Picture this: You’ve just finished your paella at a restaurant tucked away in a cobblestone-lined alley while the subtle strumming of a Spanish guitar soothes in the background. Just as you’re dabbing the corners of your mouth, the waiter brings the bill.
If you’re wondering whether you should tip in Spain, we’ll cover it here. We’ll also talk about the customs for different services such as dining versus transportation.
Tipping etiquette when traveling
Tipping in the United States is the norm. Depending on what you’re doing, you can expect to pay between 10% and 25% of your total bill as a tip. This includes dining at restaurants, getting your nails done, taking a ride in a taxi or having food delivered.
Tipping is such a big part of the U.S. culture that there are entire guides written about it. But what about when you’re traveling? It’s considered rude not to tip in a restaurant in the United States, but is it the same if you’re abroad?
The short answer is this: Tipping etiquette varies according to country. In the United Kingdom you may be looking at a 10% gratuity for dining, while in other countries rounding up to the nearest euro is considered a fair tip.
Before traveling, you’ll always want to do your research regarding tips. Americans are known worldwide to be overtippers, and while this isn’t a bad thing, it can also cost you a lot more money than necessary.
Do you tip in Spain?
If you’re traveling to Spain, you may be trying to figure out if and when tipping is expected. The good news is that there is no established tipping culture or minimum in Spain.
While it is possible to tip, it’s not expected and it isn’t considered rude not to leave a tip. However, most businesses will accept a tip if you’d like to leave one.
Rather than it being a sort of “mandatory” fee, tipping while in Spain is truly done to recognize superior service.
Restaurant tipping in Spain
Tipping at restaurants in the United States is basically universal. In many states, servers make less than the federal minimum wage with the expectation that tips will cover their salaries. This is a big reason why tipping in the U.S. has become ubiquitous.
In Spain, there is no lower minimum wage for waitstaff, which means there is no expectation for a tip. Depending on where you’re eating, you may also find a service charge included on your bill. This will be denoted by “servicio incluido” at the bottom of your receipt.
If your service has been especially good, feel free to leave a tip for your waitstaff. This should range from 5% to 10% — and no more.
Tipping is also not expected when you’re at a cafe or a quick-service restaurant. If you’d like to tip in these situations, leaving a few coins or rounding up to the nearest euro will suffice.
Do you tip taxis in Spain?
As with restaurants, it’s not necessary to tip cab drivers in Spain. There’s no expectation to do so, though it would be well received. Again, tipping is entirely at your discretion and is used as a marker for a job well done.
You may want to tip a taxi driver if you have a lot of heavy luggage that the driver handled, for example. You may also want to include a tip if the driver offers you advice about restaurants, must-do activities or if you’re traveling with a pet.
Other tipping situations
There may be other situations in which you’d like to leave a tip, many of which mirror those you’d expect in the United States. These include any sort of jobs that include service given. Here are some common examples:
You may also end up tipping if you’re staying on board a cruise that stops in Spain. Leaving gratuities on a cruise is expected (and is usually automatically charged). These tips go toward your waitstaff, housekeepers and everyone else who works to keep the cruise going.
If you’re wondering about tipping in Spain
Traveling abroad is difficult enough when you’re trying to figure out different customs, cultures and expectations.
For travelers coming from the United States, understanding tipping etiquette may also be a stressful experience. Unlike the U.S., many foreign countries do not maintain a tipping culture.
If you’re traveling in Spain, it’s possible to leave tips if you’ve experienced excellent service. However, tipping is not customary and the maximum percentage you’d want to leave is 10%. Before you tip, be sure to check your bill to see whether a service charge has already been added. If so, this constitutes a tip and means any additional gratuity that you leave is extra.