If you’re planning a visit to Istanbul, you may be wondering whether or not it’s necessary to tip the people who provide you with various services.
We’ve received differing opinions on wether you should give a tip in Turkey. We asked a restaurant owner who said it’s normal to tip. Then speaking to local friends they’ve said it’s not normal to tip. We tend to lean on our friends opinion and have concluded that tipping is not compulsory but that it is a nice gesture if we’ve appreciated the service.
If you’re a tourist, and coming from a country that has a tipping culture such as the USA, locals in Istanbul will not be surprised to receive a tip.
Tipping is not compulsory in Istanbul, but is seen as a way to show appreciation for good service, so it’s ultimately up to your discretion whether you tip and how much you choose to give.
It’s not the same in all situations but around 10% of the total bill is the normal amount for a tip.
In Istanbul, places where you can tip include at restaurants, cafes, and bars, as well as for services such as haircuts, taxis, and hotel staff. The amount of the tip can depend on the level of service you receive, but it’s generally around 10% of the total bill or service cost.
Tipping at restaurants
In Istanbul, some restaurants and cafes might include a service charge of 10%, but if they don’t, tipping in cash is appreciated. Keep in mind that tipping too much can come across as ostentatious, so it’s best to stick with the usual percentage.
When you’re paying by credit card, and you have no cash, there is no means for offering a tip afterwards. You could suggest they include it with the charge beforehand but that would be unexpected as the amount is often already entered into the machine ready for you to pay.
Tipping taxi drivers and hotel staff
When taking a taxi in Istanbul, rounding up the fare is usually enough. For example, if your fare is 47 liras, you can round it up to 50 liras or leave 5 liras as a tip. If you’re using an app like Uber or Bitaksi you have the option of adding on an extra tip at the end of your ride.
It’s not necessary to tip hotel staff, but if you receive exceptional service, leaving a small amount of money is a kind gesture.
Tipping at hammams
Hammams, or traditional Turkish baths, are prevalent in Istanbul, and tipping here can be a little more complicated. If you’re visiting a hamman, it’s typical to tip your masseur or attendant around 15-20% of the total cost for the service.
Tipping tour guides
If you’re taking a guided tour in Istanbul, it’s appropriate to tip your guide around 10% of the total cost of the tour. Some tour companies might already include the guide’s tip in the overall cost, so it’s best to ask beforehand.
Tipping for food delivery
If you order food to be delivered from a restaurant, either by phone or through a delivery app it’s your choice whether to offer a tip – often the drivers are not expecting a tip. With an online delivery service such as Getir you can leave a tip via the app once you’ve received the food. We find it’s good to always have some cash on hand, around 10 Lira, to give the delivery driver as the money then goes direct to them.
Tipping in Istanbul is a matter of discretion. If you’ve got no cash on you it’s okay not to tip. However, if you believe you received excellent service, don’t hesitate to show your appreciation. Tipping is an excellent way to make someone’s day and improve your experience in Istanbul.
Be sure to check the bill for service charges and clarify any additional fees that may not be tips. If you are unsure whether it’s appropriate to tip or not, you can always ask the staff or locals for guidance. Look around you and observe what other customers are doing.
I’m a writer and graphic designer currently living in Turkey with my family. I enjoy learning language, great food (chicken kebab is a favourite at the moment) and experiencing places less-traveled.