LivingTravelA Guide to Tipping in Germany

A Guide to Tipping in Germany

Like most of Europe, Germany does not have a very prominent tipping culture and the practice is generally considered optional. Tip, or trinkgeld as you would say in German, is something that occurs when the service has been exceptionally good. However, Americans and Germans are likely to disagree on what constitutes good service.

While Americans are used to overly friendly and attentive service, Germans are used to a more direct style of service without the smiles. To Americans this may seem rude, but in turn, Germans tend to view the American style as superficial.

With that in mind, when deciding whether or not to tip in Germany, you need to take the local culture into account. If the hotel concierge didn’t smile at you, but did his job well and got you reservations for the best restaurant in town, you should consider giving him a few euros as a thank you.

Before traveling to Germany, keep in mind that tipping customs vary depending on the situation you are in and you may have to tip a little more depending on the services you receive.

Hotels

In hotels in Germany, tipping is not mandatory, but is generally expected, especially if you are staying in an exclusive location.

  • If the porter helps you with your bags or stops you in the taxi, you can give a € 1 tip.
  • Porters and bellboys should receive between € 1 and € 3 per bag.
  • Housewives must get between € 3-5 for each night of their stay.
  • If you use the concierge and they go above and beyond to save the day or enhance your trip, you should tip between € 10-20 to show your appreciation. You don’t need to tip if they simply provide restaurant directions or recommendations.

Restaurants

The cost of the service is usually included in the price of the meal or as an additional service charge added to the bottom of your bill. For this reason, tips are generally not expected when dining in Germany. If you want to tip anyway, it’s best not to put on a big show and just leave the money on the table when you leave.

  • In the average restaurant, you can round to the nearest Euro and leave some change. If you pay by credit card, you can write a tip between 5-10 percent.
  • In an upscale restaurant, there are higher expectations for customers to tip, but you can keep it on the low side at 10-15 percent. Anything over 15 percent is considered extraordinarily generous.

Bars and Pubs

When you drink in a bar or pub or bar in Germany, you will find that it is almost always table service, so the same tipping rules apply for restaurants. If you order directly from the bar, you can round to the nearest euro and leave your change with the bartender, but it won’t wait.

Transport

You do not need to tip your taxi driver, but it is a good gesture to round up your fare to the nearest euro. If they help you with your bags, you can tip more, but anything over 10 percent of your fee is overboard.

Tours

Tour guides in Germany are used to receiving tips from tourists and as a general rule you should tip 10 percent of the cost of the tour, whether it is a multi-day tour or just a short excursion. Free tours are also very popular in Germany, especially in larger cities and because the tour is free you should always tip. Anything between € 1-5 is fine, but remember, your tip should be based on the quality of the experience, the knowledge of your tour guide, and the size of your group. If you are the only one showing up for a tour at the time, you should consider giving up to € 10.

Spas

There is no need to tip at the spa in Germany, but if you are satisfied with your treatment, you can give 5 percent to your assistant.

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