Gratuity 101: Should You Tip in Portugal?

by Melissa "Work those glutes" Boyd
A tuk tuk in Lisbon, Portugal wrapped in images of the Mona Lisa

As an American, I’m used to tipping just about everywhere. It’s just a part of our culture. So, when I came to Portugal, I was confused about the whole tipping thing. I didn’t want to offend anyone by not tipping, but at the same time, I didn’t want to overdo it and tip too much. Talk about a conundrum!

At first, I tried to follow the same tipping rules in the US. I left a tip at every restaurant, tipped the hotel staff, and even left a few euros for the taxi driver. But then, I started to notice something strange. No one seemed to care about the tips! They weren’t rude, but they didn’t seem to expect it either. It was like they were just…there. Awkward.

I started researching and discovered that tipping in Portugal is different than in the US. It’s not expected everywhere; in some places, it’s even seen as a bit of a faux pas. But I also learned that it’s still appreciated for exceptional service. I decided to take a more relaxed approach to tips in Portugal. I still leave a tip at restaurants if the service is excellent, and I’ll occasionally tip the hotel staff if they go above and beyond. But I’m not stressing about it like I used to. Enjoying my vacation without worrying about how much to tip is nice.

Now that I’ve got the hang of the Portuguese tipping scene, I’ve come up with a cheat sheet for myself (and anyone else who might be confused). Here’s a breakdown of what I usually tip and where:

  • Bartenders: Tipping at bars in Portugal isn’t expected, but if I receive excellent service, I’ll leave a few euros for the bartender. A suggested amount could be a few euros per round or a percentage of the total bill. Just use your best judgment and show your appreciation for good service in the most comfortable way.
  • Restaurants: I usually leave a tip equivalent to about 10% of the total bill. I might bump it up if the service was outstanding. If it was okay, I would leave a little less. It’s all about using your best judgment and showing appreciation for good service.
  • Hotels: Tipping at hotels in Portugal isn’t expected, but if I receive excellent service, I’ll leave a few euros for the staff. This could include the housekeeping staff, bellhops, or concierge. I usually aim for 1-2 euros per day for housekeeping and a few euros for exceptional service from bellhops or concierge.
  • Hair Stylists, Barbers, Salons and Spas: Tipping at spas and salons in Portugal isn’t expected, but if the service is outstanding, I’ll leave a few euros for the person who assisted me. I aim for about 5-10 euros, depending on the service.
  • Taxis: Tipping in taxis in Portugal isn’t expected, but if I feel like the driver provided exceptional service (e.g., helping with my luggage, taking a more efficient route), I’ll round up the fare or leave a few euros as a tip. I usually aim for rounding up the fare to the nearest euro or leaving a few extra euros. With Uber and Bolt, I usually give 1 to 2 euros for a tip.
  • Tours: Tipping on tours in Portugal isn’t expected, but if I feel like the guide provided exceptional service or if I really enjoyed the tour, I’ll leave a tip. I usually aim for about 5-10 euros per person for a free or half-day tour and 10-15 if it is an all-day tour.
  • Take-away food deliveries: Tipping for take-away food deliveries in Portugal isn’t expected, but if the delivery person goes above and beyond (e.g., bringing my food up to my apartment, waiting patiently while I fumble with my wallet), a small tip is always appreciated. A suggested amount could be 10-15%.

Ultimately, the decision to tip is a personal one and you should do what feels most comfortable for you. If you feel like leaving a tip is an appropriate way to show your appreciation for good service, then go for it! But if you don’t feel comfortable leaving a tip, that’s perfectly fine too. The most important thing is to be respectful and considerate of the local customs and expectations. So, use your best judgment, don’t be afraid to show your appreciation for good service, and happy tipping (or not)!

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Hi! We’re Melissa, Michael, and Samantha. We’re a nomadic family from the United States, currently living and building our new lives in Lisbon, Portugal. Follow us on our adventures as we explore this beautiful city and all it has to offer.