Tipping is one of the most common questions asked when travelling to Albania. And the quickest answer to the question “Do you tip in Albania?” is that… Yes, tipping is customary.
Tipping in Albania
Tips in detail
Being a country where few people speak Spanish, and English and Italian are the languages with which we will be able to communicate more, it is convenient to know that in English tips are called ‘tips’, so let’s talk about ‘Tipping’.
Albania is a relatively unknown and unexplored country in the heart of the Balkans, oozing with culture and history. It is one of the oldest regions in Europe, with a past shared with Greece, Italy, Turkey, as well as much of the Balkans.
The currency of Albania is called Lek (plural lekë) and we tell you all about it in this section. In addition to paying with Lek, you will find that shops do not usually refuse payment in euros, although it is most likely that they will give you change in Lekes. It is true that the exchange rate will not be beneficial, but at times when it is impossible to withdraw money or pay with a card, they are a solution.
If you are heading somewhere a bit more rural or are buying something at the market, you should have some Lek with you, and always in small notes. It’s best to change your money when you arrive to get the best exchange rate and avoid using other currencies whenever possible to reduce the hassle.
How to tip in Albania
Tipping is not compulsory but is common, especially in bars and restaurants. If you choose to tip you are showing your gratitude for the waiter’s treatment, the service or the quality of the food. Having said that, if you don’t feel that the service was good enough, it is also your right not to tip at all.
If you want to leave a tip, round up the bill to the nearest whole amount in restaurants and bars, and if you wish, tip around 10% of the bill. Waiters make a living from the tips they receive.
Please note that waiters’ service in Albania is generally friendly but can be ….. Punctuality is not as important here as in other parts of the world, as meals are seen as a time to relax and unwind with family and friends rather than rushing. That doesn’t mean your server is doing a bad job, it’s just part of the culture.
If you are really suffering from bad service, it’s better to talk to the owners about what could be improved in your meal, or leave a smaller tip, rather than just not tipping. Maybe there was a misunderstanding or you can improve things for future visitors.
Bars and pubs
Tipping is not necessary if you order at the bar, but small tips are appreciated if they have a tip jar and you pay in cash.
You don’t have to tip the taxi driver unless you feel he was very kind or helped you in some way. In that case, the amount of tip is at your discretion.
For tour guides, 10% of the tour price is a good tip.
As for hotels, although they will tell you that you don’t have to tip, it is polite, but not obligatory if they have been kind enough to carry your luggage or clean your hotel room. Any tip up to 200 Lek is a sufficient amount per day.
Albanians do not receive very high wages for their work, in fact they are among the lowest in Europe, so the hotel staff will be very grateful for any tips you may wish to give them.
There is a possibility that some places may add a service charge to your bill, so check your bill to make sure you don’t confuse the VAT/tax with the service charge! If you are confused, as most bills will be written in Albanian, simply ask your waiter to clarify your bill.
It is not always possible to leave a tip on a credit card, so keep some cash on hand