Germany is a popular tourist destination. From the larger, more populated cities of Berlin and Munich, famous for their history and art respectively, to the incredible countryside along the River Rhine – Germany is one of the most desirable destinations in Europe.
But traveling in Germany can be a little daunting when it comes to tipping. All of Europe is different when it comes to leaving tips, and tipping etiquette in Germany should be observed and understood before you leave for your trip to the country.
Many people don’t know how much to leave and when to leave gratuity in Germany, so here’s our complete guide to tipping in Germany:
Tipping Etiquette in Germany: To tip or not to tip?
Tipping in Germany is very different from tipping in North America. For example, in most German-speaking countries it is not typical to be handed a check at the end of your meal. If you want to leave a tip you need to make this clear to your waiter/waitress before you pay for your meal/drinks (tell them how much you want to leave and hand them the money). Also, be aware that in some establishments in Germany a service charge will be added to your bill. If this is the case then you will see this itemized on the receipt, and do not need to add extra tip, unless you feel like you had an exceptional service that deserves an additional amount.
Generally, waiters, bar staff, and other service industry workers are paid better wages in Germany than they are in the US. This means they do not rely on tips as much as workers in the US do and often they’ll receive less in tips. However, the 5-10% rule in most places still applies in Germany, especially when you are traveling as a tourist.
Tipping in Germany Restaurants
Dining in Germany can be a very different experience from the rest of the world, particularly in rural and traditional parts. Berlin, with its modern culture and mix of ethnicities is more “European” than German in parts, and has a mixture of restaurants like any cosmopolitan city. However, in most parts of Germany you will usually find your own seat, pay for water for your table, and may not be able to pay with a credit card. You also generally don’t leave a tip on the table. In a lot of German restaurants you will be sat alongside complete strangers, as is often the practice in French bistros. You may be squeezed into a bench with lots of locals, and while this a great way to practice your German it can make tipping a little difficult.
Tipping in restaurants depends on the service you have received. If you have enjoyed your meal and experience then tipping 15% or so is a reasonable tip for staff, but make sure you hand your tip directly to the waiter or waitress and do not leave the tip on the table. The nature of German restaurants and their bench formations means tips can often get lost or stolen from the big tables and never make it to your server. Many Germans will only round up the bill and leave a euro or two, but if the service is poor in Germany or the meal is unsatisfactory then you do not need to leave a tip.
Tipping Etiquette in Germany: Drivers
Tipping your taxi driver isn’t necessary in Germany. However, if you have had a great experience with some fantastic advice about the city or town you are staying in, then it is nice to leave a tip for the driver. Around 5-10% is acceptable or you can tell the driver to keep the change if the fare comes to around 9 euros and you have a 10 euro note. If you have a private driver in Germany, the same principle applies, and it is generally up to your discretion as to whether you want to leave a tip or not.
Tipping in Germany Hotels
Generally, tipping in hotels in Germany is expected, especially if you are staying in a hotel with a porter. Tipping the porter around 1-2 euros per bag is about average, and your maid/housekeeper around 4 euros for every night you stay (you can leave this at the end of your stay in the room). You can also tip your concierge if he/she provides a good service (around 10-15 euros). For budget hotels you may just want to tip the housekeeper.
Tipping Tour Guides in Germany
Usually solely for tourists – tour guides generally receive around 10% in gratuity for their service. If you take part in a free tour it is definitely advised to leave a tip, especially if the tour guide is friendly, helpful and informative. Some guides prefer that you leave a good review on TripAdvisor or another review site online instead of leaving a tip, as they often receive commission and bonuses for their work through these.
Tipping in Germany: Spas
It is not common to tip spa attendants, but if you want to tip your attendant then you can leave about 5% for their services.
Explore Germany to the Fullest with Auto Europe
Now that you have an increased understanding of the cultural tipping etiquette of Germany, you can embark on the open road with this knowledge in hand, and discover this fantastic country today! Auto Europe provides travelers with a litany of comprehensive travel tips for Europe, so you can prepare for your next vacation with no hiccups. Auto Europe’s role as an industry leader for over 60 years affords our clients the many benefits of our unique supplier relationships, allowing us to offer the best rates on car rentals in Germany, hotels, international airfare, and more! Give us a call today, toll-free at 1-888-223-5555, and get your vacation started ASAP!