All about customary tipping In Spain
DO YOU TIP IN SPAIN AT ALL?
It can be embarrassing when you are not familiar with the tipping guidelines in a country. “Is tipping customary in Spain?” is a question I get asked a lot by my clients, and it can be also embarrassing for me to answer them when asked in front of the person to be tipped.
Is tipping expected in Spain the same way it is in your country? Often, yes. However, proper tipping amounts are not as big in Spain as they are in other countries. And specially after the economical crisis, I see people tipping less and less. But if not tipping at all takes you out of your comfort zone (and giving too much doesn’t feel good for your wallet either), today’s post will be definitely of help. This recommendations come from my own experience tipping in Barcelona and seeing how my family, friends and guests tip. But they also apply to the rest of Spain.
How much to tip in Spain
Tipping at restaurants and cafes
In Spain waiters get a relatively decent salary, the tipping etiquette in Spain says that a tip is considered always a reward for good service, what means that if the food is bad or the waiter is mean – no tip! But if you are happy with the service, it's always nice to leave a tip. Thankfully, tips in Spain don't follow strict rules like in the US and there's no need to take the calculator out. An approximate amount will be good enough. The more you give, the happier you'll make them, of course (I've seen bars where they ring a bell when someone tips!).
But there’s no “not enough tip” concept here. If you happened to tip less than average at that particular venue no one will give it a second thought. And no one will be chasing after you if you don’t tip.
Small orders (coffee, drink, small bite under €10)
A lot of Spaniards have stopped tipping for small orders. But if you don’t want to carry small coins with you, it’s always nice to leave a small tip. Something like 10 to 20 cents for a coffee or drink, and up to 50 cents if you ordered more than that.
No tipping in Spain at fast food chains where you bring your own food to the table and are expected to clean the table after you are done eating. But if it’s a seat-down fast food chain where there’s staff waiting at the tables (think Hard Rock Cafe, for instance), then treat it as a regular restaurant.
Restaurants and tapas bars
The average tip in Spain for a meal is around 7 to 10%. Or sometimes 1 euro per person, if it’s a group splitting the bill. Consider giving more (15 to 20%) if you are eating at a Michelin star restaurant or other fine dinning venue: staff at luxury places are used to tips, and leaving no tip or a small tip might make them think there was something wrong with their service. Better show them you were happy, if you were.
Although not necessary, delivery guys appreciate a small tip – a euro coin or so for an average order. But consider rewarding them better if your order was heavy, or if they had to climb many stairs for lack of elevator.
Tipping at hotels
The proper tip amounts at luxury hotels are probably quite universal, and they work for Spain too: one to two euros/dollars per piece of luggage will make them happy.
Maids & housekeeping
A euro per night in 4 to 5 star hotels is common, but if you are staying at a 5 star hotel you might want to be more generous the more expensive your room is.
Treat it as the delivery guys we mentioned before. One euro for an average order is right.
Concierges and receptionists
If you’ve interacted with the concierge to get restaurant reservations, tour bookings and other requests, it’s thoughtful to give them a tip at the end of your stay. Same if they gave you an unexpected upgrade. Most people will round up their bill. Or maybe bring them a small box of chocolates that you can get at a nearby supermarket for less. Or a small treat from your home country as a gift.
But if they managed to get you something really difficult, like a last-minute reservation in a restaurant that has a several months-long waiting line, then a generous tip is deserved.
Tipping transportation means
Taxi drivers, Uber and the likeTipping cab drivers in Spain is usually cheaper than in other countries. For a ride within the city, most locals consider that a proper tipping is to leave 10 to 20 cents (I personally tend to round up to the next 50 cents or euro, for instance). And for a ride from the airport, one or two extra euros will make the deal. Needless to say, if you feel cheated by the taxi driver, you should leave nothing at all.
For airport transfers, €10 are acceptable. If you had a chauffeured tour, I see people usually giving them at least €20 for a 4-hour service. The longer the tour, and the happier you were with the driver, the more you should give.
