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How much to tip in Portugal

Portuguese waiterOne of the best examples of the quality of Portuguese people is when it comes to tipping. In Paris I have come across a taxi driver who swore at me when I had enough cash only for the fare with no tip, and waiters looking down their noses even before they have served me as if I owe them something. In London I have had taxi drivers demanding a tip when I didn’t offer it. In Portugal, there have been many times when I have not offered a tip and never once have I seen a frown or heard a scornful comment.

In many Portuguese cafes, the locals pay the exact price for their coffee or their coffee and pastry. For them, tipping is reserved for fancy restaurants, and even then some people don’t even think about adding a tip to their bill. So, the fact is, you don’t have to tip in Portugal but I always do when I can.

Wages are extremely low in Portugal and in cafes the wages are even more extremely low. After all, most people will be in and out without paying more than a Euro, and there are cafes on almost every corner, so each visit is not generating a lot of revenue. Some cafes employ a large amount of waiters, which improves service.

When I go to a cafe or take a taxi, I almost always pay with cash, and I usually just round up the taxi fare, or chuck in a few extra coins in a cafe. In restaurants, I will add an amount to the bill – around 10%, depending on the size of the bill, or I pay with a card and then leave some money in cash for the waiter. This could be between €2 or €5 – again, depending on the level of service required for the meal.

I’m talking about the real Portugal here, not the holiday resorts in the Algarve, where there is perhaps a greater expectation of tips due to the fact that most customers are tourists.

Here’s what other experts say about tipping in Portugal

Tipping Around The World says tipping in Portugal is “more common then most places in Europe”. It advises these specifics.

  • Taxis: round up to the nearest 5 Euro on your total fare.
  • Hotels: Give the bell boy 1-2 Euro per bag. Give house-keeping a few Euro at the end of the stay.
  • Restaurants: add a 10% tip to the bill in the more tourist areas, but check the bill because service may be included.
  • Bars: Usually a Euro or two if the bar service was good, otherwise this isn’t required.

Lisbon Guide says you should tip between 5% and 10% in restaurants, with the higher amount only for places where you have had a lot of service. It also suggests that tips to cab drivers are not expected in Portugal. This is generally true, but an additional Euro on your fare will be a good reward for polite, efficient service.

Who To Tip says “it’s unlikely that any tip you offer will be refused and people in the service industry may expect a tip from you if they realise you are a tourist”. It also offers these nuggets of advice:

  • Tip a tour guide €5 per day.
  • Don’t tip taxi drivers.
  • Don’t tip staff in a spa.
  • Tip nothing or up to €2 per bag carried or per night for house-keeping.
  • Don’t tip in a restaurant (but who doesn’t do that?)
  • Don’t tip your hairdresser (I always do).

Travelsupermarket says the same as most other sites, but it does suggest tipping for drinks. “Leave your change or a euro or two for good service in a bar, but a tip is certainly not expected in this scenario.”

And finally, if you are still unclear about how much to tip in Portugal, visit Quora for some advice from the locals.

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10 Comments

  1. Andre

    How many times have you been in Portugal ?
    The regular tip for a tour guide per day goes around 40 to 70 Euros.
    In a decent restaurant if you tip less than 10 euros it’s considered rude
    Any taxi driver gets tiped around 5 to 7 euros in a regular trip.
    Not tiping in Portugal it’s considered very rude.
    If you’re thinking about tiping 1 to 2 euros, just don’t do it.Portugal is not Marroco.
    Keep that in mind

    • Expatter

      Apart from living there, I have visited many times over the past 27 years. If you are feeling obliged to tip 10 euros in a restaurant, you should choose less expensive restaurants, or you are eating a LOT of food. No Portuguese person I know gives a 5 euro tip to a taxi driver when most journeys cost 5 euros or less.

  2. Ken B

    Totally agree. I work in the travel industry and have visited Portugal many, many times. It’s one of my favourite places to visit. The blog post is accurate. The first comment by Andre is not. Not at all.

  3. Heduino

    Don’t know who Andre is… I live and work in Portugal. Was born here. Hardly ever give tips. So it’s something you can do if you feel you were well served but not exactly an obligation. We do not chase you for the tip like I’ve seen in other countries. It’s not out style, not our culture. But do tip if it’s your culture since our salaries are low and it’s much apretiated.

  4. Carla

    This was really helpful, I´ve been to Portugal once and I´m going back next month… Latin Americans usually tip more than Europeans because wages here are really low. We sometimes tip 15%-20% at a nice resturant, but after many trips to Europe, I believe 10% is good. Tipping 5 or 7 euros for a taxi trip sounds crazy! As you say, the trip itself might cost that. Nice blog!!! Thanks again for the tips.

  5. Shanna

    Thank you for this post! I am currently sitting in a cafe in Lisbon searching how much to tip and this post was very helpful! I am from the U.S. and I just arrived in Lisbon yesterday to begin my holiday. I will spend 2 weeks alone traveling in Portugal. Lisbon, Ericeira, Porto, São Miguel. Obrigado! 🙂

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