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
- 1 Your guide to Kissing around the world
- 1.1 Kissing in The Netherlands
- 1.2 Kissing in Italy
- 1.3 Kissing in Germany
- 1.4 Kissing in Australia
- 1.5 Kissing in Japan
- 1.6 Kissing in New Zealand and many Polynesian Islands like Samoa and Tonga
- 1.7 Kissing in Croatia
- 1.8 Kissing in Serbia
- 1.9 Kissing in the Philippines
- 1.10 Kissing in Belgium
- 1.11 Kissing in Brazil
- 1.12 Kissing in Denmark
- 1.13 Kissing in Austria
- 1.14 Kissing in China
- 1.15 Kissing in Thailand
- 1.16 Kissing in Vietnam
- 1.17 Kissing in Spain
- 1.18 Kissing in the UK
- 1.19 Kissing in the USA
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
This is just plain fun! I love this post. Although I would add that only the Maori and Islanders do the nose thing in New Zealand, and it’s a touching together for a shared breathe.
Thanks Rhonda and that is interesting about the shared breathe
This is such a fun post! I’m English and yes we can be funny with kisses. I’ll hug my friends to greet them but wouldn’t kiss them. I only kiss older relatives when I leave (we just don’t do it when we greet)
We have seen a big difference in Australia over the last 10 years, with a lot more kissing going on when we see friends, even if we have seen them the day before, and it tends to be the double kiss, cheek then other cheek.
Haha coming from the land of the kissing I have to say I don’t Ole anyone ? not sure about the right and left either because my habits are probably affected by travels. Best piece of advise? Wait for the other to make the first move. I learned this in places where they don’t kiss so I don’t end up in yhat awkward situation of me trying to explain that we give two kisses in Spain
I am a kisser, so kiss anyone anytime. It either shocks people or makes them feel good … I think.xxx
I can’t keep up with what is/isn’t right in my own country, so I have no hope when travelling!
It is tricky. I just kiss everyone 🙂
Oh my goodness – this throws me so much, even in the UK! Business meeting = handshake. Go out for a lunch with client – apparently then it is kiss kiss. Such a drama!
I am a kisser, so if i meet you I would probably kiss you regardless 🙂
Great post! However.. We do kiss in England but only people between people who know each other and between girls or girl boy but never between boys. Girls quit often hug too. When introduced to strangers or in formal situations we still shake hands although less so than we used too. If ever we should meet (and I hope we do one day) I will expect a big hug and at least a couple of kisses.
Kathryn when we meet, and we will, you will get the cuddle and kisses for sure.
What a fun post, I never know the kissing/greeting etiquette for each country, thanks for sharing these quirky and fun details.
Thanks Noel, it is just a matter of remembering how to kiss where.
This is great! I’ve never seen a list like this. It will come in handy in the future!
Just use this valuable information wisely Kendra 🙂
What a fun post! I’d add Portugal: left-right-left or right-left-right, your choice, cheek-to-cheek (not lips to cheek), with a good smacking pucker in their ear!
LOL, I forgot the ear smacking pucker 🙂
Love this post! This is always so confusing when you greet someone and then BOOM – it turns out they’re waiting for more (or less) kisses 😛
I still get it wrong. It is funny though, I now go n for the double kiss here in Australia to anyone and it shocks them at first but most are getting used to it. The next post though will really have to be on who expects air kisses and who would find this rude. So much etiquette in snogging
You missed kissing in France & in Quebec (Canada) which is similar to Belgium
We are going to France in September so will pucker up and see how I go. Will put Quebec further up the list 🙂
We love this post! …a kiss (or 2, 3, whatever)…Jempi & Nina 🙂
Thanks guys and I certainly can’t disagree with the whatever which would be an interesting post in itself 🙂
What a fun yet informative post! I can never keep track of the different traditions in different places!
It is a tricky one; thanks for the response 🙂
The kissing/greeting is SO hard to keep track of, nice post!
agreed, but it is sort of fun … i tend to get it wrong
haha, this is a great post guys!
Coming from Canada, we don’t do any sort of kiss greeting, we hug. Obviously, with our partner/spouse, that’s a different story.
Whenever we’re overseas and meet people from Spain or somewhere where they do a kiss greeting, I’m always thrown off and don’t know which way to go first – left, or right?
The worst is when I do it, but they don’t because they figured I wouldn’t anyways, awkward!
I am surprised because I always thought Canadians had a lot of Australianism about them, that is good sense of humour, don’t take themselves too seriously so I thought you might be kissy kissy like us – it will catch on. I always go wrong cheek o/s and end up nose smashing them