Do you tip in Spain? If so, how much? Besides restaurants, is tipping in Spain the norm for other tourism services such as taxis, tours, and housekeeping?
We’ve all been there: we’re in a foreign country and have just polished off a delicious meal. The server is walking over with the bill and we panic because we’re not sure whether it’s expected to leave a tip or seen as offensive.
Or maybe we’ve booked a day trip, got overzealous with the ice cream and souvenirs, and aren’t sure whether we need to find a cash machine pronto to tip the guide.
Tipping etiquette varies from country to country and is always a conundrum your first time in a new place. This guide to tipping culture in Spain clarifies the main points.
Tipping in Spain: Do you tip in Spain?
Let’s tackle the main questions about tipping in Spain:
- Do people tip in Spain?
- If so, how much to tip in Spain?
- Or, is it offensive to leave a tip?
- Does tipping in Barcelona differ from tipping in Madrid or other parts of Spain?
There is no specific tipping culture in Spain. Spaniards don’t generally tip and it’s not expected of foreign visitors. Of course – there are exceptions and you can always expect to find Spaniards and tourists tipping from time to time.
A tip is never expected by restaurant staff, taxi drivers, housekeeping workers, or tour guides. Unlike in the United States, those working in hospitality and tourist-facing jobs are paid a living wage and do not depend on tips to pay their bills. The tipping etiquette in Spain is more comparable with that of the United Kingdom – it’s based on merit.
However, there are some instances where tipping in Spain restaurants can feel appropriate. More on that to follow! And – there are one or two situations where tipping in Spain actually is expected. Namely, “free” walking tours and hotel porters.
In terms of how much to tip in Spain when the occasion arises, 10% is the golden rule.
A tip is not considered offensive in Spain. However, tipping over 15% might feel a little awkward as it’s not the custom in the country.
When tipping in Madrid, Barcelona, Seville, and other major cities, the same rules generally apply. You might find that more tips are left in these places popular with international tourists who are used to tipping back home. Also, restaurants in these cities and other metropolitan cities in Spain are more likely to apply a service charge to your bill.
Tipping in Spain restaurants
Restaurants in Spain very rarely – if ever – apply a “tip” to the final bill. If you were pleased with the service you received or feel like the wait staff went above and beyond, it’s perfectly reasonable to leave a cash tip.
It’s a welcome token of appreciation that will be received graciously. When dining as a larger group, it’s more customary to leave a tip for the staff. A couple or small family would not be expected to tip but a group of 10 or upwards might actually be unofficially expected to leave a gratuity subject to the restaurant. In some cases, they might communicate in advance that a service charge applies only to larger groups (usually mentioned on the menu).
If you do wish to tip, you can just round up the bill and leave the change. Alternatively, a tip of around 10% is more than sufficient.
Do you tip in Spain if service is included?
What you might find in some places is that a “service charge” is applied to the bill.
A “servicio incluido” is more common in fancier restaurants (especially those located in popular vacation destinations in Spain).
When this is the case, the menu should state the service is included so that you know before sitting down and placing an order.
A service charge in Spain will usually be 15% but it may be a little more. This should go straight to the staff as a tip and you should not be required to pay anything in addition to the service charge.
This service charge is a little sneaky as there’s no guarantee that the restaurant will give the money to the staff. It’s a bit of a gray area.
As such, you might feel inclined to leave an extra tip on top – although you actually shouldn’t. Looping back to the general tipping culture in Spain, the server is never expecting a tip anyway. And, regardless of whether the server receives the service charge and if you add any additional, you can rest assured they are still receiving a living wage.
Tipping in Spain bars and cafes
There’s never an expectation to tip a bartender or a barista. Especially if all you ordered was wine, beer, or cafe con leche. It’s not even part of the tipping culture in Spain to tip for cocktails.
If you receive table service and add food to your order, you may want to leave the change or 10% as described for a restaurant.
It’s your call: the bartender/barista will be happy if you do but they won’t be in the slightest bothered if you don’t. In these types of places you might spot a tips jar and want to just toss a few coins in for good service.
That being said, have a look at what the locals are doing at the establishment you are at. I have found that in smaller towns and cities around Spain where locals pop in for their morning cafe con leche, change is usually left alongside the empty mug. If the coffee costs €1.50, most people leave €2 and walk away without change.
Tipping a cab in Spain
Tipping a cab driver is even less common than tipping in restaurants in Spain. When you book with a service such as Uber (or Uber in Spain alternatives) you will have the option to add a gratuity via the app. Just as you would in any country. It’s never expected or required. However, if your driver impresses you and you can afford to leave a tip – go ahead.
When paying for taxis hailed off the street, tipping a cab in Spain is never expected or required. Again, if you receive exceptional service you can always leave a tip as a means of saying thanks.
