Tipping in Spain & on the Camino de Santiago

Tipping in Spain is not as customary as it is in the USA for example. Spain has a relatively high minimum wage (was just increased by 22%) and the staff members you will be in contact with are fairly paid for their services. A 10% service charge is always included in your invoice at restaurants. As part of our services, we take care of ensuring the restaurant, hotel, driver, guide is compensated correctly so no gratuity is requested. 

But if you feel that a person has gone the extra mile for you, a tip is always appreciated. 

Here are some places you might consider leaving a tip:

Bar / Coffee shop: We generally round up to the nearest €1 or leave 20 to 50c per couple

Restaurant: Depending on the price of the meal, either round up or add a couple to a few euros per table or 5 to 10% (remember you already paid 10% + about €3 per person to sit and be served bread / cutlery)

Hotel Porter: might expect a €1 tip per luggage in the more luxurious hotels

House Cleaning / Massage / Hairstylist / Taxi driver:  It is not customary to tip, unless provided great service, if so add 10%. If we booked an extra service for you, please note we almost always work and pay that person directly without making a commission so 100% of their earnings go to them without any intermediaries. 

Guide / Driver: Our guides and drivers are well paid, especially in Galicia but if the person has given you a good service it is quite common to give some €5 to €10 per day per person. Of course, no gratuity is ever expected and you won’t ever be put under pressure to tip, so please make your decision based on the quality of service you receive rather than feeling you have to.

Eating times and customs in Spain & on the different Caminos de Santiago

One of the man difference you will find with your home country when traveling in Spain and on the Camino de Santiago is the extreme mealtimes that are followed and this is a concern for many of our clients. Spaniards are among those who eat lunch and dinner the latest in the world so we created this blog post to detail the different eating times customs you will encounter in Spain as well as the shop opening times.

The Timezones explanation

To understand, why Spaniards eat so late, you must know Spain goes by Central European Time (CET), putting it in sync with the Serbian capital Belgrade, more than 2,500 km East of Madrid, while it should be in Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) like the UK and Portugal. So Galicia, which is the most Western region in continental Spain, is about 2h away from its normal sun time. This means the sun rises later and sets later, bestowing Spain with gloriously long summer evenings and 10 pm sunsets.

Consequences on the typical work-day in Spain

The typical Spanish work day begins at 9am and ends around 8 pm with a 2 to 3h lunch break (the vast majority of workers go home for lunch and enjoy a large meal with their family and rest for a while). Prime-time television doesn’t start until 10:30pm. Most people do not go to bed until midnight.

When pilgrims are walking the Camino and staying in municipal Albergues, they tend to get up very early (between 4 and 6 am) and go to bed early (by 9 pm). They do this to ensure they reach the next town and bed before the rest of the crowds but this means walking most of the distance in the dark. 

Your room is booked and is not going anywhere so no need to rush. Just make sure your luggage is at the reception by 8:30 am for the luggage transfer.

Continue reading Eating times and customs in Spain & on the different Caminos de Santiago

STRANGERS ON THE EARTH opens May 4 in New York and June 1 in Los Angeles

STRANGERS ON THE EARTH, a “deeply moving” (NOW Magazine) and “marvelous” (Globe and Mail) documentary film about Europe’s most popular pilgrimage, el Camino de Santiago, debuts in the US after storming across the festival circuit to much acclaim.

Make sure you get your tickets in advance for the opening nights on May 4 in New York and June 1 in Los Angeles (select cities to follow).

23rd of May UPDATE:

Tickets are now available for the June shows in Los Angeles. Tristan Cook will be present for Q&A’s at the following shows:

June 1 @ 7:20pm

June 2 @ 7:20pm

June 3 @ 12pm noon

To book go to laemmle.com/films/43760 


STRANGERS ON THE EARTH dives into the psyches of the myriad intrepid pilgrims who walk the ancient path in search of meaning, notably including Cleveland Orchestra cellist Dane Johansen, who ventured to walk the 600-mile path with his instrument on his back, performing Bach for his fellow travelers along the way.  Continue reading STRANGERS ON THE EARTH opens May 4 in New York and June 1 in Los Angeles