Spain Currency Exchange Guide

Spain is an ideal tourist destination for anyone seeking an exciting, vibrant culture and breathtaking natural beauty. From the beautiful beaches of the Balearic Islands to the grandeur of Madrid’s architecture, Spain offers something for every traveller. Enjoy an afternoon at one of Spain’s many museums or take in a bullfight in Barcelona – the options are endless. Spend your time exploring stunningly preserved ancient cities or shopping and dining in bustling metropolitan centres; no matter what type of vacation you are looking for, Spain will indeed offer something that suits your tastes perfectly!

General Spain Currency Information

What is the currency of Spain?

The official currency of Spain is the Euro (EUR).

What do Spanish notes & coins look like?

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Spain, being part of the eurozone, uses banknote denominations of €5, €10, €20, €50, €100, €200 and €500. A common feature of all euro notes is that they each have a distinct colour to differentiate between them: from the grey of the €5 note to the purple of the €500 note. Each note also features architectural styles representative of seven periods in European cultural history. This makes for an enjoyable experience for those who get to handle their local currency and is a good topic for anyone who wants to learn more about European cultures.

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The Spanish coins showcase a variety of imagery ranging from representations of the King to cathedrals. In 2015, a series depicting King Felipe VI and the country code ‘ESPAÑA 2015’ was released for €1 and €2 coins. On 10, 20 and 50-cent coins, Miguel de Cervantes, father of Spanish literature, is featured in recognition of his global significance. The 1, 2 and 5-cent coins honour the cathedral of Santiago de Compostela with its Romanesque architecture and renowned pilgrimage destination.

Economy

With a GDP that makes it the sixteenth-largest in the world, Spain is an economic powerhouse with a high quality of life, ranking 27th in the United Nations Human Development Index. Richly diverse economic activity thrives in Spain; the vibrant automotive industry, cutting-edge medical technology sector, robust chemicals and shipbuilding industries, booming tourism services, and renowned textile industry form part of this impressively diversified economy.

It is no wonder that Spain is a sought-after member not just of the European Union and Eurozone but also of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization. With its top-notch performance on the global economic stage, Spain has earned itself a spot among the world’s most successful economies!

Brief currency history

The history of Spanish currency is a fascinating tale, full of twists and turns. Starting in the Middle Ages with the Real, introduced by the Castilian King Peter I in 1350, many revisions took place, and more coins were created because of territorial unification.

In 1864, the Spanish peseta replaced the real and was an integral part of international commerce since it was used in the Americas and Asia. Its most important feature was that eight reales were equivalent to one silver peso or Spanish dollar, concluding its extensive use as a trading currency for international transactions. The transition from one currency to another may have been motivated by various reasons, but these changes contributed to the development of economic power within Spain’s borders and beyond.

The escudo was the first official currency of Spain and was introduced in 1566. However, it was not used on a wide scale until 1864, when it officially replaced the real coins. The gold and silver denominations became the primary coins used within Spain’s monetary system until 1833 and 1869, respectively. Then came the peseta, which derived its name from the Catalan peseta, with ‘piece’ meaning small piece. In circulation from 1869 until 2002, 1 Peseta equalled 2 Reales.

In 1868, a decree established the peseta as the national currency to unify and strengthen the country’s economy. More than 100 years later, Spain’s entrance into the European Union in 1985 was essential for economic growth. It enabled foreign investment and ultimately benefitted from the harmonization fund of the EU aimed at reducing economic disparities across member countries.

Multiple projects supported by such funds were developed in Spanish territory, including airports, highways, and high-speed trains. Despite a minor recession in the 90s, considerable progress has been made possible today thanks to those investments.

While the euro had technically been adopted in 1999, it took until 2002 for euro banknotes and coins to be issued and put into circulation for Spanish citizens. The dual circulation period that allowed both the peseta and euro to exist ultimately ended that year on 28 February, paving the way for a new era of Spanish banking history.

Taking Travel Money to Spain

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What currency should I take to Spain?

If you’re travelling to Spain, you’ll need to exchange your Australian dollars (AUD) for Euros (EUR) before you leave. Get information on converting AUD to EUR here.

Is it better to convert currency in Australia or Spain?

When planning on travelling to Spain from Australia, it is often more practical to convert Australian dollars to Euros in Australia. This way, you have a better idea of exactly how much travel money you can access right away. It eliminates the inconvenience of having to convert funds at your destination. Thus, converting your funds before departing Australia will likely provide a more seamless experience for your journey.

How much money can I take to Spain?

When travelling to Spain, you can take a maximum of 10,000 euros or an equivalent amount in another currency as long as it is declared at the point of entry into the country. 

Where to convert currency?

For those looking to exchange currency in Australia, visit Crown Currency Exchange. On top of our competitive foreign exchange rates, we offer great accessibility with 50 stores across the country. Serving customers with nearly 20 years of experience in the business, you can trust that their friendly professionals provide quality service without any hidden fees or commissions.

Is tipping customary in Spain? How much is expected?

If you’re planning on visiting Spain soon, it’s essential to know the tipping etiquette before you go. To help make your trip as smooth as possible, let’s break down when and how much is expected when tipping in Spain.