Rickshaws, horse carriages and the like. Since it’s a paid ride there’s not much need to tip, but you can also give them a euro coin or so. Instead, no tip is needed in mass transportation rides such as cable cars, funiculars or hop-on hop-off buses. As for boat rides, if the staff was providing information or helping you out in some way, a euro tip per person works. If no other service outside of transportation was provided, it won’t be necessary unless it was a private boat – then treat them as a private driver.
Tipping for tours
Guides from museums or sitesIf you are visiting a museum or site and you join one of the tours offered by them, usually guides aren't tipped. Some sites don't allow the guides to accept them, but if they do and you think the guide did a great job and want to reward her, then one euro per person is appropriate.
Guides from group tours
Either it is a walking tour or a bus tour, it is appropriate to tip your guide with at least one euro per person, depending on how long the tour was. If it was a bus tour, maybe you’ll want to give one euro for the driver and one or two for the guide (it’s best to give each their tip, as not always they’ll be sharing).
And what about so-called “free tours”?
So-called “free tours” aren’t a tour that is free. They are a tour where you are “free” to decide how much to pay your guide. They call it a tip, but it really isn’t: it’s their salary – an under the table salary. If it was a tip, one euro for a walking tour would be correct. But they expect you to pay them €10 per person or more – so the equivalent to a tour ticket, not to a tip. They sometimes even have “infiltrated guests” that will comment how much they are planning to give, in order to influence the rest of the group… My recommendation is to avoid free tours and use a company that tells you the cost of the tour up front. If you want to learn more about the sneaky ways of free tours, I recommend you to read this post (it’s about Madrid, but applies to free tours around Spain in general).
Private tour guides
As a private tour guide myself, this concerns me personally… So here is an honest explanations: while in a group-tour one euro per person is the tipping etiquette, private tour guides are usually tipped per tour, not per person. In general, most people tip between €20 and €50 for a basic 4 hour service, but when the day has been longer, or we have been together for several days, we are often given larger tips. In our Terms & Conditions you can learn more about proper tipping for tourguides.
Do you leave tips in Spain for other services?
And since tips are not expected but they are appreciated, any tipping should be considered proper tipping (if someone is not happy with it, it’s their problem, not yours!), but it is also okay not to tip. Also, consider the situation: if it’s a service provided by a luxury hotel, like a massage or a hairdresser or a nanny, then they are more likely to hope for a tip at the end of the service, than if you go to a regular spa, or hair saloon, or if you hire a nanny directly.
Additional tipping etiquette in Spain: how-to
Credit card or cash
As for restaurants, bars and cafes, while some years ago it was very unusual to add the tip to your credit card payment, since the pandemic it’s become more usual. Don’t expect the check to have specific room to add the tip amount, though. Tell the waiter to charge you X (X being the bill amount plus the tip you want to give them). But it’s always a good idea to ask first if it’s possible to pay the tip by credit card: it’s possible that what is paid by credit card goes to the owner, not to the staff…
What about currency?
If you’ll be leaving your tip in cash, it should be euros. The person you are tipping might not be planning to travel to your country any time soon. Or might not have the time to go to a bank just to exchange a small amount of foreign currency (or the commission might not be worth it).
Tipping in Spain: Summary
|Situation||How much tip to leave|
|Restaurants and cafés||From a few cents to 7-10% of the bill.|
|Hotels||€1 per night (house keeping), €1/piece of luggage (bellboys)|
|Drivers||Round up bill for taxi rides. From €10 and up for private drivers.|
|Tours||€1/person for group tours, from €20 and up for private tours|
I hope this guide to customary tipping in Spain was helpful!
Marta is the founder of ForeverBarcelona. She is a passionate tour guide that loves Barcelona and loves writing too. She is the main author of our Blog, and is committed to sharing her knowledge about Barcelona and her best tips with our readers.
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