Greece Currency Exchange Guide

Greece is a timeless destination, blending history, culture, and natural beauty. Its stunning coastline, picturesque towns, and ancient monuments make it a top-rated tourist attraction. With over 18 UNESCO Heritage-listed sites, it offers a journey back in time to discover its vast archaeological sites, such as the Acropolis and Parthenon. Whether you seek a relaxing beach holiday or a cultural adventure, Greece has everything you need for an unforgettable vacation.

General Greek Currency Information

What is the currency in Greece?

Greece’s official currency is the Euro (EUR).

What do Euro notes & coins look like?

Euro notes

The second series of euro banknotes feature the same colour and architectural style per denomination as the first series, with minor modifications to accommodate enhanced security features and differentiate the two series. The new design included consecutive enlargements of the EU from 2002 onwards and was created by Reinhold Gerstetter, an independent banknote designer based in Berlin. The banknotes feature the EU symbol, currency name in three alphabets, a revised map of Europe, copyright protection, the signature of the ECB President, and initials of the ECB in nine or ten linguistic variants, depending on the denomination.

Euro coins, money & banking. Free public domain CC0 image.

The Euro coins of Greece boast a striking and intricate design. With each of the eight coins featuring its own unique and captivating image, the coins are a true work of art. Designed by the talented Georgios Stamatopoulos, the minor coins showcase Greek ships, while the middle denominations pay homage to famous Greeks. The larger coins, on the other hand, feature images from Greek history and mythology. One cannot help but be impressed by the level of detail and creativity contained in these coins, making them a sight to behold.

Economy

Greece has a developed economy, ranking 53rd in the world with a nominal GDP of $222.008 billion and 54th with a purchasing power parity of $387.801 billion. Its economy is based on the service and industrial sectors, with agriculture contributing a smaller percentage. Tourism and shipping are important industries, with Greece being the 7th most visited country in the EU in 2013 and having the world’s largest merchant navy. The country is also a significant agricultural producer within the EU.

In addition to its economic strengths, Greece is a regional investor with the largest economy in the Balkans. It has invested heavily in the shipping industry due to increased demand for international maritime transportation. Greece is a member of multiple international organizations, including the OECD, BSEC, EU, IMF, and WTO. It adopted the euro as its currency in 2001 and ranked 34th on the Globalization Index.

Brief currency history

The ancient Greeks used the drachma as their currency until it was replaced by the euro in 2001. From 1841 to 2001, the National Bank of Greece issued drachma banknotes, replacing the phoenix earlier introduced in 1832. The drachma was divided into 100 lepta, and paper notes were printed in various denominations. Following the country’s liberation from Germany in 1944, old drachmas were exchanged for new ones at an enormous rate of 50 trillion to one. Upon Greece’s adoption of the euro, it enjoyed a high-value currency, stable financial market, and aid packages.

During the 2009 Greek debt crisis, Grexit was suggested as a solution where Greece would leave the EU and reintroduce the drachma as their national currency. Grexit proponents believed a devalued drachma would boost overseas investments and increase European tourism. However, opponents of Grexit argued that it would result in a difficult economic transition and lower living standards for the Greek citizen.

On July 5, 2015, the Greek population voted against the austerity measures agreement, leading to speculation on Grexit. Nevertheless, the Greek parliament later accepted a slightly altered agreement, averting Greece’s departure from the Eurozone.

Taking Travel Money to Greece

Acropolis of Athens 2

What currency should I take to Greece?

If you’re travelling to Greece, you’ll need to exchange your Australian dollar (AUD) for Euro (EUR), Greece’s currency.

Is it better to convert currency in Australia or Greece?

When it comes to converting currency in Australia or Greece, it’s more practical to do so in Australia. By converting your money in Australia, you’ll know exactly how much travel funds you’ll have access to right away. This can help you plan your budget accordingly, as you won’t be left guessing how much money you have to spend. Additionally, by having your money converted prior to arriving in Greece, you won’t have to worry about finding a foreign exchange upon arrival, allowing you to quickly begin exploring all that Greece has to offer.

How much money can I take to Greece?

There is no maximum amount of cash that you can bring into Greece. However, you are required to declare any amount exceeding 10,000 euros. It is important to note that traveller’s cheques, bank bills, personal cheques, and money orders are all considered as ‘cash’.

Where to convert currency?

When it comes to converting currency, Crown Currency Exchange is a standout option for those seeking a professional and reliable currency conversion service. With almost 20 years of experience, we are a trusted foreign exchange provider to offer the best exchange rates with 50 stores located across Australia. The best part? There are no hidden fees or commissions charged when purchasing currency, ensuring transparency and peace of mind for customers.

Is tipping customary in Greece? How much is expected?

Tipping is commonplace in many countries, but it’s not always clear how much you should tip and when it is expected. Let’s take a look at the basics of tipping etiquette in Greece so that you can confidently show your appreciation during your travels. 

