Tipping is always a controversial topic as each country and region may have their own tipping habits. Most American travelers tend to over-tip in Europe though and that’s why we’ve written this brief guide about tipping at restaurants in Europe.
General Tipping Advice for Europe
Verify Tipping is Expected: There are plenty of country that already include the tip into the bill. The receipt you get should indicate this so pay extra attention!
Tip with Cash: Most waiters in Europe prefer to be tipped in cash. If you had great service, and the tip isn’t included in your receipt throw a little cash their way – even if you’re paying for the meal with a credit card.
10% is Generous: In the United States, 15-20% is usually expected; in Europe, a 10% tip is considered generous as Waiters don’t rely on tips to make their living as heavily as in the United States.
Tipping at Restaurants in Europe: Country Specific
Austria: The service charge is most often already included in your bill. It is however customary to add an additional tip of 5%(or round up your purchase on lower bills) to the waiter.
Belgium: The service charge should already be included in receipt. Service staff in Belgium are well-paid, in comparison with those in the United States.
Czech Republic: Tipping is commonly expected from foreign visitors – if the service charge is not added, you should tip at least 10%. If your visiting an area that’s popular to tourists, 5-10% is acceptable.
France: You will always find a service charge on your bill and total advertised prices include service charges too. If you had extra great service, you can round up your total to the next euro though.
Germany: Service charges are included in the menu price in restaurants but it’s still typical to round up the total bill (think 5-10%).
Greece: It has become customary in Greece to display two prices on menus. The first is the price for the item and the second is the price with VAT included – the price you will be paying. An extra tip isn’t necessary but it’s common to round up the amount.
Hungary: Tips aren’t usually included in the bill so you’re expected to tip 10-15%. You should make tips in cash so that your service staff receives the tips – there have been many cases where managements takes tips and it doesn’t go to your actually service worker.
Ireland: Most restaurants will add a service charge to the bill, if they don’t 10% is the normal tip.
Italy: A service charge is usually automatically added to your bill but it’s still normal to round up the bill or leave a few extra Euros for fantastic service.
Netherlands: By law, the service charge at restaurants is included in the bill.
Portugal: The tip is included but an extra 5-10% is common if service was great. As an inverse, you shouldn’t tip if service was poor.
Scotland: If a restaurant includes a service charge, no extra tip is needed. If not, expect 10% – 15%.
Spain: Tip 10% as usual.
Switzerland: There’s no obligation to tip as service charges are included in your meal. In larger cities like Zurich you can add a small additional tip 5%-10%.
United Kingdom: Tipping isn’t always expected but the norm is for a 10% for most circumstances.
General Rule of Thumb
Restaurant tips in Europe are much more modest than in the United States. If you don’t see a service charge included in your bill then a safe tip range is between 5% – 10%.
At no time is a 15% or 20% tip required in Europe – it’s completely unnecessary and culturally ignorant.
Finally, when in complete doubt don’t be afraid to ask! See what locals, hoteliers, or tourist information offices have to say.