Tipping in Switzerland: Who to tip & when…

Switzerland is a place that manages to perfectly balance contemporary urban culture with rich, beautiful tradition.

If you’re lucky enough to be visiting this country any time soon, there’s no doubt that you’ll have countless questions before you embark on your trip.

One of those questions may be; should you tip in Switzerland?

If so, how much, and when?

This comprehensive guide aims to tackle any queries you might have about tipping in Switzerland.

Do you tip in Switzerland?

Tipping isn’t necessary in Switzerland, however it is appreciated.

Wages in Switzerland are generally higher than other countries, so staff don’t rely on tips as part of their income. 

Additionally, most places will already include a service charge within the bill, so there’s no need to tip an additional amount. Tipping in Switzerland is generally lower than other countries and is only really expected in certain situations.

Tipping customs to keep in mind

Most restaurants will include a service charge on the bill to cover what would usually be a tip, so always be sure to double check for this.

Make sure to ask for your bill as this won’t be brought out to you automatically.

It’s very common for staff to wait until you’ve told them you’re finished, rather than risk giving you the impression that they would like you to leave.

The easiest way to tip in Switzerland, if you wanted to leave a little extra, is to round the bill amount up to the nearest franc. 

Useful phrases to know

There are four different languages spoken in Switzerland (German, Italian, French and Romansh).

The most commonly spoken language is Swiss-German, and just over 60% of the population speak this language. The following phrases may come in handy during your trip.

  • The bill, please. – Tzallen bitte.
  • How much is this? – Was koschtet das?
  • Thanks a lot – Merci vilmal
  • Bye – Uf Widerluege

Tipping restaurants in Switzerland

It’s not necessary to leave a tip in a restaurant in Switzerland.

Oftentimes, a service charge will be included on the bill. If you are exceptionally happy with your dining experience though, a tip certainly won’t be refused.

You could round your bill up if you wanted to, for example if the final total was 48 CHF then you could round up to 50 CHF.

Eating out in Switzerland can be quite expensive when compared to its neighbouring countries, so it’s important to think about this in relation to tipping etiquette.

Where possible, try to leave your tip in cash to ensure it reaches the staff.

Tipping tour guides in Switzerland

You don’t need to give a tip to your tour guide.

Most services in Switzerland already have a charge added on to them, guided tours included, so there is no expectation to give your host a tip. 

Tour guides don’t rely on tips as part of their income.

However, if you had a particularly good tour, or if your guide provided an exceptional service, then a tip between 1-5 CHF would be greatly appreciated, but it’s certainly not necessary. 

Tipping in hotels or guest houses in Switzerland

Tipping hotel staff in Switzerland is usually expected. 

Whether you’re dealing with the maid, the porter, or reception staff, it’s normal to leave a small tip for them during your stay, especially if they’ve gone above and beyond to make your time enjoyable. It’s polite to leave something to show your gratitude.

A rough guide of how much to tip each member of staff you’ll encounter is as follows:

  • Porters who carry your bags up to your room – 1 CHF or 2 CHF per bag, depending on the size, and up to 5 CHF when staying in a luxury hotel
  • Maid – 1 CHF or 2 CHF per day
  • Reception staff – between 1 CHF – 5 CHF, depending on how helpful you feel they’ve been

A good idea for tipping in larger resort hotels is to give them to the manager, and then he/she can distribute them to the staff.

Tipping taxis, coaches & cabs in Switzerland

It’s not necessary to leave a tip for your taxi driver.

A tip or service charge may already be included in the cost of the journey, so it’s not expected that you pay any extra. 

If your driver has been exceptionally helpful then a good rule of thumb is to round up to the nearest franc if you want to leave a tip.

Tipping in bars and pubs in Switzerland

It’s polite to leave a small tip for bar staff, though not expected. 

If you order a lot of drinks, or spend a long time in the bar, it’s considered good manners to leave a tip for staff. Depending on how much you’ve spent, you can either round up to the nearest one or two francs, or the nearest 5 or 10 CHF.

Tipping barbers and in hair salons in Switzerland

A tip isn’t required for a hairdresser as there’s already a service charge included in the final cost.

If you’re very happy with the level of service you’ve received and want to leave an additional tip, then 15% of the bill is a generous amount.