European Tourist Tax Explained
What is tourist tax?
In short, tourist tax is now commonplace across Europe. Basically, it’s a surprise hidden charge that needs to be paid when you’re checking out of your hotel.
City tax, more commonly known as European tourist tax, is a small fee charged to visitors by the municipality. This small fee goes towards financing and maintaining facilities within the area. As well as producing brochures, tourist activities and modernising popular tourist attractions including museums and castles.
However, it is up to the city to decide how much they want to charge tourists and this fee can change annually. If you have any questions about the European tourist tax keep on reading!
How much does it cost?
Prices will vary between different countries and even cities. But be aware, because the higher the rating of the accommodation, means the more you will have to pay. In Europe, this generally means only a few extra €€€ per night. If you want to avoid this, there are hostel options available in European cities! VAT can also be added on top of tourist tax in some countries.
Does everyone pay tourist tax?
Generally, everyone has to pay tourist tax. But there are some exemptions. To be considered exempt from paying it, you will have to present the correct documents proving that you belong to one of the below categories (this will depend on the city):
- Disabled and accompanying persons.
- Youth hostels.
- Patients and carers for patients admitted to health facilities.
- Bus drivers.
- Tour guides.
- Workers within the city.
In Austria, tourists have to pay an overnight accommodation tax and are charged according to the province they’re staying in. The tourism levy, also known as Tourismusgesetz and Berherbergungsbeiträge, currently ranges from around €0.15 to 3.02% of the hotel cost per person, per night in Vienna. If you’re visiting Salzburg, expect to pay 3.02% extra for your accommodation. Children under 15 are exempt from the tourist tax.
Belgium has a varying rate of tourist tax and it all depends on which city you’re visiting. For example, Antwerp has a fixed rate of €2.39 per person, per night for hotel stays. Accommodation that falls under the Tourism for Everyone decree and children under 12 years of age are exempt.
Visiting Bruges? There’s a tourism tax of €2 per person, per night. This applies to all tourist accommodations like hotels, guest houses, and hostels. Brussels have a tourist tax which is charged per room, per year according to the borough, hotel size, and hotel classification.
Holidaymakers over 18 have to pay a ‘Sojourn Tax’ which can range from 2kn (£0.24) to 7kn (£0.83) per person, per night and will depend on the category of accommodation and season.
France has a ‘Taxe de Sejour’ or tourist tax which is charged per person, per night and will vary depending on the quality of accommodation you’re staying at. The rates can be anywhere from €0.20 to €4 per person, per night. You can see a breakdown of prices here.
Kulturförderabgabe – Culture Tax or Bettensteuer – Bed Tax are two of many names for tourist tax in Germany. They range anywhere from €0.50 to €5 per person, per night or 5% of the room bill. Again, this will all depend on the type of accommodation, room rate, and location. For example, in Berlin, you will be charged an average of 5% of the room rate and the tax is capped at 21 successive days. Whereas Munich does not have a tourist tax.
Up until 2018 Greece never introduced a tourist tax, making this the first time one had been levied. You will pay this tax upon checking into your accommodation and can be paid by cash or card. The cost is €0.50 per person per day for those in apartments and one to two-star hotels, going up to €1.50 in three-star hotels, €3 in four-star hotels and €4 in five-star hotels.
If you’re visiting Budapest, be aware of the extra 4% of the price of your room per night!
Tourist tax is known as Tassa di soggiorno, The charge varies and depends on a hotel’s star rating, is levied on a set number of nights and there are usually exemptions. For example, when in Rome you can expect to pay €3 and €7 per person, per day for up to 10 days of your stay. Children under 10 exempt from the tax.
You can find a breakdown of tourist tax costs here!
While visiting the Netherlands, tourist accommodation tax is known as Toeristenbelasting. This tax is charged per person, per night in nearly all 421 municipalities. But it will vary depending on accommodation type and hotel grade. The rest may charge a percentage which can vary by hotel star rating or type of accommodation, or sometimes even nothing! For instance, the popular tourist spot Amsterdam has a 5.5% city tax based on the room price. There are talks of this rising to 7% but a date for the increase has yet to be announced. Click here for more info!
When in the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, you have to pay a Municipal Tourist Tax of €1 per night, per person. Children under 13 are exempt from the overnight tax and it’s only applicable for the first seven days of your stay. Porto introduced a €2 tax per person, per night and the Algarve region is currently debating introducing the tax.
In Romania, the tax is known as Taxa Hoteliera Locala. It has been standarised to 1% and charged against the total value of accommodation for each night. Although, if you’re staying in a tourist resort, you will only pay tax for the first night. Tourists under the age of 18 do not have to pay.
Slovenia charge tourists €0.60 and €2.50 per night, per person but varies on location and hotel grade. To illustrate, taxes in Ljubljana doubled to €2.50, while in Vaneča, Fokovci, Vino and Moravske Toplice it’s sitting at €1.01 per person, per night for adults. Generally, children under seven are exempt and children aged between seven and eighteen are half the rate.
When visiting Spain’s Balearic Islands, there is a Sustainable Tourist Tax which applies to holiday accommodation for each holidaymaker aged 16+. Individuals staying in luxury hotels will pay an average of €4 per person per day, an average of €3 for mid-range hotels, €2 for apartments and cruise ship visitors. The money goes towards the protection of resources on the islands. A tax is required for those visiting the Catalonia region, tasa turistica.
Additionally, tax in the Catalonia Region is subject to VAT on top of the prices in Euro, Barcelona the tax is currently €2.50 and currently there is no tax in Madrid
Basically, anyone spending the night in Switzerland is required to pay tourist tax. Essentially, it is charged per person, per night and in some cases by accommodation type. It is made up of 2 elements. The BA tax goes towards tourism advertising and maintaining infrastructure in regions and Kurtaxe is used to improve the tourism experience.
All in all, no one wants to be paying more than expected when spending time in Europe! Therefore, doing the research into the different tourist tax charges can help avoid a shock at the end of the trip.