A Western European country with thousands of years of history behind it, Germany is one of the most fascinating places to visit in the entire world. There are plenty of things to be seen, enjoyed, and experienced in Germany, from the big city locations like Munich and Berlin to fun festivals and celebrations like Oktoberfest and amazing historic ruins and castles from the past.
Whether you’re exploring a big city and admiring incredible monuments and landmarks like the Berlin Wall or Cologne Cathedral, heading out to the Black Forest for some hikes and outdoor recreation, or visiting charming little German villages to see a different side of German life, you can have a great time on vacation in Germany. Here’s everything you’ll need to know about German currency for your trip.
Official Currency in Germany
The official currency for Germany is the euro. Previously, Germany used the Deutsche Mark, but the Mark was replaced by the euro in 2002. The euro is also used in many other countries around Europe, including most of the member states of the European Union like Spain, France, Italy, and Ireland.
The symbol for the euro is € and its code is EUR. One euro is made up of 100 cents (c). When planning your European vacation to Germany, you can check out live conversion tables in order to see how valuable a single euro is at the time. The value of the euro is always changing in relation to other currencies.
Coins and Notes in Germany
You’ll find both coins and notes being used in Germany. Here are the different coins you will see during your stay:
The euro coin system is very simple to understand. It’s easy to differentiate between the different coins based on their color and size. They’re all circular, but they’re made of different metals and have different sizes depending on their value. The three smallest value coins are copper in color. The next three are gold, and the final two have ring designs. All of the coins are clearly marked with their numerical value.
Moving onto the notes, you’ll find these euro notes used in Germany:
- €5 (grey)
- €10 (red)
- €20 (blue)
- €50 (orange)
- €100 (green)
- €200 (yellow)
- €500 (purple)
Again, the note system for the euro is very easy to follow. The notes all have their own colors, and once you spend a little bit of time using the euro, the colors become very easy to remember. The notes also get larger as they increase in value, and they all have their values clearly printed on both sides, as well as images like a map of Europe and pictures of bridges.
Using Credit Cards in Germany
If you plan on using your card in Germany and are worried about whether cards will be accepted, you don’t need to panic. Credit and debit cards are used all over Germany for everything from paying bills to buying a beer and bratwurst. A lot of stores, hotels, restaurants, pubs, and other locations will accept cards.
However, as in most countries, there will be some places in Germany that don’t take card payments. In these cases, you’ll need to use cash. Fortunately, ATMs, known as Geldautomat in Germany, are everywhere. You can find them in city streets, train stations, grocery stores, and more. Most of them will even let you switch the language to English.
Statistics show that the majority of transactions in Germany are made with cash, so you may find that, when compared to other European nations like the UK or France, German shops and other establishments aren’t quite as likely to accept cards every time. This means that having some euros on your person is essential for your trip to Germany.
Using US Dollars or Other Currencies in Germany
The euro is the only official currency in Germany. Places will not accept other forms of money, so paying with US dollars in Germany is simply not possible.
Tips for Currency in Germany
Follow these tips to have a great time in Germany and avoid any problems when paying for goods or services:
- As previously stated, Germans like to use money for a lot of their purchases. There are plenty of places that take cards, especially in the big cities like Berlin and Munich, but as you start heading out to smaller towns and villages, the use of card payments starts to decrease. Be sure to buy plenty of euros before you go or plan on visiting ATMs often during your trip.
- ATMs often give you the best deals in terms of exchange rates, so this is the best place to get your euros. Avoid the exchange places in areas like airports as the rates are often very unfavorable.
- Traveler's cheques aren't really accepted in Germany, but you can get a pre-paid debit card and use that for your payments in big cities.
- When it comes to tipping, many bars and restaurants will automatically add a gratuity charge onto your bill. You can choose to tip more if you like, and a common practice is to simply round up the bill to a whole number. For example, if your bill is for €12.10 and a tip has already been added on, you might like to round it up to €13 for the sake of convenience.
- If you’re visiting other European countries during your vacation, you may be able to use your euros. Lots of countries, including those near Germany like France and Italy, make use of the euro, but other countries have their own currencies.