One of the key birthplaces of human society and civilization as we know it, Greece has more history than many other European nations and has had an unparalleled effect on many aspects of life and culture. The home of scientists, philosophers, thinkers, and creative minds, Greece has always been one of the most influential and significant nations on the European continent, as well as one of the most beautiful.
When we think of Greece, we think of cliffside cities with white buildings on islands like Santorini, we think of ancient ruins dating back thousands of years like the Parthenon in Athens, we think of vibrant dishes with bold flavors and brightly colored ingredients, and we think of amazing beaches and vibrant nightlife locations all along the country’s many miles of coastline. If you’re planning a trip to Greece, read on to learn all about Greek currency.
Official Currency in Greece
Greece’s official currency is the euro, as Greece is one of the member states of the European Union and made the decision to adopt the euro in place of its former currency, the drachma. The euro replaced the drachma back in 2002, with the drachma actually being one of the oldest currencies in the world at the time.
The symbol for the euro is € and it can also be identified by the following code: EUR. One euro is broken down into 100 cents, and the system of money used in Greece will be very familiar to anyone who has spent time in other euro-using nations like France, Germany, Spain, or Italy. The value of the euro changes over time, so be sure to consult live conversion charts for the latest prices.
Coins and Notes in Greece
Coins have been used in Greece for many years. The coins you’ll currently find for use in this country are as follows:
It’s important to note that all euro coins are perfectly circular, so you won’t find any differently shaped coins in Greece. You can easily tell them apart due to their markings, with each coin having its value printed on the side. You can also differentiate between coins in terms of their size and the metal used to make them.
Notes are also used in Greece in the following denominations:
- €5 (grey)
- €10 (red)
- €20 (blue)
- €50 (orange)
- €100 (green)
- €200 (yellow)
- €500 (purple)
Each note has its own color, making it quite easy to tell them apart, even for people who are unfamiliar with the euro. The notes also vary in size. As you go up in value, the note size increases. Each note features images of European architecture and a map of Europe, as well as clear markings to indicate its monetary value.
Using Credit Cards in Greece
Credit and debit cards can be used in Greece, but the acceptance rate of cards will vary depending on where you go. If you’re in a big city like Athens, for example, you should find that your card will be more or less accepted everywhere. Out on the small Greek islands, however, using a card might be more difficult.
ATMs are quite commonplace all around Greece, but again, it’s important to note that this will vary depending on where you actually visit. Some of the islands, for example, might only have a couple of machines, whereas the big cities will have dozens. It’s wise, therefore, to use ATMs when you see them and withdraw large amounts so you always have some cash.
Using US Dollars or Other Currencies in Greece
When it comes to buying things in Greece, you have to pay in euros. US dollars and other currencies are not accepted in this country, so be sure to get some euros before you arrive or when you get to Greece.
Tips for Currency in Greece
If you want to have the best time in Greece and not have to worry about any issues with currency, follow our advice:
- Shop around for euros before your vacation to get the best deal. Different exchange places will have different rates, and you can get much more money if you find a stronger rate.
- ATMs offer good exchange rates and can often be the best option for getting euros in Greece. However, you will most likely be charged every time you use an ATM, so withdraw large amounts in one go rather than making lots of smaller separate withdrawals.
- If you’re visiting the Greek islands, be sure to have plenty of cash. There won’t be many ATMs on most of the islands and people will generally expect cash payments rather than card.
- Shops and restaurants in Greece will typically have signs to let you know how to pay. Look for these signs around the door, near the entrance, or by the cash register.
- Try and keep any change you get and use it for those small purchases and transactions like paying for a ticket on public transport or buying items from street vendors.