“What about tipping in Spain?” customers have asked me since we began to live in and organize Spain luxury travel& small group tours in  southern Spain many years ago in 1998. So my team asked me to write something on the topic of Spain tipping before we all head out to a tapas & wine tasting dinner in Madrid.

Firstly unlike the USA, tipping is Spain is NOT a big deal here. This is because wait staff are on salary so no waiter or bar server depends on tipping in Spain.

So in general and especially outside of the nicer places, the Spanish custom a low to no tipping…. Maybe this is why service is not the fastest although it can be good to excellent if you know where to go and speak Spanish and you go the right days and times.

Now back to tipping in Spain, Europeans and that includes the Spanish locals I know after a decade in Spain + my Spanish wife’s big family normally leave little to no tip, zilch, nada, ninguna most of the time….That amigos is the tipping norm.

MAYBE locals might tip in Spain, if it was a expensive “wine & dine” business expense account dinner or very nice place for a family celebration and service was excellent (uncommon) or the owner sent out a free something… then the Spaniard might round up and leave a few euros from the change.

Let’s be sure you understand not tipping in Spain is not being stingy, as here the service charge is built into the menu price. Maybe it is the tapas cuisine and drinks habit, but Spaniards go out more than anyone in Europe per capita.

Downside is this is why you will see less waiters on the floor of most restaurants as the owner has to pay them a fixed salary.So expect slower service and more so IF you speak no Spanish.

Of course waiters in Spain or Italy ect… will take the tips from unknowing Americans who do not know it is a different system but it is not what they waiters work for. So tourist trap bars are quite happy to take tips and….. might have a sign on jar in ENGLISH only not Spanish. So just know bars only expects tourists, American tourists in particular, to leave a tip.

Very savvy waiters sometimes listen for American accents and might actually give them better service:> which is not a bad thing really.

So IF you are really happy with a meal and want to tip, do a European tip and round up a few euros and change (much less than 5%). If you observe a local Spaniards, you JUST won’t see the Spanish tipping except in rare occasions mentioned above.

If you leave even a 3% tip, It will likely be the biggest tip of the day in many places.

Hope you got some value from this post: Tipping in Spain… To Tip or Not to Tip?
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IF you want to Enjoy the BEST of Spain
w/o tipping hassles and planning stress check out our popular
Spain private luxury & small group tours.

Thanks for sharing: Tipping in Spain: What You Need to Know About Spanish Tipping Customs