When traveling to a new country, it’s always important to be aware of the local customs and etiquette. This is especially true when it comes to tipping, as what is considered appropriate in one culture may be seen as rude in another.
So, what about tipping in Iceland? Is it normal to tip in Iceland and, if so, how much should you give and in what contexts?
Keep reading to make sure your next trip to Iceland goes as smoothly as possible!
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Should I tip in Iceland?
It’s not customary to tip in Iceland. This is because most prices already include a service charge and service staff are well paid, so tipping is not necessary. Of course, if you received exceptional service and would like to show your appreciation, you can certainly do so. But it’s not expected or required.
That said, no one will be offended if you do choose to tip and the recipient will certainly be grateful, even if they do smile at it. Don’t worry, they’re not making fun of you, but if you’re coming from North America, relatively large tip amounts is something that the US and Canada in particular are known for internationally, given it’s not necessarily done in other countries.
This is why the smile may be a combination of gratitude for the money you’re offering and a little bit down to the fact that you’re living up to what they may have heard about North Americans.
With that in mind, tipping in Iceland is always up to the individual, and you should never feel pressured to do so. Just be aware that it’s not something that is commonly done in Iceland.
Why shouldn’t you tip in Iceland?
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t tip in Iceland. First, most prices already include a service charge. Second, wages in Iceland are relatively high, so workers don’t rely on tips as income. And finally, tipping is not part of Icelandic culture.
As mentioned, it’s highly unlikely that someone will take offense if you tip, unless they’re in an industry that is absolutely not service-oriented and where you wouldn’t even tip them at home.
But, similarly, no one will take offense if you don’t tip either. This means that if you’re wavering between whether or not you should tip in Iceland, feel free to not do so unless you’re truly grateful at the service that’s been provided. It isn’t expected and likely won’t make a difference in the service provided to you.
How much do you tip in Iceland?
Tipping is not customary in Iceland. However, if you do decide to tip, a good rule of thumb is 10% of your bill. Even this may be too high though in some contexts, so feel free to simply round the amount up to the nearest round number that you’re comfortable with.
Keep in mind that prices in general aren’t cheap in Iceland, so tipping an extra 10% or so could really start to eat into your budget. In addition, as mentioned, many restaurants already include a service charge, so don’t bother tipping in those situations.
If you do wish to tip, it helps to have a good understanding of the exchange rate to Icelandic Króna (ISK) – remembering that you can’t use euros in Iceland (or any other foreign currency). At the time of writing this, USD 1 is equivalent to around ISK 132, which isn’t the easiest calculation to do. This does, however, give the temptation to feel that a few hundred Icelandic krónur here and there isn’t worth that much – or, alternatively, that giving a few hundred krónur is super generous of you, when it may only be around $2!
I’d suggest downloading a free currency exchange app, like XE, before you leave so you can quickly check your phone to see how much a certain amount is before you leave it as a tip. In fact, it’s one of my top picks for the best Iceland websites to visit before you travel so you’re fully prepared.
Do you tip waiters in Iceland?
As we mentioned, tipping is not customary in Iceland. However, if you received exceptional service from a waiter, you can certainly show your appreciation with a small tip. Just be aware that this is not expected or required. You should also check whether you have already paid a service charge on your bill.
The same rule applies here as above: consider rounding up the amount so that you leave the equivalent of a few dollars for a waiter. While this may seem low, especially if you come from the US, tipping your customary amount of around 20% really isn’t needed here.
How much do you tip taxi drivers in Iceland?
In Iceland, it is not customary to tip taxi drivers. However, if you feel that the driver has provided excellent service, you may round up the fare to the nearest whole number. For example, if your fare is 2,600 krónur, you could pay 3,000 krónur.
It is also worth noting that some taxi companies in Iceland include a service fee in their fares, so you may not need to tip at all. If you’re unsure, you can ask the driver before paying your fare as they tend to be very honest about this (and everything – I’ve actually found Scandinavian taxi drivers to be some of the most honest in the world).
And don’t worry, they speak English in Iceland extraordinarily well, so your taxi driver will almost certainly understand you.
There’s no Uber or equivalent in Iceland so the usual process you would follow to tip a driver through one of those apps doesn’t apply here.
How much do you tip tour guides in Iceland?
There is no set rule for tipping tour guides in Iceland, but it is generally appreciated if you give them a 10-15% tip. This is especially true if they go above and beyond to make your tour memorable. You could also consider tipping a round number of bills to make it easier.
For example, if your guide takes you to a secret waterfall or gives you insider tips on where to eat and drink after your big day out to Geysir in Iceland, a tip would be greatly appreciated.
One big exception to this is if you do one of the free walking tours in Reykjavik. For those, I would suggest tipping around ISK 2,000 per person in your group, which is about USD 15.
Is tipping in Iceland an insult?
No, tipping in Iceland is not an insult. However, it is important to note that tips are not expected or required in most situations. Therefore, if you do choose to tip, be sure to do so out of appreciation for good service rather than as a way to curry favor.
Some people that may take offense to receiving a tip in Iceland primarily include those who are working in non-tipping professions, such as medical professionals who you probably wouldn’t tip in your home country either.
Ultimately, it is up to you whether or not you want to tip someone in Iceland. If in doubt, ask the person you’re considering tipping whether or not they would accept a gratuity.
Can you tip in US dollars in Iceland?
You should not tip in US dollars in Iceland. The official currency of Iceland is the Icelandic Króna (ISK), and all prices should be quoted in ISK. That being said, many businesses in Iceland do accept major credit cards, so you may be able to use your card to pay for a tip.
However, it’s always best to have some cash on hand in case the business you’re visiting does not accept credit cards.
In summary, tipping in Iceland is not required or expected in most situations. However, if you feel that someone has provided excellent service, a small tip is always appreciated. Just be sure to use your best judgment and never tip more than you’re comfortable with.