Guide to tipping in Europe

Vacations should be as relaxing as possible so the first thing we would like to say about tipping on your Europe vacation is don’t stress about it! While tips are often appreciated no matter where you travel in Europe, it is not as automatic as it is in the US and sometimes the service charge is included in your bill, meaning you need not worry about leaving a tip at all. As a general rule, there’s really no “wrong” amount as a tip is seen more as a sign of appreciation and you can simply round the bill up to a convenient number, leaving the change as a tip in most circumstances.

That said, tipping varies extensively among cultures and Europe is profoundly culturally diverse. This means that the tipping etiquette varies between European countries, although it is rarely considered obligatory. It is worth noting that tipping someone in expectation of getting priority service could be considered rude, especially in Estonia, and presenting this expectation to a waiter may result in the opposite effect. It is also worth considering that you should not tip a government worker or police-person as this could be misunderstood as a bribe – in some European countries, it is illegal to do so.

If you’re traveling to Europe and want the low-down on tipping, then here is our guide to the tipping etiquette.



Where to tip: most European countries; note that the service charge is always included in your bill in Iceland, Belgium and France, and also in many Italian places (look for “coperto”); it is not conventional to leave a tip on the table in the Czech Republic

Tips for the wait staff in Europe tend not to be as generous as in the US as, in general, waiters and waitresses are adequately paid and the tip is considered more as a “bonus” – a tip of 5–10% is the norm if you’re eating at a restaurant with table service or you may choose to round the bill to a convenient number, leaving the change as a tip. Generally, it’s best to tip your server in cash as there is often no option on the credit-card receipt/machine for leaving a tip. We suggest that you give the tip directly to your server rather than leaving it on the table as in busy restaurants it could be taken by the wrong party.

Note also that the service charge may be included in your bill and this should be stated on the menu or your bill (look out for “service included” or “servizio incluso”). If this is the case, there’s no need to leave an additional tip. In addition, if you order your food over a counter (for example, in a casual pub, fast food chain or street stall) then it is not common practice to leave a tip.

It should be pointed out that tips are slightly higher in Estonia, with 10–20% being considered polite, and tips are not commonly left in Greek restaurants that are off the beaten track – although they will be expected in touristy areas.



Where to tip: Estonia and Hungary

In general, bartenders do not expect a tip. However, in Estonia tipping the bar staff is common and tip jars may be used or you can tell the waiter to add a tip to the bill. Cash tips are preferred; however, if you wish to add a tip by card, inform the waiter upfront, as most bars will not process a handwritten tip later added to the receipt.


Where to tip: may be expected in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, Italy and Estonia; there’s no need to tip in Denmark or Finland

There’s often no obligation to tip cab drivers; however, if you have been given particularly good service, for example, if the taxi driver has helped you with your bags, then you may like to round up the fare. So, if the fare was €75 fare, you could give €80.



Where to tip: Estonia and Russia

If a porter helps you with your bags then you may like to give him/her a euro for each bag. It’s not commonplace to tip the housekeeping staff but, if you would like to, you could leave a small tip in your room when you depart.


Tour guides

Where to tip: Estonia and Russia

If you have paid for a tour from a guide then there is no need to tip. However, note that some tour guides have become accustomed to American-style tipping and may hold out their hand for a tip at the end of the tour. If you feel it is warranted, you could give a tip of a euro or two but you shouldn’t feel obliged.


Helpful words and phrases






Literally translates as “money for drink” but is the German word for tip


La mancia

Tip; also look out for “coperto”, which is a service charge that you will likely see on the menu of most restaurants


Tenga il resto

A common phrase you could use at a bar, meaning “keep the change





Asi esta bien

Keep the change


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