rude at all! Also on the flipside, it is not considered rude to not tip either. Tipping is simply a gesture of goodwill that people offer from time to time. The only thing you may find is that a waiter, porter, or taxi driver – whoever you have tipped, may be surprised if you hand them too much. There are stark differences in the typical amount to tip between the US and Spain and you may feel obligated to give a much larger amount than is generally offered. In Spain, follow your intuition on how much you would like to give – there are no set customs or social expectations.

Tipping in Portugal

Do you tip in Portugal?

Portugal has a very similar tipping culture to Spain, in that it is not required or expected, but wholly welcome if you do decide to leave a little cash reward for a particularly good service or if you are feeling generous. How much you tip completely depends on the situation and service provided, however, and don’t feel you need to tip in any case, though amongst Portuguese people, it is often offered to those who have provided an “above-and-beyond” level of service.

Do you tip in Portugal restaurants?

someone paying for their meal by card

You absolutely can, though it is not expected of you at all. Tipping in restaurants in Portugal is more likely to occur amongst the more fine-dining establishments, and it is very unlikely you will see any locals tipping in small cafes or in venues such as bars. How much you give is completely up to you as there are no set social expectations. 

How much do you tip in Portugal?

If you do want to tip, how much you give depends on who you are tipping and why. In restaurants, you can either round up the bill, leave a couple of euros on top, or if you’re feeling very generous, offer 5% – 10% extra of the bill’s total. With taxi drivers, if you want to tip, the most common way to do so is to simply round up the fare, whether this be a few cent or a few euros, and in hotels, a couple of euros per person for any service provided will be more than welcome. 

Are tips included in Portugal?

In most cases, restaurants in Portugal will only charge you for the food and drinks you enjoy, as there are no set percentages or customs for tipping in Portugal. However, do of course double-check your bill if you want to provide a tip, to ensure it doesn’t already have a service charge or gratuity charge added, as they may be included as part of the bill in finer establishments, or for larger groups.

Tipping in France

Do you tip in France?

We do not suggest tipping as a day-to-day practice whilst in France. That is because, in most, if not all, cafes, bars, and restaurants, a service charge is included as part of the bill already. This is typically around 15% of the total bill, which is a more than decent extra to pay for the service. Of course, if you want to tip more whilst in France, there are no rules for tipping, so do feel free to add any extra you wish to provide, particularly if an experience was that little bit extra special.

It is not rude to tip extra in France, it is simply not expected due to the inclusion of the service charge on the bills, so do not worry if you do want to give extra, and especially, do not worry if you don’t put any more on top – it is absolutely not expected.

Do you tip in restaurants in France?

No, as mentioned above, a service charge is highly likely to already be included as part of your bill. This is in place of a tip, so you do not need to put any extra on for your waiter, though of course you can if you were particularly impressed by their service or your meal. 

Do you tip Uber drivers in France?

couple handing cash to smiling driver

The tipping custom works a little differently for delivery and taxi drivers, who may be working freelance. Although professions such as waiters are provided with minimum living salaries, the salaries of freelance workers are wholly dependent on a range of factors. 

Although there are no strict social expectations or rules when it comes to tipping drivers in France, it would be very welcome and appreciated. If you do want to tip, feel free to round up the fare and provide the difference, or if using an app, add one on that way.

Tipping in Italy

Do you tip in Italy?

The custom of tipping in Italy is most similar to Spain and Portugal, in that it is absolutely not required, but appreciated if you choose to do so. It is more a gesture of appreciation, rather than meeting the need to help cover a salary – to show you are very pleased with the service you have been provided with.

Do you tip private drivers in Italy? 

Exactly like Spain and Portugal, tipping drivers is not expected but very appreciated. No set amount is required if you do want to tip – simply round up your fare or add a few extra Euros on top, particularly if they go out of their way for you, for example, by helping you with your bags when you get to your destination.

Tipping in Italy restaurants

How much you tip in Italy for a meal is completely up to you. There are no requirements when it comes to putting down a few extra euros. Locals often only tip for the following reasons; a particularly exceptional meal or service from their waiters, service for a large group of customers, or at a very fine restaurant.

In terms of how much to put down if you do decide you would like to reward them for a very good job, then 10% on top of your bill is seen as an extraordinarily generous tip. You can also simply round up your bill to the nearest whole Euro, or leave a few coins behind, which would be considered a lovely gesture. The larger tips that are often given in the US doesn’t happen in Italy, so don’t feel obliged to give a certain percentage of the bill on top. Just remember, the best way to tip is by cash in Italy and not by debit or credit. 

Tipping in Greece

Do you tip in Greece?

someone pulling money out of a wallet

Generally, yes, tips are expected to be given for certain services, although the expectation varies depending on where you are and the type of establishment you are at. Although the social expectation is that you should tip, it isn’t compulsory in Greece, so you can decide to withhold the extra if you want to, for example, if you weren’t happy with the service.

How much to tip a driver in Greece 

Like in most of the other countries mentioned in this article, tipping your driver is not expected, unlike tipping in restaurants in Greece. Instead, if you are feeling generous, you can tell them to keep the change, round up your fare to the nearest whole number, or even pay a percentage of the fare on top if you really want to tip well. For a private driver who you have hired for a day, a decent tip to leave them is anywhere between 10 and 20 Euros. 

Do you tip in Greece at restaurants?

Yes, if you can, you should tip in restaurants. Though it isn’t compulsory, it indicates that you enjoyed your meal, and if a tip isn’t included, the waiters may wonder if there was something you were unhappy with. In Greece, a good tip to leave is between 5% and 10%, although you can increase this if you like for a stellar service. The best way to ensure your waiter receives their tip is to hand it to them directly, although do note that in some establishments across Greece, staff aren’t allowed to keep them. 

Some restaurants, including fine-dining venues or those who have accommodated a large group, may add the tip, also known as a gratuity, to the bill. So, if you want to reward them for a good job, check the bill beforehand to make sure it isn’t already included in the sum total so you are not tipping twice.

We hope you have enjoyed this guide to tipping in Europe, and are feeling ready to jet off on your holiday. 

Remember to explore our luxury accommodation if you truly want your Europe trip to be one to remember. With stunning villas often complete with private pools, sumptuous décor, and located in the best destinations across Europe, you’re certain to find the perfect vacation home for you.