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Your A to Z guide to tipping etiquette in Europe

Nov 11, 2016 by Courtney Keller

Your bags are packed, you’ve exchanged some dollars for euros, and you’re almost ready for your trip to Europe. Before you depart, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the tipping etiquette in your destination. Here, we’ve rounded up some information about gratuity practices throughout Europe to help you feel prepared for your tour.

Tipping in Europe

Tipping etiquette varies by country, culture, and situation. Since it’s a gesture to show that you were happy with the quality of your service, tipping always comes down to your personal preferences as well. Overall, the standard amount of 15–20% for good service at restaurants in the United States or Canada is higher than what’s expected across Europe. Depending on your destination, showing gratitude for your service with a tip can be something that’s seen as customary, not expected but appreciated, or even rare.

While European countries have different unspoken rules about tipping, one consistent thing you’ll find is that tips are not usually accepted on credit cards. It’s smart to be prepared with a few bills and coins in the local currency. In most countries, a good rule of thumb for taxis is to round up your total and tell your driver to keep the change. Your expert Tour Director is a great resource for information, and can let you know of any cultural nuances associated with showing your appreciation for services in your particular destination.

Tipping at restaurants in Europe

Across much of Western Europe, a service charge is included in your total. To avoid any uncertainty that may come at the end of a meal, here’s a breakdown of what the cultural expectations about tipping are in each country. Keep in mind that the tip recommendations below are inclusive of any noted service charge (so if there is a 5% service charge, you may want to add a 5% gratuity to offer your server 10% total).

Guide to tipping at restaurants in Europe

Albania

Rounding up to the nearest lek note, or up to 10% of the bill is appreciated, but not expected.

Austria

Service is often included in the bill. Round up your total to include up to a 10% tip in euros.

The Baltics

Tipping is becoming a bit more common in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. You can leave a few extra euros as a sign of gratitude, or up to 5–8% of the bill for a nicer meal.

Belgium

Service is often included on the bill. You can leave a few extra euros, up to 10% maximum to say thanks for exceptional service.

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Service is not typically included in the bill here, so it’s standard to leave around 10% in convertible marks when you’re happy with your service.

Bulgaria

Check to see if service is included, and leave up to 10% tip total in levs as a gesture of thanks.

Croatia

If service isn’t included, tip 3–5% in kuna for a casual meal and 10–15% for a nicer meal.

Czech Republic

Service is usually included in the bill, but you may want to include some additional korunas on top of it this, for up to 15% total.

France

Service is always included—look for Service compris on the bill. Leave an additional euro or two for a casual meal, and up to 10% of the bill in euros for great service at a more formal restaurant.

Germany

Bedienung on the bill means service is included, but you’re expected to leave a bit on top of that for good service. Round up to include around a 10% tip in euros and hand it directly to your server.

Greece

If service isn’t included, tip up to 5% in euros for a casual meal and 10% for a nicer meal.

Hungary

Leave up to 10% of the bill in forints, and try to hand it directly to your server if possible.

Ireland

Check to see if service is included on the bill. If it’s not, it’s fairly standard to tip a bit more, up to 10% in euros maximum.

Italy

A service charge is usually included on the bill. To tip more, round up a few euros, or up to 10% for excellent service at a nice restaurant.

Luxembourg

A service charge is often included on the bill. Feel free to leave a few additional euros, up to 10% maximum, as a sign of your gratitude.

Macedonia

If service isn’t included, round up the bill or tip up to maximum of 10% in denars at higher-end restaurants.

Montenegro

Check to see if service is included—if not, round up the bill or leave up to 10% in euros at a nice restaurant.

Poland

Tipping is appreciated here. Leave around 10% in zloty for good service.

Portugal

A tip of up to 10% in euros is appreciated here, as service is not often included in your total.

Romania

A service charge is not usually included in your bill—a tip of around 10% in leu is a nice way to show your appreciation to your server.

Russia

Hand your cash—around 10% in rubles is standard—directly to your server here.

Scandinavia

Service charges are usually included in the bill, and tipping is not customary across Scandinavia. Rounding up your bill to the nearest whole number is appreciated. For exceptional service, leave up to a maximum 10% tip in the local currency (the Danish krone, Icelandic krona, Norwegian krone, Swedish krona, or the euro in Finland).

Serbia

Leaving a tip of around 10% for good service is a common practice in Serbia.

Slovakia

Rounding up your bill, or leaving up to 10% total, is a good way to thank your server here.

Slovenia

Tipping is not expected, and a service charge is often included, but rounding up your restaurant bill to the nearest euro is always appreciated.

Spain

Service charges aren’t usually included on bills. Round up to the nearest euro at casual restaurants, and leave a 5–10% tip for higher-end meals.

Switzerland

Service charges are included in the bill here. If you feel inclined, you may leave an additional few francs, but it’s not expected.

The Netherlands

Service charges are included. At nicer restaurants, leave an additional tip of up to 10% for excellent service.

United Kingdom

If service isn’t included, then leave a tip of up to about 10% in pounds in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

Remember, these are just guidelines and your Tour Director can give you additional advice at the beginning of your trip. When in doubt, take a peek around to see what the locals are doing and match their behavior. Keep in mind that you may need to ask for the bill when you’re finished with your meal—Europeans don’t want you to feel rushed to leave.

Check out this Condé Nast Traveler article for more tips on tipping around the world.

Things to remember about tipping on tour

  • Tipping is always at your discretion. It’s a nice way to show your appreciation for good service, and each culture has different etiquette around when to tip—and how much.
  • Be prepared by carrying some cash in the local currency.
  • We recommend tipping the equivalent of $7 to $10 per day for your Tour Director, and $3 per day for your bus driver.
  • It’s a nice gesture to give local guides the equivalent of $2 if you’re pleased with how they led a sightseeing tour.
  • Ask your Tour Director if you have any questions about how much to tip at a restaurant, in a bar, or in a taxi while you’re out exploring.
  • Remember that one of the benefits of traveling on a tour of Europe with us is that you don’t have to worry about tipping porters who carry your bags at hotels. We’ve got you covered!

About the author | Courtney Keller
A lover of travel since studying in France, Courtney strives to inspire others to get out and see the world. When she’s not writing, she’s trying new restaurants, reading, doing yoga, baking, walking her rescue pup, or planning her next trip.

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