Tipping culture in Spain generally means that a tip may be given if the driver helps you with particularly cumbersome bags.
The credit card terminal may prompt you to leave a tip although it would be better to give them a tip in cash. If paying for your ride in cash, you can always tell the driver to keep the change or round it up. Again – it’s your call based on the experience.
Tipping housekeeping in Spain hotels
It’s not common to tip the staff for attending your room in a hotel in Spain. Housekeeping is part of the service you have paid for when you booked the hotel.
If you’re spending a couple of nights in a hotel at a time – or even a whole week – there really isn’t any need to tip for housekeeping.
Yet again, tipping culture in Spain is a flexible affair (like most things in Spain!). If you do feel inclined to leave a gratuity, go ahead.
If you’ve been an untidy guest, you might want to leave a tip for the additional cleaning. Of course, any damages or breakages should just be reported to the front desk.
Tipping for other services in Spanish hotels
Do tip the porter if they bring your bags to your room. A couple of euros per person will suffice for one bag although a larger delivery warrants closer to €5.
To be honest, porters aren’t common in budget or mid-range hotels so this only really applies to high-end luxury properties.
There’s no need to tip for room service: this will include a fee on top of the cost of food anyway. And concierges don’t expect a tip in Spain although it’s at your discretion if you have leaned on them heavily for travel support.
Tipping tour guides in Spain
There is an expectation of tipping in Spain when you book a “free” tour. These tours – prevalent throughout Europe – are advertised as free tours and are usually a walking tour of one to two hours. There is no fee to book them but there is an unspoken rule that a gratuity should be given in cash to the guide. They should really be called “tips-based tours.”
These guides are often young people and they do such a remarkable job that they earn every cent. How much to tip will vary on the length of the tour and the value.
As a rule of thumb, you should tip around €10 per person for these tours. If you were bowled over by the knowledge and passion of your guide, you could tip a little more.
$5 per person is okay if the tour was less than one hour and maybe if you were less impressed by the quality. Of course, these tours were initially launched as a means of supporting budget travelers. They still do target young backpackers with limited funds although nowadays they attract a mixed bag of honeymooners, families, and affluent travelers.
If you book a paid walking tour or day trip then gratuities are not expected. These types of tours can be a little awkward. Travelers from the United States are so accustomed to tipping that you’ll likely see them handing over a tip. However, travelers hailing from countries where tipping is not customary or even considered offensive are less likely to tip. This one is really a judgment call based on the experience.
In big cities in Spain, guided tours in Barcelona for instance, can be fairly costly to begin with and you shouldn’t feel guilty about not tipping if a) you’re traveling on a tight budget or b) you didn’t feel the guide played a major role. A lot of day trips operate more like transport and have lots of free time in the itinerary.
If you do decide to tip a tour guide on top of the cost of the tour, around €10 per person is fine.
How much to tip in Spain
In summary, tipping in Spain is very rarely expected and is only at your discretion as a customer.
If you do decide to tip for any services in Spain, 10% is the norm.
There’s never any need to tip any more than 10% – unless you want to and feel the staff have gone the extra mile. Tipping 5% isn’t going to cause any offense, nor is rounding up the bill, or simply leaving the excess change.
How to tip in Spain
You’ll have the chance to pay with a card or with cash in most places in Spain. International Visa and Mastercards are widely accepted and paying for things in Spain is made even easier with a Wise or Revolut card.
If you pay for your meal via credit or debit card and wish to leave a tip: leave it in cash. When you pay a tip on your card, there is no guarantee it will make it back to your server. Leaving a cash tip is much better.
For that reason, it’s handy to always have a couple of small notes or coins to hand. It might sound silly to say it but only ever tip in euros!
How to say tip in Spanish
In Spanish, a tip is called “la propina.”
How to say tip in Spanish is nice and easy: “pro-pee-na.”
A gratuity known as a propina will not usually appear on a bill. This is totally at your discretion. As mentioned previously, you might spy “servicio incluido” on your bill – indicating that the mysterious service charge has been applied.
However, tipping in Barcelona, Madrid, and other major tourist cities is somewhat more common these days. As such, you might notice a charge for a “propina” on your bill in place of or alongside a servicio incluido. This is very rare though and a charge itemized as a propina will be optional.
If you decide to tip a waiter, you can just leave the change on the table when you leave. When the staff inevitably thinks you’ve left it by mistake, you can say “es una propina.”
If you are handing the money directly to the server, you could always say, “quédate con el cambio” – keep the change.
In some smaller bars and cafes, you might spot a tips jar on the counter. This may say “propina” or even just the universally understood “tips.” You can always drop a couple of coins in if you feel like it and have received good service.