Tipping Etiquette in Iceland


There is a rumor, or rather a myth, that it is illegal and rude to give someone a tip in Iceland in exchange of their great service or hospitality. Before you arrive in Iceland, you might want to know the truth about tipping in Iceland.

It’s Neither Rude nor Illegal to Tip in Iceland


Well, the truth is, it’s NOT. First of all, it is not illegal to tip someone who just did a great job. For example, in a restaurant, you can give a tip for the wonderful service your waiter has given you or to the chef for cooking a scrumptious meal for you, withstanding the fact that it is not necessary because they are being well compensated by their management. If you will notice that some receipts, when you dine in, are a little pricier than when you order your food to go, it is because service charges are included. Although some may not make you pay service fee and the receipt for dining in and taking out food is just the same, just don’t mind it because Icelanders have great unions and they make sure that each of the employees receive fitting salary. The bottom line is: you will not be put in jail by giving a tip. You can give them a tip, shake their hands and thank them for their good service, it will put smiles on their faces and the next time you’ll visit them they will remember you for sure. There are even few tip jars in most bars and restaurants but most of the money are being used for a good cause outside their establishments, like a charity.

From One Friend to Another


It’s not really rude to give a tip in Iceland, though some may find it weird and awkward receiving monetary consideration after they helped you or assisted you in any way. Icelanders by nature are the most welcoming people in the whole world and to them being hospitable is a common practice. One must know that when you give some money to locals in exchange for what they have done good to you, would make some of them feel uncomfortable, though they might not consider you as rude. However, keep in mind that they aren’t asking for anything in return. For example, a local shows you around for free, you can thank them by paying for their gas or buying them a meal, although there is really no need to do that. It’s just like when a friend did you a great favor, you don’t pay your friend money (even if some may think this would be more practical), but doing something good in return is much appreciated.

In Northern America and other countries, tips are the employees means for extra budget and giving tips to those who really did a great job on their services is a great help for them. The tips given aren’t being taxed by the government in some countries, because it is given as an extra or a thank you money from their customers. In Iceland, however, it is not customary to give one.

So when you visit Iceland and meet locals who offer you a tour or have done exceptional services, give a tip according to the certain situations. Make sure that the person who will receive it smiles, rather than to make them feel awkward. If they say that there is no need for it, believe them, there is really no need in giving them a tip. You can reward them in another way that you think would not offend anybody, like invite them for a coffee or a drink at a pub. Either way, it will make them feel happy that you loved the hospitality they have shown you. Give them a bottle of wine next time you visit their place or some souvenirs from your country, a gesture like that will make them feel good and it will also build a great bond between you and the locals.