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The Traveller's Magazine
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When you’re not on your own soil and you’re new to a culture it’s hard to know if you should tip and how much. You don’t want to appear stingy or over-do it either. Here’s an exhaustive guide for how much to tip in Europe at restaurants, bars and cafés.

Country Use How much Where How
Germany Optional 5-10% Restaurants and cafés to show you appreciate the service Tips are given directly to the server.
Austria Optional 5% Restaurants, service stations, theatres, taxis Tips are given directly to the employee, generally it’s fine to round-up the total of the bill.
Belgium Optional 5% Restaurants Only tip if you receive exceptional service and wish to show your appreciation.
Bulgaria Essential 10% Restaurants, bars, taxis, hotels, other tourist services (guides, drivers) In many cases, employees are paid solely on tips except in large stores. It’s better to leave a bill than a few coins.
Cyprus Optional Restaurants Service fees are added to the bill automatically. Nothing stops you though from leaving a few coins on the table when you leave.
Croatia Optional 10-15% Chic restaurants Service fees are included in the bill, but more and more servers in tourist restaurants expect a tip (probably because of the American habit). In cafés, bistros and other services it’s quite rare to tip.
Denmark Non-existent Tipping is very rare in Denmark, servers rarely expect a tip in exchange for high-quality service.
Spain Optional 5% Restaurants and cafés Tipping is popular due to the American habit. Culturally you don’t have to tip as you’re often served by multiple servers. Leave a €1 coin on the table if you feel inclined, not more.
Estonia / Latvia / Lithuania Optional 10% Restaurants and cafés Same as Spain.
Finland Non-existent Only tip at uber-chic and very traditional establishments (hotel porters, room-service for example). Otherwise, it’s completely out of  the ordinary.
Greece Optional 10% Restaurants Out of good taste, round your bill up to the nearest €1, it’s annoying otherwise. Giving an overly-generous tip is also a faux-pas.
Hungary Essential 10-15% Restaurants, taxis, doctors, service stations… Service is not included in the bill and not leaving a tip is an insult in Hungary. Establishments aimed at tourists often include it in the bill, just to make sure they don’t get stiffed. Never leave it on the table or you’ll attract the wrong attention. Pay your bill directly to the server. In Hungary you tip almost everyone, even your doctor.
Ireland Mandatory in certain cases 6-10% Only restaurants Contrary to the cliché, you don’t leave a tip at the pub. In restaurants, take your cue from the bill: if it doesn’t mention “10% service charge included” then add it yourself.
Iceland Non-existent It won’t be held against you but the local’s might laugh after you leave.
Italy Optional 5% Restaurants, cafés Most of the time, it’s not necessary to tip at all in Italy, or simply round up the bill to the nearest €1. Note: there is often a cover added to the bill (€1-2 per person). Most don’t notice this already on the bill.
Norway Optional 5% Restaurants Round up the total to the nearest NOK 10 or 100, whichever is closest.
Netherlands Optional 5% Restaurants, cafés It’s common to add 5% to the total of the bill, more out of politeness and courtesy.
Poland Optional 10% Restaurants, cafés If you appreciate the service, add 10% on top of the total. Careful, if you say “Thank you” to the server when you hand over the bill and the money they will understand it to mean “Keep the change.”
Portugal Optional 10% Restaurants It’s polite to add 10% to the total if you are satisfied with the service. If, of course, you’re not bothered by the enormous taxes already added (bread, cover, olives, etc.) If you touch it, you pay for it…
Czech Republic Essential 10% Restaurants and cafés Similar to Hungary. Tipping is highly recommended except at touristy places, where it’s already included automatically into the bill.
Romania Essential 10% Restaurants, cafés, bars Salaries are extremely low in Romania compared to home, so don’t feel bad to add 10%+ to your bill. Tip according to quality of service, it will not go unappreciated. Never leave the money on the table however.
France Optional 10-15% Restaurants, cafés, bars, etc. In most of France 15% is already included in your bill to cover the tip, look for “service compris.” Tips are not necessarily divided up between servers, so if yours was especially nice, leave a few extra coins for them.
Slovakia Optional 5-10% Restaurants, pubs, cafés Round the total up to whatever you feel is reasonable, whether it’s the nearest €1 or 5.
Sweden Essential only in taxis 10% Taxis Tipping is not necessary in restaurants, but it’s polite to tip 10% to taxi drivers.
Switzerland Optional 5-10% Restaurants, cafés Mandatory tipping was abolished in Switzerland in 1985. This doesn’t stop servers though from expecting a couple of coins in return for excellent service.
Turkey Optional 5% Restaurants It’s common to leave 5% on top of the total, at the time of payment.

Do you tip while you’re abroad?

Img: jenikilo, Flickr cc.

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