Most tourists find some of Greece's conventions around service and tipping to be a little confusing since they tend to vary from the traditions found in other countries. It's worth taking a little time before you land in Greece to familiarize yourself with the spoken and unspoken rules about gratuities. Here are a few pointers.
Understanding the Bill at Touristy Greek Restaurants
At most restaurants in Greece, especially those with a large tourist clientele, don't wait for the waiter to bring the bill to you.
You won't see the bill until you specifically request it. As with any service you're paying for, check over the bill for obvious errors (especially if you're not fluent in Greek).
Tips are not required (just as in the U.S. and other countries), but to reward good service, leave a cash tip for the waiter on the same tray containing your bill, and something on the table for the busser.
If you're dining with Greek friends, they may be surprised at your leaving a tip, but in all but the most traditional places, tips are anticipated.
At the truly local restaurants, tip your waiter between 15 and 20 percent of the bill, and leave something separate for the busser. It's polite to thank the eatery owner for a good meal, particularly in a smaller or family-run place.
Cover Charges at Restaurants in Greece
The "cover charge" on the bill at a restaurant is literally the cost to cover the table when you sit down and includes your bread and non-bottled water.
This fee cannot be removed, even if you don't drink the water or eat the bread.
It's usually only about one Euro per person, and while you may not find it at all restaurants in Greece, if you are subject to a cover charge, it's probably not worth arguing about. You'll appear uncouth, which is not a great look for a tourist.
Tipping Taxi Drivers in Greece
Taxi drivers serving tourists in Greece expect tips; usually, an amount around 10 percent of the fare is sufficient. If your taxi driver is handling your luggage, there will be an official charge added to your fare. Passengers are also expected to pay for tolls and any road fees.
Tipping Public Toilet Attendants in Greece
You should definitely give a tip to the person attending that public toilet. They're the ones who keep the stalls stocked with toilet paper and new soap available in washrooms. Be sure to wash your hands before giving a toilet attendant his gratuity.
Be Reasonable About Tipping
Don't stress about over- or under-tipping while you're a tourist in Greece. As long as you are polite and appreciative, most in the service industry there will treat you well. Try to get close to the guidelines above, but don't break out your calculator; as in any country, tipping is more of an art than a science.
And one word of note: If you're accompanied by Greek friends while on your visit, don't expect them to contribute toward your tip. The custom calls for tourists to pay tips, not native Greeks, especially in more remote locations around the country.