Tipping in Spain: What you need to know

When you go on holiday in Spain you have probably asked yourself the question, should you tip in Spain? Tipping cultures vary from country to country, so where it is the norm in the United States for example, in Spain it is not always necessary. From restaurants to hotels and even cafés and bars, here is our tip guide for Spain, detailing when to tip and how much to tip.

Restaurants

Waiters and waitresses in Spain are often employed on a full time basis with a contract and wages paid at least at living wage level. Tipping during lunch time at a restaurant when you have had a dish of the day from a fixed price menu is generally around €1 per person, if you wish to leave a tip. It is not expected at all, but of course it will be gratefully received. It is also good if you intend to go back to the café or restaurant in question, you will probably get even better service next time!

As for the question of should you tip waiters at dinner time in a restaurant, the answer is normally yes if you are happy with the service. A 5 to 10% of the total bill is ideal and it’s better pay in cash. Credit cards are not normally used to pay tips by the Spanish and it may lead to a confusing conversation. If you are tipping in Madrid in an upmarket restaurant check that a cover charge has not already been applied before paying the bill.

Hotels

There isn’t generally a tipping culture in hotels in Spain. Unless it’s a major international hotel, porters are not normally available to help carry bags but if they are and you wish to tip, a euro per bag is the norm for hotel tipping. You may also wish to leave tips for the maid at the end of your holiday and an amount between €2 and €3 is perfect. A room service tip should be given to the person bringing your food at the time of ordering and again, €1 is the norm.

Cafés

A visit to a café by an average Spanish person is normally for a small snack, water, coffee or a beer or wine and as such the Spanish do not tend to leave a tip, or propina, the word for tip in Spanish. If you wish to leave a tip, the change from your bill should be enough.

Bars

Just as in cafés, bars do not normally expect a tip, but if you are on holiday in Spain and have enjoyed drinks in a local bar or resort bar, particularly as a group of friends where the order may have been more complicated, a small tip would be gratefully received.

Tour guides

Tour guides generally work for themselves and so will always appreciate a tip at the end of the tour or the end of your trip with them if you are on a visit that spans more than one day. Tour guides will be pleased with anyone tipping in Barcelona at a visit to the Sagrada Familia, for example. A tip of €5 to €10 per day is the standard for a tour guide, especially one that has made an extra effort to show you places off the beaten tourist track or to take you to a restaurant that only locals would be aware of.

Hopefully our guide will have helped answer the question of do you tip in Spain, so you can rest easy on your next holiday to this friendly country.

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