Back in the US we enjoy a formulaic way of tipping which we’re used to. Living and traveling in Europe will present you with a few questions when it comes to showing your appreciation for a service. It’s not the same in every country, or situation, so we’ll go through several countries and circumstances to help you out.
Taxis- usually just round up or tip 1-2 euros, but don’t tip if they’ve driven you around in circles or otherwise tried to take advantage of you. Be aware that fares can change if you have lots of luggage or are riding at night.
Bars – Tips are not expected at bars, but if it’s your first time at a particular bar and you want to go back, it may be a good idea to tip a euro or two after your first drink because it’ll usually mean they’ll help get you another one more quickly. If you become a local at a place, then it’s fine to tip a few euro at the end with your tab.
Italy – waiters get paid well and don’t work for tips the way they do in the America. You also might notice a cover or service charge on the bill already (coperto, or servizio). Standard is to pay a euro per person (or up to 10%) if you liked the meal, and pay the tip with cash even if you paid for the meal with a card (the waiter wouldn’t otherwise get the tip).
Spain – just like Italy, except as of Jan 2, 2012 their waiters are better at soccer
Great Britain and Ireland – check to see that a service charge hasn’t already been added, if not then tip 10-15%
France – service charge usually included, so just round out bill with small change
Germany, Czech Republic, and Hungary – restaurants typically expect a 10% tip
Switzerland – service charge is included already, so tip a small amount if the service was exceptional (round to the next Swiss franc if a small amount and a couple francs if it was larger)
Tipping is not necessary for cafes or snack shops.
Definitely tip in Tipperary, if only for the pun.