You are traveling around Spain and of course enjoying plenty of offered services which come along with travel. If you are coming from the US or another country which customarily tips for service, you may be a little perplexed when you are in Spain. Tipping in Spain is a bit different from what you are accustomed to.
Okay let’s talk all about tipping in Spain!
First of all, I have numerous years working in the service industry in the US. For many years tips were what I had to live off of, as I was only paid minimum wage for my job. I have a soft spot for tipping, but also believe in doing what the locals do. When you are in a foreign land, it is best to try to follow the local customs, when possible. I have also been avoiding this topic, as it really comes down to personal opinions. This is often something we are asked, so it is easier to just write something up.
We have lived in Spain for more than 5 years in the southern part of Spain and have many Spanish friends, as well as expatriate friends. In this post, we have compiled our list of information from the people we know, the experiences we have had, as well as information from several tipping in Spain articles. All of the articles are listed below in the tipping in Spain reference section.
How much do you tip in Spain?
The answer to that question all depends on what service you are receiving and possible where you are located. If you are in a tourist area, it may be expected from you simply because you are American or from a country which customarily tips. That said, it doesn’t mean you are supposed to tip!
In Spain, tipping is entirely optional and it’s not very common. You may see people leaving small change at cafés and bars and possibly someone tipping at a nice expensive restaurant. But most of the time, you won’t see anyone other than tourists leaving a tip. If tipping is a regular custom for you and you feel that the situation deserves it, your tip will be kindly appreciated. However, don’t feel that you must do so.
Spain Tipping Guide
café / Bar / pub
No tip is expected for a cup of coffee or a drink, although some people will leave the change rounding up from the nearest Euro. It you are in a late-night bar or pub, it isn’t common to tip. In Spain you mostly pay for your drinks up front, not at the end of the night.
For tapas or a sandwich in a bar, the change from the nearest Euro is sufficient. There is no need for any crazy calculations, just a little change is fine. If your bill was about 8.20€, just round-up to 9€.
Tipping 5% – 10% maximum in restaurants is appreciated, although tipping is only done if you are happy with the service. If you are served by a number of waiters/waitresses then you are usually not expected to leave a tip, however if you are served by only one for the duration of your meal then you may want to leave a tip. For a sit-down lunch or dinner that might come to around 20 euros, a one or two euro tip is more than enough, and is also considered standard.
For high-end or Michelin star restaurants, a 5 to 10% tip is standard. If you pay by credit card it is preferable to leave a cash tip, because the wait staff often does not receive the tips left on credit cards. Also most credit cards machines in Europe print up the amount entered and do not have a line item to add a tip.
The Final Word on Tipping in Spain
The bottom line about tipping in Spain? Do what you feel is right. The Spanish do not generally leave tips for drinks and they do not feel compelled to always leave a tip for food. If they do, it isn’t as much as in other countries. Remember if you decide to tip, you are also fueling the expectation for other foreigners to tip.
Check out our post on everything you need to know to visit Spain!
Additional Tipping In Spain References:
These reference cover in more detail if you should be tipping your tour guide, tipping the taxi driving, tipping the hotel maids, tipping the bell hop, tipping the shuttle driver and more!
- From the Spain Scoop – Wallet rules on tipping.
- Totally Spain Travel – A thorough guide for you including hair dressers, restaurants, transport, hotels, deliveries, tour guides, and more.
- The Madrid Traveler with 20+yrs in Spain – Their views on tipping in the big cities.
- Auto Europe covers Tipping in Spain – restaurants, taxis, hotels and more.
- Who to Tip covers restaurants, tour guides, bars and more.
- The Guardian – Tips on Tipping around the world, including Spain.
- Epicurean Ways – travel tips for Portugal and Spain
- Smart Traveler – shares info from bell hops to cleaners and restaurants to taxis.
- Trip Savvy – they did a survey from locals and it is just as all of the others say.
Of course talking about tipping is a controversial topic and it really does come down to what you want to do. Feel free to comment and let us know your opinion.