Have you ever wondered how to kiss people in different countries? Ever been caught shortchanging someone when you give them only two kisses, and it should have been three? I have, and that is why I have compiled this guide to Kissing around the world.
I like kissing, and I like to know how people kiss around the world. I prefer to get it right. Kissing traditions can be quite complicated to get your head around.

Knowing the etiquette of kissing in various countries is very important. Some countries are very demonstrative, and others are not. Kissing is a sign of many things from a greeting, to appreciation, to an acknowledgment of another.

Gordon and I are pretty affectionate and often have to be careful about holding hands and other public displays of affection. Gordon has to give me “the look” in Dubai if I look like I might make a move on him. So in Dubai, keep your hands and lips to yourself.
Australia is very multicultural, and many of my friends are from different ethic backgrounds, so being thorough and scientific, I contacted them and asked them what was particular about kissing in their culture.

So it is timely to remember the way to kiss when it is needed on your travels.

Your guide to Kissing around the world

Kissing in The Netherlands

Three kisses, alternate cheeks. Left, right, left. The Dutch “love” to kiss. I do too. When we arrived recently, I did the two kiss and was quickly chastised by our friend, from Zandvoort in the Netherlands, with “we F*ing kiss three times here, remember”. The man at the post office in Amsterdam kissed me three times for buying a stamp. Now you know why I want to move there. I love Amsterdam.

Kissing in Italy

Four kisses, cheek by cheek, and perhaps keep going. Italians are also very affectionate, and a pinch on the butt is sort of like a kiss too. It had taken me three bus rides in Rome before I got mine pinched, and I wasn’t leaving until I did. We have a lot of Nona’s and Nono’s as near relatives here, so affection is always a good thing.

Kissing in Germany

Two kisses, alternate cheeks. Very formal and very proper. Left, right. Deal Done. Then go and have a beer with them, because German beer is good.

Kissing in Australia

For social people, air kissing in Australia is popular, alternate cheeks but with no actual contact. Get really pretentious and go for the three kiss, which tends to upset or unnerve people. Otherwise a quick peck, and wipe your mouth covertly. Australia is a nanny state afterall.

Kissing in Japan

The Japanese are not big into kissing at all. Despite the fact that they love all things cute, called kawaii. However, if you plant a one on them, particularly if they are older and you have established some type of bond, they tend to giggle and be quite happy about it.

Kissing in New Zealand and many Polynesian Islands like Samoa and Tonga

Rub noses together. The Eskimo’s do it too. Personally, I get a quick hug in first and then a peck on the cheek. It is changing. I liked Samoa and found the local people very friendly.


Kissing in Croatia

Two kisses left cheek first. Often you need to initiate the kiss because they are a little unsure. If you do kiss, you have become a friend for life and will be fed on every occasion that is celebrated. We know as we have lovely Croatian friends who feed us all of the time. If you visit Dubrovnik and get the opportunity, try out this kissing.

Kissing in Serbia

Three kisses, right first. Different to Croatians, so this is important to know.

Kissing in the Philippines

Filipinos are shy about PDA’s. They are also some of the warmest and loveliest people we have met. We were in Manila and were overwhelmed with their warmth. I can’t help myself, so I did the quick hug.

Kissing in Belgium

These people are rebels I am telling you. Depending upon the region will depend upon the kiss. We were in Ghent in the Flanders region, and it appeared to us to be two kisses. We were told that in some of those “other” areas, like Brussels, they might do it just the once, or “even” 3 times. Sorry, Belgium is tricky.


Kissing in Brazil

Again dictated by where you live. One kiss in San Paulo, 3 in other parts. But again they can be pretty affectionate so you can’t really go wrong.

Kissing in Denmark

Forget the kiss, and give a quick hug. Despite being liberal, and despite hygge, they are not too open to kissing. Read about our visits to Copenhagen and Aarhus.

Kissing in Austria

In Austria, a man may kiss your hand (female), and this is big kudos. I know we were in Kitzbuhel. Otherwise, a little nod, and you ‘might’ get away with a quick peck.

Kissing in China

Don’t kiss, don’t hug in public at all. This is behind closed doors stuff.

Kissing in Thailand

Don’t kiss, hug or hold hands in public. They don’t; you don’t. Ironic isn’t it with all of the bars, ladyboys, pole dancing, etc. Read, 10 Do’s and Don’ts in Bangkok, that applies all over Thailand.

Kissing in Vietnam

“Slightly” more liberal than Thailand, you can shake hands. We love Vietnam, so read about our experiences in Saigon, our guide for first-time visitors to Hoi An.

Kissing in Spain

Two kisses, BUT right then left. If you have enjoyed a few drinks, shouting Ole, Ole after your kissing ritual is always good form. Visiting Spain is just fun.

Kissing in the UK

Nod and look away. Sorry, but that is what I have been told by British friends. Check out our top things to see and do in London, that don’t involve kissing.

Kissing in the USA

Kiss how and whomever you like, and whenever you like… perhaps. Maybe you can help me out with this one.

So that is what I know…

What can you add to this to make it a definitive list of ‘kissing around the world.’

Love Paula xx


A Guide to How to Kiss in Different Countries


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