With its magnificent Gaudi architecture, famous paella, and collection of prominent museums, Spain is a popular country in Europe to visit. There are many wonderful cities to visit in Spain, and overall, the food and drink can actually be relatively inexpensive—provided you stay away from the tourist traps—making Spain a great, affordable vacation spot.
When traveling to Spain, however, it is important to know that the customs can be different for tipping in Spain. While tipping in the United States is considered mandatory or assumed, tipping in Spain is not necessary in most cases. Spanish people typically do not leave a tip in Spain, so feel free to follow the local customs.
Although it is not necessary to tip, there are a couple instances where you can. For a restaurant tip Spain can have a couple situations where you may want to leave a tip. If you buy a coffee or a drink at a bar, you can leave the smaller coins as a tip, particularly if you thought the service was good. So when you have a café con leche or a glass of sangria, you can choose to leave small coins for a tip in Spain. When you have a full meal alone or dine with a bigger group, you can also leave a 5-10 percent tip; please note, however, that this percentage is still lower than what you would leave as a tip in the United States.
Transportation tipping is also different in Spain. For a taxi tip Spain also does not have mandatory tipping. Similar to tipping in a restaurant, you can leave your small change for the driver if you want to. If you hire a private driver, you can leave a tip of the amount of your choice depending on how you felt about the service.
Tours are a great way to get to know the city you’re in, but tipping a tour guide in Spain is a bit different than the rest of the tipping customs in Spain. For tipping a tour guide, it is actually recommended—and appreciated—to give a tour guide tip, similar to how it is in America. It is particularly recommended if you had a small group or private group tour. Typically, these tips can range from about 10 to 30 euros.
When you travel to Spain, be sure to remember not only that the customs for tipping are not the same but also to carry cash or coins if you do want to tip. For reference, the Spanish word for tip is “propina,” but if you pay with card, there may not be a spot to include tip; it is better to leave cash. The bill will look fairly similar to the structure of a bill in the United States. Many restaurants that give you bread that seems like it would be complimentary will actually charge you for it, so a charge for “pan” means a charge for bread. There may also be an added charge for the IVA tax, a Spanish tax, particularly in touristy restaurants, but often times the IVA tax is already incorporated in menu prices.