Regardless of what travelers might think, Europeans do tip! Tipping in Europe is not a monoculture, and so it’s important to know what the local customs and expectations are around tipping before you get here. Tipping in Greece isn’t complicated, but you do need to know how to tip in Greece (and when).
If it’s your first time in Greece, you may have several questions about how tipping in Greece works, such as how much is expected and when and how you should add a tip.
Allison and I travel to Greece multiple times per year, and we’re happy to share all we’ve learned about how to tip in Greece so that you (and your servers, taxi drivers, bartenders, and the like!) can have a fantastic time.
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Tipping in Greece is not compulsory, but it’s more or less expected in certain situations
Since you’re searching for information on how to tip in Greece, congratulations! You’re on your way to be a responsible traveler in this wonderful country.
While tipping is not mandatory, there are many situations in which it is expected. Because salaries in Greece are low and many people you encounter work during the high tourist season, this extra money is part of what they need to live on for the rest of the year.
Many of the Greek islands see steep drops in tourism as soon as it hits mid-to-late October, so don’t be fooled if a restaurant is packed if you’re there in June or July.
If you have the privilege to travel, you can afford to tip as well and should factor that into your budget. You should budget to add about 5%-10% tip for fair to good service and more if your service was excellent.
Keep in mind that service standards differ from country to country. What is standard service in the U.S. or Canada would be over-the-top anywhere in Europe. Service in Greece both extremely friendly and warm AND more laid back. So your server might be wonderful and bring by a free dessert or extra ouzo on the house, but they also might disappear for thirty minutes at a time – it’s just part of the culture.
If you truly have bad service, it’s better to speak with the management about what could be improved about your meal or to leave a smaller tip of around 3%-4%, rather than to just straight up not tip.
Don’t enforce your point of view on tipping culture on others
Oh, no one tips where you’re from? Guess what – no one cares.
If you are not Greek, and you come to Greece as a guest, be mindful of the country’s customs concerning tipping and don’t let your country’s tipping culture influence how you tip in Greece.
Allison and I have met our fair share of Australian and British tourists while traveling who hate the concept of tipping culture and feel like they shouldn’t have to tip because it’s not expected for them back home. While I have my problems with tipping culture, skimping out on your waiter is not the way to solve those problems — especially when it’s clear that you have a good deal of privilege relative to your wait staff.
Likewise, I’ve met a lot of tourists who get frustrated with the fact that servers in Greece aren’t the same as those back home. As an American, I try to remember that my expectations for service are greatly different than people from other countries, and I try to adjust my expectations accordingly.
When you travel, it’s best to be aware of what the local expectations are and to adjust yourself to that, rather than expect people to adjust themselves to you.
There are different guidelines for tipping in Greece for different kinds of service
The etiquette for tipping in Greece depends largely on the kind of service you’re receiving. We’ll go over the kinds of service workers you’ll most likely encounter during your trip and what a good tipping baseline is for each of them.
Always give your tip directly to the person you want it to go to or you can leave it on the table.
Waiter: 5-10% of the bill for fair to good service. More is always appreciated but not required.
Taxi Driver: Round up to the nearest Euro. They don’t generally expect a tip, and they also typically won’t give you exact change under a Euro.
Barista/Café Worker: Not required if you use counter service, but tipping small change if they have a tip jar and you pay in cash is appreciated. At sit-down coffee shops where you receive table service, round up to the nearest Euro or add about 5%-10%. Keep in mind that your bill at a Greek cafe will probably be less than five Euros, so even 20% is just a Euro.
Nail or Hair Salon Worker; Masseuse: Not expected, but you can leave a Euro or two if you’d like. Keep in mind that nail and salon service prices are closer to parity with Western Europe and North America compared to other services.
Hotel Housekeeping: It’s polite, but not required to leave a tip of around 1-2 Euros per night for a budget hotel that provides daily housekeeping. You should leave this with a note so that the housekeeping staff knows it’s a gratuity and not an accident. For a more luxurious hotel, around 5 Euros per night is more appropriate. You can tip daily or in a lump sum at the end of your trip.
Only tip using Euros
Whether your wallet has a bunch of US dollars or British pounds from back home, or you have a collection of various Balkan currencies on you, only tip in Euros. It’s not the person receiving the tip’s job to worry about getting the currency converted into something they can use.
