GuidesBudgetTipping Etiquette: What to Know About Tipping in Iceland
tipping in iceland money final thoughts on tip jars
Go Car Rental Iceland travel writer Aron Freyr
By Aron FreyrNov 29, 2023 • 7 min read

Tipping Etiquette: What to Know About Tipping in Iceland

Iceland is a land of breathtaking beauty, with attractions such as the Golden Circle, Northern Lights, and Gullfoss waterfall. As you plan your trip to this mesmerizing country, it’s essential to understand the local customs, especially when it comes to tipping in Iceland. Knowing the ins and outs of Iceland’s tipping culture will not only make your journey smoother but also show respect for the people who work hard to make your visit unforgettable. So let’s dive into the world of tipping etiquette in Iceland!

Key Takeaways

  • Tipping is not mandatory in Iceland, but appreciated as a sign of gratitude for excellent service.
  • Suggested tips range from 5-15% or rounding up the bill, 500 ISK to 1.500 ISK.

Understanding Iceland's Tipping Culture

A smiling helpful waiter in Iceland, providing exceptional great service

In contrast to many other countries, tipping culture in Iceland is not as prevalent. Service charges are always included in bills, and service industry workers generally receive decent wages. This means that tipping is not mandatory, but it can still be a way to show appreciation for exceptional service.

A service charge is a fee added to the bill and is paid directly to the company rather than an individual staff member. As a traveler visiting Iceland, you should be mindful of the inclusion of service charges in many bills. This way, you can avoid tipping twice or feeling obliged to tip when it’s not necessary.

While tipping is not customary in Iceland, it is always welcomed if you feel the service you received was excellent. For example, if you experienced outstanding service during a Northern Lights tour or at Thingvellir National Park, it makes sense to leave a tip to show your appreciation. This way, you can express your gratitude and contribute to the positive atmosphere of your trip.

Tipping in Icelandic Restaurants

In Icelandic restaurants, tipping is not mandatory, but it is appreciated for exceptional or good service. A standard tip of 10-15% is suggested in such cases. This gesture can go a long way in showing your appreciation to the staff who have contributed to your enjoyable dining experience.

Keep in mind that many Icelandic restaurants already incorporate a service fee and consumption taxes (VAT) in their bills. This means that tipping is not obligatory, as the staff are already receiving adequate remuneration. However, if you feel the service was above and beyond, a tip is always a kind gesture.

A common practice in Iceland is rounding up the bill when paying at a restaurant. This is an easy and convenient way to leave a small tip for the staff without calculating a specific percentage. It’s a subtle way of acknowledging their hard work and dedication to providing you with excellent service.

Gratuity for Hotel Staff in Iceland

When it comes to hotel staff in Iceland, tipping is not expected but can be given for exceptional service. Suggested amounts include 500-1.000 ISK daily for housekeeping. These small tokens of appreciation can brighten the day of the staff and make their efforts feel recognized.

Taxi Drivers and Tipping in Iceland

tipping in iceland: Taxi cab sign in Reykjavik Iceland

Taxi drivers do not expect tipping in iceland, but it is acceptable to offer a 5-10% tip for longer journeys or rounding up the bill for shorter ones. Agreeing on the fare beforehand can help prevent any misunderstandings or disagreements.

For example, if you take a taxi to Thingvellir National Park and the bill is 8.500 ISK, a recommended tip would be 500 ISK. This small gesture can show your appreciation for the driver’s service and contribute to a positive atmosphere during your journey.

Remember that it is not customary to provide gratuities to Icelandic taxi drivers. Offering a tip is entirely up to your discretion, and you should not feel obligated to do so. However, if you feel the service was excellent, a small tip can be a thoughtful gesture.

Tour Guides: To Tip or Not to Tip?

Tipping tour guides in Iceland is not required but can be done at your discretion. A standard 5-10% tip is a reasonable amount to offer if you feel the service was exceptional. Alternatively, you can consider leaving a TripAdvisor review as a way of showing your appreciation. This not only benefits the tour guide but also helps future travelers make informed decisions about which tours to choose.

For guided tours, a group tipping kitty can be a convenient option. Each group member contributes an equal sum at the beginning of the tour, and the guide then uses this fund to tip drivers, local guides, and hotel staff on behalf of the group. You are not obligated to join a group tipping kitty. It is completely discretionary. You can also manage your tipping independently if you prefer..

In any case, the most important thing is to show your appreciation for the hard work and dedication of your tour guide. Whether through a tip or a positive review, acknowledging their efforts can make a significant impact and contribute to a memorable trip.

Tipping in Iceland at Bars and Cafés

Friendly waitress holding a two cups of coffee at the local coffee shop

At bars and cafés, tipping in Iceland is not mandatory, but it is appreciated for outstanding or good service. A 5-10% tip or rounding up the amount of the bill are common practices in these establishments. This can be a simple and convenient way to show your appreciation to the staff.

In some bars and cafés, you may also come across tip jars. These jars are often used to collect funds for staff parties or other events. Contributing to a tip jar is entirely up to your discretion, but it can be a nice way to support the staff and contribute to a positive atmosphere.

In summary, while tipping is not obligatory at bars and cafés in Iceland, it is always a kind gesture to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of the staff. A small tip or rounding up the bill can make a significant impact on their day and contribute to a pleasant experience.

When Not to Tip in Iceland

There are certain situations where tipping is not necessary in Iceland. For example, gratuities are already included in the total fee for bar staff and some service workers. In these cases, it is not expected to leave a tip, as the staff are already receiving their due compensation.

Remember, unlike in other countries, tipping isn’t customary or expected in Iceland. However, if you feel the service you received was outstanding, it is always welcomed to leave a tip as a token of appreciation.

The key takeaway is to be aware of the tipping customs in Iceland and to tip only when you feel it is appropriate. Understanding the local culture and customs can help you have a smooth and enjoyable trip, and it shows respect for the hard-working individuals who contribute to your unforgettable experience.

Summary

In conclusion, understanding the tipping customs in Iceland is an essential aspect of planning your visit. By being aware of when and how much to tip, you can show your appreciation for the hard work and dedication of the service providers who contribute to your unforgettable Icelandic experience. With this knowledge in hand, you can embark on your journey to the land of fire and ice with confidence and fully embrace the beauty and culture of this mesmerizing country.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do I tip in Iceland?

Tipping is not mandatory in Iceland, but appreciated as a sign of gratitude for excellent service.

Do people tip at restaurants in Iceland?

Tipping is not customary in Iceland and is generally appreciated but not expected. Bills may already include the gratuity or service charge; if there isn't, a 10% gratuity is perfectly acceptable. However, if you don't wish to tip, it won't be considered rude or illegal.

Can I tip in US dollars in Iceland?

Tipping in Icelandic Krona is preferred, however foreign currency like US Dollars are typically accepted.

What is the dining etiquette in Iceland?

Dining in Iceland is similar to other Nordic countries and Europe; wrists should rest on the table with hands visible, the fork held in left hand and the knife in right. Throwing away food is not encouraged.

What is the suggested tip for exceptional service in Icelandic restaurants?

A 10-15% tip is suggested for exceptional service in Icelandic restaurants.

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