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Tipping in Iceland

How to express your gratitude for a great service

|October 17, 2023
Konstancija is a writer who enjoys long walks and hikes in nature, "hunts" for second-hand goods, and is a frequent guest in public libraries where she loves to read and roam around stacks of books.

What should you know about tipping culture in Iceland? Find out what is the best way to show your gratitude once you’ve experienced Icelandic hospitality.

When visiting a new country, even the most ordinary things might confuse us or make us wonder how we should behave. One of these is tipping. Imagine you’re already in Iceland, sitting down to refresh and eat something delicious after a whole day spent looking at beautiful sights. You had a great time, the food was superb, and the service was lovely. How should you express your gratitude? Should you leave a tip? What if it’s not acceptable? 

To make sure your trip to the land of fire and ice is smooth, keep on reading to find out how people tip in Iceland, so there would be one less thing to worry about.

Tipping culture in Iceland

Are you supposed to tip in Iceland? It's said that tipping in Iceland is not customary while in some parts of the world, it's even necessary. Nevertheless, in Iceland, customer service workers receive a proper wage, so they don't rely on tips at all. Another reason why you should not feel obligated to leave tips is that in some establishments, once you receive your bill, you might see that a small tipping fee has already been added.

Even though tipping in Iceland isn't required or expected, if you want to show your gratitude but are unsure how much or how to leave a tip, look for a tipping jar. Like in many places in the world, you can find one in Iceland too. It's especially convenient if you have a lot of change you want to get rid of. And in case you're someone who must leave a tip, make this process a bit more convenient by carrying small notes.

In some countries, such as Japan, tipping is considered to be a big no-no. Do Icelanders feel insulted if you leave them a tip? This thank you won't make them chase you and give you the money back, but it's just not something that a server would expect from you.

In general, Icelanders want their guests to feel welcomed, so don't be surprised if they get you a free drink, invite you on a tour, or find other ways to express their hospitality.

Tipping in different places in Iceland

Nowadays, tipping isn't limited to only restaurants, bars, and cafes. You can also tip a tour driver or even a tour guide. But the question remains: whether and how much should you tip them? No matter where you go, the same tipping rules apply, whether it's a fancy restaurant or a casual bar.

Tipping in a restaurant

One of the things that might rack your brain when you're out is how much of a tip you should leave. If you thoroughly enjoyed your evening in a restaurant or cafe, leaving a 10% tip or round the amount you received on the bill is more than enough. This type of tipping proves to be quite handy.

Waitress handing over the menus in a restaurant

Tipping in a tour

Iceland is a wonderful country, but to be able to witness it fully, it's best to book a tour. Firstly, for safety reasons, and secondly, because you'll learn so much about the places you're visiting. But do you tip tour guides in Iceland? Tipping tour guides is not something they'll wait for at the end of your trip, but if you see that they really made an effort, you can leave a tip that doesn't exceed $20.

Hikers taking pictures near the lake in Iceland

Tipping for a journey

In many European countries, tipping a taxi driver hasn't been a very common or expected gesture. The same is true in Iceland, but if you feel that your taxi driver deserves some monetary appreciation because they helped you with your bags, showed you some nice places, or helped in any other way, don't hesitate to leave a tip. 

So, what should you remember next time you're about to express your gratitude for an Icelander's excellent service? Tipping here is optional but appreciated, so don't worry about stepping out of line. Don't forget that your sincere smile and a big thank you also work like a charm.

Young woman with Iceland flag sitting in a car


Hikers on a trail in the Icelandic highlands

Is it customary to tip in Iceland?

In Iceland, tipping is not something workers expect, but it’s appreciated.

How much do you tip in Iceland?

Generally, a 10% tip is enough. You can also round up the sum received on the bill.

How much do you tip a tour guide?

As with other industries, tipping a tour guide is not mandatory. But if you feel that their service was exceptional, general tipping rules apply.

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