Tipping in Prague: Who to Tip & How Much
The practice of tipping is relatively new in the Czech Republic and has only been commonly practiced for the past decade. Until recently, it was mostly something expected just from tourists, though things are changing, and tipping is becoming more common in Prague.
Customer service in the Prague is very different from what you would normally expect in other countries – overly friendly, smiling faces are rare, so tipping is more about the actual service you received than the friendliness of the person you're dealing with.
Although the Czech Republic has its own currency, the Koruna, tips in US Dollars and Euros are welcome in the city center and the main tourist areas of the Czech Republic. Once you get out of the center, however, foreign currency is not ideal – exchange rates would eat much of the tip.
Make sure you always have enough coins in the local currency to tip in smaller cities or off-the-beaten-track destinations, though – you're unlikely to receive change for a Euro bill, especially in smaller cities.
Here are some must and must-not customs when it comes to tipping etiquette in Prague.
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Tipping Taxi Drivers
Prague has a love-hate relationship with taxis. Taxi drivers have a bad reputation in the city for overcharging people, fixing the meters so they run faster, or taking longer routes so they can charge more. They are also known to go on strike to protest against Uber, which offers better service at much better prices.
If you must take a taxi, never wave one down on the street; instead use an app or call taxi companies such as Liftago or Nejlevnejsi Taxi to come pick you up – these are registered taxis and less likely to cheat you because you can report them.
Because of their bad reputation, taxi drivers rarely receive tips in the Czech Republic. In addition, locals usually order and pay for taxis through apps rather than in cash, so tips are even less likely and not usually expected by drivers.
If you are paying in cash and want to tip because of exceptional service, it's standard to round up the bill. For example, if your ride comes up to 190 CZK, just pay 200 CZK.
Tipping at Restaurants
While in many countries around the world, including the US, waiters rely on tips to make ends meet, this isn't the case in the Czech Republic. Here, waiters/waitresses get a fixed salary, and tips – while highly appreciated – are not the main source of income in the restaurant business.
This doesn't mean tipping in Prague restaurants is rare – in fact, this is the one area where tips are common in the city – but only tip if you are actually satisfied with the service. Don't reward poor service with a 10 percent tip.
There are two ways to tip in food and drink establishments: You either tip a standard 10 percent or, more commonly, you round up the bill. That means a restaurant bill of 320 CZK becomes 350 CZK and a 45 Kc coffee turns into a 50 Kc one. Always check the bill in advance to make sure gratuities aren't already included in the final price; if they are, you don't have to tip.
If you're paying by card or handing the waiter a larger note, always tell them how much you want to tip in advance, so the amount can be mentally added to the bill. It's not common in Prague to leave tips on the table as you leave, so this needs to be handled when paying.
Some restaurants in Prague are now adding a "Service is not included" note at the bottom of their bill to encourage people to tip. This is somewhat misleading because, legally speaking, service is always included in the total bill in the Czech Republic. While you can take this as a gentle reminder to tip, don't feel you must if the service or the food wasn't great.
Tipping at Hotels
Tipping in hotels is not common in Prague, but leaving a small tip here and there for the staff that makes your stay more comfortable is never a bad thing. Usually, only 5-star hotels in Prague have porters – if yours has one, and they are friendly and efficient in helping you carry your luggage, the equivalent of a couple of dollars is the generally accepted tip.
Concierges aren't usually tipped, but you might want to leave a 10 percent gratuity if yours was particularly helpful or went out of his or her way to organize Prague activities for you.
If your room was particularly well-kept, tip your maid at the end of your stay. Just leaving a few Koruna on a table in your room will go a long way to make somebody's day.
Miscellaneous: Who Else to Tip?
As a general rule, always remember that, except for restaurants and cafés, tips aren't expected in Prague - tip at your discretion, and always factor in the quality of service. When in doubt, round up to the next hundred Koruna, or tip somewhere between five and 10 percent of your final bill.
If you're taking a tour around or outside the city, tipping your tour guide will be appreciated, though not necessarily expected. Guides for full-day tours, especially if particularly engaging or interesting, certainly deserve a tip - there's no set amount for this, just tip what you feel comfortable giving. If you're joining one of the many free walking tours available in the city, then tips are definitely expected, as this is how guides make their money.
If you're visiting a sauna or spa while in Prague, whether you're tipping or not will depend on the circumstances. Special services – such as hiring a hairdresser for a wedding or working with a tailor - are usually not tipped, as their price factors in their one-on-one time spent with you.
Spa services such as massages, manicures, and pedicures, and hairstyling usually don't expect you to tip – if you feel like you've received outstanding service, by all means, leave a tip, but don't feel obligated if the service was just standard. Always factor in the cost and quality of service when deciding whether to tip. Staying around the five to 10 percent rule is usually enough if you do tip.
Cloakroom attendants and restaurant hostesses are usually not tipped in Prague.
Tips and Guidelines on Tipping
- Don't leave your tip on the table before you leave. This isn't a common practice here and would not only be strange, but there are no guarantees the money would be considered a tip if you do. The exception to this rule is at places that bring you the bill inside a small box. You can leave the tip in cash inside the box before you leave.
- In most places, the usual time to tip is when the waitress comes over with the bill. If you're paying with a credit card, the tip can be added to the total, but ask the waiter first – some places don't pass the tip along or take a percentage.
- Some to-go places have a tip bowl or box next to the cash register. If you're not sitting down but still want to tip a particularly helpful or friendly person behind the counter, you can leave your tip there. No box or bowl? You can simply round up the bill.