Bars and Cafes: In many bars and cafes, locals may leave the coins they are given as change if they order food on top of coffee or beer, such as a pastry or a tapa, but many will simply pocket the change without a second thought. It is not customary to tip at bars and cafes in Spain. 

Restaurants: LikeLike at smaller establishments, many Spaniards—if anything—will leave the change the wait staff returns to them after paying the bill. Most restaurants will include a service charge (servicio) within their account, which should cover all tips for service staff; however, if you feel that your experience was exceptional, you can leave an additional 5-10% of your total bill as a gratuity. 

Taxis: Many Spaniards will round up to the nearest euro and give the driver that amount. Although taxi drivers do not expect tips, they will usually appreciate any extra money they get!  

Hotel Staff: If you are happy with your stay, 1-10 Euros per staff member is appreciated by those who kept your visit comfortable. This includes room service staff, housekeepers, bellhops etc. So don’t forget to tip hotel staff if applicable!  

Spas: Tipping is not expected, but if you feel that your treatment was perfect, leaving around 10% of your total bill wouldn’t hurt.  

Tour Guides: Tour guides rely heavily on tourist tips, so it’s always nice to show appreciation for those who ensured your sightseeing experience was enjoyable and educational. As a general rule, the smaller your group is, the more you should tip – most people would tip them anywhere from 10-20 euros, depending on their level of expertise and helpfulness throughout the tour.  

What is ATM access like in Spain?

With the widespread availability and numerous locations, accessing money with an ATM in Spain is usually a quick and easy task. ATMs can be found all over the country – they are present in towns and cities, as well as at gas stations, shopping centres, train stations and bus stops. Discerning travellers can take advantage of these convenient locations to effortlessly withdraw Euros when needed.

What should you budget per day?

Budget

Travelling to Spain on a budget of €50-60 (AUD $78-93) per day is totally doable! From exploring beautiful Spanish cities on foot and treating yourself to tapas here and there to staying in hostels and taking advantage of public transportation, you’ll get to see so much for so little. And don’t forget about all the free activities, like hanging out at the beach and taking self-guided walking tours. 

Moderate

When travelling to Spain on a moderate budget, you should consider an allowance of €115-135 (AUD $179-210) per day. Accommodation expenses can be kept low by choosing an affordable private hostel room or using Airbnb. You can opt for cooking some meals or enjoy cheap fast food options while still partaking in regular activities such as sightseeing, exploring the local cuisine, grabbing a few drinks and taking a taxi once in a while. Moreover, you can use different means of transport such as buses to travel between cities and choose some paid attractions such as visiting museums or taking a food tour.

Luxury

If you want to experience Spain in truly luxurious fashion, then a budget of €260 (AUD $403) per day or more is an absolute must! You can book the most decadent accommodations, indulge in unique culinary experiences and savour exquisite drinks, plus rent a car to make navigating the country a dream or take high-speed trains to explore as much as humanly possible. Not only that, but with such a generous daily budget, you can enjoy as many beautiful tours, activities and cultural events as your heart desires.

Currency details

Currency:

Euro

Currency code:

EUR

Currency symbol:

Central bank:

Banco de España

Nickname:

None

Currency sub-unit:

Cent = 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 Spain

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1. Visit Mallorca's Beaches

Mallorca is one of Spain’s most popular tourist destinations, and it’s easy to see why. From the stunning beaches to the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea, this island offers plenty of activities for travellers. Whether you want to sunbathe on Magaluf Beach or explore Palma de Mallorca’s cobblestone streets and museums, there is something for every type of traveller on this island paradise.

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2. Experience Flamenco Dancing and Tapas Tasting in Seville 

Seville is known as the cultural heart of Andalusia, with its rich history and vibrant nightlife. A visit to Seville should include an evening of flamenco dancing and tapas tasting—the perfect way to immerse yourself in Spanish culture. The atmosphere at a flamenco performance is electric; the dancers’ intensity combined with the traditional guitar music will leave you mesmerized. After your show, head out onto the streets for a delicious meal of traditional tapas dishes such as patatas bravas (fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce) or tortilla española (Spanish omelette) 

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3. Enjoy Live Music at Barcelona's Jazz Clubs 

Barcelona is a city that never sleeps; its vibrant nightlife offers something for everyone. One thing not to be missed while visiting Barcelona is experiencing live music at one of its many jazz clubs. These clubs have hosinternational acts and local talent playing everything from jazz classics to contemporary fusion music. It’s a great way to experience Spanish culture through music—and have an unforgettable night out! 

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4. Stroll Around El Retiro Park 

El Retiro park is located just outside central Madrid and is an oasis within the bustling city. This park features lush gardens, tranquil ponds, statuesque fountains and plenty of shady spots where you can sit back and relax after a long day exploring Madrid’s many monuments and attractions. It’s also home to several art galleries, which are worth checking out if you are looking for inspiration!  

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5. Taste Local Wines from Ribera del Duero or Rioja Region Vineyards 

Spain produces some of the best European wines—from red Rioja wines to sparkling Cava from Catalonia—so it would be remiss not to sample some when visiting this country! If you are looking for an authentic wine-tasting experience, header to Ribera del Duero or Rioja regions, where you can tour vineyards, learn about winemaking techniques used by local producers and even sample some delicious wines straight from their cellars!

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