Tipping in Croatia – should you? How much, when and where? A look at tipping culture from both the customer and the waiter, and meet the Book of Complaints.

Do you tip in Croatia?

Although modern tourists are generally accomplished travellers who know more or less what to expect in a new country, certain things are not so clear when travelling to a new country.

I am constantly amazed by the number of people who find TCN by searching ‘tipping in Croatia’. It seems that there is an appetite for more detailed information on this subject, so here goes. The simple answer regarding tipping in Croatia is – yes, you do. If you are happy with the service, or course.

Tipping in Croatia – the restaurant etiquette

I could try and flesh this advice out into a long article, but I would much rather pass on my knowledge and then take you to exlore some far more interesting topics on the subject.

Tipping in restaurants is standard procedure. The amount is usually in the range of 10-15%. Things to realise include the fact that service jobs come with low salaries. Tips, therefore, are an important source of income for waiters.

You should also pay tips in cash if you want to ensure that the waiter receives it. The bill normally comes in a wallet and you leave the tip inside when you leave. if you are paying by card, there may be the option to leave a tip, but this is not standard. And even if you do, there is less chance that the money will go to where you intended.

Tips in bars, cafes, taxis, hotels and other services

The general rule for most other services is to round up the bill to the nearest round number. Or if you that seems a little too generous (two coffees for 22 kuna, for example), add 2-3 kuna as a tip.

This is the case in bars, cafes and taxis. 10-15 kuna for a chambermaid, luggage porter or bellboy is common. Tour guides vary according to the group, but a guide who has done a great tour will leave with 10% extra in the pocket.

Leaving a tip – the Croatian waitress viewpoint

There are different viewpoint on the culture of tipping in Croatia. I asked one of my TCN colleagues to write a guide to tipping some time ago. I gave her free reign on the content. Here was her approach – from the viewpoint of a former waitress.

The epic Croatian waiter rant: a tipping league table by tourism country

Nothing, however, beats the epic summer rant of Jozo the waiter in Split. By way of background, peak season on the coast is hot and stressful. Working long shifts with lots of demanding tourists all day on low wages is not fun.

And something clearly snapped with young Jozo one day in August 2017. In a Facebook rant which went viral in the Croatian media, Jozo not only told it how it is. But he also offered his thoughts on tipping culture and behaviour by visiting nationality. Check out Jozo’s observations and see if you agree.

Dissatisfied with the service? Meet the Croatian Book of Complaints

There are some insane laws in Croatia, such as the one where one cannot be served alcohol in a bar before 08:00 – as if getting people to hold off until eight will solve the drinking problem.

There are some really infuriating laws regarding the bureaucracy, of which my favourite used to rear its ugly head with the annual renewal of the residence permit. Each year I had to produce a copy of my birth certificate which was no more than 6 months old. No matter that I had been on the planet for 40 years (and could prove my birth via an original certificate), only a recently obtained certificate would do.

And then there is the book of complaints.

tipping in croatia book of complaints

Every bar has one, and every customer has the right to see it. The non-appearance of the Knjiga Zalbe brings an automatic 2,000 kuna fine to the owner. I have never used, or see someone use, the book of complaints, but they have to be on display. I asked my local cafe owner in Jelsa – who has never had an entry in 25 years – if I could have a look at his a few years ago.

The English instructions could be better (if there was a Complaints Book, I might complain), but here are the instructions for using the complaints book.

tipping in croatia complaining procedure

The Book of Complaints – the procedure

  1. The service user has the right to state his complaint in the Complaints Book, if he considers himself inconvenienced with regard to the service he required or obtained. If he has been offended by the behaviour of the personnel, and in other cases in which he considers he suffered incorrect behaviour as a service user.
  2. The service user enters his complaint in the Complaints Book in his language.
  3. The service user must sign his written complaint and enter the date and his full address in the Complaints Book. The supplier will reply to the service user in connection with his complaint immediately, or 15 days after the date of the complaint entered into the Complaints Book at the latest.

All good things come to an end, it would seem. A restaurant owner friend tells me that the Book of Complaints is no more, at least in its original format. Now he must post information on the procedures for filing a written complaint. This he has displayed in a shiny glass case on the restaurant wall. One of the options is to ask for the Book of Complaints.

Asking around, I seem to be unable to find anyone who has actually ever written in the Book of Complaints. If you have, and you are happy to share your experiences, please contact me on [email protected]

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