This is a bigger problem on the Greek islands when British tourists come down for holidays and forget that they need to tip and they need to pick up the local currency. Don’t be that person. If you find yourself in the situation where you ONLY have your home currency on you, then you need to leave a MUCh bigger tip than you otherwise would so that it’s worth their while to get it fixed.
It’s extremely rare to have a service charge added, but do check before paying regardless
Sometimes restaurants in Greece will include a service fee (about 16%). If this fee is included, then you don’t need to leave a full tip. Just round up to the nearest Euro or two.
If this fee will be applied, you’ll see it on the menu, but it’s not usually written separately on the actual check. Feel free to ask if the bill includes the service fee before you determine what you need to leave.
It’s not always possible to tip on a credit card, so have some cash on hand
While you can sometimes leave a tip on your credit card, it’s much more rare in Greece than in the United States, for example. It’s better (and you’re more likely to make sure it goes to the right person) if you hand your tip over in cash to the person you’re tipping (or leave it on the table at the restaurant).
Don’t forget to tip your tour guides!
Tour guides in Greece are extremely well educated. Many have master’s degrees and Ph.D.’s in Greek history. On a group tour, tip 5-10 Euros per day (even the free tours). On a private tour, give your tour guide 20 Euros per day.
More Greece Travel Resources
First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more.
Next, you’ll want to read our all-season Greece packing list.
Most travelers will spend at least a few days in the capital. If you’re headed to Athens, check out our Athens Instagram guide, the best Athens day trips, and our guide to visiting the Acropolis. We also have a guide to the best things to do in Athens in winter if you’ll be there from late November through March.
Check out these Athens safety tips so your trip can be hassle-free. We are currently working on our mega-post of things to do in Athens as well as our itineraries, so stay tuned!
We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.
What to Bring with You to Greece
If you’re planning a trip to Greece, you’ll want to pack all the normal essentials, but here are a few things we strongly recommend bringing that may not have crossed your mind. For more packing tips, check out our complete Greece packing list.
– A physical guidebook, in paper or on Kindle. We love Lonely Planet Greece for this region and strongly recommend it to supplement blogs. Blogs are great, but a combination of a blog and a guidebook is key to having the best access to information easily at your fingertips.
– A water bottle with a filter. While generally, the tap water in Athens is drinkable, we generally recommend using a water bottle with a purifying filter to reduce your plastic consumption and ensure you won’t drink any funny-tasting water on your stomach that could make your trip unpleasant! There are places in Greece, especially on the island, where the water tastes like minerals.
We recommend the GRAYL water bottle – it filters water perfectly in an instant so that you can even drink from lakes, bad taps, etc.
– Motion sickness pills. Santorini roads are winding, especially around the coast. If you have a weak stomach as we do, save yourself and bring some non-drowsy motion sickness pills.
– Wet wipes, hand sanitizer, TP & other Balkan transit needs. Bathrooms in the Balkans tend to be… how can we say it?… not so well-stocked. Save yourself the disappointment and bring a mini-rescue pack of wet wipes & hand sanitizer.
– Travel safety items. We think Athens is safe to travel, but at the same time, it never hurts to be prepared! Some people like to carry money belts, but neither Allison or I use these. Instead, we both carry the same PacSafe anti-theft backpack.
It has locking zippers, slash-proof construction with metal mesh hidden in the fabric, and tons of other smart security features — all while being cute and stylish enough to be our everyday bag. We recommend it highly for both male and female travelers, as it’s neutral enough to be unisex. We also strongly recommend travel insurance! Our recommendation is at the bottom of the post.
Where to Stay in Greece
We have guides to where to stay in several major Greek islands and cities. Check out our guides to Athens, Santorini, Rhodes, Lindos, Chania, Heraklion, and Rethymnon if you’re headed to any of these amazing places! We also have a separate guide to the best hotels with views of the Acropolis if you want an extra special view while in Athens.
Otherwise, we suggest you book your Greece accommodations early! We book most of our hotels through Booking.com. We like them because many of the hotels have flexible cancelation policies – great for if you want to be able to make last-minute changes to your itinerary!
Don’t Forget About Travel Insurance!
I’m sure you’re aware that it’s a good idea to have travel insurance for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world!
Allison and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.
While Greece is generally very safe, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel like theft or injury, so it’s better to play it safe. The saying goes “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel,” and we think it’s true!
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Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.