Portugal ranks among the most affordable countries in the Eurozone on an ongoing basis. Both accommodation and daily expenses such as food are cheap. Therefore, it won’t be a big issue for travelers to spare some extra cash to show their gratitude in a good manner. Your purse won’t get hurt, and you won’t feel like you’ve been exploited or manipulated.
Though tipping for services provided by waiters, taxi drivers, tour guides, and bellboys is not a formal requirement in Portugal, it’s always good to show your appreciation. Besides, there’s the traditional expectancy. Here are some gratuity guidelines to follow in Lisbon and Porto as well as the country’s historic small towns and laid-back beach retreats.
Tipping customs at Portuguese hotels don’t differ too much from the other parts of Western Europe. That means you can give bellboys €1 for each bag carried to your room, and leave €1 per night for housekeeping staff who tidy up after you. For hailing a cab, a doorman should get €1, too. A concierge who secures reservations from busy restaurants beforehand or gives exact walking directions that don’t leave you alone on the narrow streets of Lisbon (which can be very complicated, hypnotizing, or indistinguishable from one another at the first time) deserves a reward somewhere in the region of €5–10.
While paying the fare, many passengers round up the digits, letting the change serve as the tip. If the driver assisted you to carry your luggage or waited for you for a considerable time, add up to 10% extra of the total amount. By the way, taxi drivers in Portugal do not tend to exploit tourists, which is a common concern in touristic destinations.
Around €10 is considered a decent tip for tour guides who impressed you. Feel free to lower or increase that amount by up to €5, depending on how long the tour was and how informative and entertaining the guide was. If at any point you were serenaded with a mournful fado tune, that alone ought to be good for a banknote or two.
At Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes
You don’t have to tip at local cafes, food charts, or street restaurants, but you can round up the digits of your bill if you feel elevated by the good service. Follow the same protocol with skilled & entertaining bartenders who are always nice to talk to.
Bills at upscale restaurants sometimes automatically include a service charge (cover) that functions as a gratuity by itself, so check your bill for references & footnotes mentioning serviço to avoid tipping twice. Otherwise, diners at fancy places usually leave up to 10% of the total amount for the wait staff.
In all these cases, tip in cash rather than on your credit card to make sure that the money reaches its intended recipients. In that way, you’ll be able to show your satisfaction with the services directly.
How do You Tip When Paying with a Card?
In Portugal, using a debit or credit card to pay your bill at a restaurant is common, especially for bigger sums and if you don’t want to carry a lot of cash. You may leave a cash tip by setting some pennies (or, if you’re feeling very kind, a €5 note) on the tables on top of the check.
In some locations, you may add the tip through the POS system (the little device where you swipe or input your card). The price to be paid is often displayed on the first row, and €0.00 (gratificaço in Portuguese) can be entered in the second row.
Tipping in Portugal: Some Do’s and Don’ts
Locals in Portugal don’t often tip outside of restaurants and taxis. That’s one of the reasons why, if you inquire about proper behavior, you’ll receive varying responses. But bear in mind a few fundamental guidelines to avoid misunderstandings:
- The “little” coins (€0.01, €0.02, and €0.05) should not be used as tips. In contrast to truly expressing gratitude for outstanding service, it appears as though you are emptying your wallet of extra coins.
- Don’t presume that someone who is serving you might use the additional money. They could think it’s insulting.
- Even if they push you to tip them, you shouldn’t feel obligated to. Don’t reward a service if it isn’t deserving of a reward.
- In the majority of restaurants and cafés, the staff members do not pocket the gratuity. Each employee receives a portion, which is contributed to a mutual fund and distributed according to the number of working days in each month. You can choose to tip or not.
What if the service was bad?
Actually, a tip is given for good service. You are under no obligation to leave a tip if the treatment was poor.
Don’t contrast the service you receive in Portugal to what you’re used to receiving back home since it’s crucial to realize that excellent service in Portugal isn’t nearly as peppy or welcoming as it is in other nations like the US. Expect neither adoration nor extreme attention; both things would be unusual by Portuguese (and essentially European) standards.
However, you’ll recognize poor service when you see it, and in these cases, you are under no duty to give a tip.
Currency: Can I Use Euros or May I Pay in US Dollars?
The euro is Portugal’s official currency. US currency is not accepted. Just be sure to bring the right money, or be ready to convert your dollars for euros when you arrive. In our society, everything can be done with a credit or debit card, but in Europe, you’ll find it helpful to always have some cash on hand. There are currency exchange counters at the airport and several more outlets all across the city.
Tipping in Portugal
You can find approximate tip amounts in Portugal.
|Bar, Coffee shop||€0-2|
|Dining at a Michelin star restaurant||5-10%|
|Housekeeper / Room service||€1 (per day)|
|Spa / Massage service / Barbershop||0-5%|