Tipping in Europe is a complicated subject as it widely varies by the country you’re in; however, it isn’t obligatory, and you should only do so if you want to. People in some of the European countries are more inclined to tip than others. That’s why we prepared a European tipping guide for you, so you’re never left in the dark, and you’ll know exactly how much to tip for each kind of service!
Contrary to the United States’ customs, tipping in Europe isn’t as black and white as it may seem. You might be used to the cafe tips, restaurant tips, or Doordash tips. If you’re confused about Europe’s tipping customs, we prepared the most important rules of showing gratitude during your European retrieve!
In the United States, tipping might seem like an obligation rather than a sign of appreciation for good service. You’re usually expected to tip between 15% to 20% of the pre-tax bill in most sit-down restaurants. So why is Europe different? In Europe, the service staff has a more liveable base pay, and therefore does not rely on tips as their ‘main’ source of income.
As a rule of thumb, tipping in Europe should be within the limits of 5-10% of your restaurant bill, and much less in other service sectors.
European Tipping Etiquettes
Even though there aren’t any obligations to leave a tip, you can show your gratitude for good service by leaving a modest tip of 10%. Tips are well received, but they’re most definitely not crucial. They’re also much more expected in high-end restaurants, where you might order a few courses and pair them with wine. It is a well-accepted practice in lower-end restaurants to round the bill up to the nearest €5, or €10. This way, you don’t have to wait to get your change back, but it also shows your waiter that you are exceptionally happy with the service they are providing.
However, this is entirely up to your preference and the service you have encountered. If you don’t want to leave a tip or don’t have the spare change, don’t stress about it too much.
You’re not expected to leave a tip at a bar, but for the most part, if you’re going to leave a tip, a simple £2 / €2 is considered sufficient. It is not expected of you to leave a tip at a bar in Europe, so the choice is yours.
Spa Service Provider
Tips for spa service are viewed very kindly in Europe. For Exceptional Service, you should consider tipping around 10% of your total service bill; more than that can be excessive. However, don’t stress about it too much if you don’t have 10% for the bill with you, leave a smaller tip. If possible, try to grant it in a paper bill, rather than coins.
Again, it’s not a necessity, but definitely a nice gesture to consider if you’re happy with the way your room has been cleaned. If you’re planning on tipping the housekeeper, consider just leaving a tip at the end of your stay (or at the beginning and end if you’re feeling generous). If you’re staying for an extended period, consider tipping once per week. It’s a gesture that will definitely not go unnoticed and will leave your room looking spark clean.
With delivery services such as Doordash, there are many questions regarding the courtesy of tipping and even more answers. The simple answer is – it’s up to you. If your order arrived spectacularly fast, and you feel like the driver deserves a tip, it will undoubtedly be a nice gesture of you, but as with most European tipping standards, it’s at your discretion.
Tipping your tour guide shows is a common sign of appreciation. In European nations, you should aim to award your tour guide anywhere between 5% and 15% of the price you pay (per person), with the higher spectrum of the tip reserved for an exceptional service!
An exception to this rule is Finland, where tour guides don’t accept tips and find them awkward, so be wary of that when you’re sightseeing Santa’s factory in Rovaniemi! The same goes for Slovenia.
On the other hand, in Iceland, it’s more common to treat your tour guide to lunch rather than provide them with a monetary gesture. If you’re headed to Switzerland, be prepared to accustom yourself to the existing practices, where it is standard to tip your tour guide around CHF 40 per day.
Even though tipping is not unheard of in Europe, there are some noticeable differences we feel are essential to be mentioned. Some European countries will charge you a standard service charge along with your order, which can vary between 5% and 15% of your total order value. In the UK, a traditional service charge is around 12.5%, and this is already considered a tip – so don’t feel obliged to have to tip anything extra.
Remember that anywhere in the world you find yourself, it is always a nice gesture to show some appreciation to people serving you, but always bear in mind the country’s customs and traditions while doing so!