Portugal does not have a huge tipping culture nor is this custom as well-defined as in other parts of the world, meaning that it can be easy to get confused when attempting to navigate tipping in the country.
Unfortunately, if you ask multiple Portuguese individuals how you should tip, you will most likely end up with widely varying answers and feeling just as confused as you did prior to asking.
Tipping in Portugal
Despite the conflicting information, there is a rough idea of the best tipping practices for various situations. Check out the following guide to learn about tipping etiquette in Portugal.
Do you tip in Portugal?
There are no specific rules to tipping in Portugal but the first rule of thumb is that tips are always appreciated. Many people working in the service industry receive low wages as the minimum wage in the country is still quite low.
If you decide to leave a tip of any amount, it will not be refused, but make sure you always leave tips in cash as tips left on cards may not make their way to the desired person.
Another way to determine if you need to tip is based on the type of establishment you go to. For example, at restaurants heavily frequented by tourists, a tip is expected.
Additionally, at high-end restaurants, it is customary to leave a tip, although not necessary.
Check out our list of the best Michelin star restaurants in Portugal.
How much should I tip in Portugal?
While many people don’t tip at all, those who do tend to leave between 5% and 10% of the final bill.
Another way people determine a tip is by rounding up the final amount, especially if it falls between two whole numbers. For example, if your bill is €18, you might leave €20.
Where should I tip in Portugal?
Tipping is very rare at cafes as most people only spend a few euros on their drinks and snacks. If you decide to tip, it’s only necessary to leave €1-€2.
At bars, it is also unlikely that patrons will leave tips and it is not expected in the least. At a high-end cocktail bar, however, you might consider leaving a couple of euros for your waiter or bartender.
When it comes to ride services, such as Uber or Bolt, tipping is done through the app and is entirely at the customer’s discretion. If you take a taxi, it’s commonplace to leave a little extra for the driver.
Hotel staff don’t typically receive tips but appreciate it if you decide to do so. As housekeeping personnel make very little compared to other professions, it goes a long way to leave a couple of euros when you check out.
For a bellhop, doorman, or concierge, a similar rule applies. If you tip, leave €1 or €2 and never more than €5.
Hair and nail salons also don’t expect to receive tips. Again, if you’d like to do so, a couple of euros will suffice. Spas, on the other hand, will not be accustomed to receiving tips and may refuse your extra money.
If you choose to take a tour during your stay in Portugal, it is more common to leave a tip as tourists tend to do so.
Free walking tours also depend entirely on tips, so if you take part in one, you should consider leaving a few euros with your tour guide.
Note that if your service was particularly bad, you don’t need to leave a tip. However, service is different from that in other countries, such as the U.S., in that people aren’t as upbeat or attentive to customers. Service also tends to be slow.
Remember to keep these factors in mind if you’re deciding to leave a tip based on good service.
Is the tip ever included in the bill?
As a general rule, tips are not included in the bill in Portugal. You may find that tourist establishments add a 10% service fee to the bill but outside of this, you will most likely not have to worry about gratuity automatically added to the final amount.
Does tipping vary by region?
Tipping does not typically vary by region or city, although you may find that the practice is more common in larger cities more populated by tourists.
If you head to the central region of the country where there are many small villages, a tip in a cafe or restaurant is close to unheard of.
However, many Portuguese people will leave tips at an establishment that they tend to frequent often and where they know the owners.
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Differences between Portugal and other countries
Many people travelling from countries like the United States and the U.K. may find it difficult to wrap their heads around the no-tipping culture in Portugal.
Tipping in the U.S. is automatic and expected, with tips of 15% to 20% considered the norm. Not tipping or tipping too little is highly frowned upon and may earn customers a nasty comment or a waiter chasing them demanding a tip as they leave the restaurant.
Additionally, in the U.S. service is considered impeccable as a general rule, because those in the service industry attempt to be as accommodating and friendly to their customers as possible to make sure they earn a large tip.
In almost all service scenarios in Portugal, service tends to be straight-forward and devoid of unnecessary enthusiasm as service workers don’t expect to be tipped.
While wages are low in Portugal, all workers are required by law to earn at least the minimum wage. In the U.S., waiters and waitresses, for example, earn much less than the minimum wage and rely on tips to fill out their salary.
As with the U.S., the U.K. is also a country in which tipping is the standard and gratuities are often included in the final bill.
You should expect to tip in pounds for everything requiring someone performing a service for you, with 10% the norm in restaurants and a few extra pounds the norm for taxi drivers.
Taxi drivers tend to earn tips in most countries around the world. However, in Portugal, you can get away with not leaving a tip and not experiencing a disgruntled taxi driver asking where their tip is.
On the other hand, U.S. taxi drivers expect to earn a tip of 20% of the final amount.
Portugal consistently ranks as one of the most affordable countries in Europe, meaning that you’re likely to save a lot of money during your trip. If you’re feeling generous and it isn’t too much to add a few euros to your budget, tips are always appreciated.
If you’d like to know more about traveling in Portugal and navigating a culture that may be foreign to you, check out these other articles:
- Top 20 Portugal Travel Tips Every Visitor Should Know
- Driving Licence in Portugal: Tips and Advice About All the Rules
- Lisbon Weather, the Ultimate Guide with Tips For What to Expect
Have you had experience tipping in Portugal? Do you have any tips to share? Feel free to leave a comment below.
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Isabel Leah Cohen is a writer for BePortugal. She has a degree in psychology with a focus in linguistics and communication and has worked as a journalist for global entertainment and lifestyle publications. Isabel enjoys writing about politics, health and wellness and travel. In her spare time, she enjoys staying active with her dog, traveling and reading books.