Restaurants: When you dine out in Greece, tipping can be a meaningful gesture. If your bill for the meal is roughly 5-6 euros, why not leave 50 cents as an added appreciation? Doing so could make someone’s day!

Coffee shops: A kind gesture of 50 cents to a euro as a tip will be warmly welcomed.

Bars: If you plan on spending a significant amount of time at a bar, especially with a group of people, it’s worth considering leaving a few coins as a tip when you leave.

Food delivery staff: Tipping food delivery staff depends on the order’s value and size. A euro is suitable for small orders, while 3-4 euros are more appropriate for larger groups with multiple items.

Tour guide: While it’s not expected to tip your tour guide in Greece, you may choose to do so if you had an exceptional experience. A 10-15% tip on the tour’s price is a generous gesture, and people often tip their guides 2 to 5 euros per person. For private tours, tips can be as high as 15-20 euros.

Hairdresser: If you’re pleased with your hairstyle, leaving a 5 euro tip is a kind gesture. You can give it to the cashier or directly to your hairdresser as you leave.

What is ATM access like in Greece?

You’ll find ATMs in Greek banks, commercial centres, airports, hotels, restaurants, and even on the streets, making them quite accessible. Unless you’re in a remote rural area or smaller towns, finding an ATM shouldn’t be a problem. However, in case you’re having trouble locating one, it is advisable to search for a nearby local bank, as most banks have at least one ATM available on their premises.

What should you budget per day?

Budget

As a budget-conscious traveller, it’s important to plan ahead and know what you should budget per day. If you’re planning on backpacking in Greece, I suggest budgeting 40-60 EUR per day. This budget assumes you’ll be staying in a hostel, eating cheaply, and cooking some of your meals. You’ll also need to limit your drinking and stick to free activities like hiking or relaxing on the beach to keep costs down. Don’t forget to use local transportation to get around. Keep in mind that if you’re visiting Greek islands or travelling during peak season, you can expect to spend on the higher end of that budget. 

Moderate

With a moderate budget of 100-130 EUR per day, you’ll have plenty of options to make the most out of your trip. From visiting museums and ruins to enjoying some drinks and eating out, you can enjoy the local culture without breaking the bank. Additionally, you can opt to stay in a private hostel or Airbnb, take the occasional taxi and rent a bike or scooter to get around. With this budget in mind, you’ll have everything you need to have an enjoyable and memorable trip.

Luxury

If you’re looking to indulge in luxury on your travels, a daily budget of 235 EUR or more is a good starting point. With this budget, you can live in a comfortable hotel, dine in high-end restaurants, drink premium wine and cocktails, indulge in paid tours, splurge on expensive activities like diving and rent a car to experience more. This budget allows you to live the dream life you desire while on vacation. However, if you’re planning to go to the islands, set aside an additional 50 EUR for your daily expenses, as prices might be higher than in other locations.

Currency details

Currency:

Euro

Currency code:

EUR

Currency symbol:

Central bank:

Central Bank of Greece | European Central Bank

Nickname:

None

Currency sub-unit:

1/100

Bank notes:

€5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200, €500

Coins:

1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 20c, 50c, €1, €2

Must-do's while you are in Greece

Acropolis of Athens

Acropolis of Athens 

The Acropolis of Athens is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most iconic monuments in all of Greece. Located on a flat-topped rock that rises 150 metres above sea level, it was once the site of a powerful citadel. The ruins include the Parthenon temple and other classical monuments such as Erectheion and Propylaea. It’s worth getting up early so you can beat the crowds! 

Meteora Monasteries

Meteora Monasteries 

Located between Kalambaka and Trikala in central Greece, these monasteries were built on top of huge sandstone rocks, providing breathtaking views over the surrounding landscape below. The six active monasteries are still home to monks who offer tours and spiritual guidance to visitors.  

Delphi Archaeological Site

Delphi Archaeological Site  

Situated at the southern tip of Mount Parnassus, near Athens. Delphi Archaeological Site was once considered by the ancient Greeks to be “the navel of the world” – where two eagles sent by Zeus met up before going their separate ways – and is now an important archaeological site with several well-preserved temples and monuments from antiquity. The Temple of Apollo and Ancient Theatre are particularly impressive sites within this complex. 

Mystras Castle 

Mystras Castle  

Mystras Castle is located just outside Sparta in Southern Peloponnese, making it an easy day trip from many parts of mainland Greece. This 13th-century castle offers great views over its surrounding countryside as well as being home to several churches dating back to its heyday as a Byzantine stronghold during the Middle Ages. Be sure to take your camera along for some incredible pictures!  

The Museum of Cycladic Art

Museum of Cycladic Art  

The Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens houses one of Europe’s largest collections dedicated solely to ancient Greek artworks from the Aegean region spanning 4500BCE – 200BCE. This museum showcases sculptures, pottery, jewellery, coins and everyday objects made by various cultures throughout history that had an influence on what we now consider classical Greek art today. If you’re interested in learning more about ancient Greek culture, then this museum should not be missed!   

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