If you’re planning to move to Portugal, or simply visiting the country, something that has probably crossed your mind is the tipping system. When do you tip? In what services? How much? And how do you go about it? In this article we tell you all about tipping in Portugal, so that your stay can go as smoothly as possible.
Tipping is a common practice in many countries, especially the english-speaking, such as the USA and Canada. However, tipping is not a common practice in Portugal. When it happens, it’s mostly as gesture of appreciation for the quality of the provided service. It’s also way more frequent in the food industry.
This is because in Portugal every full-time worker must be paid, at least, the national minimum wage (760€/month as of 2023) and this condition is always protected by the law.
Restaurants are the most common place where you’ll see people leaving workers a tip. If you find the service to be excellent, leaving a small tip of around 5% to 10% of the total bill is definitely appreciated. Recently, it’s become more usual (especially in big tourist hubs) for restaurants to charge for service (“serviço”) in the bill, so be sure to check before leaving an additional tip. And keep in mind that this charge goes towards the business itself. If you appreciated the waiters’ service, you should try to tip them personally. Try to do it in euros, because of the exchange rate.
When you’re going for just a coffee or a drink at a bar and not looking to spend a lot of money, tips aren’t common at all. However, again, if you find the service to be particularly exceptional, definitely tip your waiter!
When staying at an upscale hotel, tipping, although not mandatory, is expected in certain situations.
If you’re planning to tour some cities with a guide, tipping is appreciated – especially when it’s a hot day, you walked a lot or you found the guide to be extra helpful. There are some free walking tours, particularly in Lisbon and Porto, where the workers mostly make money from tips – in these cases, the tip should be bigger, since you didn’t pay for the actual service.
It’s very uncommon for the Portuguese to tip in hair salons – only if the service took exceptionally long or the hairdresser made an effort to take extra good care of you.
While not a part of a service, if you plan on bringing your car or driving in Portugal, in the big cities where parking is limited and paid, you will surely come across “arrumadores de carros”. These are people that stay around parking areas, pointing drivers to a parking space that’s unoccupied and helping you with car manoeuvring. Although nonobligatory, these people are usually struggling financially, so leaving them a small “tip” (1€-2€ coin) is a nice gesture.
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