Tipping in Greece: All you need to know

A very important element when visiting a foreign country is to be aware of what the local culture and customs expect you to do. Tipping etiquette is one of these things! In some places, like the USA, you are obliged to do it, and to a specific percentage of the overall price. In others, like Japan, attempting to tip could even be taken as an insult! So it’s important to know what to do.

How do you tip in Greece, when, how much, and how obligated are you to do it?

The truth is that things are quite laid back when it comes to tipping in Greece. Whether you choose to do it or don’t, you should be fine. However, why not please your servers and other people making sure you have a great time on your dream vacation?

This guide will let you in on all the dos and don’ts of tipping culture everywhere in Greece. Enjoy your vacation as the polite, elegant locals do!

When to Tip in Greece and How Much to Tip

Always tip in euros

Don’t drop coins of different currencies on the table as your servers are unlikely to be able to easily exchange or use them. Always tip in euros or don’t tip at all. Also, consider that you may have trouble getting people to add a tip on your credit card charge, as in Greece this is extremely unusual and unfamiliar.

Always carry some cash and change to make tipping easy.

How to tip in restaurants

Working at a Greek restaurant is a very tough job, in hot conditions with little break or room for respite during high season. The work ethic of servers in Greek restaurants, from traditional tavernas to more edgy, modern establishments is excellent while their pay is minimal.

Despite that, however, you are not obligated to tip nor will you be asked for a tip.

What is customary is to tip anyway, of your own volition, as a ‘good job’ and ‘thank you’ gesture to your server. Don’t bother calculating any percentages, as tipping in Greece only requires leaving a couple of coins on your table with your bill as you leave.

Another way to tip is to tell your server to keep the change from the bill if you don’t want to leave coins on the table (everyone does it though, don’t worry! Nobody but your server will touch them).

A small tip is 50 cents to a euro. A better, more substantial tip is a 2 euro coin. Anything above that is considered a big tip. On average, Greeks leave a couple of euros as a tip, regardless of the size of the bill they pay. If they are especially pleased, they may sometimes tip as high as five or ten euros, but that is considered extraordinary and rare.

Before you tip, check your bill. If there is a 5-10% service charge there, this is instead of a tip so you don’t need to tip anyone (you still can though).

How to tip in bars and clubs

This depends on the establishment. If you are required to go get your own drink from the bartender, then usually you are not expected to tip. However, if you still want to do it you can round up the price of your drink or tell the bartender to keep the change.

If you have a server and your drinks are served to you, then what goes for restaurant tipping applies here as well. Remember that if you are sitting at a table being served, the polite thing to do is to leave a couple of coins with the bill as you leave!

How to tip in hotels

Again, you are not expected or required to tip anyone in the hotel you stay in. However, it is considered the polite thing to do and will probably earn you dividends with the staff!

Consider a coin of 1 to 2 euros a reasonable tip for the porter that carries your luggage to your room and to your car.

You can leave a tip for the cleaning service on your bedside table, though in many establishments it may not be considered a tip, and the coins will be left there. This varies so if you want to make sure ask the concierge how to tip your cleaning service.

How to tip in taxis

Taxi drivers generally don’t expect you to tip them. However, if you want to tip them for giving you a pleasant ride and perhaps a good chat (taxi drivers are notorious for chatting their clients up!) you can round up the price of the fare or tell your driver to keep the change.

If you are paying by card, it’s generally expected not to give a tip. You could however ask the driver to add a euro to your card charge, but this is extraordinary and never expected.

How to tip your tour guide

In general, you are not expected to tip your tour guide. If, however, you had a really good time and you want to do it consider a 10-15% tip on the tour’s price.

Often, people will tip their guides 2 to 5 euros per person, or, for private tours, the tip can go as high as 15 or 20 euros.

Our guide Ioanna showing us how Propylea used to be in ancient times

How to tip your hairdresser

If you are happy with your new look, a 5 euro tip will be very appreciated. You can leave it with the cashier for the hairdresser (if you are at a salon with many hairdressers) or you can drop it in your hairdresser’s pocket as you leave (or leave it on their salon booth).

Again, you are not expected to tip if you don’t want to, even when you are happy with the service.

Politeness and “thank you” is also a tip

Tipping is extremely appreciated, especially considering the hard times Greeks have been facing financially for the past decade. However, the real currency here is appreciation. Speaking to your server in a polite way, saying “thank you” and “please”, giving them a smile, and acknowledging them can go a long way even if you don’t tip.

Despite that, the best you can do is be polite, and appreciative, and leave a modest tip that will mark you as a cherished, ideal customer.

When not to tip

In Greece, just like being polite to your server, tipping is a gesture of appreciation. It is also considered praise. You are expected to tip when service has been good. You are expected to pay a bigger tip when service has been exceptional or especially pleasing to you.

If you are dissatisfied with the service, you are not expected to tip. For example, if you want to complain about the service but you have tipped the server, this might even become an argument against you: your complaint may not be taken as sincere since you still tipped.

All in all, tipping culture is laid back, and tipping itself is considered symbolic: you tip when you are pleased or when you appreciate the work that goes into your experience, and the amount is modest and ultimately up to you!

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