Tipping in Sweden: Avoid these 3 mistakes

Tipping in Sweden

As a traveler visiting Sweden, you may be wondering about the customs and etiquette surrounding tipping in Sweden. It is reasonable to be curious about it. After all, it is important to be respectful of what is considered customary or acceptable when visiting another country.

In some countries, tipping has become such a deeply ingrained practice that it’s almost second nature to leave a gratuity after receiving good service. For service industry workers, tips can often make up a significant portion of their income, which is why it’s important to understand the customs and expectations around tipping when traveling abroad.

However, not all countries have the same tipping culture. Therefore, what’s expected or appreciated in one place may be completely different in another. For example, while tipping is expected in many parts of Europe, it’s less common in Asia and other parts of the world.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the tipping culture in Sweden, and what you need to know if you’re planning to visit this beautiful country.

What is tipping? Understanding the Gesture of Gratuity

Tipping is an age-old practice dating back to ancient civilizations like Greece and Rome. It is a way of showing appreciation for good service and has become deeply ingrained in some cultures.

The tip receivers are often service industry workers such as waiters, bartenders, taxi drivers, or hotel staff. The amount of tip given is usually a percentage of the total bill or a fixed amount, and it varies depending on the country or region.

The customs and expectations surrounding tipping can vary widely. Despite this, it remains a common practice in many parts of the world.

Tipping in Sweden
Image by Benreis

The Lowdown on Tipping in Sweden: What’s Expected

Tipping in Sweden is not as prevalent or expected as in many other countries. Service industry workers in Sweden are generally paid a higher wage and therefore do not rely on tips to the same extent as in some other countries.

It is always appreciated to leave a small gratuity for good service. However, it is not mandatory or expected in the same way as in places like the United States.

If you choose to tip in Sweden, rounding up to the nearest whole number is generally sufficient. Nevertheless, you may choose to add a bit more for exceptional service. It is worth noting that tipping is not customary in many situations, such as in cafes, bars, or taxis.

By keeping these cultural differences in mind, visitors to Sweden can show their appreciation for good service without overextending their budget.

Tipping is not obligatory in Sweden, no matter the service. Similarly, there is no situation where tipping is expected or required.

Tipping Appropriately in Sweden: Guidelines for Dos and Don’ts

When it comes to tipping in Sweden, it’s important to keep in mind that the customs may differ from what you’re used to. While tipping isn’t mandatory, it is generally appreciated for outstanding service.

When you’re unsure whether to tip or not, it’s always a good idea to observe the locals and follow their lead. To help you navigate tipping in Sweden, here are some helpful guidelines to follow:


  • Consider tipping for exceptional service at restaurants. Particularly if the service has gone above and beyond your expectations.
  • If you’re staying at a hotel, it’s okay to leave a small amount of money for the housekeeping staff if they’ve done a particularly good job in cleaning your room.
  • If you’re taking a guided tour or excursion, it’s okay to tip the guide or tour operator if you feel they’ve done an outstanding job.


  • Tip too much, as this may be seen as rude or unnecessary in Sweden.
  • Feel obligated to tip in every situation. It’s not expected or necessary in many situations, such as in cafes or at retail stores.
  • Leave loose change as a tip, as it may be seen as disrespectful or thoughtless.

By avoiding the above three tipping mistakes when visiting Sweden, you will not only avoid potential cultural misunderstandings but also come across as respectful and considerate to the locals.

Tipping in Sweden: Can I leave a tip if I pay with a card?

Yes, you can leave a tip if you pay with a card in Sweden. Many places, such as restaurants and bars, have a card machine that allows you to add a tip when paying with a card. Additionally, some establishments have a tip jar where you can leave loose change or small bills.

Tipping in Sweden: Final thoughts

In conclusion, while tipping in Sweden is not mandatory, it is appreciated for exceptional service. By following the dos and don’ts, you can ensure that you are being respectful of Swedish customs and not accidentally offending anyone.

If you are still unsure about tipping in a particular situation, do this: Simply round up the cost to the nearest round number. This is often seen as an appropriate gesture. For example, if your bill is 265 SEK, rounding it up to 270 SEK is considered a polite way to show your appreciation.

It’s important to note that tipping is a way to express gratitude for outstanding service. With that in mind, don’t feel compelled to tip if the service is unsatisfactory. Additionally, if you believe the total cost of a quality service was already sufficient, it’s perfectly acceptable to keep the remainder of your money. Above all, enjoy your travels in Sweden!

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