Tipping in Portugal is quite different than in the United States where 15% is standard for average service and 20% is standard for good service (and where servers will give you lip if you don’t tip because their service was crap). In Lisbon, tipping is not mandatory and it is not seen as rude not to tip. That being said, the average salary in Lisbon (one of Portugal’s most well off cities) is around €900 per month. So, although it is not mandatory, as a traveler make sure to leave a little tip. It will make the lives of those who are taking care of you much better.
Tipping in Portugal
Restaurant Tipping: Most people will tell you to put down somewhere between 0.5 or 1€. This is pretty acceptable in local places, although in more touristy neighborhoods like Principe Real and Bairro Alto servers are getting used to larger tips from tourists. To be on the safe side, have a spare Euro and leave that.
Nota: In restaurants when you sit, your server will bring you what is known as a couvert. This is usually a basket with bread, butter, cheese or fish spreads. Sometimes it is olives.
These are NOT free. If you eat them, they will be added to your bill at around 1€ to 5€. If you don’t want them, simply don’t eat them or just say to your server ‘Nao, obrigado’
Tipping in Bars: Tipping in bars is not at all expected. An Imperial (a beer) usually costs under 1€, so whatever change is given back to you can be left as a tip. If you go to nicer places in touristy areas, you will be expected to leave 0.5 or 1€.
Hair Salon Tipping: This completely shocked me, but the rule is pretty much the same as restaurants. All my local friends said to leave 0.5 or 1€. I usually leave 10% because habits die hard and whoever touches my hair has a direct effect on my appearance.
Food Delivery Tipping: If you order food to be delivered to your hotel or home, it is standard to give 1€.
Tipping at the Spa: I am told you don’t have to tip. However, I have a feeling I will since the pleasure I derive from a massage or pedicure is priceless.
Tipping taxi drivers: No tip expected.
Tipping Hotel Staff: If you’re staying in a hotel, you’re breaking all my travel rules. I am a huge fan of Airbnb, so next time you come to Lisbon, I expect you to do that after you read my guide on how to pick an Airbnb rental and after you’ve jotted down my discount code. Leave a 1-2€ tip for the maid per cleaning (I’ve been told they get paid pretty badly), 1€ for each bag your porter carries and 1€ to the person who brings up your room service.
Now you know everything you need to know about Tipping in Portugal. Got questions about Portugal or Lisbon in particular? Leave a comment below.