Tipping is about on par with what you would do when dining in Australian cities – it's optional but polite, and appreciated.
Tipping only applies in the case of table service, not if you have a coffee or a snack standing up at a bar as in France or Italy, or at a pub in the UK or Ireland. In countries more popular with tourists, service is often included in the bill.
This might be indicated on the menu with words something like "servizio incluso", as in Italy, and nothing further is expected.
Look for this item because if it applies, chances are the service charge won't appear as a separate item on the bill, and by then it's too late to know.
If service isn't included, five per cent is fine, 10 would be regarded as a sizeable tip in most of Europe but you might stretch to 12 in a major city.
Tips should be in cash if you're paying the bill with a card, otherwise there's a fair chance it will end up in the pocket of the manager or owner rather than where it was intended.