Tipping in Portugal: A Comprehensive Guide for Tourists & Expats

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Written by: | Last updated on March 28, 2024 | Est. Reading Time: 5 minutes
This article is available in: en_US

Tipping in Portugal isn’t as straight-forward as it is in other countries. While you may or may not agree with the tipping culture in the US, at least it’s straightforward.

Here in Portugal, there are no rules about how much you should give as a tip in a restaurant, and it can often be very confusing.

Speak to five different Portuguese people and they’ll all give you a different answer. Ask how much you should give a taxi driver, hairdresser, or tour guide, and you’ll get even more varied responses. There are no rules.

Note: a tip is always appreciated. Wages are low in Portugal (and property prices are increasing) so a tip is always appreciated. However, even though wages are low in Portugal, unlike the US, servers aren’t paid with the expectation that they’ll be getting tips on top. Instead, it’s a bonus.

Key Points:

  • There is no rule for tipping in Portugal and Portugal doesn’t have a tipping culture. However, a tip is always appreciated.
  • Good service in Portugal might differ from US standards. Don’t expect overt friendliness; Portuguese standards are more reserved.
  • No tip is required for poor service (unlike the US where you might give 10% instead of 20% or more).
  • Try to tip with cash if you can. While some card machines allow you to leave a gratuity, that doesn’t necessarily mean the person serving you will get it.
  • Tipping is usually for exceptional service, when someone went above and beyond what their job required them to do. Just tip if you feel you had exceptional service, otherwise it’s not expected.

While tipping in Portugal isn’t as customary as in some countries, it’s always appreciated. Here’s a breakdown to help guide you:

Restaurants

  • Tipping isn’t common (but may be more common in touristy places like Central Lisbon and the Algarve).
  • Typically, if locals do tip, they round up the bill or tip a small percentage (5-10%).
  • Some restaurants add a 10% service charge – in that case, no tip is required.
  • In high-end or Michelin star restaurants, tipping is more common. However, there the service is usually better and in Europe you tip for great service, not because you have to.
  • Sometimes paying by credit card doesn’t allow you to add the tip, so carry some coins to reward the waiter/waitress if they provided good service.
  • No one asks for a tip when paying or has a tipping option on the receipt. Just pay for what you want and move on.
  • Servers won’t necessarily run down the street to thank you for a tip, or give you dirty looks if you don’t tip, but they will appreciate it. If you’re not sure whether to tip or not, it’s better just to tip. No one will refuse the extra 20% or a little more.

Cafés

  • Tipping isn’t the norm.
  • If you want to tip, rounding up to the nearest euro is an easy way to do it.
  • Given the low cost, major tipping isn’t expected.
  • However, as always, a tip is always appreciated.

Bars

  • Rarely involves tipping, unless it’s a specialty bar such as a cocktail bar.
  • If tipping, rounding up is the norm.
  • Bar and café staff do not expect a tip if you are just drinking. If you become a ‘regular’ at a bar or coffee shop, are recognised and treated well, maybe add a drink for them on your final order.

Taxi & Ride-Sharing Services (e.g. Uber)

  • It’s not mandatory to tip but a little more common.
  • Rounding up or leaving an extra Euro or two is a kind gesture.
  • Tip within the app immediately after the ride, if using Uber or Bolt.
  • Extra tip (€1-2/bag) if the driver helps with luggage. In the Azores, a bag handling fee may be automatically added. This is less common in mainland Portugal.

Hotel Services

  • As always, tipping isn’t mandatory. However, as with any business in the tourism industry, tipping is a little more common than outside of it.
  • For housekeeping, leave €1-2 per night.
  • For concierges and reception, it’s rare to tip. However, it is appreciated.
  • If someone brings your bags to the room, it’s definitely polite to tip anywhere from €1-€5 per bag.
  • If you order room service, it’s polite to tip €1-€2.

Hairdressers

  • Either round up or tip 5-10%.
  • It’s more common to tip a hairdresser or barber for special services or occasions.

Tour Guides

  • Tipping tour guides is not obligatory. Again, however, it is appreciated and is a little more expected than in other industries.
  • There’s no set amount, but any tip is appreciated.
  • For “free” walking tours, tipping is expected (typically €5-€10 per person).

Parking

In most locations, there are people that “find” you a parking space in return for a euro or two. Even though you could have found the parking space yourself, it’s a good idea to tip as some will key your car if you don’t.

While it’s a racket that shouldn’t exist, it’s better just to pay the €1 rather than deal with the damage.

Final Thoughts

Try to throw out everything you know about tipping in the US. The culture is very different in Portugal. In fact, many locals are quite against tipping as they fear that the increased number of expats and tourists will lead to a US-style tipping culture that will increase prices for locals. Others note that tourists often get better service than locals as those working know they’re more likely to get tips from looking after them.

Remember, while tipping is appreciated, it isn’t as deeply ingrained in Portuguese culture as in some other countries. Always tip based on the service quality and your own comfort level.

If you’ve encountered unique tipping situations in Portugal, feel free to share in the comments!

Written by

James Cave is the founder of Portugalist and the author of the bestselling book, Moving to Portugal Made Simple. He has visited just about every part of Portugal, including Madeira and all nine islands of the Azores, and lived in several parts of Portugal including Lisbon, the Algarve, and Northern Portugal.