Tipping in Portugal – Everything You Need to Know
As cultures vary between different countries, so does the act of tipping. Tipping in Portugal is a measure of how much you like a service provided to you. Unlike what happens in other countries, service providers only expect you to tip if you enjoyed their service.
Even when you want to tip, there is no general rule that applies to every service provider, it varies a lot. We will give you some tips to navigate the sometimes confusing act of tipping in Portugal!
How to Tip in Portugal?
Photo : Pateis de Belem
Tipping in Portugal isn’t as straightforward as it is in other countries. There’s typically no service charge (‘serviço’ in Portuguese) included in your bill. The amount you tip in Portugal varies a lot between different services and even according to your location. It ultimately comes down to how much you have to spend and how you feel about the service provided.
One aspect you should always have in mind is that your tip is a direct compliment to the service provided. If you didn’t like someone’s service, don’t tip. If the service was exceptional, tip as much as you want, it is always appreciated.
Tips are especially important in tourist areas where service providers depend upon them to supplement their salary and face the increased cost of living that is an unavoidable consequence of tourism.
Don’t forget to bring cash in the currency used in Portugal (as of 2018, Portugal uses euros). Using cash makes it easier to leave your tip with the person you want to give it to. Adding the extra amount to your card transaction may mean it never reaches who you intended to give it to.
For those of you who want more specific guidelines, keep reading!
Only tip if the service is good.
Tips are always appreciated.
Always tip with cash.
Photo : Bairro do Avillez
Have in mind that tips are a huge part of Portuguese waiters’ income. If you like a restaurant’s service, consider leaving a tip. There is no fixed tip in these cases. You may choose between adding a few euros, rounding up to the nearest 5€ or adding 10% of the bill.
Even though a service charge (or ‘serviço’) is not usually added to your bill, it may be added in more tourist areas in the future. Make sure it is not added before leaving an additional tip.
Quick Tip: Round up to the nearest 5€ or add 10%
Photo : Bao Bao Restaurant
As happens with waiters, bartenders rely on tips to supplement their salary. If you spend quite a while with a bartender or waiter and their service is exceptional, thank them with an amount you feel is suitable – usually between 1€ and 5€. Otherwise, simply round up to the nearest 1€ if you enjoyed the overall service.
Quick Tip: Round up to the nearest 1€
Photo : A brasileira café
Tipping in cafés should only be done if there’s a great service – it is not as common but it is always appreciated. Many cafés in Portugal include a tip jar by the cash register – simply leave your change there and consider them tipped. If there is no tip jar, just round up to the nearest euro.
Quick Tip: Round up to the nearest 1€
Photo : Bairro Alto Hotel
If any member of the hotel staff carries your bags, tip them 1-2€ per bag (up to 5€). Other than that, it depends, once again, on the service provided. Did someone impress you with their service – such as housekeeping and room service? If so, thank them with a small tip 1-2€.
Quick Tip: 1-5€
Photo : Madeira island
Tipping taxi drivers (and other drivers) depends essentially on how good the service was and how much they helped you.
As happens with hotel staff, if your taxi driver helped you carrying bags, you should tip them 1-2€ per bag (up to 5€).
If you did not have help carrying bags but you liked the service provided, you may tip them as much as you want – add 1-2€, add 10% of the fare, or round up to the nearest 5€. Only taxi drivers in tourist areas expect to receive tips but they will be welcome anywhere.
Quick Tip: Round up to the nearest 5€
Photo : Belem Tower
Tipping tour guides and drivers is expected when they deliver a good service. Tip 5-10€ each per day and it should be enough. Do so only if you enjoyed their service and feel free to adjust the amount according to your experience with them.
Quick Tip: 5-10€
Hairdressers and Others
Photo : Ме on My Wedding day
Even though other services do not exactly expect your tip, it is not uncommon for tourists (and locals) to leave a tip to most service providers if they like the service.
Hairdressers will be more than happy with a 1-2€ tip, simply rounding up is a great way to go about this. When it comes to spas, leaving 10% of the bill as a tip is considered generous.
Quick Tip: 1-2€
Are Tips Generally Expected in Portugal?
Even though there’s a considerable part of the Portuguese population who likes to tip and tips regularly (especially in restaurants), there are those who simply don’t. That being said, even if some Portuguese don’t usually tip, tourists do.
Tips are only fully expected in a tourist environment. Restaurants, bars and hotels are three examples where tips are usually expected and appreciated. However, have in mind that Portuguese people even tip their hairdresser when they are happy with the service they received!
The most important aspect for you to take with you is that you will only be expected to tip if you like the service. Otherwise, by all means, do not tip.
Is Tipping in Portugal Important?
Tipping in Portugal is extremely important. Even if it is not as common as it is in other countries to include the tip in your bill, tipping is a gesture of appreciation that will always be welcome and that will unlikely be refused.
Due to the increase in tourists heading to several regions of Portugal (Algarve, Lisbon and Porto), the cost of living in those areas is increasing as well. Salaries are generally low and tips are essential to supplement low wages. This is specially true in the tourism industry, where work is seasonal and service providers have to work extra hours during the Summer to make enough money to get through the rest of the year. So, if you are heading to any of those areas, you may want to consider leaving a tip to help employees face the increasing cost of living they face.
However, even if you aren’t heading to this tourist areas, you may want to consider tipping when you receive a service you are happy with. Tourism provides an important contribution to Portuguese economy and you will be helping its inhabitants through your generosity.
To sum up, it is up to you. It is unlikely that you will ever go wrong by tipping in Portugal. Service providers will surely thank you. However, do it only if you can and if you are satisfied with the service provided to you. Do not feel obliged to tip in Portugal. You are not.
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