Am I expected to tip in Spain?

Am I expected to tip in Spain?

Tipping in Spain is completely different than in other countries such as the US where tipping usually comes mandatory and probably in somewhat significant amount. In Spain, tipping is entirely optional and it’s not very common. You may see people leaving small change at cafés and bars and, eventually, 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. This is particularly true if the service was bad or not even particularly good.

As a rule of thumb, whether you tip or not will depend if you intend to return or not, if the waiter was nice, if you feel you’ve already been overcharged or if you feel generous on that particular day. The best advice is to follow your intuition, and remember the service charge is never given to the staff.

Never add tip to a credit card slip because the money will go straight to the owner again. Instead, always use cash.

Restaurants: Spaniards generally never tip at restaurants with table service, and if they do it’s next to nothing because a service charge is usually included in the bill (look for the servicio incluido mention). If service is not included (servicio no incluido), you should tip up to 10%.

Cafés and bars: Spaniards do not feel compelled to leave a tip for drinks or light food (e.g. tapas, bocadillo, sandwich). Therefore, if you order a meal at a counter, as you often will in a tapas bar, there’s no need to tip. Nevertheless, if you’d like to leave a tip you can round up the bill a few coins.

Taxis: Tipping in Spain is rare, but doing so in a taxi is practically nonexistent. You may leave a tip if the driver helped you with your luggage or rushed frantically so you wouldn’t miss your flight. Other than these extraordinary situations, just don’t tip.

Other services: In general, if you are treated like a royal or someone does a super job for you, you could consider leaving a small tip – probably a couple of euros. But that’s it. Tips are a reward for an excellent service, nothing more. 

Add your comment