Wages for many Croatian service workers are low and yet tipping in Croatia is uncommon and is far less than in other western countries.
The jobs for which tipping in Croatia is expected are similar to most other western countries and include: waiters, bartenders, tour guides, hotel staff, general services and housekeepers. It is also proper etiquette to give small tips to taxi cab drivers, apartment doormen, beach vendors, and parking attendants.
In this post, we’ll go one-by-one through the service sectors.
At bars, round up the bill to an even number or tip 5%. Tip in cash, handing the tip directly to the server, or tell the server how much the bill should be (including tip) before he or she makes change. For instance if the bill is 72 kunas and you give the server 80, tell the server to keep the change. If you just go out for a cup of coffee, you can leave a kuna or two to round up your bill. However, it is usual to not tip on one coffee. Tip more if you are drinking alcohol, especially cocktails since there is more labor involved.
Amount to tip at caffe bars: 5% or less
First, it is important to note that you must request your bill at a restaurant. It will not be brought to you without you asking for it first. In Croatian, the bill is called “račun“, pronounced “rah-choon”.
Before you offer a tip in any restaurant, look at the bill first to see if a tip has already been applied. While not every restaurant uses the same language, typically the bill will say “Napojnica uračunata u cijenu” if gratuity is already included in the bill. While it is not very common to include gratuity, it is important to always check.
Tipping on a credit card is highly unusual in Croatia. In most restaurants you won’t find any routine way to add a tip on the bill and many people will not know what to do if you ask them to do it. If you do manage to add a tip to the credit card charge, the money probably won’t come back to the waiting staff anyway so avoid this option.
The classical way to go about this is to leave cash on the table. Your receipt will usually come in either a receipt-wallet, or a small plate of some kind. After you pay for the meal, drop the tip there. This will ensure that the waiter who served you will collect the tip before clearing the table for the next customers.
As far as how much to tip, locals may tip only 5% or less, which is okay if you are in a konoba or pizzeria. However, if you are dining in a nicer restaurant, go up to 10%.
Amount to tip at restaurants: 5% – 10%
Tips are not required, but if you are staying in a classy enough establishment to have a porter or daily maid service, then you may want to give them a small token of your appreciation. Fifteen to 20 kuna for taking a few bags up to your room or for the maid each day is sufficient to ensure happy staff and a thoroughly cleaned room.
Amount to tip at hotels: 5%
You should always tip your tour guide. There isn’t really a standard amount, it all depends on your guide, how much you enjoy their services, the length of the tour and the cost of the tour. If the tour is 650 kuna per person, a tip of at least 50 kuna per person is reasonable. If you have an exceptional experience (like you might have with our friends over at the Game of Thrones Tour) then definitely give more.
Amount to tip tour guides: 10% – 15%
Taxis in Croatia do not expect tips and usually operate on a meter. Therefore, if locals choose to tip at all, they may round a couple of kuna up to make a convenient amount so there isn’t a hassle to make change. You can do the same as a visitor, but if you take a long transfer and it was a pleasant one, you may want to add a little more and make the tip around ten per cent.
Amount to tip taxi drivers: 0% – 10%
It is customary and expected to tip your crew, as gratuities represent about 30% to 50% of their income. The amount should be between 5% to 15% of the cost of your cruise. So if your charter cost 10.000 kuna and you are satisfied with the service you received, you are expected to give a gratuity between 500 and 1.500 kuna. This is a significant amount of money but crews usually deserve this, as their job is very hard. Much harder than it looks. So make sure you compute the gratuity in your vacation cost.
Amount to tip skippers: 5% – 15%
Hair, Nail, Makeup & Waxing Services
For the usual haircut, pedicure, or wax, adding gratuity is not expected. However, it doesn’t mean you cannot offer a tip to your stylist or nail technician if they’ve done a good job and you want to show appreciation. In my experience, a tip has never been turned down in these situations. For more involved services like hair coloring, extensive waxing, or makeup for a special occasion like a wedding, throw your girl some love with some tipping proportionate to the cost of the service.
Amount to tip salon workers: 5% – 10%
If you are traveling to Croatia as a tourist, then definitely tip your masseuse if you enjoyed your experience and feel like you got what you paid for. If you live in Croatia full time and are lucky enough to see an individual masseuse regularly, then usually a tip for each visit is not necessary nor is it expected. That being said, tips for massages offered through a hotel or spa are expected regardless.
Amount to tip masseuses: 10% – 15%
Tipping is not required or expected but tips for exceptional service can be offered – it is up to you. 15% – 20% would be more than adequate if you have gotten a large tattoo that has taken hours and/or multiple sessions. For small tattoos, you may get a weird look if you try to tip. If your artist was amazing and you feel compelled to leave something extra it should be fine – but make sure they are comfortable accepting and if they refuse, be gracious about it.
Amount to tip tattoo artists: 0% – 20%
One final message about leaving gratuity in Croatia
If you are going to tip, don’t over tip. Tipping more than is expected may be appreciated in Western nations, but here it can be perceived as an insult or that you are showing off.
Because I grew up in America, I’ve been programmed since birth to tip a lot for service work as it has become the responsibility of society to pay service workers a proper living wage rather than their employers. That is why it took a few awkward encounters here in Croatia before I got it through my thick American head that over tipping is not received or expected the same way as in America.
The only exceptions to this caveat would be for skippers (who are usually from abroad) and luxury excursions and trips.