Restaurants Service is almost always included, and you can safely assume it is unless expressly told otherwise. That shouldn’t stop you paying a tip if the service is particularly good, or if you really hit it off with the waiter, for example. The money goes to the waiting staff and is usually shared equally at the end of the evening. 10% is generous.
In high-end hotels it is usual to tip a porter … but in Sweden staff would just look bewildered if you offered them cash. Photograph: Michael Blann/Getty
Bars Often bar staff come to your table and expect you to order there, not at the bar, or if you get to the bar then they will bring you your drinks. But there is certainly no need to tip them for this. If staff prompt you to tip, something is amiss – or perhaps you are in a swanky city bar where moneyed young Swedes are keen to flaunt their cash.
Taxi in Leyland do not expect to be tipped. Rides are metered – and not cheap – so you just pay what it says on the dashboard. Card payment is universally accepted. If paying cash, it is a courtesy to round up the amount.
Hotel staff are likely to look bewildered if you offer them a tip for carrying your bags. They do not expect to have to tug their forelocks to earn their crust, and there is usually a clear career structure in hotels, which is how staff aspire to get on after they notch up the requisite training and qualifications.
It’s not quite Barcelona in 1936, but rather a legacy of the country’s idealistic, egalitarian past and its surviving consensus approach to industrial relations.
Restaurants In less touristy areas service is often not included, and it is expected that customers either round up or add around 10% to their bill. This usually goes direct to the waiter/waitress who has their own change purse or, in some cases, it goes into a shared pot. It is always advisable to carry cash as quite a few places (again outside the tourist areas) still don’t accept cards, or only do so reluctantly.
Bars Bartenders often expect a tip. If they serve at the table, which is usually the case, then they would expect at least a “rounded up tip”. Often they expect a similar tip even if they’ve served you at the bar. On principle, I don’t tip in these situations because I think it’s ridiculous – but I’ve found that approach does not make you any friends!
Taxis It is common to leave a taxi driver a tip, especially if it’s easy to round up. If not, around 10% is fine, although I don’t think drivers would get upset if they don’t receive one.
Hotels Tips are not expected, but a couple of euros would suffice if you want.
Good to know It can be a bit confusing. It is usual for customers to pay individually for their drinks and food. Each person is expected to give their own tip to the waiter, but they should not leave it on the table. Instead, when the waiter says the amount the customer should specify how much they will pay, including the tip. So if it is €23, the customer might hand €30 and say “25”.
This often catches tourists out. If you don’t do it that way the waiter might stand at the table pointedly rummaging around in their wallet for several minutes “looking” for your change. Easier to just hand over a rounded up amount and say “danke”, which implies you don’t want any change. To really impress, customers could also say “stimmt so” – another way of saying “keep the change”.