Tipping etiquette in Europe: How generous are you?

Tipping etiquette in Europe: How generous are you?

Last Updated on June 22, 2020 by Michael

Tipping in Europe is a delicate subject. If you tip too much, you could look like a foolish American; too little and your service provider could feel snubbed. When it comes to European restaurants, Forbes says that 5-10% is a substantial tip. Meanwhile, rounding up to the nearest Euro is an adequate amount to give taxi drivers.

Here’s a quick round-up of the tipping customs in some European countries:


In certain areas of Belgium, tipping is an acceptable way to express gratitude, and in others it is not. In Wallona, tipping is generally accepted and encouraged, whereas in Flanders, tipping is uncommon. In general, you can leave a gratuity for good service by rounding up the bill to the next euro or allowing the server to keep the change. Taxi drivers don’t expect tips, but if you are highly pleased with their service, feel free to tip €1 to €3.


In England, service charges are often included in the restaurant bill, but if not, 10-15% is standard. If you’re at a pub enjoying some drinks with friends, note that it’s more customary to buy the staff a drink instead of tipping. For salon and beauty services, rounding up to the nearest ten should be sufficient. For a taxi service, 10% or less is typical. Staying at a hotel? Expect to leave a tip of 10-15%.


By law, gratuities of 15% are automatically added to your bill, but it is not unlikely to add 10-15% for above average service (especially in Paris). Esquire however,  claims that travellers should never leave more than €11. For a taxi service, round up to the nearest Euro. If you’re staying at a hotel, give a €1 per bag to the bellman; €1-2 for the housekeeper; and €10-15 for the concierge, giving them half upon arrival and the other half when you check out.


Rule number 1: don’t leave your tip on the table, give it your waiter when you pay. Generally, 10-15% is average. In hotels, it is expected for travellers to give €3 per bag to the bellman; €5 per day for the housekeeper; and €20 for the concierge.


Giving a tip is not required in Greece, but it is pretty common to round off to the total bill. On average, a 10% to 15% tip is sufficient to give to waiters/waitresses and taxi drivers.


Tipping in Italy is unnecessary. A service charge (servizio) and cover charge (coperto) is usually included in the bill. But if you are feeling generous, 10% is a great tip. When staying at a hotel, you can tip the bellman no more than €5, the housekeeper €1 or €2 per day, and €0.50 for room service. In taxis, most Italians don’t pay tips at all. However, if you feel extra pleased with the service, rounding the bill up to the nearest euro should suffice.


There is often a 15% service charge added to the published prices of hotels, restaurants, cafes, nightclubs, salons, and sightseeing companies. Even taxi fare includes a standard 15% service charge. Look for the word inclusief BTW en service or ask the waiter to ensure it’s already included. If you wish to tip like the Dutch, you may leave €1 to €2 per person  or 10% of the tab. If you’re staying at a hotel, again don’t worry about tipping. But if you wish, you may give a tip of €1 or €2 per bag to your bellman.


The general rule for tipping in Poland is around 10-15% of the cheque. Don’t forget to tip tour guides and drivers too, but only if you are pleased with their service. Housekeepers in Polish hotels won’t expect a tip, but if you wish, you can leave 10PLN per night on the bed or bedside table. You can also thank the concierge for their service by leaving a tip of about 20 PLN in an envelope when you leave.


In Spain, tipping isn’t obligatory, but if you decide to tip, coins should be enough for most services. At higher end restaurants, 5-10% is sufficient, while a few Euros  for helpful hotel staff would be greatly appreciated. Going to a bar to enjoy a drink or two? Don’t tip, as bar owners don’t often allow them. Also keep an eye out for tip jars written only in English, as it may not be from the restaurant.

Are you a generous tipper? Share your thoughts below!

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