Tipping, while not compulsory, is a common practice in Istanbul as it is in many parts of the world. It’s a way to show appreciation for good service in restaurants, hotels, and other service-oriented establishments. The amount you choose to tip can vary greatly depending on the setting and your level of satisfaction with the service.
Tipping in Restaurants
In restaurants, it is customary to leave a tip of about 10-15% of the total bill if you’re satisfied with the service. However, it’s important to check if a service charge is included in the bill, as it is in some higher-end restaurants. If it is, there’s no need to tip, although you might still want to leave a small amount as a gesture of appreciation.
Tipping in Cafes and Bars
In cafes and bars, tipping is less formal and generally less than in restaurants. It’s usual to leave small change or round up to the nearest whole lira for a cup of tea, coffee, or a casual snack. In bars, a tip of around 10% is appreciated, especially if you’ve received table service.
Tipping in Hotels
For hotel services, a small tip is appreciated but not obligatory. For bellboys or porters who help with your luggage, a tip of around 5-10 USD per bag is customary. Housekeeping staff appreciate a small tip left at the end of your stay, generally around 5-10 USD per day.
Tipping Taxi Drivers and Tour Guides
Tipping taxi drivers isn’t expected in Istanbul, but many people round up the fare to the nearest lira for convenience. For private tour guides, a tip of around 10-20% of the cost of the tour is appropriate, depending on the quality of the service.
In conclusion, while tipping is not mandatory in Istanbul, it is customary in many settings and always appreciated. Tipping is seen as a way to express satisfaction with the service provided and to thank those who have helped make your stay more enjoyable. However, the amount you choose to give should always be based on your own discretion and comfort level.