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Travel Essentials

Travel Essentials: Tipping


Tipping is not a customary practice in Spain; however, you will find that many restaurants and cafés do have tip jars on their counters. While locals do not usually tip, some service workers have come to expect tips from foreigners, especially those who come from countries where tipping is common. This does not mean that you have to tip service staff' tip when and if you feel that you have received excellent service. In upscale restaurants, leaving a small tip or rounding up the bill is appreciated, but still not required. On the other hand, one common tourist misconception is that the street performers on Las Ramblas in Barcelona are paid by a business or the government; because these performers are not paid a living wage, leaving a small tip is greatly appreciated. 

The local currency in Spain is the euro (€). If you do choose to tip, use the local currency.

Tipping Guide

Setting Gratuities
Transportation Tipping a taxi driver by rounding up the bill is appreciated.

Tipping porters €1 or €2 is appreciated, but not obligatory.

Leaving a 5% to 10% tip for housekeeping staff is appreciated, but not obligatory.

Restaurants, Bars, Cafés

In upscale restaurants, leave waiters a 5% to 10% tip based on your level of satisfaction with the service. 

Bartenders are not generally tipped, but if you do leave a tip, make sure it is given directly to your server, as managers tend to keep tips.

Cafés will often have tip jars on their counters; do not feel obligated to leave a tip unless you feel that you have received excellent service.

Personal Services Tip hairdressers 5% to 10% of the total bill if you are satisfied with their service.

Terms for Payment and Tipping

The official language of Spain is Castilian Spanish. There are also various other official languages in different regions of Spain, such as in Galacia, Catalonia, and the Basque Country. Many Spainards in this region also speak Spanish, but not all speak English. Young people are learning English in school, and will therefore be able to help you communicate, but knowing some Spanish will be helpful.

Terms in Castilian Spanish that you might encounter and find useful for point-of-payment situations are below. 

English Castilian Spanish
tip (noun) la propina (la pro-PEE-nah)
tip (verb) dejar una propina (dey-HAR OO-nah pro-PEE-nah)
the bill/total la cuenta (la KWEN-tah)
service included servicio incluido (sair-VEE-see-oh en-kloo-EE-doh)
how much does it cost? ¿cuánto cuesta? (KWAN-toe KWAYS-tah)
keep the change quédate con el cambio (KAY-dah-tay kown el KAHM-bee-o)
money dinero (dee-NEH-ro)
please por favor (POR fah-VOR)
thank you gracias (GRAH-see-ahss)
yes (SEE)
no no (NO)