Tipping in Iceland: Quick & easy guide

It comes as no surprise that Iceland has become a popular tourist spot for visitors from all across the globe.

With so much to see and do, it’s likely that you’ll have a lot of planning to do for any upcoming trip.

Amongst the various questions you’ll have about Iceland, one may be – what’s the attitude to tipping?

Is it customary?

If so, how much should you offer?

This guide aims to provide you with all of the information you’ll need about tipping in Iceland – the dos and don’ts, and some useful points to keep in mind along the way.

Do you tip in Iceland?

Tipping is not expected in Iceland, mainly because gratuity or a service charge is usually included within the bill already.

Leaving extra as a tip can seem excessive sometimes, because the service charge will already be about 10-15%, however it’s uncommon for a tip to be refused.

Another reason that it’s not common practice is because workers in Iceland tend to earn good wages, so it’s not something that supplements their income. 

Tipping customs to keep in mind

Always ensure you check your bill before leaving anything extra.

Chances are, there will already be a service charge on your bill, so you don’t want to end up paying a lot more than you should.

If you feel as though a tip needs to be given, a good rule of thumb is to round up the next even amount.

Ensure this is only done at expensive restaurants though. Most cheaper restaurants don’t expect a tip at all.

Waiters/Waitresses aren’t ignoring you by not bringing you your bill.

Similar to other countries within Europe, patrons are required to ask for their bill before it will be presented to them.

Useful phrases to know

  • Hello – Hæ ( Hi/ Hah-low )
  • Yes – Já – ( y-ow )
  • No – Nei ( ney )
  • Goodbye – Bless ( bleh-s -usually said twice, similar to UK )
  • The bill please? – Get ég fengið reikninginn? ( get ye fen-kidh rayk-ning-yin )
  • How much does this cost? – Hversu mikið kostar þetta? ( kve-su mih-kith coh-stah theh-tah )
  • Thank you/Thanks – Þakka þér/Takk (thah-kah th-yeh / tah-k)

Tipping in restaurants in Iceland

Tipping in Iceland is not customary, so there is no obligation to do this in a restaurant.

The main reason for this etiquette is because gratuity or a service charge (10% – 20%) is usually added onto your bill. 

However, if this isn’t the case, then it’s reasonable to tip around 10% of the final bill amount or you can round the total up to the next even figure.

It’s important to note that this is usually only done in more expensive restaurants, and a cheaper restaurant wouldn’t expect to receive a tip at all.

Wages in Iceland are known to be very fair so, whilst a waiter or waitress may appreciate it if you leave them a tip, they don’t rely on this to form part of their income.

Tipping tour guides in Iceland

Tipping in Iceland: Geyser

Tour guides will not expect tips, but if the service provided is exceptional, they can be given one – around 10% is reasonable.

Although hosts and guides don’t make your trip as enjoyable as possible in order to receive a tip, if the service they have provided is exceptional, a tip would be welcomed. 

Something else you could do is offer to treat them to lunch – monetary tips may sometimes feel a little irregular for locals, and this can be a nice alternative.

Tipping in hotels or guest houses in Iceland

You’re not required to tip the staff in your hotel.

Any service provided by hotel staff will be covered in your bill, so nothing additional is expected from you. 

However, a small tip would be appreciated by the maid, if you wanted to leave one. You can either leave it in an envelope for them in your room, or you can hand it directly to them.

Tipping taxis, coaches & cabs in Iceland

Taxi/coach/cab drivers in Iceland do not require a tip for the service they provide. 

A service charge is often included within your fare, therefore tipping isn’t necessary at all in this situation. Taxi drivers don’t ever expect to receive a tip.

Tipping in bars and pubs in Iceland

You’re not expected to leave a tip in a bar or pub in Iceland.

Similarly to restaurants, a service charge will often be on your bill already, so there’s no need to add an extra tip in this situation. 

If a service charge hasn’t been added, then it’s perfectly acceptable to tip 10% if you would like to leave something. If staff have gone out of their way to make sure the service you’ve received is exemplary, then by all means, leave a small tip.

Tipping barbers and in hair salons in Iceland

A hairdresser or barber won’t anticipate a tip. 

Much like many other services in Iceland, a service charge will be on your bill to cover any kind of tip that you may have offered. 

If you’re exceptionally happy with the end result, or if staff have been incredibly polite and helpful, then a tip certainly won’t be refused. It’s not necessary to leave one though.